Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Daily Archives: 05/01/2022

Gaming the vaccine (January 14)

On January 14 (1500-1630 EST), Dr. Ben Taylor (Defence Research and Development Canada) and I will offer an online presentation on Gaming the Vaccine: Using Red Teaming and Serious Games to Support Risk Assessment and Contingency Planning, in conjunction with the Max Bell School of Public Policy at McGill University.

In late 2020 Canada was preparing its national roll-out of COVID-19 vaccinations. What might could go wrong? How could the risks be mitigated? To examine these questions, a series of “red team” analyses was conducted at the request of the federal Vaccine Rollout Task Force, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the Canadian Armed Forces. These culminated in a day-long tabletop exercise (TTX), involving more than 150 participants from eight federal government departments and agencies, all 13 provinces and territories, and the Canadian Red Cross. Additional risk mitigation analysis then followed.

This presentation will examine why and how the process was undertaken, assess its contribution to planning, and identify lessons-learned for the use of red-teaming and serious gaming techniques to support planning and risk analysis of urgent policy initiatives.

Rex Brynen is Professor of Political Science at McGill University and editor of the conflict simulation website PAXsims ( In addition to his regular teaching and academic work, he has worked as a serious games consultant to the Department of National Defence, Global Affairs Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the US State Department, the UK Ministry of Defence, NATO, the Ready Initiative, and the WHO.

Ben Taylor is a senior defence scientist at Defence Research and Development Canada. He has worked as an analyst in both Canadian and British governments supporting national force development planning. In recent years he has led efforts to introduce wargames to this work in Canada. During 2020-21 he has developed games to explore policy making by governments facing pandemics.  

PAXsim readers are welcome to attend. The Zoom link for the presentation will be:

If you missed the presentation, here it is on YouTube:

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