Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Monthly Archives: October 2022

Connections Japan 2022

An international conference on policy Japan—”Connections Japan”—will be held via Zoom on Tuesday, 15 November 2022. Japanese-English simultaneous interpretation will be provided.

Preparation for unforeseen events has never been more important than now in dealing with security issues like a challenge to the existing international order, which is exemplified by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that many people did not anticipate, the continuation of gray-zone competition, and hybrid warfare.

The “Policy Simulation”, also known as the Political/Military Wargame, has been gaining global attention as an instrument that can contribute to the formulation of flexible and appropriate responses to these situations.

Against this backdrop, a series of international conferences called “Connections,” which originated in the United States and the United Kingdom, has been held in many developed countries as a platform to share and develop knowledge on policy simulation methods.

The NIDS, which has been utilizing policy simulation in supporting policy planning and education since 2015, will hold the International Conference on Policy Simulation “Connections Japan” for the first time on November 15, 2022. The conference is expected to provide an opportunity for the Japanese policy simulation community, including the MOD/SDF, to share their own practices and promote mutual exchange, as well as to learn insights on advanced strategic-level simulations and wargaming in the US/UK.

Full details and a registration link can be found at the National Institute for Defence Studies website.

MORS wargaming scholarship

The Military Operations Research Society has established a scholarship programme that will allow one successful recipient to participate in their annual wargaming certificate course for free. Applicants must be currently enrolled in an accredited (graduate or undergraduate) academic program.

To apply, send the following information to Elizabeth Marriott (

  • Name
  • Current academic institution
  • GPA
  • Reason for wanting to take the class
  • Resume/CV (optional)

NATO WIN22 report

As I write this, I’m sitting the the departures lounge at CDG, having just attended a very successful two day NATO wargaming conference at the Cercle national des armées in Paris.

Wargaming Initiative for NATO 2022 (WIN 22) – intends to bring together defense leadership and warfighters from all NATO Nations to experience wargames at the tactical, operational and strategic levels. The goal is to foster a robust shared culture on wargaming and to improve and develop a capability of wargame design for NATO. 

Based on a French and Italian initiative, this event is organized by NATO Allied Command Transformation and hosted by the French Joint Staff. 

In addition to the French hosts and Italian partners, the event was supported by NATO ACT, the NATO Innovation Hub, the Serious Games Network – France, Fight Club, and others.

Unlike most of the Connections wargaming conferences, here there was less focus on methodological panels and workshops, and more on demonstration wargames—as befits a conference intended to popularize the approach. Indeed, I spend most of my time running two games of AFTERSHOCK: A Humanitarian Crisis Game, and one of We Are Coming, Nineveh! (which will very soon be available for order), and missed several of the presentations. Still, I was able to take part in a panel on “pitfalls and limitations” (in which Ed McGrady and Sebastien de Peyret in particular made some excellent points), and listen to a terrific presentation by David Banks (KCL) on wargaming in academia.

By my rough estimate, of the approximately 100 attendees, two thirds or so were French and Italian officers or officials, with everyone else making up the remaining third. This was a very different mix than Connections US and UK conferences, and frankly it was very useful to move outside the Anglo-American core of professional NATO wargaming to engage with other medium-sized NATO members. Like Canada, these are countries that do not have the deep wargaming resources that the US in particular enjoys, and I think there is a great deal we can learn from each other. There was ample opportunity for networking—although this might have been even easier had the attendees been issued name tags.

During my own presentation I made the point that NATO wargaming initiatives will need to pay greater attention to diversity and inclusion issues as they move forward, both to expand the human resources available and to enhance analytical quality by bringing varied perspectives to the wargaming table. I also noted the challenges of political sensitivities involved in wargaming many key strategic issues facing the alliance. Finally, I stressed the importance of both institutionalizing wargaming but also fostering the informal and professional networks that are so essential for inspiration, professional development, and agile response.

As I understand it, the current ambition is that a future “WIN23” meeting will be convened in Rome, to further strengthen the initiative. PAXsims will provide an update when we have more information.

Beta-testers in San Diego needed for a simulation exercise Carana: Adapt! 

Carana: Adapt is an immersive simulation exercise developed by Laura Bailey, Gary Milante and Marc Manashil for training of principles of adaptive leadership in international development.  It is an updated version of a simulation developed at the World Bank for teaching peacebuilding in development, using basic matrix gaming, for up to 10 participants – we’re trying to wargame peacebuilding. Our intended audiences are UN, IFI and other international development actors, though we’re also discussing a rollout for defense/military actors to better understand development practice. The exercise simulates the challenges of development and peacebuilding in a fictional country over the course of multiple years through multiple rounds of play, interspersed with adaptive leadership training. We’re still betatesting and looking for 1 or 2 mid- to senior-level career professionals to join us for this next betatest.  Ideally, these participants would have backgrounds in: civ-mil, defense, intelligence, development, peacebuilding, humanitarian or diplomatic international response in fragile or conflict-affected countries.  The beta-test will occur in early November in person in San Diego.  

Please contact Gary Milante if you would like more information or would like to participate

Call for Papers:  MORS special session on  Wargaming with Pacific Partners

MORS will be holding a special session dedicated to professional gaming (including wargaming) in the Pacific theater.  The focus of this conference will be on gaming by, with, and for partners and allies in the region.  But other topics may be covered, such as cyber or space gaming, as will introductory and basic topics in the design and execution of professional games.  The conference will be held 27 February – 1 March 2023 in rooms at the Ala Moana Hotel (group rates forthcoming – see the MORS website) and be limited to 100 people.  The meeting will be a three-day event, and include lectures, discussions, and active wargames.   

The meeting has several opportunities for presentations and panels.  During the first day of the meeting there will be two tracks.  An introductory track for less advanced practitioners, and a special topics track for advanced practitioners. 

We are seeking papers, either on the theme of the meeting or other relevant topics, for both of those tracks. 

On the second day of the conference there will be panel discussions on a variety of topics, including those presented on the first day.  We are seeking proposals from panel chairs on topics, and possible participants.  In addition, participants at the conference will get a chance to run their own panels through an afternoon “Game Lab” or topical based discussions initiated by the participants.  Submissions of topics for small group discussion are encouraged.  

The third day of the conference will involve presentation and participation in games.  These games will focus primarily on humanitarian, organizational, business, and disaster response topics.  Topics may involve conflict, but games involving direct conflict with China are discouraged.   We are seeking people willing to describe, discuss the design of, and run games for this day. 

Papers or panels on the theme of the conference, wargaming with partners, are especially welcome.   Examples of topics might include:  experiences gaming with partners or allies, scenario design for multi-lateral games, and gaming in Pacific region countries.  

Please submit abstracts or brief descriptions of your proposed presentations, panels, game labs, or games to Liz Marriott c/o MORS (    

For additional information, including registration, see the MORS website.  Note this session will be UNCLASSIFIED and open to foreign nationals.  

Concordia University: Wargame design speakers series on the Taiwan and Ukraine conflicts

The Concordia University political science students’ Strategic and Diplomatic Society and the Canadian Centre for Strategic Studies welcome you to their speaker series on the subject of Wargame Design of the Taiwan and Ukraine Conflicts. We have invited the leading simulation designers of the last sixty years, many of whose commercial wargames have anticipated and predicted the outcomes of wars. Their biographies are at the bottom. 

Zoom Link: (NEW ZOOM LINK)

Time: 19:00-22:00 Eastern Standard Time

  • OCT 13           Frank Chadwick 
  • OCT 20           Charles Kamps 
  • NOV 3            Mark Herman 
  • NOV 10          Joseph Miranda 
  • NOV 17          David Isby

Format: The special series comprises a 30-minute presentation, followed by a 30 minute questions and answers, a 15 minute break, followed by an hour and 45 minute interactive workshop where the speakers will engage in a free form consideration of simulating important aspects of contemporary conflicts. Contact: Prof Julian Spencer-Churchill,


Frank Chadwick

Frank Chadwick has designed historical and contemporary military simulations professionally for almost fifty years–designing over seventy published military simulations in that time.He has authored nineteen history articles in various periodicals, over 250 military history columns, and fourteen military history and game books, of which the Desert Shield Fact Book reached number one on the New York Times best seller list. In the last ten years he has written eight science fiction novels (most of them published by Baen Books). He is currently working on a trilogy of historical novels set in the ancient Persian Empire, a series of five large boardgames covering the European Theater of Operations in World War Two for GMT Games (Frank Chadwick’s ETO), and a freelance project on the Russo-Ukrainian War. He also teaches military history and creative writing at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at the University of Illinois, and serves on their Advisory Council. Developer of some of the most sophisticated culturally and doctrinally sensitive simulations, including Suez ’73 Battle for the Chinese Farm, the Third World War series, the tactical Assault series, and the exceptionally researched detailed simulations of Beda Fomm, which included General O’Connor as a living source.  Mr. Chadwick has demonstrated the ability to unpack the sources of performance in Suez ’73, in the complex interplay between technology, terrain, training, vehicle recovery, and artillery doctrine. The Assault series demonstrates the interaction of modern combined arms operations intersecting with national doctrinal effects, including the role of engineers. The Third World War series demonstrates the effects of a multi-front campaign built on a non-equilibriated alliance trade-off system.

Frank Chadwick wargame design profile:


Charles Kamps 

Professor Charles T. Kamps served as a US Army Armor officer, and later as a US Navy Surface Warfare Officer, ending his military career on the OPNAV Staff at the Pentagon. As a program manager and senior analyst for the defense consulting firm of Braddock, Dunn, and McDonald, he worked classified projects for the CIA, DIA, Army ITAC, and the DOD Office of Net Assessment.  Professor Kamps was the longest serving faculty member of the USAF Air Command & Staff College (Maxwell AFB) retiring in 2018.  He is the author of the History of the Vietnam War, and co-author of Armies of NATO’s Central Front (with David Isby), and over thirty defense articles, including two for the Chinese edition of Air & Space Power Journal. Professor Kamps designed a number of classified wargames for the US government, and eight wargames for the commercial market.  As the main designer of the Central Front Series, he produced a detailed system involving operational-level combat during the Cold War period.  His Central Command and Nordkapp games extended Cold War combat into the peripheral regions of US/Soviet conflict. 

Wargame design profile:


John Prados 

John Prados is an analyst of national security based in Washington, DC. Prados holds a Ph.D. from Columbia University in Political Science (International Relations, 1981) and focuses on presidential power, international relations, intelligence and military affairs. He is a senior fellow and project director with the National Security Archive at George Washington University. Prados heads the Archive’s documentation projects for the CIA and for Vietnam, and assists with the Archive’s projects on Afghanistan and Iraq. His most recent book is The Ghosts of Langley: Inside the CIA’s Heart of Darkness (The New Press). Before that were Storm Over Leyte: The Philippine Invasion and the Destruction of the Japanese Navy (NAL/Caliber) and Safe for Democracy: The Secret Wars of the CIA Ivan R. Dee Publisher). In paperback are The Family Jewels: The CIA, Secrecy, and Presidential Power (University of Texas Press), The US Special Forces: What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press), Islands of Destiny: The Solomons Campaign and the Eclipse of the Rising Sun (NAL/Penguin), and Vietnam: The History of an Unwinnable War, 1945-1975 (University Presses of Kansas). A current e-book is “A Streetcar Named Pleiku” ( Other notable works include How the Cold War Ended: Debating and Doing History (Potomac), The Family Jewels, Presidents’ Secret Wars (originally William Morrow), Keepers of the Keys (also William Morrow), Hoodwinked (New Press), and The Lost Crusader (Oxford University Press). Other books include The Blood Road: The Ho Chi Minh Trail and the Vietnam War (John Wiley & Sons), The Hidden History of the Vietnam War (Ivan R. Dee Publisher), Normandy Crucible: The Decisive Battle That Shaped World War II in Europe (NAL/Caliber), and In Country: Remembering the Vietnam War (Rowman & Littlefield).

   Prados is author of thirty-two books in all, with titles on national security, the American presidency, intelligence, diplomatic and military history, including Vietnam, the Soviet Union, and World War II. Pathbreaking at the time were his history of the National Security Council, Keepers of the Keys; while The Soviet Estimate: U.S. Intelligence and Soviet Strategic Forces became a key resource for understanding Soviet military powerSome of his works have appeared in British editions or been translated into French, Chinese, or Vietnamese.

   Unwinnable War is a winner of the Henry Adams Prize in American History. In addition the works Vietnam: Unwinnable War, Keepers of the Keys and Combined Fleet Decoded were each nominated by their publishers for the Pulitzer Prize. Other awarded works include Combined Fleet Decoded, which won the book award of the New York Military Affairs Symposium and was a “notable naval book of the year” for the U.S. Naval Institute; The Soviet Estimate which received the book prize of the Consortium for the Study of Intelligence; and Valley of Decision, also a “notable naval book of the year” for the U.S. Naval Institute. Prados has chapters in thirty-three other books, and entries in six reference works. More are forthcoming. He is the Author of the Year for Naval History magazine for 2021. All this is in addition to his extensive work on simulations and boardgames, including such classic titles as Third Reich. He is an award-winning designer of board strategy games for many publishers.

   Prados has written books and many papers and articles on the CIA, including Safe for Democracy. Works on Vietnam include The Hidden History of the Vietnam War, a volume examining the lack of “perfect strategies” for the United States in that conflict; The Blood Road, a book reframing the war through the lens of the Ho Chi Minh Trail; Valley of Decision, a detailed history of the siege of Khe Sanh (Houghton Mifflin), written with veteran Ray Stubbe; Inside the Pentagon Papers (Harper & Row), a study of this controversial Department of Defense war review (University Press of Kansas), written and edited with Margaret Pratt-Porter; Operation Vulture, a diplomatic-military history of Dien Bien Phu; and In Country, an anthology of combat writing from the Vietnam war.

  Among edited works are Hoodwinked: The Documents That Reveal How Bush Sold Us a WarThe White House Tapes: Eavesdropping on the Presidents (written and edited book and CD collection); America Responds to Terrorism;  and In Country, an anthology of combat writing from the Vietnam war.

   Prados has served as historical consultant to RGoldfilms, originators of the Oscar-nominated history documentary The Most Dangerous Man in America (2009),  to Carl Colby Films for The Man Nobody Knew: In Search of My Father, CIA Spymaster William Colby (2011), and to WGBH Television for their production of The American Experience: Spy in the Sky (2003).

   His papers have appeared in the journals Intelligence and National Security, Journal of American History, Diplomatic History, Political Science Quarterly, and the Journal of East-West Studies. His “Electronic Briefing Books” on important subjects of Iraq, intelligence, and Vietnam war history can be found on the National Security Archive website, He has authored dozens of feature articles for MHQ. His pieces have appeared widely, including in Vanity Fair, The Washington Post Outlook, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, The VVA Veteran, the American Legion Magazine, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Naval History, The American ProspectScientific AmericanAgainst the Odds, Strategy & Tactics and elsewhere. Internet articles have appeared, Foreign Policy in Focus,, History News Network,, American Prospect Online, and elsewhere. His book reviews have also appeared widely. A variety of Prados commentaries and other materials are available on his website,

Wargame Design Profile:


Mark Herman  

Mark Herman is one of the most prolific wargame designers, particularly at the operational theatre level, the strategic level, and the level of political grand-strategy and diplomacy. His Gulf Strike anticipated the U.S. and allied strategy in 1991 Operation Desert Storm. His Pacific War set the standard for realistic models of the Pacific War. Other innovative designs have included Aegean Strike, Flashpoint Golan, and Churchill, and Versailles. 

Wargame Design Profile:


Joseph Miranda 

Mr. Joseph Miranda produced the first China-Taiwan confrontation simulation in 2002, which modelled the impact of cyberwarfare and infowar that affects national allegiances and political resilience, what is today called cognitive warfare. He is a former U.S. Army officer who has taught unconventional warfare topics at the JFK Special Warfare Center, and more recently has developed courses in terrorism and Middle Eastern conflict for Chapman University. He has been a featured speaker at the USAF Connections simulations conference, the Military Operations Research Society, and the Origins national wargaming convention. Joseph Miranda is the editor of Strategy & Tactics magazine and has designed over 250 published wargames.[1] Miranda has also worked for various computer game design firms including HPS Simulations and Hexagon Interactive.

Wargame Design Profile:


David Isby

David C. Isby is a Washington-based attorney and defense consultant. A special correspondent for Jane’s Intelligence Review, he has contributed to many military and aviation publications and written extensively on the Russian armed forces. He lives in Washington D.C. David C. Isby is a prolific wargame designer, in particular of Air War, Mukden, and Invasion: Sicily, as well as having published a book Wargame Design (Strategy & Tactics Press).

Wargame Design Profile:

King’s Wargaming Network update

Here is an update for the 2022-23 academic year from David Banks and Anna Nettleship of the King’s Wargaming Network:

As the Wargaming Network enters its fifth academic year, we are pleased to announce staff promotions and welcome a new cohort of MA and PhD students. 

Anna Nettleship will be taking on the role of Managing Director of the Wargaming Network, having served as the network’s coordinator since its inception. As a PhD candidate at the Defence Studies Department, Anna has been developing and applying wargaming as a research method in her dissertation on US Army doctrinal development practices. Since 2019, she has led the wargaming analyst training programme, of which she is an alumnus.  

Dr. David Banks is the Wargaming Lecturer at King’s College London War Studies Department and will continue to serve as Academic Director of the King’s Wargaming Network. His wargaming research has investigated the potential use of cyber weapons in future conflicts, as well the use of counter-insurgency techniques against Boko Haram. His current research is focused on determining the epistemological foundations of wargames. In addition to his wargaming research, Dr. Banks is also studying diplomatic practice in international society, with a special emphasis on symbolic and rhetorical diplomacy. 

Dr Aggie Hirst has been promoted from Senior Lecturer to Reader, based in part on her work on wargaming. She recently published an article with International Studies Quarterly titled ‘Wargames Resurgent: The Hyperrealities of Military Gaming from Recruitment to Rehabilition‘, and is writing up her book ‘Politics of Play: Wargaming with the US Military’, which will be published with Oxford University Press next year. 

Dr James W.E. Smith is a research fellow in the Department of War Studies having been awarded his PhD from King’s in 2021. As one of our founding members, he continues to input into the future direction of the Wargaming Network. He continues to represent the interests of two of the School of Security Studies themes, Strategic Studies and Military and Political History while leading naval and astro wargaming. 

Boukje Kistemaker is entering her second year as a part-time PhD. Her research focuses on transformational (un)learning and the development of organizational intelligence through experiential learning. 

Arnel David is continuing his PhD research on prototyping warfare using applied research and experimenting with gaming and artificial intelligence to explore new ways of decision-making, concept development, and organizational learning to improve strategic performance at multiple levels in defence and government. Arnel was recently selected as a National Defense University Scholar to align his research to support and feed into theoretical requirements at the Pentagon. 

And we are pleased to welcome Evan D’Alessandro to the cohort of wargaming PhDs here at King’s. Evan is a professional wargamer with a background in environmental science, undersea cables, and modern war in the Pacific. He is researching how immersion is produced and what effects it has in professional wargaming. 

Finally, we wish to say farewell to Ivanka Barzashka, a founding co-director of the WN, as she moves on to a full-time role as CEO of Strand Analytica, a US-UK tech startup. Ivanka co-founded Strand Analytica to accelerate the development of strategic wargaming as a science and make advanced tools for game design, data collection and analysis more widely available. She will continue to engage in fundamental research on wargaming epistemology, methodology and ethics, and applied research as a visiting fellow at the Department of War Studies. 

We look forward to sharing our upcoming agenda for the 2022-2023 academic year and to your participation in our new slate of wargaming events.  

MSF: Field simulation communication and engagement officer

Médecins Sans Frontières is currently looking for a field simulation communication and engagement officer to be based in based in any MSF-OCBA Hub (Barcelona, MSF-Spain delegations, Amman, Dakar or Nairobi), Paris or Brussels).


Communication strategy and plans:

  • Under the guidance of the MSF Field Simulation Program manager develop and implement a communications strategy with adapted content & methodology according to the target audience that ensures:
    • maximal awareness of the about the benefit of simulation in and for MSF operations MSF.
    • timely and appropriate updates and feedback.
  • Design an ambassadors’ strategy.
  • Participates in the Data analytics & Reporting. Compile info and update database.

Communication materials and channels:

  • Create and adapt to audience regular engaging communications material, tools and channels, to update them of the latest MSF Field Simulation deployments/progress activities, results, methods, strategies developed and the benefits of simulations (digital or nondigital: presentations/videos with feedback from the field, graphics, infographics etc.).
  • Use different channels to communicate (current newsletters, magazines, Tembo, yammer…) and monitor feedbacks.
  • Update the MSF Field Simulation share point/web page with the plans, project updates and activities implemented, outcomes, progress and tools available on simulation.
  • Prepare and disseminate messages, packages and activities to all MSF and to specific target audience as needed, including compiling and finalising relevant materials.
  • Participate in the design internal channels where MSF staff can propose ideas on new uses of simulation in MSF.
  • Develop visual &engaging learning spaces and material (audiovisual, handouts messages, posters…): to better explain simulation best practices, modalities, and how to implement it.

Engagement and consultation activities:

Under the guidance of the MSF Field Simulation Program manager:

  • Organizes engagement sessions with stakeholders in medical, log, HR depts., field teams in each OC, and in other OC’s for MSF Field Simulation share the activities, experiences exchange from different projects and benefits of simulation.
  • Organize regular engagement communication/sessions to match operations/field teams needs to the benefits of simulation.
  • Co-creates workshops, brainstorming session to encourage stakeholders (MSF field & HQ staff) can propose ideas and contribute on the way simulation to better serve the operation’s needs.
  • Promotes the MSF Field Simulation learning solutions offered.
  • Reinforce the role and the use of the MSF Field Simulation CoP.
  • Support rapid and comprehensive responses to queries from MSF colleagues in relation to MSF’s search for simulation information.
  • Support the development and organization of consultation tools and sessions.

Further information and application at the link above. The competition closes 18 October 2022.

Kazbek: A thought experiment about nuclear weapon use

The mysterious Tim Price set on this little “micro-committee game” on nuclear weapons use, to share via PAXsims. We can’t imagine what possessed him to write it.

Connections Online showcase, 19 October

The Connections Online Showcase is a proud part of the Connections family with our online-only conference. This special one-day event is focused on practical use-cases of professional wargames and wargaming events.

Panels & presentations will be livestreamed through YouTube, with additional interaction through a dedicated Discord server for registered attendees.

All Connections Online Showcase events will take place on 19 October 2022 between 9am and 11pm US EDT(UTC -4). All core events will be recorded and available for future viewing.

More information and a link to the registration page can be found here.

Connections North save the date: 9 June 2023

The Connections North 2023 professional (war)gaming conference will be held in Ottawa on Friday, 9 June. Further details will be shared on PAXsims when available.

Our venue in 2023 will be the Canadian War Museum—which also plans to launch a wargaming exhibit that same month.

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