Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

PAXsims 2020 in review

2020 was certainly a dumpster fire of a year: over 1.8 million dead (so far) from a global pandemic, economic recession, a million or so Uighur Muslims held in hundreds of Chinese detention camps, and a continuing background of conflict and repression (in Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Myanmar, and elsewhere) that has forcibly displaced over 80 million people world-wide.

With regard to the pandemic, there is good news now too: COVID-19 vaccination campaigns have started in many countries (although those in the developing world will face challenges in obtaining then administering vaccinations in a timely way). In the meantime, wear your mask, wash your hands, and distance!

Here at PAXsims we we had our one millionth (socially-distanced) page view today. Since the website was established in 2009, we have had over 459,000 visitors from around the world, and posted no less than 1,828 items on conflict simulation and serious games.

In 2020, we had 94,693 visitors from 190 countries and territories, viewing 176,319 pages—up 46% from last year, and our highest total yet. The ten most important countries of origin were:

  1. United States 58.1%
  2. United Kingdom 14.5%
  3. Canada 10.0%
  4. Netherlands 3.6%
  5. Germany 3.0%
  6. France 2.6%
  7. Australia 2.5%
  8. Japan 2.3%
  9. Spain 1.8%
  10. Italy 1.7%

A further 1,453 people subscribe to PAXsims via email or WordPress or follow us on Facebook.

The predominance of the US (and, to a lesser extent, the UK) in global discussions on wargaming and policy gaming indicated above raises an interesting question: to what extent are the challenges and processes of serious gaming different in countries with much smaller national security communities? This has been much discussed in Canada, and was raised in a recent Polish strategic studies conference too—and will be one of the topics under discussion at the Connections North (virtual) conference on 19-21 February 2021.

Of our visitors, Gallup Analytics estimates that 26% are female. Visitors are fairly evenly distributed across all (adult) age demographics. PAXsims support for diversity and inclusion was reflected in the launching of the Derby House Principles back in June, as well as our support for the Zenobia Award.

Your hard-working team of editors posted 265 items during the year. The most popular posts were:

  1. Transition Integrity Project: Preventing a disrupted presidential election and transition
  2. The personalities of miniature wargame players
  4. COVID-19 serious gaming resources
  5. Brooks: What’s the worst that could happen?
  6. How to raise a wargamer
  7. Announcing the Derby House Principles on diversity and inclusion in professional wargaming
  8. Derby House Principles
  9. C3i Magazine: COVID-19 Scenario for Pandemic
  10. Owen: What’s wrong with professional wargaming?

The copy of the Transition Integrity Project matrix game report hosted on PAXsims has now been downloaded over 160,000 times—quite apart from copies at the TIP website and elsewhere. That makes it the most read wargame after action report of all time, so congratulations to TIP and the game’s mysterious designer (we know who you are, mate!) On the same topic but with a less successful outcome, PAXsims was a participant in one of the most widely-reported wargame mishaps of all time.

Ironically, we started 2020 gaming a pandemic—just not the right one. Later, however, PAXsims played a key role (in conjunction with the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Canadian Armed Forces, and Defence Research and Development Canada) in the design and execution of a series of red team sessions and a day-long table-top exercise in support of Canada’s COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Task Force. The latter involved some 150 or so participants from across the federal government, all ten provinces and three territories. You will be able to hear about that at Connections North too.

So there’s the PAXsims year in review. We hope you’re all well, that you’ve enjoyed the holiday season, and that all of our readers have a happy, healthy, and productive new year.

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