Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

About PAXsims

The PAXsims blog is devoted to the development and effective use of games and simulation-based learning concerning issues of conflict, peacebuilding, and development in fragile and conflict-affected states, as well as to the policy application of gaming and simulation techniques. We welcome comments.

Some of the research behind PAXsims is funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

PAXsims is a sponsor of the Derby House Principles on diversity and inclusion in professional wargaming.

You can make a monthly contribution to support our work on conflict simulation and serious games via Patreon.




Rex Brynen is Professor of Political Science at McGill University, where he specializes in Middle East politics, development, and security issues. He is author or editor of eleven books on the politics of the region. He has also served as a a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, a member of the Political and Security Policy Staff of the (Canadian) Department of Foreign Affairs, an intelligence analyst for the Privy Council Office, and as a consultant to the International Development Research Centre, the World Bank, United Nations agencies, and others. In 2011 received the International Studies Association’s Deborah Gerner Innovative Teaching Award for his work with classroom simulations. He can be reached at rex.brynen (@), or on Twitter as @rexbrynen.

 Associate Editors

Kit Barry is a software developer at the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), where he writes analysis models, simulations, and computer-assisted wargames. He was part of the PSOM dream team that won the OR Society’s President’s Medal for wargaming Afghanistan, once had 11 stars grinning like excited schoolboys in VR, and led the research into the marvellous Wrens of the Western Approaches Tactical Unit. He also runs an award-winning dyslexia awareness simulation. Kit’s views/contributions here at PAXsims are entirely his own and do not represent the views or policies of UK MOD or Dstl.


Stephen Downes-Martin.jpegStephen Downes-Martin is a Research Fellow at the US Naval War College and is an independent scholar researching theory and practice of wargaming and other methods to support decision makers at the strategic, operational and tactical levels of warfare and business. A research focus is “Puppet Mastery”, how to manipulate such methods to deceive decision makers, how decision makers misuse such methods to deceive themselves, how to detect such attempts and protect decision makers from them. He has a PhD in relativistic quantum field theory from London University, a Master of Advanced Studies in Mathematics from Cambridge University, and a Masters (with Distinction) in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College. His full bio, publications list and downloads are available here.

image001Devin Hayes Ellis is a senior faculty specialist in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences at the University of Maryland, and the Director of the ICONS Project — a simulation and gaming research program. He is also a Faculty Affiliate of the university’s Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security (ARLIS).  Ellis has designed or consulted on simulation projects for USAID, the World Bank, the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC), DHS, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Brookings Institution, CSIS, National Defense University, the Kennedy School of Government, the Fletcher School of Diplomacy, Ford Motor Co., Swire, Michelin, ABInBev, and various parts of DOD including the Joint Staff, OSD, PACOM, EUCOM, SOCOM and CENTCOM. Over the past decade he has been privileged to participate in several groundbreaking Track II dialogues on U.S.-China crisis management. He can be found on Twitter at @DevinHayesEllis.

TomFishersmallTom Fisher is a freelance game designer based in Montréal. He developed the Crime Analysis Simulation Exercise System (CASES) for the World Bank’s Financial Market Integrity and Stolen Asset Recovery group, and collaborated with several international financial intelligence agencies in the development and delivery of a strategic intelligence analysis course integrating traditional classroom work with a multi-faceted simulation. He was also game developer and graphic artist for AFTERSHOCK: A Humanitarian Crisis Game and AFTERSHOCK EXPANSION #1: The Gender Dimensions of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief. He has extensive experience in game facilitation with both small and large (100+) participant groups. Currently he is part of the PAXsims team working on the Matrix Game Construction Kit (MaGCK) for the Defence science and technology laboratory (Dstl) of the UK Ministry of Defence.


Catherine Jones is a lecturer at the University of St Andrews, Scotland (UK), where she teaches on East Asia’s International Relations. Previously she was the East Asia Research Fellow at the University of Warwick from 2012-2018. She received her PhD from the University of Reading. Her current research explores the nexus between security and development in East Asia; in particular, she attempts to explore new methods, concepts and approaches to investigating the region including using simulations and wargames. Her most recent publications include, an edited volume China and North Korea between Development and Security (Edward Elgar), Defining Taiwan Out (Contemporary Politics), Contesting within Order? China, socialisation and practice (Cambridge Review of International Affairs).

Gary Milantean economist with an interest in game theory, is a founding editor of PAXsims. He currently directs the Macroeconomics of Security project for the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), splitting his time between Washington DC and Stockholm. Before SIPRI, Gary worked for the World Bank on development in challenging environments of conflict and fragility, and was the team economist for the World Development Report 2011 on  conflict, security, and development. For the Bank he designed and delivered the Carana simulation more than a dozen times in the Bank’s fragile states strategy course. Additionally, he enjoys game play and design, time permitting. Occasionally Gary tweets from @gmilante and he can be reached at milante (@)


Tom Mouat MBE is the Directing Staff Officer for Simulation and Modelling at the Defence Academy of the UK. He holds an MSc in Defence Modelling and Simulation and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education. In his 37 years’ service in the British Army he has served worldwide, including operational tours in Bosnia and Iraq, designed and run training events from Battlegroup to Corps level and spent five years in Defence Procurement as a Requirements Manager in the acquisition of Simulation Systems. He holds commendations from the Ministry of Defence Chief Scientific Officer and the Head of Defence Procurement, and has been a contributing author to a number of books on wargaming. He is also currently on the Management Board of the Connections UK professional wargaming conference.


Brianna Proceviat is a junior wargame designer and analyst for the Canadian Joint Warfare Centre. She previously served as a researcher for a recent study on serious games for humanitarian training (Lessons Learned Simulations and Trainingand Imaginetic, 2020). She holds a Bachelors degree in Political Science from McGill University, where she was once nearly assassinated as President of Brynania and served as Prime Minister during a zombie apocalypse. Her fields of interest include conflict, security, and democracy.

Research Associates

Current and former research associates: Nikola Adamus (2015), Corinne Goldberger (2015), Ryan Kuhns (2016),  Nick Lalone (2016), Christian Palmer (2016), Kia Kouyoumjian (2018-19), Harrison Brewer (2018-19), Juliette Le Ménahèze (2018-19), Brianna Proceviat (2019), Paul Kearney (2020-21), Maggie Snyder (2020-21), Alexandria ‘Lexee’ Brill (2021-22), Benjamin Gaches (2021-22), Anne Johnson (2021-22), Drew Marriott (2021-22), Elizabeth Betsy” Joslyn (2023-24).



PAXsims also welcomes guest contributions. Among those who have contributed in the past are:

PAXsims has been cited by:

  • CBC News
  • CNN
  • Foreign Policy
  • France Info
  • Geeks & Sundry
  • Los Angeles Times
  • RIA Novosti
  • Washington Post
  • VICE News

We are also listed as a key resource in the UK Ministry of Defence Wargaming Handbook.

Have a piece on conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and serious games that you would like considered for inclusion on the website? Email us!

6 responses to “About PAXsims

  1. Trevor Skinner 27/11/2022 at 9:58 pm

    Love the info graphics and posters, are they available for purchase, or can I obtain an image file to print off a poster.

  2. Pingback: More Than Just A Game: Conflict Simulations with McGill's Professor Brynen ·

  3. Pingback: Gamepolitics Rss Feed | Piose

  4. Alejandra Torres 26/11/2014 at 2:52 pm

    This is a very cool website Professor Brynen…. just like your lectures at McGill. I still remember your great sense of humor!

  5. Rex Brynen 21/09/2014 at 6:29 pm

    We welcome contributions!

  6. Chris Jagger 29/04/2014 at 6:16 am

    This looks like a wonderful blog and one that I will promote to my students. I’ll be sure to write something for you soon (if you’ll have me!), Chris Jagger

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