Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Daily Archives: 22/06/2020

Concept, Algorithm, Decision — A Soviet View

Number 6 in the Soviet Military Thought series, “Concept, Algorithm, Decision — A Soviet View” is now online. I have updated the list of all books in the series, so look for it there. Number 6 refers to “war game(s)” 14 times, and refers to “game(s)” 120 times. Fascinating mix of operations research and wargaming through cold war Soviet eyes.

Play with us, however you roll

You might be sat there thinking, the Derby House Principles look great, but in all honesty our organisation is a bunch of guys and nobody but guys apply to work with us, it would feel hypocritical to sign-up. Here’s a different way to think about it:

By putting out inclusive content—not just the characters and story, but the interface as well—a whole generation of diverse gamers and game-makers will come knocking at your door wanting a peice of the action.

Change begins with making content that says everyone is welcome here.

It’s the simple things, like allowing users to remap the controls in your game, that can make a huge difference

Microsoft’s approach to disability access is really interesting: There are (approximately) 100,000 people in America with an upper limb deficiency. That’s not a commercially viable market. But six million people break their arm every year in the US, putting them temporarily in the same category. And parents are juggling children and laptops every other second in lockdown, putting them situationally in the same category. When you frame it like that, something that allows you to drive Windows and your Xbox one-handed is a mainstream need.

Disability is mismatched human interactions. That’s all.

So here’s a public service announcement ahead of the Connections 2020 games fair:

The MacOS screen-reader can’t get hold of content in Google docs in safari, so all the distributed wargaming I’ve been doing in the pandemic has been with rules and player stats and shared intent slides that I can’t read.

It can’t be that hard, surely? You have a degree and everything!

Modern Armour Wargame mission briefing with the words broken in all the wrong places.
It’s English, I promise. Look harder.

Too easy? How about this:

Instructions for how the game will run, with the words broken in all the wrong places and not sitting neatly on the line.
(and I didn’t even jumble up the p/b/d/q like I usually do with this game…)

Sure, you can pick your way through it eventually, but do you remember anything you just read? How much gameplay will you miss wading through the mud to check a rule here and there? Could you even decipher that text while you have other players talking in your ear on Zoom?

Pop quiz: what’s provided in the slide deck…?

If you are running a distributed game at Connections please consider including a very simple statement on your sign-up sheet:

Please let us know if you have any accessibility needs so we can figure out what will work for you.


Connections Netherlands endorses the Derby House Priciples

Connections Netherlands has joined the growing list of organizations that have endorsed the Derby House Principles on diversity and inclusion in serious gaming.

If your organization would like to join them in endorsing the Derby House Principles, drop us a line.

Connections 2020: Registration for online conference now open!

Registration for Connections (US/global) is now open:

On behalf of my conference co-chair, Matt Caffrey, and the Connections conference planning committee, I am pleased to announce that registration is now open for Connections 2020.  This year’s conference will be conducted entirely online, August 10-14.  Our host for 2020 is the Center for Naval Analyses. While the presentations at Connections will address topics covering the full range of wargaming related topics, several key events will relate to our theme this year: Applying and Representing Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Machine Learning (ML) in Wargaming.

Since 1993, the Connections interdisciplinary wargaming conference has brought together wargaming professionals from all aspects of the field – military, government, academia, private sector, and the commercial hobbyist press.  While we all work on different problems with different ranges of tools, there is much that we have to learn from one another.

CONFERENCE REGISTRATION: If you are interested in joining us, please fill out the following form to register:
Registering now will ensure that you will be kept updated with the latest developments, information on how to participate, etc.
Because our participants will be widely distributed across time zones, we will have a set of core hours (1000-1600 US Eastern Daylight Time) for all of our presentations and other common events.

DEMONSTRATIONS AND GAME PLAY: Shifting to an online format requires quite a bit of modification to our past practices.  Game nights and demonstrations are a cornerstone of Connections and we need volunteer game hosts to continue this tradition in an online environment! Connections 2020 will include playing games online and/or game demonstrations. All types of war, strategy, and educational games and online platforms are welcome (Discord, Roll20, Steam, Tabletop Simulator, Vassal, Zoom, etc). These playthroughs and demonstrations will take outside of the conference core hours (1000 – 1600 US Eastern Daylight Time). The conference final presentation on 14 August will include a summary of games conducted.

If you would like to host a game demonstration and playthrough, please register at by 10 July. Please fill out a separate form for each session of a game playthrough or demonstration you will host.

Next Steps:

1. Connections staff will post a list of all games, demos, and host e-mail addresses or registration links on the Connections website by 13 July so players can register and coordinate with hosts as needed.  Hosts are responsible for tracking their own registrations and communicating with their participants, but Connections will post on the website when a host notifies us that a game or demo has reached maximum capacity.
2. Before the end of the conference, hosts let us know how many people participated in each game or demonstration so we can measure interest for future events (via a short Google form).

PRESENTATIONS: If you missed our call for presentations earlier this year, we will continue to accept proposals until June 26:

Please note that the links above are Google Forms, which do not always work on some military networks.  We recommend that you try from home if you run into problems connecting at work.
We hope you will be able to join us this year for our grand experiment in online gathering.  Our mission to advance and preserve the art, science, and application of wargaming remains our focus, and with your help we can accomplish this even under the present circumstances.

If you have any questions please contact me, Tim Wilkie ( and Scott Chambers (

Timothy Wilkie
Center for Applied Strategic Learning National Defense University

Connections (US) is a supporter of the Derby House Principles on diversity and inclusion in professional wargaming.

%d bloggers like this: