Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Whence the Threat to Peace

During the 1980s the Pentagon issued a series of unclassified annual booklets titled Soviet Military Power” (the current post cold war version is “Russia Military Power”).

In retaliation the Soviet Defense Ministry issued “Whence the Threat to Peace” about US and NATO military build ups and which answered the question implied by its title with “the USA“.

Since I can’t find a copy of “Whence the Threat to Peace” online, I thought I’d scan my hard copy of the 1987 version and make available to any cold war wargamers who might be interested.

Cold War Soviet Military Planning Factors and Nomograms for Gaming

Anyone interested in wargaming the Cold War from a Soviet perspective or has a general interest in how the Soviets planned and the evolution of Russian military thought, might want to take a look at their planning factors and norms described in Chapter 5 of the Voroshilov Staff Academy Handbook of Lectures.

For logistics enthusiasts the Sustainability of the Soviet Army in Battle was produced by UK’s Soviet Studies Research Centre, a single source of how the Soviets planned sustainment. It took me a while to find and process , but this is a clean complete PDF that is text-searchable. Warning, it’s 734 pages and 27Mb (smallest I could compress it).

Note these resources do not necessarily describe how planning should have been done, they describe how the Soviets taught planning and might have fought.

Bending Lines: maps and data from distortion to deception

Since (most? all?) games use maps of some sort, geographic or topological, I thought this on-line exhibition at the Boston Public Library by the Leventhal Map & Education Center into how maps can be used to distort interpretation, sometimes nefariously (my main interest), would be of interest to the community. The wargame map and other visualizations of the game are another method for manipulating the players without appearing to do so.

Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center

“Because they seem to show the world how it “really is,” maps produce a powerful sense of trust and belief. But maps and data visualizations can never communicate a truth without any perspective at all. They are social objects whose meaning and power are produced by written and symbolic language and whose authority is determined by the institutions and contexts in which they circulate.”

“Some of the maps in this exhibition are deliberately nefarious, created by people or institutions who are trying to mislead or persuade. But for many of the others, the relationship between map and truth is more ambiguous. Some maps dim a certain type of truth in order to let another type of interpretation shine through, while others classify and categorize the world in ways that should raise our skepticism.”

Leventhal Map & Education Center

Military Exercise Guidebook

Looking for information about “Military Exercise Guidebook”, an unclassified Chinese military document translated in 2003 by “The Language Doctors, Inc” about Chinese military wargaming and exercises. Anyone have a copy (paper or electronic) or know who has a copy? Thanks.

Request for Information about Chinese Wargaming

Looking for information about wargaming and staff exercises carried out by the Chinese Military (or other branches of the Chinese Government). I am not interested in field exercises, I am specifically using Peter Perla’s definition of wargames:

“a warfare model or simulation that does not involve the operations of actual forces”

Peter Perla, The Art of Wargaming

Looking for bibliographies and references to academic papers on the subject, Chinese military manuals, books or other papers (with translation if possible!), both past and present.

Please post any references or suggestions in the comments to this request, thanks.

Concept, Algorithm, Decision — A Soviet View

Number 6 in the Soviet Military Thought series, “Concept, Algorithm, Decision — A Soviet View” is now online. I have updated the list of all books in the series, so look for it there. Number 6 refers to “war game(s)” 14 times, and refers to “game(s)” 120 times. Fascinating mix of operations research and wargaming through cold war Soviet eyes.

Connections 2020: Registration for online conference now open!

Registration for Connections (US/global) is now open:

On behalf of my conference co-chair, Matt Caffrey, and the Connections conference planning committee, I am pleased to announce that registration is now open for Connections 2020.  This year’s conference will be conducted entirely online, August 10-14.  Our host for 2020 is the Center for Naval Analyses. While the presentations at Connections will address topics covering the full range of wargaming related topics, several key events will relate to our theme this year: Applying and Representing Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Machine Learning (ML) in Wargaming.

Since 1993, the Connections interdisciplinary wargaming conference has brought together wargaming professionals from all aspects of the field – military, government, academia, private sector, and the commercial hobbyist press.  While we all work on different problems with different ranges of tools, there is much that we have to learn from one another.

CONFERENCE REGISTRATION: If you are interested in joining us, please fill out the following form to register:
Registering now will ensure that you will be kept updated with the latest developments, information on how to participate, etc.
Because our participants will be widely distributed across time zones, we will have a set of core hours (1000-1600 US Eastern Daylight Time) for all of our presentations and other common events.

DEMONSTRATIONS AND GAME PLAY: Shifting to an online format requires quite a bit of modification to our past practices.  Game nights and demonstrations are a cornerstone of Connections and we need volunteer game hosts to continue this tradition in an online environment! Connections 2020 will include playing games online and/or game demonstrations. All types of war, strategy, and educational games and online platforms are welcome (Discord, Roll20, Steam, Tabletop Simulator, Vassal, Zoom, etc). These playthroughs and demonstrations will take outside of the conference core hours (1000 – 1600 US Eastern Daylight Time). The conference final presentation on 14 August will include a summary of games conducted.

If you would like to host a game demonstration and playthrough, please register at by 10 July. Please fill out a separate form for each session of a game playthrough or demonstration you will host.

Next Steps:

1. Connections staff will post a list of all games, demos, and host e-mail addresses or registration links on the Connections website by 13 July so players can register and coordinate with hosts as needed.  Hosts are responsible for tracking their own registrations and communicating with their participants, but Connections will post on the website when a host notifies us that a game or demo has reached maximum capacity.
2. Before the end of the conference, hosts let us know how many people participated in each game or demonstration so we can measure interest for future events (via a short Google form).

PRESENTATIONS: If you missed our call for presentations earlier this year, we will continue to accept proposals until June 26:

Please note that the links above are Google Forms, which do not always work on some military networks.  We recommend that you try from home if you run into problems connecting at work.
We hope you will be able to join us this year for our grand experiment in online gathering.  Our mission to advance and preserve the art, science, and application of wargaming remains our focus, and with your help we can accomplish this even under the present circumstances.

If you have any questions please contact me, Tim Wilkie ( and Scott Chambers (

Timothy Wilkie
Center for Applied Strategic Learning National Defense University

Connections (US) is a supporter of the Derby House Principles on diversity and inclusion in professional wargaming.

Soviet cold war era military dictionaries

“Soviet Style Wargames”

“Soviet Style Wargames”, prepared by John Sloan, Ali Jalali, Gouhlam Wardak, Fred Giessler in 1986

This is a preliminary discussion of what the Soviets taught at the Voroshilov and Frunze academies about the nature of and the methods for conducting wargames. Working with Colonels Jalali and Wardak US analysts of Soviet military issues have been reviewing this subject to see how wargaming in the USSR compares with that in the US. It is clear that the two former colonels in the Afghan army know a great deal about wargaming, more from practical experience in participating in wargames than from formal study of the subject at Soviet schools. This is an attempt to outline their knowledge and start to do comparisons. It may lead to a capability to conduct a full scale Soviet style wargame here in the US. In this way DOD experts and decision makers might learn both the form and style of Soviet wargaming as well as the content of a Soviet style assessment. This could lead to identifying implications of US actions and capabilities based upon conducting Soviet style wargames.

The purpose for conducting a Soviet style wargame is to demonstrate Soviet planning, research, and gaming techniques in action. It is to illustrate Soviet style analysis techniques of the subject used in the game. In addition, it will provide some insight into the likely content of the analysis Soviet war game users might derive from a similar game on the same topic.

In addition to the formal training at the senior military schools, wargaming was one of the activities the Soviets introduced into Afghanistan during their advisory period (1962 – 1979). The purposes of these games were for training, planning, and research. This paper focuses on the role of wargames in support of scientific military study, how the Soviets use wargames, who plays and who controls, where they play them and how they conduct them.

This paper focuses on the development of the role of wargaming in Afghanistan under Soviet advisors, supplemented by information on the theory of wargaming as discussed in Soviet senior military schools. Colonel Wardak attended the Frunze Military Academy and completed the Voroshilov Academy in 1977. Colonel Jalali completed the Frunze Academy in 1980.

From the Introduction

“Soviet Threat Series” US Army FM 100-2

“These field manuals serve as the definitive source of unclassified information on Soviet ground forces and their interaction with other services in combined arms warfare.”

FM 100-2-1

FM 100-2-1: The Soviet Army: Operations and Tactics (Jul ‘84)

FM 100-2-2: The Soviet Army: Specialized Warfare and Rear Area Support (Jul ‘84)

FM 100-2-3: The Soviet Army: Troops, Organization, and Equipment (Jul ‘91)

1960’s War Gaming Symposia query

In the early 60’s the Washington Operations Research Council ran and published proceedings of at least two War Gaming Symposia. A few of these survive as hard copies in libraries, for example see

Does anyone know of any online electronic copies? And, how many symposia were run? Thanks.

“Soviet Military Thought”

Now that we are becoming interested again in the Russian Military, the collection of the “Soviet Military Thought” series of books translated by the US Air Force from Russian might be of interest. I have identified 22 books in the series and can find online texts for all (but two) of those on Some of the PDF versions are badly scanned and although readable by human eye, text search of the files is unreliable.

If you know of additional volumes beyond no 22, or if you have links or access to decent (OCR’d) versions, please respond to this post. Thanks.

I’ll update this list with clean OCR’d versions as I get to them.

  1. The Offensive
  2. Marxism—Leninism on War and Army
  3. Scientific—Technical Progress and the Revolution in Military Affairs
  4. The Basic Principles of Operational Art and Tactics
  5. The Philosophical Heritage of V. I. Lenin and Problems of Contemporary War
  6. Concept, Algorithm, Decision
  7. Military Pedagogy
  8. Military Psychology
  9. Dictionary of Basic Military Terms
  10. Civil Defense
  11. Selected Soviet Military Writings: 1970—1975
  12. The Armed Forces of the Soviet State
  13. The Officer’s Handbook
  14. The People, the Army, the Commander
  15. Long-Range Missile-Equipped
  16. Forecasting in Military Affairs
  17. The Command and Staff of the Soviet Army Air Force in the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945
  18. Fundamentals of Tactical Command and Control
  19. The Soviet Armed Forces: A History of Their Organizational Development
  20. The Initial Period of War
  21. Tactics
  22. Camouflage

Hoover Institution: International Crisis War Game, 27 May 2020


The war game explores the relationship between new technologies, domestic politics, conventional military capabilities, and nuclear threats. Players simulate decision-making roles in a National Security cabinet and come to the war game as leaders in private industry, government, academia, and the military. The aim is to better understand the role that emerging technologies play in crisis decision-making and how Cold War paradigms of deterrence and crisis escalation apply in a world with new capabilities and vulnerabilities.

The International Crisis Virtual War Game at the Hoover Institution is the first ever iteration of the game played completely virtually using the Zoom platform, but it is a part of a larger set of in person games that have been run all over the world over the last 2 years to compare behaviors across countries and cultures within crises.

As a player in this virtual game, the group of participants will first be given two hypothetical crisis scenarios and a briefing on capabilities and threats. Players will then be placed in teams and asked to represent a National Security cabinet that generates priority objectives and debates courses of action. The war game culminates in the development of a whole of government response plan to the crisis. Finally, the event concludes with a plenary session back in a large group in which players will share lessons learned from the war game and suggest potential recommendations for policies on emerging threats and crisis dynamics.

Full details of the game here.

If you wish to participate register at this link by May 25th.

Please note that as an attendee at this event, you will be a participant in a Stanford research protocol.


MORS “Emergency Response to Disease Gaming Course”


“In this two-day, class we will focus on the application of professional games to the problems associated with disease response. We will cover pandemic response games, both national and international. We will also examine problems of novel or unique organisms, biological warfare and terrorism, and public health response. The objective throughout the class will be to identify unique or challenging aspects involved in designing games involving disease response. We will also incorporate emerging lessons from the current pandemic response into our discussions.”

For full details see:

New date and location for Connections US 2020 Wargaming Conference


Due to new Naval wide (which includes the USMC) base access regulations following shootings at Navy bases USMC Quantico has had to disinvite Connections US 2020. Connections US 2020 will now be hosted by CNA in Arlington, VA, August 11-14, 2020. Note the one week shift to the right. For more details go to the Connections website at

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