Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Distributed Wargaming Working Group Final Report Available

Click on the image for the Report.

UPDATE: I have updated the report with corrections. Delete the 22nd August version and replace with this one dated 23rd August.

COVID-19 made distributed wargaming a DOD requirement for both safety and economic reasons. One effect of DOD’s COVID-19 pandemic response has been the effort by many DOD organizations to shift their wargames to a distributed online environment. The success of some of these efforts, the likely presence of new pandemics, and some undeniable benefits of distributed wargaming makes it likely that distributed wargaming will be a growing part of the DOD toolbox. A key design decision is now “online, face-to-face, or hybrid?” It is therefore necessary to examine the theory behind distributed gaming, capture experience, design best practices, and identify practices to avoid when designing and executing distributed wargames.

In response the Simulation and Wargaming Standing Study Group of the Simulation Interoperability Standards Organization started a Working Group on “Distributed Wargaming”, the focus of which is to:

“examine how technical, social and design processes can exploit the advantages and overcome the disadvantages of professional wargaming in a distributed environment, and produce a resource document for anyone required to design and execute such a wargame”

A core international group of seventeen members, with experience in Government, Military, Industry, Academia and Education started work at the beginning of December 2020 and wrapped up at the end of August 2021. The nine month period of performance allowed the group time to think, discuss, challenge, write and refine, and to do so in depth. The group produced nine research papers covering background theory, lessons learned from research into online education, lessons learned producing and running distributed wargames with several different designs, and an overview of moving in-person events in general (including wargames) online. Deep discussions between group members dealt with the papers and introduced additional topics, all of which are reported in this document.

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