PAXsims

Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Category Archives: conferences

‘Data for Wargaming’ roundtable

The SISO Simulation and Wargaming Study Group invites you to participate in an online, open roundtable discussion regarding the challenges related to data used in professional wargaming.

January 19, 2022      11:00am – 1:00pm (Eastern US Time), via Zoom

From this roundtable, we plan to schedule a later forum, where two or three of the top challenges are discussed in detail.

Professional wargaming both requires and produces a great amount of data, and in many cases, there are challenges that are specific to wargaming.  We are looking for participants to share a short (5-10 minute) description of the problems they have with either acquiring or using wargaming data – this can be either a challenge or a clever solution.  The possible topics that this could include are listed (but not limited to) those below.  

Possible topics Include:

  • Scenario Data 
  • Data for Adjudication 
  • Capturing Data during a game 
  • Representing data in a  wargame? 
  • Turning AAR data into a Narrative 
  • Security classification issues with Data Sources 
  • Validation issues with Data Sources
  • MetaData
  • Interoperability

Anyone interested in contributing please contact Chuck Turnitsa at cturnitsa@gmail.com

To join the Round Table on January 19, 11:00am (Eastern US Time), click on this link: https://tinyurl.com/bddyfuce  

Teaching and Learning Conference at APSA 2022

The American Political Science Association will hold its annual conference in Montreal on 15-18 September 2022. As part of that, the annual APSA Teaching and Learning Conference (TLC) will meet on September 17.

There will be four tracks to the TLC this year:

  • Civic Engagement Education 
  • Simulations & Games 
  • Technology and Innovative Pedagogy in the Classroom 
  • Promoting Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Classroom 

The deadline to submit abstracts is January 18. More information on the TLC (and the larger APSA annual conference) can be found here.

Military Operations Research Society 90th annual symposium (13-16 June 2022)

The Military Operations Research Society’s 90th annual symposium will take place in Quantico, VA on 13-16 June 2022. The deadline to submit an abstract for a presentation is February 11.

Further information is available at the MORS website.

Connections North 2022 registration open

Registration is now open for the Connections North 2022 professional (war)gaming conference, to be held online on February 19-20 (Saturday-Sunday).

CONNECTIONS NORTH is an annual conference devoted to conflict simulation, wargaming, and other serious games. It is intended for national security professionals, policymakers, researchers, educators, game designers, university students, and others interested in the field of wargaming and other serious games.

Themes to be addressed this year include:

  • Canada gaming update (two sessions)
  • Gaming coalitions: beyond “generic Blue”
  • Institutional uptake of serious games
  • Promotion de la coopération dans le jeu sérieux
  • Influence gaming
  • Whose game is it anyway?
  • Looking ahead 

Registration for the conference is required, but is free.

Please share this announcement within your networks.

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

Connections US 2022 call for papers (and Connections North update)

Connections US has issued a call for papers for its July 2022 professional wargaming conference:

Connections US 2022 is expected to be conducted in person at The Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA) Alexandria, Virginia, July 26-29. We will reassess our plans should public health considerations warrant.

The Call for Presentations is now open and can be accessed here.

For more information, vist the Connections 2022 website.

The Connections Wargaming Conference is an annual event which is held each summer to bring together practitioners from every segment of the wargaming community. Connections is open to all wargaming practitioners, and we welcome international participation.

Connections US has been held every year since 1993, Connections UK was established in 2013 at Kings College London, Connections Australia was established in 2014 at the University of Melbourne, and Connections Netherlandswas established in 2014 by SAGANET, and Connections North (Canada) was established in 2016. These conferences are all independently managed and hosted, but they share a common mission to provide wargaming practitioners with a venue to share best practices and advance the field. Together, the Connections conferences around the world are building the wargaming community of practice and working to improve the use of wargaming as a tool for research, analysis, education, and policy.

As for Connections North (virtual, February 19-20), the conference registration site will go live in a few days. Look for the announcement here on PAXsims.

Save the date: Connections North 2022

We are pleased to announce that the next Connections North professional (war)gaming conference will be held online on 19-20 February 2022 (Saturday and Sunday).

Panels will address a number of topics, which should be of interest to serious gamers in Canada and around the world:

  • Wargaming and policy gaming in Canada
  • Promotion de la coopération dans le jeu sérieux
  • Gaming coalitions—beyond “generic BLUE”
  • Institutional uptake and the challenge of “decision-based evidence-making”
  • Influence gaming
  • Whose Game is it Anyway? (game design meets improvisational comedy)
  • Looking ahead

UPDATE: Registration is now open, via Eventbrite.

GUWS: November presentations

The Georgetown University Wargaming Society has several interesting presentations lined up for November:

November 16 (1200-1400 EST)

How Diversity Won the War: the Western Approaches Tactical Unit wargame

Sally Davis (Dstl)

It’s 1942. Britain stands alone in Europe. German U-boats have a strangle-hold on the Atlantic, sinking so much British shipping that if nothing changes we will be starved out of the war in less than three months. The Western Approaches Tactical Unit, staffed by women from across the Empire and men unfit for duty at sea due to illness and injury, is tasked to find out what’s happening in the Atlantic and find ways of sinking the U-boats. This is the story of the game behind some of the most consequential wargaming in history and recent recreations of their work.

November 23 (1800-20o0- EST)

Sand Tables: The Archaeology of a Platform

Matthew Kirschenbaum (University of Maryland)

Many wargamers will have heard of sand tables, at least as part of the collective lore. The original von Reisswitz Kriegsspiel was played on a sand table before it migrated to other formats. Hobby legends like Jack Scruby, Don Featherstone, and Gary Gygax all had sand tables, and flaunted them as status symbols. But a sand table is also a media platform in the most literal sense, ancient and elemental. As a twentieth century source explains, a sand table is “simply a box mounted on trestles to a convenient height, or a curbed table, partially filled with sand.” Common in military settings, sand tables have also been used to teach the blind, train wilderness firefighters, facilitate therapy for trauma victims, and illustrate stories to children. Today there is a direct line from this seemingly modest technology to augmented reality and other tangible media devices.

November 30 (1800-2000 EST)

Designing and Playing the Information Warfighter Exercise (IWX) Wargame

Christopher Paul (RAND) and Jim McNeive (MCIOC)

Christopher Paul (RAND) and Jim McNeive (MCIOC) will discuss their experiences designing, playtesting, and running the Information Warfighter Exercise (IWX) Wargame for the Marine Corps Information Operations Center (MCIOC).

GUWS will also be hosting an online game of the US Army LandPower Wargame on November 30, via VASSAL and Discord.

Connections UK 2021 report

This report on the recent Connections UK 2021 professional wargaming conference has been written by PAXsims research associate Benjamin Gaches.


I got to participate in Connections UK last week and wanted to share some impressions of the event as a newcomer to professional wargaming. 

First, the facts: the event ran for two days online using a mix of Discord as a foyer and Zoom meetings for specific sessions, of which there were many to pick from. I was able to participate in all of the plenary sessions, covering topics from bringing in the next generation of wargamers to diverse thinking and problem solving. I also got to participate in the sessions on whole of society wargaming with Anja van der Hulst, model-based pandemic response games with Ben Taylor, an academic panel on wargaming for education in academia, an improvised adjudication master class, and finally a run of Combined Arms with Philip Sabin.

My first impression was of how welcoming and accessible everyone was during the event. Getting to meet big names is usually a fleeting experience in any industry but here I got to chat and participate in small party wargames with the authors of my wargaming bibles. I have only ever run a wargame for my university students but never gotten to participate in one, let alone on ran by an experienced game master. After the game with Philip Sabin I now feel a lot more confident now in my future endeavors: I have a yardstick, a point of reference of what a good, well run and facilitated wargame looks like. On a sidenote I also got to practice some combined arms tactics I thought I knew from hobby gaming and reading, only to fail miserably in practice: I advanced multiple infantry units without suppressing the enemy… At the time I blamed my mistake on my limited understanding of the rules, but later realized I would have likely made that same mistake in reality because I hadn’t stopped to consider the situation, focusing instead only on the objective. I was ultimately saved by some lucky dice rolling, but I learnt my lesson, and am even more convinced of the great potential of wargaming as an educational tool for it.

The second impression I got from the conference was one of feeling much more tapped into the pulse of wargaming as an industry and as an ever-developing discipline, how it is being used and what its limitations are. I originally wanted to participate because I am hoping to use wargames and simulations as part of my PhD research, but though few of the sessions were directly relevant to my topic, I did pick up a lot of learning points and tangential information ranging from adjudication tips to strategies for better inclusivity. Several sessions touched on points I wholeheartedly agreed with, such as the importance of bringing in the next generation or making wargaming inclusive, and yet I hadn’t actively considered how to practice them in my own work. I feel better equipped to do so now.

My third and final impression is also my only gripe with the conference: networking. I really appreciated the effort the organizing team put into creating spaces for meeting and connecting with others, which I tried my best to take advantage of, but I feel they didn’t consider the time required to do so. The two days of the conference were chock full of sessions, with 15-minute breaks between them which more often than not ended up being 3 minutes due to inevitable overruns. As someone who wanted to participate in as many sessions as possible, the only times I really could chat with others were after the sessions, at which point 9 hours in front of a screen took its toll and what I really wanted to do was to go and have a drink outside. Here lies the main downside to online conferences for me: in person I would have hoped to grab that drink with other participants, share lunch and chat between sessions, but as much as I tried the energy isn’t the same online. I did meet some great people I hope to continue connecting with, but I also hope we will be able to have these conferences in person again sooner rather than later. My only suggestion to improve the conference then, which will be online again next year, would be to have it over more days with more time between sessions to debrief, chat and connect.

Overall, I had a blast participating in this year’s Connections UK. I got invaluable experience learning from the masters, learned a lot about wargaming as an industry and an art, connected with some brilliant people and overall feel much more engaged with wargaming overall. I can wholeheartedly recommend it to other professional newbies like me as well as anyone else with an interest in professional wargaming.

Benjamin Gaches

Registration now open for NASAGA 2021

Registration is now open for the North American Simulation and Gaming Association‘s annual (virtual) conference, to be held on 5-7 November 2021. You’ll find further detail here.

Connections Oz 2021

Connections Oz professional wargaming conference will be held online on 14-16 December 2021. For more details, see the Connections Oz website.

If you wish to propose a presentation for the conference, contact the organizers at connections.oz@gmail.com.

Conference registration is via Eventbrite.

IDA to host 2022 Connections US wargaming conference

The Institute for Defense Analysis will host the 2022 Connections US professional wargaming conference on 26-29 July 2022 in Alexandria, VA:

ALEXANDRIA, VA (August 2021) — IDA will host the 2022 Connections Wargaming Conference on July 26–29, 2022. This in-person event will be held at our future headquarters’ location in the City of Alexandria’s high-tech Potomac Yard corridor.

The Connections Wargaming Conference is an annual event that brings together practitioners from every segment of the wargaming community. The conference gives attendees the opportunity to exchange information on achievements, best practices and other elements of the field of wargaming…from military, to commercial, to academic applications.

IDA is moving its headquarters and Systems and Analyses Center to the Potomac Yard later this year. The new facility will enable IDA to hold large meetings, such as this one, with sponsors and industry. There will be a large auditorium that seats 300 people, breakout rooms, a green room for speakers to prepare for events, and other large conference rooms.

Registration and logistics information will be available closer to the conference.

IDA is a nonprofit corporation that operates three Federally Funded Research and Development Centers in the public interest. IDA answers the most challenging U.S. security and science policy questions with objective analysis leveraging extraordinary scientific, technical, and analytic expertise.

GlobState 2021: The security environment in the (post) pandemic world

The Doctrine and Training Centre of the Polish Armed Forces will be holding its annual GlobState conference on 30 November – 2 December 2021. The theme for the conference is “Security Environment in the (Post) Pandemic World and Its Implications for the Conduct of Military Operations.”

The aim of the 4th Annual International Research Conference GlobState is to enhance discussion on new developments in the security environment in the (post) pandemic, both from the global and the regional (Central and East European) perspective, and their implications for the conduct of military operations. The conference will be held under the umbrella of the NUP 2X35 campaign of future security environment analysis, led by the Doctrine and Training Centre of the Polish Armed Forces of behalf of the Chief of the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces.

In 2021, due to the still existing challenges of the pandemic, the conference will be run in a virtual or hybrid (i.e. virtual and in-person) form. The final decision will be announced by the Organizing Committee in mid-2021.

We hope that the conference will be a source of valuable knowledge and inspiring discussions for all the participants. We encourage all who are interested in to familiarize with the 2020 edition conference report and/or the GlobState III pre-conference proceedings.

CONFERENCE THEMES

future security and operational environments;

forecasting and simulation of changes in the security and operational environments;

space and cyber as new domains of military operations;

new concepts and approaches to the conduct of military operations;

multi-domain operation/battle vs. joint operation;

lessons from contemporary military operations;

strategic analysis and military operations research methodology;

future military leadership.

The conference welcomes paper proposals that use serious games as a research method to examine these issues.

Further details are available at the link above.

Connections UK 2021 registration now open

Registration for the Connections UK 2021 professional wargaming conference (14-15 September 2021) is now open.

Some key points to note about this year, courtesy of Graham Longley-Brown:

Learning by doing remains the focus, with maximum participatory content.

The overarching theme is building the community. There will be central plenaries and associated workshops on ‘Bringing on the next generation’ and ‘Diversity & Inclusion’. Day 1 will feature significant educational content: awareness ‘101’ sessions (as is traditional at Connections UK), but also practitioner and expert seminars, enlivened and illustrated by educational gaming.

The conference is experimental in all respects. The environment is 100% safe to fail, with contributors encouraged to bring innovative and developmental activities to the – virtual – table. Indeed, the conference itself is an experiment: we are trying to generate a genuine conference feel where, albeit in a virtual environment, everyone can get involved, interact and network. And the best way to do that, as we all know, is by playing games! Dedicated chat and voice channels will be available for every session, and there will be ‘hangout’ areas and small-group activities that give everyone the chance to contribute. Outcomes will be captured and back-briefed in plenary and/or via informal reporting.

While the central platform will be Discord (as with Connections US), gaming platforms or applications will be at the discretion of the presenter. Links to these will appear on the Discord server and a Google Sheets Master Programme.

An outline programme is attached and pasted below the signature block. Details of games, speakers etc will follow in mid-August.

Purchase a ticket via EventbriteTickets are live; book yours now! Note that the email you provide at signup will be used to provide you details of how to join the conference and register for various sessions and games in mid-August.

Connections UK will primarily be hosted on Discord. This will be our community hub. Before purchasing a ticket, please ensure you have a Discord account (free to set up) and the software installed on a personal device. The software can be used on both a free-to-download desktop application and via a browser, but the device will need a microphone and camera. A beginners guide to Discord can be found here, and we will send a Connections UK-specific guide in August.

Other applications such as Zoom, Teams, VASSAL or Spatial might also be required to take part in certain games. We will disseminate a list of games with their required programmes in August.

The conference will run over two days, 14th – 15th September.

The daily start time will be 1000 BST (GMT+1 in September), running through to evening sessions to enable international content.

There is a small charge of £25. As a not-for-profit, Connections UK receives no financial sponsorship and is run by volunteers. Although the organisers will be co-located in a control hub kindly hosted by NSC/QinetiQ, we must buy-in technical and other support functions. The small charge is to cover costs and ensure we remain financially viable going forward.

Please share widely.

ArmChair Dragoons Convention

The Armchair Dragoons are at it again, with their 3rd online convention within the past 12 months.

The ACDC (ArmChair Dragoons Convention) is happening 18-20 June, entirely online, on the weekend that was originally scheduled for Origins.  In addition to the usual designer-led game sessions, and industry-interview talk shows, the ACDC has focused on bigger ‘event’ style games that bring in larger groups for more unique gameplay, like the 8-man games run by Grognard of the Year Jim Owczarski, or the Kriegsspiel that’ll be hosted by the International Kriegsspiel Society.  There are epic-scale games of Commands & Colors (4-player teams) and several multiplayer Napoleonic games.  There is also a large ‘rolling’ scenario being hosted by Lock ‘n Load Publishing where the game will ‘carry over’ from session to session, so that new players will inherit the decisions made by their predecessors.

Something new that’s being launched at this ACDC is a Graphic Design contest for wargame artwork, which will include both open voting for the attendees to choose their favorite designs, as well as a judges’ panel of industry artists / publishers to weigh in on a live show that’ll unveil the winners.

The ACDC is also bringing back the Boardgame Bootcamp crew, to reach new players the ins & outs of VASSAL, Discord, and Tabletop Simulator.  Also returning are YouTube hosts Ardwulf, and Moe of Moe’s Game Table for their industry interviews and social hours.

Games include: Bayonets & Tomahawks, Brotherhood & Unity, Shores of Tripoli, Squadron Strike, Brave Little Belgium, La Belle Epoque, Almost a Miracle, Conflict of Heroes, Deadly Woods, Hands in the Sea, Iron & Oak, Lock ‘n Load Tactical, and more.

Seminars / Presentations include: NSDM’s “Global Hotspots” update, Space 1889, Forts Along the Ohio River, designers Bruce Maxwell,Tomislav Čipčić, Stuart Tonge, and George Dew, and a couple of happy hours for open chatter.

With the loss of so many in-person game conventions over the past 18 months, digital conventions have jumped in to fill the void, and offer a chance for a communal gaming experience, but in your pajamas, and with a much lower likelihood of contracting the con-lurgy.

Detailed info can be found here: https://www.armchairdragoons.com/acdc-june-2021/

Registration is here: https://tabletop.events/conventions/acdc-june-2021

Graphic design contest info is here: https://www.armchairdragoons.com/events/cons/the-acdc-wargame-graphic-design-contest/

Brant Guillory

Connections US approaches!

This is a reminder that the Connections US professional wargaming conference will take place on 21-25 June 2021.

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