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Category Archives: simulation and gaming news

Unethical Professional Wargaming final report

Click on the Image for the Report

The US Command and General Staff College, with support from the CGSC Foundation, hosted the Connections US 2021 Wargaming Conference and chose the Conference theme “Ethics and Wargaming”. An international team of 30 wargaming experts started work on October 2020 on the thought experiment “how to use unethical practices to make your wargame say what you want it to say”, where by “unethical practice” we mean any practice motivated by a desire to influence the sponsor to make a decision in the best interest of the unethical practitioner instead of the best interest of national security. We know intellectual dishonesty occurs in science and among senior civilian and military leaders. It is irresponsible to assume it does not exist within professional wargaming (or indeed any process that manages any inquiry activity).

This thought experiment is useful in three ways for:

  • discovering wargame design principles and malfeasance that wargame designers, practitioners, sponsors, players and other stakeholders might miss if one focused on best practices of well-designed games by well-intentioned competent experts.
  • inoculating wargaming against deliberate and inadvertent manipulation of wargame design by senior stakeholders
  • protecting ourselves from self-deception by our own inadvertent malign practice.

Core Conclusion: Most professional wargames are vulnerable to unethical practice due to the
presence of the three established criteria for intellectual fraud. The lack of familiarity by
senior officers or civilian executives with the unethical practices described in this report
means we cannot say that most DoD wargames are free of unethical practices.

What is to be Done? By examining the interactions between the wargame stakeholders in the
external environment, the outer game and the inner game, along with the the three criteria
for the presence of intellectual fraud, and taking culture into account, we can increase the
value and ethical probity of wargaming and ensure the decisions that the wargames are
designed to influence are in the best interest of national security. Details are in the final report.

Kania and McCaslin: China’s progress in wargaming and opposing force training

The Institute for the Study of war has just published a study by Elsa Kania and Ian Burns McCaslin entitled Learning Warfare from the Laboratory: China’s progress in wargaming and opposing force training (September 2021).

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is faced with the challenge of preparing for future warfare during peacetime as a force that lacks contemporary operational experience. Among the methods through which the PLA seeks to enhance its combat readiness are sophisticated wargaming and realistic, force-on-force exercises. Chinese military leaders regard wargaming (bingqi tuiyan, 兵棋推演) as an important technique by which to “learn warfare from the laboratory” for training purposes and to promote insights on the dynamics of future combat.1 This style of learning is complemented by the PLA’s study of military history and emulation of the experiences and innovations of foreign militaries, including through creating “blue forces” that simulate potential adversaries against which to train.2 Beyond improving its current capabilities and readiness, the PLA also aspires to achieve an edge in military competition, seeking to “design” the dynamics of and develop capabilities for future warfare.3

Wargaming is part of a cycle of military learning and experimentation that involves and informs exercises against opposing forces (OPFOR), as well as a range of other styles of training. While this report does not provide a comprehensive assessment of the PLA’s current training methods, our analysis examines select aspects of the PLA’s computerized wargaming and employment of blue (i.e., simulated adversary) forces in the context of the continuing transformation of PLA training. Over time, the PLA has improved the realism of its “actual combat training” (shizhan hua xunlian, 实战化训练) and undertaken exercises in increasingly challenging battlefield environments.4 The lessons learned from wargaming can be tested in exercises, and the outcomes of exercises can shape the design for wargames.

PLA wargaming and development of their blue forces continue to be significantly influenced by emulation of the approaches of foreign militaries, particularly those of the US military. The combination of domestic and foreign influences has resulted in features unique to the PLA, reflecting distinct priorities, interests, and constraints. In wargaming, for example, the PLA appears to prefer and prioritize computerized approaches over other forms, and it has attempted to leverage this cost-effective technique in training to address certain long-standing weaknesses, such as in command decision-making.5 To that end, the PLA has scaled up wargaming in professional military education (PME), especially through programming at the PLA’s National Defense University (NDU). The history and political character of the PLA as the armed wing of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) also appear to be a notable influence, demonstrated by the experimentation with political warfare in PLA wargaming.

Meanwhile, wargaming has become prominent and popularized across China, and the PLA has leveraged the commercialization of wargaming to improve its quality and realism. Ongoing advances in video games and innovations from the video game industry continue to provide China’s armed forces with new options for realistic, engaging wargames. Under the auspices of China’s national strategy for military-civil fusion (MCF), several technology companies have partnered with the PLA to develop new systems for wargaming and military simulations. Beyond PME efforts, wargaming competitions have become an important element of

national defense education, as thousands of military and civilian students across universities nationwide participate in annual wargaming competitions. This national initiative encourages patriotism and interest in military affairs among the public while fostering greater unity and understanding between military and civilian stakeholders.6

Increasingly, the PLA is pursuing innovation in the platforms and techniques used in wargaming, including the introduction of artificial intelligence (AI). The PLA has introduced “intelligentization” (zhinenghua, 智能化) as a priority for its military modernization. This strategic initiative includes the development of AI for military applications and leveraging wargaming platforms to advance technological experimentation. The progress to date includes PLA contests and competitions that have concentrated on developing AI systems for wargaming in complex scenarios. Starting in 2017, these efforts have seen the development of more powerful AI systems across years of competitions. The human-machine confrontation (renji duikang, 人机 对抗) that can occur through such a virtual platform also could allow for improvements in planning and decision support systems for future joint operations. The increasing capabilities of AI systems in wargaming also allow for improvements in simulated adversaries.7 Beyond the objective to improve the quality of their wargames for training purposes, there are scientists and strategists in the PLA who hope AI will become powerful enough to facilitate human planning and command decision-making in future warfare.8

The PLA’s OPFOR program has centered upon the creation of blue forces that are intended to imitate potential adversaries. These units are directed to serve as whetstones to increase the challenge of training, thereby contributing to the PLA’s effort to overcome its “peace disease.” While the PLA’s OPFOR efforts have been unique in their variety and potential creativity, the relatively fragmented development highlights the issues of coordination and standardization that have often impeded progress within the PLA. However, the increasing professionalism of these initiatives, including the focus on simulating the United States and its allies as anticipated adversaries, is an important dimension of PLA preparations to watch going forward.

This report starts by tracing the trajectory of wargaming within the PLA in modern Chinese history and then continues to examine the progression of PLA blue forces in its OPFOR program. The analysis initially reviews a series of recent wargaming competitions, examining the introduction of AI systems into wargaming and considering com- mercial contributions to wargaming. Our research also considers the progression of OPFOR exercises (exercises that involve a force tasked with representing an enemy) that have expanded and increased in sophistication with the use of improved blue forces. We examine what wargaming and OPFOR exercises can reveal about the PLA’s capacity to learn and adapt to the challenges of future warfare. In closing, we raise considerations and potential recommendations for US policy.

Analytical Architecture that Includes Wargaming for Decision Makers

Dr. Jon Compton presents and discusses the process he has used to design, run and analyze analytic wargames in support of senior decision makers faced with serious national security related problems.

Click on Image to View Presentation on YouTube

“Wargames are conducted for purposes of education and training, concept exploration or development, or sometimes done to raise awareness about certain issues or concepts. Within OSD, however, the style of wargame required is referred to as Analytical Wargaming, and is nested with other analytical or Operations Research techniques to generate contextualized knowledge and recommendations for leadership.”

— Jon Compton

Distributed Wargaming Working Group Final Report Available

Click on the image for the Report.

UPDATE: I have updated the report with corrections. Delete the 22nd August version and replace with this one dated 23rd August.

COVID-19 made distributed wargaming a DOD requirement for both safety and economic reasons. One effect of DOD’s COVID-19 pandemic response has been the effort by many DOD organizations to shift their wargames to a distributed online environment. The success of some of these efforts, the likely presence of new pandemics, and some undeniable benefits of distributed wargaming makes it likely that distributed wargaming will be a growing part of the DOD toolbox. A key design decision is now “online, face-to-face, or hybrid?” It is therefore necessary to examine the theory behind distributed gaming, capture experience, design best practices, and identify practices to avoid when designing and executing distributed wargames.

In response the Simulation and Wargaming Standing Study Group of the Simulation Interoperability Standards Organization started a Working Group on “Distributed Wargaming”, the focus of which is to:

“examine how technical, social and design processes can exploit the advantages and overcome the disadvantages of professional wargaming in a distributed environment, and produce a resource document for anyone required to design and execute such a wargame”

A core international group of seventeen members, with experience in Government, Military, Industry, Academia and Education started work at the beginning of December 2020 and wrapped up at the end of August 2021. The nine month period of performance allowed the group time to think, discuss, challenge, write and refine, and to do so in depth. The group produced nine research papers covering background theory, lessons learned from research into online education, lessons learned producing and running distributed wargames with several different designs, and an overview of moving in-person events in general (including wargames) online. Deep discussions between group members dealt with the papers and introduced additional topics, all of which are reported in this document.

IDA hosts first in-person Women’s Wargaming Network event

Earlier this summer, the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) hosted the first in-person event of the Women’s Wargaming Network:

IDA hosted the first in-person event of the Women’s Wargaming Network (WWN) on June 26. The event was organized by Yuna Wong, founder of the WWN and research staff member in IDA’s Joint Advanced Warfighting Division (JAWD).

The event was held at IDA’s current headquarters near the Mark Center in Alexandria, Virginia. Women from IDA and their guests gathered to network and play board games. These types of in-person events are what the WWN is hoping to have more frequently to build connections and provide mentorship opportunities for women with an interest in wargaming.

Men are much more likely to have spent their adolescent years playing hobby gamming whereas women did not grow up with the same experiences. The mission of the WWN is to help women thrive in professional wargaming, a historically male-dominated field. These efforts contribute to bridging the gaps between men and women and raising the visibility of women in the discipline.

Addressing barriers specific to women in professional wargaming is key to getting more women involved in the discipline. “All too often, women are assigned as note takers and announcers; they don’t receive the core tasks of game design and adjudicators,” says Wong. “Minority women face even more barriers. The WWN is committed to having a place for all women.”

Paris Nero, research staff member in IDA’s Operational Evaluation Division (OED) was among the participants who is new to the discipline. “One of my favorite pastimes is playing board games with friends,” says Nero. “I left the WWN event thinking about how the game’s mechanisms capture various aspects of warfare and how I could apply wargaming in my research. It’s nice to be part of a community that can gather around an activity I enjoy so much.”

More seasoned wargamers also participated, including S. K. (Sue) Numrich, JAWD adjunct research staff member. She has experience in theater and training simulations, so wargaming is a natural extension. “In wargaming, every perspective is valuable, and it’s especially important to include women as they tend to approach situations differently than men do,” says Numrich. “These are games of the mind and the ability to see from different perspectives and craft solutions along different lines is critical to developing a creative solution to a strategic problem.”

The WWN started at the 2020 Connections Wargaming Conference. With aims to become a formal non-profit, the network comprises members from around the world including Australia, Turkey, the Netherlands and the UK. “The purpose of the WWN is to become a community for women interested in wargaming, to raise the profile of women in the profession and to find networking opportunities,” says Wong. “We need to continue to create opportunities that allow women to get involved and to grow the numbers.” Upcoming WWN events and the Connections Wargaming Connections Conference help Wong and others to do just that.

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. 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

For more information on the WWN, click the link above. Both IDA and the WWN are sponsors of the Derby House Principles on diversity and inclusion in professional wargaming.

Conducting a multi-week remote simulation: Reflections from the (simulated) Republic of China

The following report was prepared for PAXsims by Elizabeth Thomson, a MLitt candidate at St Andrews. Elizabeth is currently writing her dissertation On the Security Implications of Australia’s Discretionary Power as it Exists Between China and America’s Strategic Competition. She has a background in South-East Asian studies and Political Philosophy.  

For more detail on the simulation design, see this earlier post by by Felipe Cruvinel (St. Andrews).


Part I- Context

In the simulation, a shipwreck off the reefs of Pratas Island triggered territorial dispute between the People’ Republic of China (PRC) and the Republic of China (RoC, or Taiwan). Both governments wished to coordinate the search and rescue operations to maintain and assert authority over the territory in question. As the claims on sovereignty could shift Asia-Pacific politics and security the USA was interested in being an arbiter and equalizer to managing PRC and RoC relations. 

Three teams represented ‘active’ nations throughout the gameplay: PRC, RoC and USA. Each team of four players need to divide their team to fill specific roles (each team had a different number of players assigned each role to reflect the importance or dominance of that aspect within the different states): economic, executive, and military. Subsequently each position had its own debrief sheet of the role. In the RoC team, we distributed roles according to interest and background of the players. 

Part II- Bias

In this simulation I played the executive role for Taiwan, my objective was to achieve independence from the PRC. 

My team was comprised of individuals from Western (‘Global North’) nations.  I believe this impacted our play, as it was more ‘gung-ho’ in policy and policy execution than the current government in Taipei. We were more focused on achieving our objectives than considering long-term diplomatic relations with the PRC. This was possible due to the one-month timeframe of the simulation, and willingness to see ourselves as completely separate to mainland China. This attitude is culturally inaccurate,[1] as PRC and RoC both consider themselves Chinese. 

Furthermore, our team had a fair bit of leeway, which from a gaming perspective made the experience much more enjoyable as you will see in the following section. Yet, I wonder if we would have had the same scope of indulgence as a democratic state has. Whilst I know that the securitisation of situations can provide a sort of blank check to the government, I believe that we would have had to ultimately petition to the elected representatives in parliament for certain actions to be approved.  I have played simulations where actions were given a probability and Game Control would roll a pair of dice which dictated the success of a move.  A third-party factor to influence the game could have curbed some of the more ‘gung-ho’ actions, making the simulation more reflective of the state and its administrative structure. 

Part III- Play 

What was our policy? Our policy was to secure authority over the Pratas territory by sea, land, and air. What was our aim? Sovereignty. Sovereignty at all costs, for without sovereignty there is no survival.[2]

Throughout the simulation we reacted quickly to updates in order to control the narrative(s). To push back against the PRC’s enthusiastic attempts to collaborate in Search and Rescue missions, the RoC military established a Total Exclusion Zone (TEZ). This was made possible by negotiations with the USA to deploy minimal naval support. RoC and USA agreed that a physical reminder of the RoC-USA friendship was necessary to promote peaceful negotiations between PRC and RoC. 

Throughout the simulation the RoC was conscious of USA’s Taiwanese Relations Act 1979 (TRA79) Section 2b.1.[3]  We worked within the scope of this Act, negotiating USA military presence in RoC territorial waters to disincentives any PRC trespassing and subsequent occupation of RoC territory.

Additionally, while our military were engaged with securing the area, our economic representative engaged in Track II Diplomacy with the USA. They discussed a potential oil drilling partnership. This included converting some of our PRC imports/exports to the USA.   The economic department established a deal where the USA would compensate any loss of PRC. Additionally, the USA would provide infrastructure to drill and as compensation, they had claim to the first ‘x’ amount of dollars in oil, then the profits would be split evenly. In the event of PRC joining the oil deal, the percentages of cost of infrastructure would be reassessed and a deal would reflect individual contribution.

Yet, to avoid sharing profits and being coerced into a diplomatic relationship with the PRC, the RoC’s internal policy was to provoke the PRC into triggering the TRA79. Thus, creating ‘legitimate’ reasons to declare independence.

We [RoC] began by framing the PRC as the rogue government through phrasing such as ‘our mainland provinces…’. We devised initiatives such as a ‘National Democracy Day’ inviting the Dalai Lama as the recognised leader of Tibet to join. To place pressure on PRC resources and distract their concentration we attempted to open a second front. For this we sought a bilateral military training agreement with India to train in the Himalayan Mountains on the Tibetan border. 

Finally, Operation Oppenheimer[4], was crafted but not launched to reopen the nuclear facilities on Taiwan. RoC would have operated under the protection that they aren’t officially recognised by the United Nations[5]. By abusing a grey area concerning nuclear development programs, RoC hoped to initiate UN recognition. 

Part IV- Communications 

 The format of the game benefited not only the pandemic circumstances but contributed to the overall feel of the simulation.  Owing to the high-level security nature of the simulation it felt realistic to separate into our teams and negotiate strategy among members which could be communicated to the control in a ‘real time’, which is how governments would operate. 

Additionally, the freedom to negotiate between teams (sans The Control) allowed the players to benefit from track II diplomacy. This was beneficial as The Control, could exacerbate announcements much like the media discourses. Having another avenue to discuss hypotheticals and discuss terms made our progress towards a peaceful resolution possible.

Part V- Replay?

From an economic point of view, it could have been more challenging to face budgetary realities, such as a cap on the military spending on operations. The budget of each state could reflect the extent of the grey zone commitment each state was willing to be bound by. Additionally, it could have made the diplomacy much more creative within and between the teams. As the PRC objective to not fall into conflict meant that they chose to remain silent and ignored our (RoC) taunts which blatantly undermined the CCP. I am quite sure that Chairman Xi would have been more proactive towards our strategies. In addition to incorporating a dimension of chance, I believe that game would gain depth that could provoke the creative solutions to the regional context.  

Nevertheless, I would recommend the simulation as it provides an effective learning tool of the regional dynamic of the Asia-Pacific.  


References

[1] Hayton, B. 2020.Chapter 7, Territory, (in) The Invention of China. New Haven; London: Yale University Press. doi:10.2307/j.ctv17z8490.1

[2] Inspired by Sir Winston Churchill’s speech to the House of Commons, 10 May 1940.

[3] Taiwanese Relations Act (1979).

[4] Named after US nuclear scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer, the “father of the US atomic bomb.”

[5] 26th Session of the UN General Assembly, 25 October 1971.

Zenobia Award finalists

The eight finalists for the Zenobia Award have been announced, together with two honourable mentions.

The Zenobia Award is a competition among submitted historical tabletop game prototypes by designers from underrepresented groups (women, persons of color, and LGBTQ+ persons), with mentoring and industry exposure available to selectees and cash prizes and industry access benefits to the winners. 

Finalists have the opportunity to revise prototypes by 15 September for evaluation and selection of three winners 15 October.

Connections US 2021 Game Lab Report

Connections US 2021 Game Lab Report is now available

Game Lab is an opportunity for short (40 minute) small group discussions of specific gaming-related issues among Connections participants. Originally conceived and organized by Scott Chambers, they were a highly successful feature of past face-to-face Connections conferences. This year at Connections US twenty-five wargamers brainstormed ten topics using Zoom (of course) and ConceptBoard’s “infinite whiteboard” program.

Great Wargaming Survey 2021

Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy magazine is currently conducting the eight edition of their Great Wargaming Survey.

It’s a very useful source of data on the hobby, so if you’re a wargamer we encourage you to participate. Also, there is an opportunity for comments at the end, so you can share your ideas on diversity, inclusion, and growing the hobby!

You’ll find an archive of their previous survey results (and associated discussions) here.

Ottocon 2021 Gaming Convention

Tracy Johnson will be running a small gaming convention in Carlisle PA called “Ottocon” from 29 July through 1 Aug 2021.  The convention name is to honor Otto Schmidt, who ran the con (then blessed with the unimpressive name “The Weekend”) for many years before passing away a couple of years ago.

For full details click here.

All inquiries to Tracy Johnson <tracy@librem.one>

PAXsims research associates, 2021-22

We are pleased to announce the latest group of PAXsims research associates for 2021-22. Many thanks to everyone who applied—we had more applications than usual this time, and weren’t able to take everyone on board.

Alexandria ‘Lexee’ Brill is a second-year M.A. candidate at Georgetown’s Security Studies Program and works as a full-time wargaming analyst, specializing in scenario development and facilitation. Lexee came to wargaming through red teaming and threat analysis. She has games and gaming research in development covering topics from historical influence in Mao-era China to the role of internal biases in-game participation. In between work and studies, Lexee enjoys playing video games and hiking with her dog.

Benjamin Gaches is a PhD Candidate at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen attempting to answer the question ‘How can serious games and simulations be used to better understand the perpetration of grave international crimes?’, and a freelance instructional designer. He holds an LLM in International Humanitarian Law from the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, and a B.A. in Political Science and International Development Studies from McGill University. He participated in the development of several serious games for training while working for the UN Institute for Training and Research, and has recently begun running wargames and simulations as part of undergraduate courses on war in Groningen. His interests include role play for research and educational gaming, simulation and world building, international criminology and the psychology of mass violence.

Anne M. Johnson has worked in maritime security and defense for over 20 years.  She has served as systems software management lead and principal investigator for concept generation and development, assessments, futuring, and analytics across many areas of undersea warfare and maritime security.  Anne serves as the Group Mentoring Chair for the Conflict, Security, and Defense Special Interest Group of the International System Dynamics Society.  She is currently pursuing an Interdisciplinary Doctoral Degree in Systems and Simulation Science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.  Her research focus is at the intersection of system dynamics modeling and serious games to develop evaluation criteria for wargame design.

Drew Marriott is a gap year student and graduate of The Brearley School who hails from New York City. This year she is located in Washington, DC where she is exploring national security as a career. Outside of school or work, you can find her reading, playing the board game Diplomacy, or watching The West Wing.

Wargaming accuracy and the Official Secrets Act

A recent online debate over modelling of the Challenger 2 tank in the popular digital wargame War Thunder led one player—apparently, a British Army tank commander with the Royal Tank Regiment—to post the classified Challenger 2 Army Equipment Support Publication in an online forum to prove their point. According to UK Defence Journal:

…excerpts from the document had their ‘UK RESTRICTED’ label crossed out and a stamp of ‘UNCLASSIFIED’ added, as well as having various parts fully blanked. One forum user remarked that “the cover for instance had basically everything except CHALLENGER 2 blacked out”.

The forum user posted the following alongside the now removed AESP in an effort to have an issue with the in-game design of the vehicle rectified.

“Linking those screenshots with the following edited image from the AESP’s which is meant to show the relationship of the various components. The image isn’t exactly to scale as its only meant to show the position of components relative to each other but it works for the point I’m trying to make here. The trunnion’s sit centrally of the rotor. The trunnions support the rotor in the turret structure and the GCE sub components as previously stated are all mounted to the rotor.”

The (Russian) gaming company removed the images from their community forum, and a (non-Russian) discussion moderator noted:

“We have written confirmation from MoD that this document remains classified. By continuing to disseminate it you are in violation of the Official Secrets Act as stated by the warning on the cover of the document, an offence which can carry up to a 14 year prison sentence if prosecuted. Of this you are already aware, as a service person you have signed a declaration that you understand the act and what actions it compels you to take. Every time you post this you place us (International representatives of Gaijin), especially any UK citizens, in hot water as the warning so helpfully states that unauthorised retention of a protected document is an offence.”

The entire episode suggests a new form of intelligence collection: TROLLINT, whereby you goad wargamers with access to sensitive material into sharing classified specifications online by trash-talking their favourite weapons systems.

Phil Sabin’s wargame designs website!

Phil Sabin has just published a website containing descriptions, pictures and convenient download links for his growing range of games and conversions.

Visualising War on wargaming

The Visualising War project at the University of St. Andrews has recently featured two podcasts on wargaming.

Wargaming in a Brave New World (SE01 EP14, 4 July 2021)

How do crisis simulations help us understand strategy and decision-making processes?  Crisis simulation exercises can take many forms, from complex live wargame events to on-screen and multi-week crisis scenarios. What is the role and utility of crisis simulations in the understanding, teaching, and making of strategy? Can wargames be used as a predictive tool, or should their utility be centred around training purposes? How are wargames and simulations adapting to an increasingly online workspace? 

James Fielder, Founder, Liminal Operations and Adjunct Professor, Colorado State University

Dr James “Pigeon” Fielder teaches political science at Colorado State University, where he researches emergent political processes through tabletop, live-action, and digital gaming. He founded the corporate wargame consultancy Liminal Operations and writes for Evil Beagle Games. Find Pigeon at @j_d_fielder

Paul Vebber, Assistant Director, Wargaming and Future Warfare Research, US Navy

Paul Vebber is a lifelong hobby wargamer and co-founder of Matrix Games. He currently works for the US Navy as a civilian focused on wargaming in support of technology development and associated employment concepts.

Yuna Huh Wong, Defense Analyst, Institute for Defense Analyses

Dr Yuna Huh Wong is a defense analyst at the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) and adjunct professor at Georgetown University. At IDA she is currently involved in cyber wargames; as well as tabletop exercises and studies to support the Joint Staff. Find Yuna @YunaHuhWong

Felipe Cruvinel, PhD Candidate, School of International Relations, University of St Andrews

Felipe Cruvinel is a PhD candidate at St Andrews, currently writing a thesis on applying data analysis to counterinsurgency in Afghanistan. He designs and produces wargames and simulations for the school and undertakes tabletop design and hobby gaming in his own time. Find Felipe @FCruvi 

Let’s Play: War, From Rome’s Gladiators to Warhammer (SE01 EP15, 5 July 2021)

What are the cultural legacies of visualising war through wargames?  Wargames are not a new phenomenon; in military exercises, as tactical plays tested on maps and as entertainment spectacles, wargames have been with us from ancient times. Studying wargames allows us to better understand the fog of war, as well as giving us nuanced insights into the processes by which military strategy is visualised and drilled into the martial and civilian body. How do we game war? And what does the history of wargaming tell us about its use today?

Aggie Hirst, Senior Lecturer, Department of War Studies, King’s College London

Dr Aggie Hirst’s work focuses on international political theory and critical military studies. She is currently Principal Investigator on a Leverhulme Trust and British Academy funded research project exploring the US military’s use of wargames and simulations. 

Alice König, Senior Lecturer and co-lead of the ‘Visualising War’-project, University of St Andrews

Dr Alice König’s research is centred on intertextuality and socio-literary interactions, attitudes to and the transmission of expertise, science, and war. Currently, her focus is on the Visualising War Project, exploring how war narratives interact and form throughout history. Find Alice @KonigAlice

Aristidis A. Foley, PhD Candidate, School of International Relations, University of St Andrews

Aris Foley’s research combines political and critical theories with dystopian literature, exploring the notion of Critical Dystopianism. He is an avid painter of wargame models, a hobby which has engaged him for 18 years. Find Aris @ares_miniatures

Katarina H.S. Birkedal, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Classics, University of St Andrews

Dr Katarina Birkedal’s work focuses on the politics of storytelling. Her research centres an embrace of interdisciplinarity and multiplicity, of voices and approaches. She is currently working on bridging disciplinary silos to further our understanding of war stories and their social and cultural impact. Find Katarina @Kat_in_a_Birch

You can find a full list of these and all other episodes at the link above.

Thank you to our supporters

We don’t thank our Patreon supporters often enough, so I thought I would post one. Thanks! Your donations cover the costs of our WordPress account and other basic expenses. PAXsims is a volunteer operation that runs on a shoestring, but you certainly provide our string.

If you want to consider a monthly donation, you’ll find our Patreon page here.

If you’re a current Patreon supporter and would like some complimentary Derby House Principles pins, drop me an email with your mailing address and phone number and we’ll send a few your way.

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