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.

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


Brynen.jpgRex 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

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 Ellis is a faculty research associate in the Department of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland, and the Policy & Research Program Director for the ICONS Project – a simulation research and training program in the University’s Center for International Development and Conflict Management. He is an Affiliate Researcher at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), and a member of the CSIS Pacific Forum Young Leaders program. Ellis is a policy analyst by training, specializing in East Asian security issues and crisis management. He has designed or consulted on simulation and gaming projects for USAID, the World Bank, DHS, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Brookings Institution, CSIS, the Office of Personnel Management, NDU, START, the Kennedy School of Government, the Fletcher School of Diplomacy, several Fortune 100 corporations, and various parts of DOD including the Joint Staff, OSD, and PACOM. 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.

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.

Research Associates

  • Harrison Brewer
  • Kia Kouyoumjian
  • Juliette Le Ménahèze
  • Brianna Proceviat

Former research associates: Nikola Adamus (2015), Ryan Kuhns (2016), Corinne Goldberger (2015), Nick Lalone (2016), Christian Palmer (2016).


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’re 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!

5 responses to “About PAXsims

  1. 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

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

    We welcome contributions!

  3. 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!

  4. Pingback: Gamepolitics Rss Feed | Piose

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

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