Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Daily Archives: 10/04/2021

EWC wargame design competition finalists announced

Two finalists have been announced in the Educational Wargaming Cooperative Designer Challenge 2021 wargame design competition. According to Nina Kollars and Amanda Rosen:

We are pleased to announce Michael Fowler’s Hunt for Red Rat and Duane Clark and Ben Griffin’s Counter-fire! as the winners of the EWC’s Designer Challenge 2021: Portable & Adaptable. The winning designers will be advanced to the next step where their games will be featured in game sessions with professional game designers – either virtually or in-person at the Naval War College depending on COVID conditions. 

This year’s competition challenge aimed to foster bootstrapped and/or portable games that educators could easily leverage for training and education. As a result, submissions were evaluated in terms of:

• Adaptability of the game design;

• Ease of play and accessibility;

• Pace of gameplay;

• Originality;

• Distributed nature or portability of the game.

The winning designs – Hunt for Red Rat and Counter-fire! – truly met these metric of the portable and adaptable game challenge. Both of the winning games really bootstrap students into the learning environment in under 3-hours which is really quite remarkable! 

Counter-Fire! is an educational game designed to “emphasize the immense importance of the sensor to shooter relationship and develop skills in field artillery and military intelligence professionals to support targeting and defeating enemy fires formations at extended ranges.” Hunt for Red Rat is intended to “introduce US Navy maritime capabilities with specific emphasis on anti-submarine warfare, missile defense, and long-range strike capabilities.”

You can download copies of both games at the link above.

Zenobia Award update

The Zenobia Award has posted an update which includes a very impressive visual summary of the 46 game designs still in the competition, broken down by the theme, time period, and geographic focus of the entry (click to enlarge). After reviewing 145 applications and receiving 86 game concept proposals, Zenobia Award volunteers in March 2021 selected 46 games to advance in the competition.

The Zenobia Award is a competition among submitted historical tabletop game prototypes by designers from underrepresented groups, with mentoring and industry exposure available to selectees and cash prizes and industry access benefits to the winners. 

In an email to Zenobia contestants, mentors, judges, sponsors, and board members, Volko Ruhnke notes:

We have just gone public with the attached and linked synopsis of our 46 active Zenobia Award Game Proposals. Please give our contestants and their game ideas as much positive exposure as you can!

Last summer and fall, 13 volunteers assembled into a board and, with your help and that of so many other volunteers, put out a call to women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ people to compete in designing a top historical boardgame from whatever perspective they chose. By that January, we were overwhelmed with 145 applications. 

Through a judging process that we have tried to make as expert, diverse, and fair as we could, we have narrowed that amazing field down to these 46 game concepts from 46 diverse designers and teams. Many of us saw some of our favorite entries declined for advancement, in the need of the competition to narrow to an eventual winner. Yet the breadth, depth, and freshness of the remaining field of talent is clear.

We had asked Zenobia contestants to simulate any historical setting that inspired them—political, social, cultural, scientific, economic, military, or any other human affairs in any combination, up to the present day. Look how much history we got back to explore—I hope that you will agree, the results include something for everyone!

Shortly, designers will submit their game material drafts for feedback that will augment what they are already receiving from our dedicated mentors. In just over two months, designers will submit their playable prototypes to our judges panels, to zero in on a handful of finalists whose work will exemplify historicity, originality, and gameplay.

Let’s cheer our Zenobia designers on as they devise and tighten their prototypes. We have some great historical gaming in store for all of us!

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