Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Simulation and gaming publications, January-June 2022

PAXsims is pleased to present a selection of recently-published items on simulation and serious gaming. Some of these may not address conflict, peacebuilding, or development issues at all, but have been included because of the broader perspective they offer on games-based education or analysis. Others might address “gaming-adjacent” issues such as group dynamics and decision-making, assessment, forecasting, or related topics. If you have published something recently and we haven’t yet included it, let us know!

Articles may be gated/paywalled and not accessible without subscription access to the publication in which they appear.

Braun, Luke et al. “Quantifying a State’s Reputation in the Strategic Competition and Crisis Wargame for the Center for Army Analysis,” Proceedings of the Annual General Donald R. Keith Memorial Conference (April 2022).

The Center for Army Analysis (CAA) developed the Strategic Competition and Crisis wargame to capture how modern military competition operates in today’s world. The CAA tasked our interdisciplinary team with developing a more robust, well-rounded reputation model for quantifying a state’s reputation based on another state’s perspective using each of our respective specialties within Systems Engineering, Defense and Strategic Studies, and Operations Research. The team leveraged tools within the Systems Decision Process to quantify the theoretical, intangible concept of reputation. Research began with a qualitative value model based on expert stakeholder analysis and a literature review. The team then identified value measures to build a swing weight matrix that produced a reputation score for each state from another state’s perspective. That score, alongside an enhanced Game User Interface, can now be integrated into the existing SC2 wargame to provide a more complete, narrative experience that charts player decisions throughout the game.

Chen, Sarah, “An Analysis of Cyber Wargaming: Current Games, Limitations, and Recommendations” (2022). Claremont McKenna College Senior Theses.

Cyberspace operations and conflict pose a unique challenge to decision-makers due to the uncertainty and unpredictability of cyber capabilities. Relying on wargaming literature, public cyber wargame reports, and expert interviews, this thesis analyzes the utility of cyber wargaming for education and analysis. Cyber wargames offer a method of testing, exploring, and understanding cyberspace through the abstraction and representation of cyber tools and attack cycles.

The thesis begins by examining cyber conflict and theorizes hypothetical wargame use cases. It then creates a framework for cyber wargaming elements and examines the design of eleven analytical wargames, eight educational wargames, and three commercial games according to this model. Lastly, the paper looks at the limitations and problems of cyber wargaming, relying on interviews with wargame designers, and suggests solutions going forward for future cyber wargame design and publication.

Davis, Paul and Bracken, Paul. “Artificial intelligence for wargaming and modeling,” Journal of Defense Modeling and Simulation: Applications, Methodology, Technology (2022).

In this paper, we discuss how artificial intelligence (AI) could be used in political-military modeling, simulation, and wargaming of conflicts with nations having weapons of mass destruction and other high-end capabilities involving space, cyberspace, and long-range precision weapons. AI should help participants in wargames, and agents in simulations, to understand possible perspectives, perceptions, and calculations of adversaries who are operating with uncertainties and misimpressions. The content of AI should recognize the risks of escalation leading to catastrophe with no winner but also the possibility of outcomes with meaningful winners and losers. We discuss implications for the design and development of families of models, simulations, and wargames using several types of AI functionality. We also discuss decision aids for wargaming, with and without AI, informed by theory and exploratory work using simulation, history, and earlier wargaming.

de Rosa, Francesca and Strode, Christopher. “Games to support disruptive technology adoption: the MUST Game use case,” International Journal of Serious Games 9, 2 (June 2022).

Serious games can be used as a means to explore complex systems and uncertainty related challenges, therefore they may have the potential of supporting the adoption of innovative and disruptive technologies. In this paper we present the use case of the Maritime Unmanned Systems Trust (MUST) Game, which goal is to capture beliefs, attitude and perspectives of the participants with respect to the employment of maritime unmanned systems (MUS) in the maritime domain. This novel game aims at better understanding the relation between trust factors and MUS. Moreover, it explores how players make decisions with respect to MUS deployments in an increasing threat scenario. This allows to capture important information on the trade-offs related to MUS use that have an impact on maritime missions planning activities (e.g., endurance, logistics, maintenance, cost, number of assets, security and type of assets). This paper describes the game and an analysis of the outcomes of its deployment. The results show how the MUST Game design has been effective in eliciting constructive discussion around the use of MUS in maritime missions, as well as in the collection of assessments and decisions, which are currently being used in algorithmic development.

Lee, Donghwan et al. “ICSTASY: An Integrated Cybersecurity Training System for Military Personnel,” IEEE Access (2022).

Cyberwarfare can occur at any moment, anywhere on the planet, and it happens more often than we realize. The new form of warfare is wreaking havoc on not only the military but also on every aspect of our daily lives. Since cybersecurity has only recently established itself as a critical element of the military, the military community relies heavily on the private sector to ensure cyber mission assurance. Given the military’s secrecy, such reliance may increase the danger of mission degradation or failure. To address this issue, the military has attempted to build a dedicated cybersecurity training system for the purpose of internalizing cybersecurity training. However, existing cybersecurity training systems frequently lack comprehensive support for effective and efficient cybersecurity training. In this study, we propose ICSTASY, a scenario-based, interactive, and immersive cybersecurity training platform that supports a variety of training features holistically. The primary requirements and design principles required to overcome the challenges inherent in developing a cyber training system were offered based on a review of prior work. Through the demonstration of our prototype, we have proven the feasibility of efficient and truly realistic cyber training, not only for the military environment but also for the private sector.

Fielder, James. “Ghosts of the Titanomachy: Structure, Commitment, Economics, and Risk as Causal Mechanisms in an Online Battle,” Simulation & Gaming (2022).

In January 2014 over seven thousand EVE Online players engaged in a 21-h battle that came to be known as the Battle of B-R5RB, in which an estimated $330,000 of virtual property was destroyed, calculated in real U.S. dollars as measured by time.

To discern why players were willing to commit time and resources to fight in a large-scale virtual battle, which in turn informs how players perceive risk and develop large-scale emergent political structures.

Drawing from multiple case history and journalism reports on the Battle of B-R5RB, the author combines the inductive ideographic case study approach and process tracing method to uncover key causal mechanisms.

The author inductively theorizes that the Battle of B-R5RB resulted from the Null-Sec’s anarchic structure, player commitment to their respective Corporations, measurable economic value, and risk associated with permanent loss. These mechanisms closely align with the offensive realism and anarchy.

Discussion and conclusion
The Battle of B-R5B is a relevant example of real-world emergent political behavior developing in a virtual world setting. Analysis of this single battle suggests that players are willing to project actual value onto virtual assets. Perception of value is magnified in virtual worlds lacking overt governance or security structures. Players must form groups to mitigate risk, and the greater the risk, the greater the commitment to the group.

Filho, Geraldo Mulato De Lima et al. “Optimization of Unmanned Air Vehicle Tactical Formation in War Games,” IEEE Access 10 (2022).

War game simulations are decision-making tools that may provide quantitative data about the scenario analyzed by stakeholders. They are widely used to develop tactics and doctrines in the military context. Recently, unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) have become a relevant element in these simulations because of their prominent role in contemporary conflicts, surveillance missions, and search and rescue missions. For instance, it is possible to admit aircraft losses from a tactical formation in favor of the victory of a squadron in a given combat scenario. The optimization of the position of UAVs in beyond visual range (BVR) combat has attracted attention in the literature, considering that the distribution of UAVs can be a determining factor in this scenario. This work aims to optimize UAV tactical formations considering enemy uncertainties such as firing distance and position using six metaheuristics and a high-fidelity simulator. A tactical formation often employed by air forces called line abreast was chosen for the RED swarm for a case study. The objective of the optimization is to obtain a tactical formation of the BLUE swarm that wins the BVR combat against the RED swarm. A procedure to confirm the robustness of the optimization is employed, varying the position of each UAV of the RED swarm up to 8 km from its initial configuration and using the war game approach. A tactical analysis is performed to confirm whether the formations found in the optimization are applicable.

Goehlert, Timothy. How Professors Implement Game-Based Learning in Higher Education Courses: A Thematic Analysis, Phd thesis, Endicott College, April 2022.

No abstract available.

Haun, Phil and O’Hara, Michael. “The Brinkmanship Game: Bargaining Under the Mutual Risk of Escalation,” Journal of Political Science Education (2022).

This article describes a simple two-player game which illustrates basic concepts of brinkmanship, to include calculations of probability and expected outcomes, and risk-taking profiles. The game befits a single 50-minute class period with introduction, gameplay, and discussion. The game can supplement the study of conflict from classic Cold War case studies of crisis bargaining, to arms control, or negotiating international protocols for global climate change such as the Paris Agreement. The Brinkmanship Game was developed for the seventh week of a 10-week graduate course called Game Theory and Decisionmaking: Exploring Strategic Situations. The course features a flipped classroom with class time devoted to experimentation, gameplay, and discussion of readings and games; lectures are online. The Brinkmanship Game would be appropriate for students in any advanced undergraduate or graduate level course in international relations, security studies, negotiation, or game theory. The Brinkmanship Game provides an active learning opportunity that can be valuable for encouraging students to come to their own understanding of concepts of mutual risk-taking. The authors have found the game to be effective in the classroom and hope it may prove valuable to those searching for ways to motivate students and to help them learn.

Hirst, A. “Wargames Resurgent: The Hyperrealities of Military Gaming from Recruitment to Rehabilitation,” International Studies Quarterly 66, 3 (2022).

While games are commonly viewed as frivolous fun, their rapid proliferation across the US defense establishment compels us to think again. Spanning spheres as diverse as total immersion training, near-peer/cyber conflict, and future force strategies, a gaming renaissance is currently underway across the US military. Surprisingly, given international relations’ (IR) interest in the production and projection of military power, the discipline has neglected to engage with this revival. This article argues that hyperreal games—that is, games that produce realities—play an increasingly important role in the attraction, production, management, and recovery of warfighters. Drawing upon one hundred hours of interviews undertaken with US military games designers, trainers, trainees, and veterans between 2017 and 2019, the article documents first-hand experiences of hyperreal gaming in warfighter recruitment, training, deployment, and rehabilitation. The core argument developed is that unlike simulations, which model scenarios, games are productive of people, values, and identity. If it is to understand games’ use as a tool of warfighter subjectification, the article argues, IR must renew its focus on military gaming disaggregated from the broader hyperrealities of modeling, simulation, and exercises with which it has hitherto been conflated.

Huang, Jun; Wu, Pengfei; Li, Xiaobao. “Research on Dynamically Corrective Hit Probability Model of Anti-air Missile Integrated in War Game System,” Engineering Letters 30 2 (June 2022).

The hit probability model is an essential performance measure for anti-air missiles, aircraft, and guided targets in different combat situations and environments. A combination of analytical and numerical fitting methods is proposed to meet the requirements of war game systems including being real-time and accurate. In this approach, a dynamically corrected hit probability model is obtained for the anti-air missiles for which the corrections are made on the distance, speed, and maneuverability correction for the aircraft target. With this method, corrections are also made on the penetrating altitude of the aircraft and guided targets, countering azimuth angle for the guided targets, and terminal maneuverability and echo or infrared signal characteristics correction for the guided targets. After that, war game case analyses show that the proposed hit probability correction method are successfully operated in real-time with a model accuracy which is 6% higher than that of existing models.

Jensen , Benjamin;  Lin, Bonny;  Ramos , Carolina. “Shadow Risk: What Crisis Simulations Reveal about the Dangers of Deferring U.S. Responses to China’s Gray Zone Campaign against Taiwan,” CSIS Brief (February 2022).

This brief examines the potential for escalation in Taiwan as a result of China’s gray zone campaigns. Through 20 crisis simulations conducted in Fall 2021, CSIS mapped how and when gray zone scenarios escalate and the implications for U.S. strategy. The research complements earlier efforts to war game crises over Taiwan but takes a new approach by applying social science methods and statistical analysis to identify unique decisionmaking pathologies at play in gray zones. Overall, the simulations hosted by CSIS indicate unique temporal dynamics associated with gray zone escalation with important policy implications. 

Keiser, Nathanael and Arthur, Jr., Winfred. “A Meta-Analysis of Task and Training Characteristics that Contribute to or Attenuate the Effectiveness of the After-Action Review (or Debrief),” Journal of Business and Psychology  (2022).

This study expands on Keiser and Arthur’s (2021) meta-analysis of the after-action review (AAR), or debrief, by examining six additional task and training characteristics that contribute to or attenuate its effectiveness. The findings based on a bare-bones meta-analysis of results from 83 studies (134 ds [955 teams; 4,684 individuals]) indicate that the effectiveness of the AAR (overall d = 0.92) does indeed vary across the pertinent characteristics. The primary impact of this study pertains to the practical implementation of AARs; notably, the findings indicate that the AAR is particularly effective in task environments that are characterized by a combination of high complexity and ambiguity in terms of offering no intrinsic feedback. The types of tasks—often project and decision-making—that more commonly entail these characteristics are frequently used in industries that do not traditionally use the AAR. The results also suggest that more recent variants of the AAR (i.e., a reaction phase, a canned performance review) do not meaningfully add to its effectiveness. These findings are combined with those from prior meta-analyses to derive 11 empirically-based practical guidelines for the use of AARs. In sum, this study highlights the complexity of the AAR that results from the independent and interdependent influence among various components and characteristics, the examination of the effects of novel and ostensibly distinct variants or approaches to AARs, and the extension of AARs to tasks and contexts in which they are less commonly used.

Khan, Manzoor Ahmed et al. “Game-based learning platform to enhance cybersecurity education,” Education and Information Technologies 27 (2022).

Computer security competitions have been playing a significant role in encouraging students to get into cybersecurity, as well as enhancing the cybersecurity education system. The level of difficulty of the computer security tasks could be intimidating for most students and learners, one of the reasons there has been a shortage of cybersecurity professionals, in addition to that the lack of technical training and materials. The risks posed by the cyberattacks keep constantly evolving that positions the cybersecurity education as constantly changing area, which are at times hard to teach. Furthermore, the cybersecurity laboratories are hard to setup and the assessment tools are not accurate. This obviously impacts the proper engagement of students and the learning outcomes. To address these issues, we propose a game-based learning platform to enhance cybersecurity education. The platform applies an adapted ARCS motivational model to design and evaluate different challenges, it includes a virtual lab for students with the necessary tools for practice and a web portal where all challenges and learning materials are hosted. The aim is to help students learn at their own pace about different cybersecurity challenges, give them the opportunity to gain hacking skills with ethics taken in mind in a much safer environment. Learning by solving fun puzzles and playing educational games has a huge impact on students’ performances in cybersecurity. Although the contributed solution is developed for UAE University, we believe it imparts same gains in similar educational institutes.

Lin-Greenberg, Erik; Pauly, Reid; Schneider, Jacquelyn. “Wargaming for International Relations research,” European Journal of International Relations 28, 1 (2022).

Political scientists are increasingly integrating wargames into their research. Either by fielding original games or by leveraging archival wargame materials, researchers can study rare events or topics where evidence is difficult to observe. However, scholars have little guidance on how to apply this novel methodological approach to political science research. This article evaluates how political scientists can use wargames as a method of scholarly inquiry and sets out to establish a research agenda for wargaming in International Relations. We first differentiate wargames from other methodological approaches and highlight their ecological validity. We then chart out how researchers can build and run their own games or draw from archival wargames for theory development and testing. In doing so, we explain how researchers can navigate issues of recruitment, bias, validity, and generalizability when using wargames for research, and identify ways to evaluate the potential benefits and pitfalls of wargames as a tool of inquiry. We argue that wargames offer unique opportunities for political scientists to study decision-making processes both in and beyond the International Relations subfield.

Oggeri Breda, Chiara. Gamification for Improving Cybersecurity, Master’s thesis, Politecnico di Torino, 2022.

This thesis explores gamification and its application to cybersecurity. It is well known that nowa- days the weak link in cybersecurity are humans. On one hand, both for personal and work businesses the connection and the use of devices are needed also for not computer science and cy- bersecurity experts. On the other, the lack of professional figures in the cybersecurity market with precise skills increases the need to train new experts in the field. For these reasons, concentrating the attention on the end users, with the purpose to create a useful education and awareness is important and the thesis proposes gamification as a possible solution.

The work starts to analyse gamification in general with its theories and frameworks. Gamifica- tion uses, in a non-gaming environment, game components and mechanics that involve and engage human attention encouraging a change of behaviour. I started to analyse gamification frameworks and theories to present as fully as possible the mechanics that are the basis of gamification and how it is used to encourage users in actions that are usually considered unpleasant. Most frame- works presented underline the motivators, user journey, rewarding system and in general guidance on the development part of experiences with gamification.

After a general presentation, the work focuses on cybersecurity fields. The work starts to analyse why the use of gamification in this specific field can bring satisfactory results. Therefore, the work starts with literature review. The key elements analysed that gamification should be offered are: immersive learning, increase participation, engagement and change of behaviours. Gamification is presented as a possible solution to counterbalance the limits of the standard training and awareness programs and general education in cybersecurity.

Ouriques, Leandro, Xexéo, Geraldo, and Barbosa, Carlos Eduardo. “A Proposal to Model Wargames in the MDA Framework,” Proceedings of SBGames (2021).

This work aims to define meaningful actions that players can take in a wargame. Starting from the premise that wargames are (serious) games, we wondered if a wargame and its actions could be well modeled as a game. We looked at formal approaches and decided to model wargames in MDA since this framework analyzes the actions in games as mechanics or dynamics. The proposed model links emotions with instincts that may arouse in players with mechanics and dynamics from wargames. Afterward, we indirectly evaluated the model through a survey among wargames experts. Although most research participants agree with the suitability of the proposed mechanics and dynamic, they suggested other actions that players could perform in wargames. The model matched most emotions and instincts selected by the participants and the results allowed us to improve the model mainly in mechanics and dynamics. An important contribution of this work is to recognize the emotions and instincts that are triggered by the dynamics and mechanics of wargames. The participants’ answers on instincts agree with our understanding from the literature, but their answers on emotions contradict some views on wargames. Many participants indicated that wargames can evoke fear, anger and sadness, but wargames have limitations to arouse these emotions in players. Most military see wargames primarily as training activities. However, few participants find enjoyment in wargames.

Park, Song Jun et al. “Deep reinforcement learning to assist command and control,” Proceedings of the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (2022).

Multi-domain operations drastically increase the scale and speed required to generate, evaluate, and disseminate command and control (C2) directives. In this work we evaluate the effectiveness of using reinforcement learning (RL) within an Army C2 system to design an artificial intelligence (AI) agent that accelerates the commander and staff’s decision making process. Leveraging RL’s superior ability to explore and exploit produces novel strategies that widen a commander’s decision space without increasing cognitive burden. Integrating RL into an efficient course of action war-gaming simulator and training hundreds of thousands of simulated battles using the DoD supercomputing resources generated an AI that produces acceptable strategic actions during a simulated operation. Moreover, this approach played an unexpected but significant role in strengthening the underlying wargame simulation engine by discovering and exploiting weaknesses in its design. This highlights a future role for the use of RL to test and improve DoD systems during their development.

Parkes, Roderick; McQuay, Mark. “The Use of Games in Strategic Foresight: a Warning from the Future,” (DGAP Policy Brief, 3). Berlin: Forschungsinstitut der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik e.V. (2021).

After a decade of crisis, the EU now routinely uses futures meth- ods to anticipate the unexpected. Its aim is to address its blind spots. This paper details our experience of designing a foresight exercise to help EU diplomats face up to one of the most ingrained types of blind spot: a taboo issue. But our experience showed instead the dangers of such exercises. Far from needing encour- agement to address a taboo, our target audience wanted an excuse to do so, reflecting a shift to a more “geopolitical EU.”

Plotkin, Alex and Plotkin, Barbara. Educational Special Operations Wargame (MA thesis, Naval Postgraduate School, 2021).

The role of special operations is becoming increasingly more critical within Multi-domain Operations (MDO). Special operations forces (SOF) are the predominant persistent military presence globally. SOF will continue to facilitate an accurate understanding of the operational environment for decision makers, shaping the environment to prevent armed conflict and, when necessary, providing a marked advantage for the general-purpose force over an adversary to return to competition quickly. In addition, SOF remains the force of choice for the DOD for countering violent extremist organizations and must balance that responsibility with their role in competition with near-peer adversaries. Currently, U.S. Army Special Warfare and School is modernizing and optimizing each Qualification Course. The Army Special Operations (ARSOF) Captains Career Course (CCC) has recently modified its curriculum to include SOF-specific training to best prepare future ARSOF leaders to employ Special Forces, Civil Affairs, and Psychological Operations within the MDO construct. This wargame is designed for the new ARSOF officers who attend the ARSOF CCC. The wargame allows the students to work within a simulated multi-domain environment applying the course curriculum and SOF doctrine within the constraints of the course that has limit time, resources, and personnel. The goal of the wargame is to assist SOF captains as they prepare to take operational teams overseas in operational and combat deployments.

Predd, Joel et al. “Resourcing a Mosaic Force: Lesions from an Acquisition Wargame,” Proceedings of the 19th annual Acquisition Research Symposium (May 2022).

DARPA has an ambitious vision for Mosaic Warfare, conceived by its Strategic Technology Office (STO) leadership as both a warfighting concept and a means to greatly accelerate capability development and fielding. Although the success of Mosaic depends on DARPA advancing multiple technologies, the Mosaic vision is inherently more challenging to “transition” than is a program or technology. Anticipating this challenge, DARPA sponsored RAND to examine the opportunities and challenges associated with developing and fielding a Mosaic force under existing or alternative governance models and management processes, as would be required for the vision to move from DARPA to widespread acceptance by DoD. To this end, RAND designed and executed a policy game that immersed participants in the task of fielding a Mosaic and required them to operate within the authorities, responsibilities, and constraints of the existing and an alternative governance model. This article presents select findings on the capacity of the existing acquisition resourcing system (i.e., the Planning, Programming, Budgeting, and Execution [or PPBE] process) to exploit STO’s vision of Mosaic Warfare.

Richman, Jesse; Pitman, Lora; and Nandakumar, Girish. “A Gamefied Synthetic Environment for Evaluation of Counter-Disinformation Solutions,” Journal of Simulation Engineering (2022).

This paper presents a simulation-based approach to developing strategies aimed at countering online disinformation and misinformation. This disruptive technology experiment incorporated a synthetic environment component, based on an adapted Susceptible-Infected-Recovered (SIR) epidemiological model to evaluate and visualize the effectiveness of suggested solutions to the issue. The participants in the simulation were given two realistic scenarios depicting a disinformation threat and were asked to select a number of solutions, described in Ideas-of-Systems (IoS) cards. During the event, the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of the IoS cards were tested in a synthetic environment, built after a SIR model. The participants, divided into teams, presented and justified their strategy which included three IoS card selections. A jury of subject matter experts, announced the winning team, based on the merits of the proposed strategies and the compatibility of the different cards, grouped together.

Ryseff, James  and Bond, Michael. “Small is beautiful,The Journal of Defense Modeling and Simulation: Applications, Methodology, Technology (2022).

As the Department of Defense looks toward the future of warfare, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged as one of the most important technologies to integrate into the military’s operational capabilities. As the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence notes, the ability for a machine to observe, decide, and act more quickly and more effectively than a human provides a world-altering competitive advantage in any field. Numerous private sector industries have already been upended by this technology and many experts believe that AI will have a similarly transformative effect on national security. As one of the DoD’s primary tools for exploring and evaluating potential courses of action, wargaming has a vital role to play in helping the Defense Department experiment with its ability to integrate AI across the full spectrum of DoD activities. Unfortunately, few wargames have been able to incorporate AI effectively into their own scenarios and gameplay. This is not because DoD wargame designers are luddites trying to protect the last bastion of analog wargaming, but rather because DoD wargames and gaming AI/ML systems currently have different design philosophies which lead unreconciled differences in cost, development time, and design flexibility. To overcome these barriers, we argue that DoD game designers and AI developers should learn from the best practices established by software engineering and switch their focus from building large, monolithic AIs that completely replace human players to small, modular AI-enabled components that augment a human team.

Schoemaker, Paul. Advanced Introduction to Scenario Planning, (Elgar, 2022).

Providing a panoramic overview of the evolving world of scenario planning, this Advanced Introduction uses topical case studies to analyze the developing methodologies of scenario planning. Written by Paul J.H. Schoemaker, a leading authority on the topic, this book synthesizes rigorous theory and practical experiences including best practises, normative views, and future challenges or opportunities for scenario planning.

Scott, Keith. “‘Out Beyond Jointery’: Developing a Model for Gaming Multi- Domain Warfare,” Proceedings of the 17th International Conference on Information Warfare and Security (2022).

What Huizinga is saying here is not that conflict is playful, but rather, it is a game, following set rules of conduct and occurs within a defined zone of action. Elsewhere in Homo ludens, he argues that modern warfare operates without the ritualised, rule-based structure of, for example, the mediaeval tourney. The purpose of this paper is to consider the ways in which a model based on the structure of games may help us better engage with the challenges of Multi-Domain Conflict. We are all familiar with the concept of Cyber as the 5th Domain of warfare, but we need to consider it not as a discrete zone, but as running through and interpenetrating the other 4 (Earth, Sea, Air, Space), the informational spine that enables all other forms of conflict. This paper will: 1. Discuss the developing concept of Multi-Domain Conflict as a move ‘beyond jointery’ (as General Sir Nick Carter put it) into a truly integrated form of warfare, blurring and collapsing boundaries between kinetic and non- kinetic, between the services, and between military and civilian authority; 2. Outline a theoretical model for conceptualising Multi-Domain Conflict as gamelike in form, with environments of operation (‘boards’), protagonists (‘players’), and possible forms of action (‘moves’). As befits a conference on Cyber and Information Warfare, it will argue that the D5 model of IW (Deny, Disrupt, Degrade, Deceive and Destroy) is portable and scalable across the other 4 domains (Land, Sea, Air, Space); 3. Show how this theoretical model can be employed both to model and simulate Multi-Domain Conflict; wargames have been a key element of military planning and training for at least a century – this paper argues that we need to develop a new Kriegspiel to better understand coming conflicts.

Seaman, Christopher, and Tran, Thuan. “Intellectual Property and Tabletop Games,” Iowa Law Review 107 (2022).

There is a rich body of literature regarding intellectual property’s (“IP”) “negative spaces”—fields where creation and innovation thrive without significant formal protection from IP law. Scholars have written about innovation in diverse fields despite weak or nonexistent IP rights, such as fashion design, fine cuisine, stand-up comedy, magic tricks, tattoos, and sports plays. Instead, these fields rely on social norms, first- mover advantage, and other (non-IP) legal regimes to promote innovation in the absence of IP protection.

As a comparison to these studies, this Article comprehensively analyzes the role of IP law in facilitating innovation in tabletop gaming, including board games, card games, and pen-and-paper role-playing games. Over the past several decades, the tabletop gaming industry has seen a proliferation of innovation, but there is surprisingly little in the academic literature about IP and tabletop games. IP rights, including patents, copyrights, and trademarks, each protect certain aspects of games, while at the same time being constrained by doctrinal limitations that leave considerable flexibility for others to develop their own games and adapt or improve upon existing ones. There are also numerous examples of user-based innovation in tabletop gaming. This Article concludes by contending that IP rights, as well as their limitations, play a significant role in facilitating the robust innovation presently occurring in the tabletop gaming field.

Seipp, Adam. “Fulda Gap: A board game, West German society, and a battle that never happened, 1975–85,” War & Society (2022).

This article explores the reception of the American-made board game Fulda Gap: The First Battle of the Next War in the Federal Republic of Germany in the early 1980s. The German peace movement used the game, which depicted conventional, chemical, and nuclear war on German territory, as a potent symbol of what they believed to be American and NATO disregard for German lives and sovereignty. The controversy over the game reflected the changing character of German-American relations during the ‘Second Cold War’ and increasing concerns among Germans about the possible consequences of superpower conflict in Central Europe.

Simpson, Joseph and Brantly, Aaron. “Security Simulations in Undergraduate Education: A Review,” m (2022).

Several decades of research in simulation and gamification in higher education shows that simulations are highly effective in improving a range of outcomes for students including declarative knowledge and interest in the topic being taught. While there appears to be a broad array of options to provide education in an undergraduate setting related to security, no previous reviews have explored computer-based simulations covering all facets of security. Given the increasing importance and adoption of interdisciplinary educational programs, it is important to take stock of simulations as a tool to broaden the range of problems, perspectives, and solutions presented to students. Our review provides an overview of computer-based simulations in U.S. undergraduate institutions published in academic journals and conferences. We identify strengths and limitations of existing computer-based simulations as well as opportunities for future research.

Smith, Jeremy, and Barker, Stephen. “Methods to measure and track population perception and support within a manual wargame,” The Journal of Defense Modeling and Simulation: Applications, Methodology, Technology 19, 2 (2022).

The outcomes of military campaigns depend to a large extent on the support of local and other wider population groups, so it is important to understand their perceptions. Here we briefly describe the approach used to represent support for organizations and factions in a professional wargame designed to represent military campaigns. This specific approach was developed originally using a simple marker track system that used a basic quantified set of relationships between military campaign effects and changes to the track levels. This marker track system was developed for military campaign wargames in the UK as a means to portray support or dissent in population groups relevant to the operations, but there was originally no mechanism to drive changes other than by expert judgment. Our improved approach continues the use of marker tracks but attempts to develop a more defensible method based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for linking events to changes and levels on the tracks. We conducted experiments to quantify the relative importance of each element in Maslow’s hierarchy. We then continued by conducting a further experiment to identify the impact of a set of effects seen in a wargame against the Maslow elements. This has led to a set of quantified scores that may be used to drive the modifications to the marker tracks when wargame events occur. These scores are based on our initial experiments and may be updated for a specific application, perhaps for a specific setting or location in the world. The revised or enhanced approach aims to produce a transparent solution that can be understood by a military or security analyst, thus facilitating refinement, updating, and change.

Stone, George. “Making simulations future proof,The Journal of Defense Modeling and Simulation: Applications, Methodology, Technology (2022).

No abstract available.

Tarraf, Danielle et al. “An experiment in tactical wargaming with platforms enabled by artificial intelligence,”  The Journal of Defense Modeling and Simulation: Applications, Methodology, Technology (2022).

In this report, researchers experimented with how postulated artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) capabilities could be incorporated into a wargame. We modified and augmented the rules and engagement statistics used in a commercial tabletop wargame to enable (1) remotely operated and fully autonomous combat vehicles and (2) vehicles with AI/ML-enabled situational awareness to show how the two types of vehicles would perform in company-level engagement between Blue (US) and Red (Russian) forces. The augmented rules and statistics we developed for this wargame were based in part on the US Army’s evolving plans for developing and fielding robotic and AI/ML-enabled weapon and other systems. However, we also portrayed combat vehicles with the capability to autonomously detect, identify, and engage targets without human intervention, which the Army does not presently envision. The rules we developed sought to realistically portray the capabilities and limitations of AI/ML-enabled systems, including their vulnerability to selected enemy countermeasures, such as jamming. Future work could improve the realism of both the gameplay and representation of AI/ML-enabled systems, thereby providing useful information to the acquisition and operational communities in the US Department of Defense.

Turnitsa, Charles; Blais, Curtis; and Tolk, Andrea, eds. Simulation and Wargaming (Wiley, 2021).

Based on the insights of experts in both domains, Simulation and Wargaming comprehensively explores the intersection between computer simulation and wargaming. This book shows how the practice of wargaming can be augmented and provide more detail-oriented insights using computer simulation, particularly as the complexity of military operations and the need for computational decision aids increases. 

The distinguished authors have hit upon two practical areas that have tremendous applications to share with one another but do not seem to be aware of that fact. The book includes insights into:

The application of the data-driven speed inherent to computer simulation to wargames

The application of the insight and analysis gained from wargames to computer simulation

The areas of concern raised by the combination of these two disparate yet related fields

New research and application opportunities emerging from the intersection

Addressing professionals in the wargaming, modeling, and simulation industries, as well as decision makers and organizational leaders involved with wargaming and simulation, Simulation and Wargamingoffers a multifaceted and insightful read and provides the foundation for future interdisciplinary progress in both domains.

van der Zwet, Koen  et al. “Promises and pitfalls of computational modelling for insurgency conflicts,” Journal of Defense Modeling and Simulation: Applications, Methodology, Technology (2022).

Insurgency conflicts pose significant challenges to societies globally. The increase of insurgency conflicts creates a need to understand how insurgencies arise, and to identify societal drivers of insurgencies or effective strategies to counter them. In this paper, we analyze the contributions of computational modeling methods for the analysis of insurgent con- flicts. We formalize a specific literature-based analysis framework using the identified key factors and drivers, which enables the evaluation of specific models in this domain. Through a systematic literature search, we identify 64 computa- tional models to apply our framework. We highlight the development and contributions of various methodologies through an in-depth analysis of 13 high-quality models. The evaluation of these computational models revealed promising directions and future topics to design specific simulation models for all identified factors. In addition, our analysis revealed specific pitfalls concerning validity issues for each of the modeling methods.

Xin, Jin et al. “Uncertainty Based Hybrid-intelligence Multi-branch Wargaming,” 7th International Conference on Computer and Communications (ICCC) (2021).

Uncertainty of war challenges command decision making, especially in the pre-war preparation stage. In newly proposed operational concepts, uncertainty is taken as a means to limit the opponent’s decision-making. How to help commanders analyze and utilize uncertainty has become a technical challenge that must be overcome to win the future combats. In this paper, a method called hybrid-intelligence multi-branch wargaming was proposed. Through combination of human intelligence in form of knowledge, and machine intelligence trained by reinforcement learning, the method realized new functions of COA evaluation and optimization analysis. Its feasibility and effectiveness has been verified through prototype development and experiments. It provides a short-term feasible way for the application of artificial intelligence technology in the field of command decision-making.

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