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Category Archives: simulation and gaming publications

Recent simulation and gaming publications, December 2019

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PAXsims is pleased to present a selection of recently-published items on simulation and serious gaming. Some of these may not address conflict, peacebuilding, or development issues at all, but have been included because of the broader perspective they offer on games-based education or analysis.

Articles may be gated/paywalled and not accessible without subscription access to the publication in which they appear.


Shahar Avin, Ross Gruetzemacher, and James Fox, “Exploring AI Futures Through Role Play,” Proceedings of the 2020 AAAI/ACM Conference on AI, Ethics, and Society (AIES ’20), Feb. 7-8, 2020.

We present an innovative methodology for studying and teaching the impacts of AI through a role-play game. The game serves two primary purposes: 1) training AI developers and AI policy professionals to reflect on and prepare for future social and ethical challenges related to AI and 2) exploring possible futures involving AI technology development, deployment, social impacts, and governance. While the game currently focuses on the inter-relations between short-, mid- and long- term impacts of AI, it has potential to be adapted for a broad range of scenarios, exploring in greater depths issues of AI policy research and affording training within organizations. The game presented here has undergone two years of development and has been tested through over 30 events involving between 3 and 70 participants. The game is under active development, but preliminary findings suggest that role-play is a promising methodology for both exploring AI futures and training individuals and organizations in thinking about, and reflecting on, the impacts of AI and strategic mistakes that can be avoided today.


Agostino G. Bruzzone and Robert Sottile, eds., The 9th International Defence and Homeland Security Simulation Workshop (2019).

[conference proceedings]


Christian Dayé, “Negotiating Rules for the Game: Political Games at RAND, 1954–1956,” in  Experts, Social Scientists, and Techniques of Prognosis in Cold War America (Springer, 2019).

This chapter describes the second approach to expert prognosis developed at RAND, political gaming. Conceived by members of RAND’s Social Science Division, among them Herbert Goldhamer, Hans Speier, and Paul Kecskemeti, political gaming had experts form groups to represent political decision-makers. These groups had to react to a pregiven scenario, and their reactions were aggregated by the game leaders to form the basis for the next round.

At RAND, this approach to gaming formed both an addition and an alternative to a more dominant approach of strategy analysis, game theory, and game-theoretic modeling. The chapter thus first briefly sketches the development of game theory and then proceeds to describe the four rounds of political gaming that were carried out by RAND’s Social Science Division.


Ralph “Dinz” Dinsley and Christopher J. Newman, “Focusing the Space Law Games: Overcoming Operational and Legal Barriers to Space Situational Awareness,” Advanced Maui Optical and Space Surveillance Technologies Conference (2019).

Over the last decade, there has been a significant increase in the orbital population. The licensing of a number of large constellations means that this is set to increase dramatically. A significant number of technical advances have facilitated this and, this has been matched by an increased policy focus on the need for increased space surveillance and tracking, culminating in 2018 for the USA, in Space Presidential Directive 3. The rise of mega- constellations and other innovations, such as active debris removal or on-orbit servicing procedures means ever more data of space is going to be needed to keep track of the increasing burden placed on the orbital environment. The provision of corroborated information which removes as much ambiguity as possible about the position of objects in orbit is crucial to both safe and sustainable satellite operations. Yet, despite this pressing need, there are considerable barriers that exist to obtaining a more complete picture of this information.

This paper will outline these problems in detail. It will be proposed that what is required is both codification of the norms for safe sustainable satellite operations and clarity on protocols for evidence gathering in cases where a collision has resulted in damage to a space asset and fault may be an issue. This discussion will identify that a way in which this could be achieved is by the use of “space law games”, which will utilize established military wargaming methodology whereby complex fictional scenarios could highlight some of the key operational and legal issues that might need to be dealt with. Perla (1990: p.23) suggests the integration of realism and playability in a delicate balancing act designed to achieve a well-understood and well-chosen objective is a key. The paper will outline some of the ways in which the space law games might work and pose questions as to what data and other considerations will be needed to make such simulations meaningful. By identifying the data gaps in the fictional ‘law game’ scenario will help locate possible areas of enhancement in space surveillance and tracking capacity to support future SSA.


Per-Idar Evensen, Marius Halsør, Svein Erlend Martinussen, Dan Helge Bentsen, “Wargaming Evolved: Methodology and Best Practices for Simulation-Supported Wargaming,” Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (I/ITSEC), 2019.

When developing and assessing future force structures, wargaming is a key activity for better understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the force structures. Today simulation systems let us create synthetic environments that to a high degree replicate the physical properties of the real world for these wargames. Furthermore, advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and behavior modeling has given us more realistic computer-generated forces (CGF) that can execute battle drills and lower level tactics with a fairly high degree of realism. However, at the higher levels of the chain of command, AI has not yet replaced human leadership, and planning and conducting simulated operations require participation of officers.

For more than a decade, the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) has supported the Norwegian Army with conducting wargames for capability planning, with varying degree of simulation support. Throughout this period, the wargames have evolved from what can be described as computer-assisted wargames towards more realistic simulation-supported wargames. Moreover, to get a closer understanding of the deterrent effect of the force structures, which may not be observable when monitoring the actual gameplay, our emphasis has also shifted towards replicating the planning process more properly, and especially on monitoring the planning process of the opposing force. For example, it has been important to find out to what extent specific structure elements discourage the opposing force from taking certain actions.

In this paper, we describe our evolved methodology for simulation-supported wargaming, which includes a preparation phase, a gaming and execution phase, including a planning process, and an analysis phase. Furthermore, we discuss what type of data and results we are able to extract from the wargaming sessions, and present a set of best practices for how to conduct successful simulation-supported wargames.


Andreas Haggman, “Cyber Wargaming: Finding, Designing, and Playing Wargames for Cyber Security Education,” PhD thesis, Royal Holloway, University of London (February 2019).

This thesis investigates, and contributes to, the use of wargaming in cyber security education. Wargaming has a rich history of pedagogic use, but little work exists that addresses the critically important subject of cyber security. Cyber security is a global problem that frequently makes news headlines, yet the field is dogged with a reputation as a domain only for technologists, when in fact cyber security requires a whole gamut of approaches to be properly understood.

The thesis is broadly divided into three parts. The first part is a comprehensive literature review of wargaming scholarship, analysing the benefits and drawbacks of wargaming, and some of the justifications for why a tabletop boardgame may be more effective than a game enhanced by technology. Following on from this, the thesis provides an outline of current work in cyber wargaming by analysing existing games, evaluating their contributions as educational tools, and identifying successful game mechanics and components.

The second part of the thesis outlines the design process of an original wargame created for cyber security education and awareness training. The analysis outlines what the game design intends to achieve in terms of pedagogical outcomes and how the design evolved through the development process. In this part some methodological considerations around the research are also analysed, including how the thesis uses grounded theory and ethnography as academic underpinnings, and issues around the researcher’s positionality during fieldwork.

The final part of the thesis reports on the deployment of the original game to a wide variety of organisations. Both quantitative and qualitative data is analysed to ascertain what players learned from playing the game and evaluates the effectiveness of the game by comparing it to previous theoretical findings. Finally, the researcher’s experiences of conducting the thesis are evaluated with close reference to the identified methodological considerations.


Philip Hammond and Holger Pötzsch, eds., War Games: Memory, Militarism and the Subject of Play (Bloomsbury, 2019).

Many of today’s most commercially successful videogames, from Call of Duty to Company of Heroes, are war-themed titles that play out in what are framed as authentic real-world settings inspired by recent news headlines or drawn from history. While such games are marketed as authentic representations of war, they often provide a selective form of realism that eschews problematic, yet salient aspects of war. In addition, changes in the way Western states wage and frame actual wars makes contemporary conflicts increasingly resemble videogames when perceived from the vantage point of Western audiences.

This interdisciplinary volume brings together scholars from games studies, media and cultural studies, politics and international relations, and related fields to examine the complex relationships between military-themed videogames and real-world conflict, and to consider how videogames might deal with history, memory, and conflict in alternative ways. It asks: What is the role of videogames in the formation and negotiation of cultural memory of past wars? How do game narratives and designs position the gaming subject in relation to history, war and militarism? And how far do critical, anti-war/peace games offer an alternative or challenge to mainstream commercial titles?


Glennn Moy and Slava Shekh, “The Application of AlphaZero to Wargaming,” AI 2019: Advances in Artificial Intelligence (2019).

In this paper, we explore the process of automatically learning to play wargames using AlphaZero deep reinforcement learning. We consider a simple wargame, Coral Sea, which is a turn-based game played on a hexagonal grid between two players. We explore the differences between Coral Sea and traditional board games, where the successful use of AlphaZero has been demonstrated. Key differences include: problem representation, wargame asymmetry, limited strategic depth, and the requirement for significant hardware resources. We demonstrate how bootstrapping AlphaZero with supervised learning can overcome these challenges. In the context of Coral Sea, this enables AlphaZero to learn optimal play and outperform the supervised examples on which it was trained.


Dan Öberg, “Exercising war: How tactical and operational modelling shape and reify military practice,” Security Dialogue, first published 19 December 2019.

This article analyzes how contemporary military training and exercises shape and reify specific modalities of war. Historically, military training has shifted from being individual- and experience-oriented, towards becoming modelled into exercise environments and practices. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with military officers, exercise controllers, and war-game designers, the article distinguishes between tactical training, characterized by military functions embodied through weapon platforms in a demarcated battlespace, and operational training, characterized by administrative and organizational processes embodied through self-referential staff routines. As military exercises integrate the tactical and operational dimensions into a model for warfare, they serve as blueprints for today’s battles at the same time as they perpetuate a martial viewpoint of the world. As a result, preparations for potential future conflicts constitute a fertile ground for apprehending the becoming of war.


Jon Saklofske, Alyssa Arbuckle, Jon Bath, Feminist War Games?: Mechanisms of War, Feminist Values, and Interventional Games (Routledge, 2019).

Feminist War Games? explores the critical intersections and collisions between feminist values and perceptions of war, by asking whether feminist values can be asserted as interventional approaches to the design, play, and analysis of games that focus on armed conflict and economies of violence.

Focusing on the ways that games, both digital and table-top, can function as narratives, arguments, methods, and instruments of research, the volume demonstrates the impact of computing technologies on our perceptions, ideologies, and actions. Exploring the compatibility between feminist values and systems of war through games is a unique way to pose destabilizing questions, solutions, and approaches; to prototype alternative narratives; and to challenge current idealizations and assumptions. Positing that feminist values can be asserted as a critical method of design, as an ideological design influence, and as a lens that determines how designers and players interact with and within arenas of war, the book addresses the persistence and brutality of war and issues surrounding violence in games, whilst also considering the place and purpose of video games in our cultural moment.

Feminist War Games? is a timely volume that questions the often-toxic nature of online and gaming cultures. As such, the book will appeal to a broad variety of disciplinary interests, including sociology, education, psychology, literature, history, politics, game studies, digital humanities, media and cultural studies, and gender studies, as well as those interested in playing, or designing, socially engaged games.

Review: Longley-Brown, Successful Professional Wargames (2019)

The following review was contributed to PAXsims by Ben Taylor.


Graham Longley-Brown, Successful Professional Wargames; A Practitioner’s Handbook (History of Wargaming Project, 2019). £21.95 paperback. Kindle version also available.

This book is a valuable addition to the professional wargamer’s library. If this was just a compendium of the best practices from the viewpoint of Graham Longley-Brown, master wargamer, driving force behind the Connections UK conference and all-round good egg, then it would be a worthwhile investment. This book is actually far more than that.

SPWcoverThe book was written in parallel to the UK MOD’s Defence Wargaming Handbook (reviewed on PAXsims here) with the intention of providing an expanded practitioner’ guide to those tasked with actually designing and delivering games. Wargaming stakeholders who need to know what a wargame is and why they should want one only need the shorter volume. For those tasked with putting the message into practice this new volume rehearses similar ideas and arguments but with more detailed thoughts and copious practical guidance. This common alignment is important because if your boss has a copy of the Wargaming Handbook and is looking motivated to get some wargaming done, then there is nothing in the Practitioner’s Handbook will contradict anything that the boss is expecting!

While Graham Longley-Brown has many years of experience in wargaming with the British military he took the decision to not limit his new book to his own perspectives and ideas. A supporting cast of experts have been included, each making niche contributions. The guest list reads like a who’s who of the core community that the Connections UK meetings are built around. Indeed PAXsims had to really scrape the bottom of the barrel to find a reviewer who was not a contributing author to this volume.

The book is divided into four parts. These address in turn wargaming fundamentals, the conditions for successful wargames, the wargame development lifecycle and practicing successful wargames.  In short these combine to illustrate the why, what and how of modern professional wargames. This is very much a resource to dip into, rather than to read cover-to-cover. At over 450 pages there is an awful lot of detail but it is very well structured and set out so that the reader can dive into any section and glean useful advice in support of their own efforts. That said, I did find the layout a little confusing in paces. In some areas there are lots of subheadings, quotes and inset verbatim text from the Wargaming Handbook which make the document feel a little fractured. In addition the guest contributors have contributed a mix of stand-alone paragraphs or chapters-within-chapters which contribute to the sense of fragmentation. Taken as a whole the book is an excellent resource, even if opening to a page at random can sometimes be a bit confusing. Starting at the beginning of a section and reading through the advice that Graham and his guest contributors have assembled on a topic in sequence is definitely the way to go.

In conclusion, this book captures very well the state of the art in professional military wargaming in the UK. If you are interested in designing or running smaller-scale games and/or games outside of the military environment then some elements of the book may be of less immediate value. This is after all the handbook for professionals running professional games.  That said, whatever kind of game you design or play you can’t fail to find something insightful and inspiring in this book.

Ben Taylor

 


 

UPDATE. Graham Longley-Brown sent on some comments, which I’ve appended to the review so everyone is sure to see them.

Hi Ben, and thank you for your kind words. I’d like to add a comment and make an offer to anyone wondering whether to buy the book.

First, although the book is inevitably written from my UK perspective, I’ve done all I can to include contributions from around the world, so I’d push back slightly at the implication that the book offers a UK-centric view. Indeed, all contributed chapters were from US folk and a Canadian (Rex 😊). Many of the points I make are indeed sourced from Connections UK, but that conference encompasses a truly international family. I attribute comments where I can, but much else of what I consider to be best practice I have picked up from fantastic international speakers at Connections UK and elsewhere.

Second, I agree wholeheartedly that the book should be dipped in to, but chapters read from their beginning. Respecting all the different perspectives offered by contributors and advice from reviewers and commentators led to a large amount of sometimes overlapping information that could be difficult to prise apart. If anyone asks, I will gladly send them the mind maps I used to structure the overall book and each chapter (or post them here if Rex thinks that appropriate). These show the contents and structure of each chapter at a glance, as you can see below.Contents v7.7.jpg

Chapter 2. What is a wargame.jpg

Finally, thanks to Ben and Rex for making the – considerable! – time to review the book. Successful Professional Wargames is an attempt to spread best practice and stimulate debate, so it’s great to see it on PAXsims, which is so effective in doing the same thing.


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Connections US Wargaming Conference 2019 Proceedings

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The Proceedings of the 2019 Connections US Wargaming Conference is now available thanks to Mark Leno, Wargame Analyst, Department of Strategic Wargaming at the US Army War College.

Recent simulation and gaming publications, November 2019

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PAXsims is pleased to present a selection of recently-published items on simulation and serious gaming. Some of these may not address conflict, peacebuilding, or development issues at all, but have been included because of the broader perspective they offer on games-based education or analysis.

Articles may be gated/paywalled and not accessible without subscription access to the publication in which they appear.


Leila Demarest and Róisín Smith, “Managing Expectations? The Opportunities and Limitations of e-Learning Applications in Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding Training,” Journal of Peacebuilding and Development, 14, 3 (December 2019).

In recent decades, governmental and non-governmental organisations have increased the number and scale of Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding (CPPB) activities in conflict-affected countries. This development has also led to an increase in personnel in these organisations, posing challenges for staff training. In response, many organisations are looking at e-learning applications to provide cost-effective training at a broad geographical scale. Online courses and “serious games” have in particular received interest in recent years. In this article, we discuss the opportunities and limitations of such applications for CPPB training. We argue that they face challenges in contributing to skills and knowledge development but emphasise nevertheless that these challenges are similar to those faced by current classroom training initiatives. The potential of technology should not be exaggerated, yet digital applications can broaden the scope of participation and professionalization in CPPB activities to a wider range of (non-Western) actors.


Emanuel Deutschmann, Jan Lorenz, Luis G. Nardin, Davide Natalini, and Adalbert F. X. Wilhelm, eds, Computational Conflict Research (SpringerOpen, 2019).

Conflict, from small-scale verbal disputes to large-scale violent war between nations, is one of the most fundamental elements of social life and a central topic in social science research. The main argument of this book is that computational approaches have enormous potential to advance conflict research, e.g., by making use of the ever-growing computer processing power to model complex conflict dynamics, by drawing on innovative methods from simulation to machine learning, and by building on vast quantities of conflict-related data that emerge at unprecedented scale in the digital age. Our goal is (a) to demonstrate how such computational approaches can be used to improve our understanding of conflict at any scale and (b) to call for the consolidation of computational conflict research as a unified field of research that collectively aims to gather such insights. We first give an overview of how various computational approaches have already impacted on conflict research and then guide through the different chapters that form part of this book. Finally, we propose to map the field of computational conflict research by positioning studies in a two-dimensional space depending on the intensity of the analyzed conflict and the chosen computational approach.


Yong Hwan Kim, Yong Seung Song, Chang Ouk Kim, “A Study on the Interoperability of ROK Air Force Virtual and Constructive Simulation,” Journal of the Korea Society for Simulation 28, 2 (2019).

LVC (Live-Virtual-Constructive) training system is drawing attention due to changes in battlefield situation and the development of advanced information and communication technologies. The ROKAF(Republic of Korea Air Force) plans to construct LVC training system capable of scientific training. This paper analyzes the results of V-C interoperability test with three fighter simulators as virtual systems and a theater-level wargame model as a constructive system. The F-15K, KF-16, and FA-50 fighter simulators, which have different interoperable methods, were converted into a standard for simulation interoperability. Using the integrated field environment simulator, the fighter simulators established a mutually interoperable environment. In addition, the Changgong model, which is the representative training model of the Air Force, was converted to the standard for simulation interoperability, and the integrated model was implemented with optimized interoperability performance. Throughput experiments, It was confirmed that the fighter simulators and the war game model of the ROKAF could be interoperable with each other. The results of this study are expected to be a good reference for the future study of the ROKAF LVC training system.


Lawrence D. Johnson, Assessment of Learning Styles, Perceptions of Experiential Learning, and Satisfaction of Adults regarding a Learning Game, PhD thesis, Johnson & Wales University, August 2019.

Tradition holds the mission of higher education to be three-fold: teaching, research, and service, with overarching emphasis on learning (O’Banion, 2010). Increasingly, institutions of higher education are searching for ways to improve the delivery of knowledge to students and, as a delivery mechanism, learning games are currently in vogue (Sabin, 2012; Ulicsak & Wright, 2010). Because half of college students are adult learners (NCES, 2018), higher education institutions must acknowledge this fact and seek ways to support and encourage adult students. The confluence in higher education of learning games with adult learners was the context for the study. Give that most learning game studies have examined learning outcomes (Sitzmann, 2011; Weigel, 2013), this study focused on adult game-based learning by exploring if relationships existed between and among learning styles and demographics, and experiential aspects of and satisfaction with a game.

This mixed-methods, sequential, explanatory, dominantly quantitative study assessed adults’ learning styles and perceptions of experiential aspects of a game, based on Kolb’s theory (1984, 2015), and the characteristics and satisfaction of adults who participated in a learning game. The sample was drawn from adult learners at a U.S. military graduate education institution. Data were collected from game-playing adults who completed a learning style inventory (N = 48), an experiential aspects and satisfaction questionnaire (N = 41), and interviews with volunteers (N = 11). Data analyses used appropriate statistical and theme- identifying methods, and the results were converged supporting comparison and contrast.

The study found alignment among learning styles, experiential aspects, and satisfaction, with Abstract Conceptualization and Active Experimentation (Kolb, 2015) emerging as the preferred learning styles. For demographic characteristics, only age was significantly related to learning styles. Utility of the game surfaced as the most important component of satisfaction, whereas immersion was a key requirement for satisfaction regarding the game experience.

The findings resulted in recommendations that are potentially useful to higher education leaders responsible for curriculum policy-making and practice, to designers of learning games for adults, and to institutional leaders concerned with the attraction and retention of adult students.


Anique Kuijpers, Heide Lukosch, Alexander Verbraeck, “Exploring a Mixed Method Approach: Simulation Games and Q Methodology,” International Conference on Games and Learning Alliance, November 2019.

In this paper we explore the possibilities to combine two research methods we regard as being very useful when interacting with stakeholders in complex systems. We discuss a mixed research methods approach, based on the Q methodology and a simulation game. In a game design process, translating the real or reference system into the game design is an intricate process and rather challenging due to the complexity of today’s societal systems. As shown by various studies, different data techniques are proposed in order to translate reality aspects. One of the proposed data gathering techniques in combination with simulation games is Q methodology. Q methodology is a suitable method to retrieve social perspectives of stakeholders on a particular topic. Yet it is still elusive how the results of a Q methodology can be used in a game design process. In this paper, we explore the possibilities how to combine the two methods and how to translate the results of the Q analysis into a game design concept. In the context of a case within the domain of transport and logistics, we discuss how such mixed research methods approach could look like. We conclude with a future outlook on our research.


Roni Linser, “The Player-Role Nexus and Student Engagement in Higher Education Online Role Play Simulation Games.” In S. Carliner (ed.), Proceedings of E-Learn: World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education (2019). 

While there is no lack of Literature on role-play, there is a lack of empirical based studies. Further, what it is about role plays that makes them engaging educational tools is far from clear. The present paper argues that the structural properties of roles, and the players’ preferences/assessments are two contributing factors in explaining student engagement. The paper is part of a larger exploratory study on the structural components of role plays and their properties in relation to motivation and engagement. This paper focuses on the structural properties of roles (i.e. the way roles are constructed) in role plays, the players preferences and evaluation of these roles and their correlation to student engagement in different higher education institutions and in different areas of study. It uses both student perceptions and preferences gathered by questionnaire and quantitative data analytics to examine a limited number of structural properties in relation to student engagement with Multi Player Online Role Play Simulation Games (MORPSGs) for learning in higher education.


Mauricio Meschoulam,  Andrea Muhech,  Tania Naanous,  Sofía Quintanilla,  Renata Aguilar, Jorge Ochoa,  Cristobal Rodas, “The Complexity of Multilateral Negotiations: Problem or Opportunity? A Qualitative Study of Five Simulations with Mexican Students,” International Studies Perspectives 20, 3 (August 2019).

Education in International Relations requires continual evolution. One approach is the use of negotiation simulations for complex issues. Despite the extensive literature on the subject, there is a lack of qualitative research on this approach, particularly in Latin America and Mexico. This paper presents the findings of a qualitative research on five simulations with Mexican students. The five exercises were characterized by the application of elements that are not usually included in traditional simulations, such as a multiweek phase of prior negotiations, the use of Twitter, the introduction of nonstate actors, a gala dinner, and a continuous feed of real world news. We investigated 118 participants through 30 in depth interviews analyzed with NVivo, a systematized analysis of 118 reports, documents and tweets, and a pre-post questionnaire applied to the fifth group. The results in the five simulations were highly positive. The students reported a greater awareness of the complexity of international negotiations. Such awareness can present both a risk and an opportunity: a risk because those circumstances caused discouragement and frustration in many participants, and an opportunity because those same circumstances, properly channeled, triggered parallel skills, and creative thinking. Therefore, the role of the facilitation team was fundamental.


Paul Schuurman, “A Game of Contexts: Prussian-German Professional Wargames and the Leadership Concept of Mission Tactics 1870–1880,” War in History (online first November 2019).

Professional wargames (Kriegsspiele) had been adopted by the Prussian army at the start of the nineteenth century. They received a major boost after the Prussian successes during the German Wars of Unifications (1864–70) and were subsequently introduced by the armies of other European powers, the United States and Japan. They continued to play a vital role in the twentieth century, and all major German campaigns during the First and Second World Wars were prepared by wargames. I provide a descriptive analysis of the main forms of Prussian-German wargames during the key decade between 1870 and 1880. I then argue that the success of German wargames can be understood in the context of the military concept of mission tactics (Auftragstaktik). I will show how both wargames and mission tactics were driven in their turn by the even wider context of technological revolution in the fields of firearms and railway transport. I will argue that these contexts ushered forth professional wargames along an initially tenuous trajectory, before they became a key instrument in training and planning for war in the hands of the Great General Staff of the Prussian and hence the German army.

Michael A Stoto, Normand LeBlanc, Nellie Darling, Julia Gasior, Mikaela Harmsen, Casey Zipfel, “A Century of Influenza: Is the World Prepared for the Next Pandemic?” Georgetown Journal of International Affairs 20 (Fall 2019).

…In order to apply findings from research and to gain further insight into possible responses to a global pandemic in the 21st century, we conducted a simulation exercise of a hypothetical, but realistic, pandemic influenza today. Approximately thirty Georgetown medical, graduate, and undergraduate students played the roles of global, national, and local officials as well as medical advisors responding to a pandemic. The exercise included two phases, each of which ended with a presentation by the student participants to a panel of “decision-makers” from public health and other sectors. The simulation highlighted several areas that were key to the simulation, that would likely also arise in the case of an influenza pandemic today: identifying epidemiological characteristics of the novel pandemic strain, coordinating globally in accord with the International Health Regulations, implementing a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, applying non-pharmaceutical interventions, assessing availability and distribution of medical countermeasures, maintaining standards of care in a crisis, and communicating risk information locally.


Marcin Wardaszko, ed, Simulation & Gaming: Through and Across Disciplines, ISAGA 50th annual conference proceedings (Kozminski University, 2019).

[A collection of 76 papers accepted for the ISAGA 2019 conference.]


Woo-Sup Yoon and Jeong-Cheon Seo, “A Study on Effective Discussion Based Training Applying to Army War-game Process in Disaster Response Safety Korea Training,” Journal of the Society of Disaster Information 15, 3 (2019).

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to present a method for effectively conducting discussion-based training in disaster response safety training. Method: To this end, we analyzed the disaster response training of developed countries and suggested the training scenarios by applying the war-game process that is currently applied in the operation planning of our military. Result: In one disaster situation, several contingencies could be identified, and supplementary requirements for the manual could be derived. Conclusion: Therefore, in conclusion, if the military war-game process is applied to the discussion-based training in disaster response safety training, effective training can be carried out.


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A Game Of Birds And Wolves

9780316492089.jpgSimon Parkin’s new book on the Western Approaches Tactical Unit, A Game of Bird and Wolveswas published in the UK last week by Sceptre.

The triumphant story of a group of young women who helped devised a winning strategy to defeat the Nazi U-boats and deliver a decisive victory in the Battle of the Atlantic

By 1941, Winston Churchill had come to believe that the outcome of World War II rested on the battle for the Atlantic. A grand strategy game was devised by Captain Gilbert Roberts and a group of ten Wrens (members of the Women’s Royal Naval Service) assigned to his team in an attempt to reveal the tactics behind the vicious success of the German U-boats. Played on a linoleum floor divided into painted squares, it required model ships to be moved across a make-believe ocean in a manner reminiscent of the childhood game, Battleship. Through play, the designers developed “Operation Raspberry,” a countermaneuver that helped turn the tide of World War II.

Combining vibrant novelistic storytelling with extensive research, interviews, and previously unpublished accounts, Simon Parkin describes for the first time the role that women played in developing the Allied strategy that, in the words of one admiral, “contributed in no small measure to the final defeat of Germany.” Rich with unforgettable cinematic detail and larger-than-life characters, A Game of Birds and Wolves is a heart-wrenching tale of ingenuity, dedication, perseverance, and love, bringing to life the imagination and sacrifice required to defeat the Nazis at se

The book will be released in North America in January by Little, Brown.

In the meantime, you can read Paul Strong’s excellent analytical paper, “Wargaming the Atlantic War: Captain Gilbert Roberts and the Wrens of the Western Approaches Tactical Unit” (2017). See also last year’s recreation of a WATU wargame at the Western Approaches museum by staff from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, the Royal Navy, the Royal Canadian Navy, and PAXsims.


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New wargaming book hits the shelves

It’s been a good year for wargaming books.

First was Matt Caffrey’s On Wargaming: How Wargames Have Shaped History and How They May Shape the Future available as a free download from the US Navy College Press

Now we have from the other side of the Atlantic Graham Longley-Brown’s Successful Professional Wargames; A Practitioner’s Handbook, published by the History of Wargaming Project. There is also a Kindle version available from Amazon.


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RAND: Nuclear weapons and deterring Russian threats to the Baltics

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Last month RAND released a report examining—in part, through wargaming—whether nonstrategic nuclear weapons use might deter a Russian attack against Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The study, Exploring the Role Nuclear Weapons Could Play in Deterring Russian Threats to the Baltic Stateswas prepared by Paul Davis, J. Michael Gilmore, David Frelinger, Edward Geist, Christopher Gilmore, Jenny Oberholtzer, and Danielle Tarraf.

Despite its global advantages, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)’s current deterrent posture in the Baltic states is militarily weak and generally questionable. A Russian invasion there would almost surely capture some or all of those states’ capital cities within a few days, presenting NATO with a fait accompli. The United States is currently considering tailored deterrence strategies, including options to use nuclear weapons to deter Russian aggression in the Baltic states. This report examines what role nonstrategic nuclear weapons could play in deterring such an invasion. As part of that analysis, the authors review relevant deterrence theory and current NATO and Russian nuclear and conventional force postures in Europe. They draw on wargame exercises and qualitative modeling to characterize the potential outcomes if NATO, Russia, or both employ nonstrategic nuclear weapons during a war in the Baltic states. The authors then discuss implications for using such weapons to deter a Russian invasion. The insights derived from the research highlight the reality that, even if NATO makes significant efforts to modernize its nonstrategic nuclear weapons, it would have much stronger military incentives to end a future war than Russia would. That is, Russia would still enjoy escalation dominance.

Readers might also want to review the 2016 report by David A. Shlapak and Michael Johnson on Reinforcing Deterrence on NATO’s Eastern Flank.


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Recent simulation and gaming publications, October 2019

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PAXsims is pleased to present a selection of recently-published items on simulation and serious gaming. Some of these may not address peacebuilding, conflict, or development issues at all, but have been included because of the broader perspective they offer on games-based education or analysis.

Articles may be gated/paywalled and not accessible without subscription access to the publication in which they appear.


Mislat Safar Almuqati, Nurazmallail Marni,The Role of War Game in Educating and Training the Commanders,Umran: International Journal of Islamic and Civilisational Studies (2019).

The war game is considered to be the most effective means of military training due to the fact that it simulates the reality since it provides a semi-real picture of the weapons and equipment used in the training. Consequently, it provides the trainee with the appropriate environment to freely deal with such weapons as well as military equipment which in turn help the trainee become acquainted with all aspects of use and significantly instill confidence in him when such equipment are actually needed in war.  More importantly, war game provides environment similar to what is going on in the actual battlefields allowing the commanders to exercise the training as if they were in a real war. Based on this perspective, the war game has emerged as an advanced training means which provides an analogy of the battle atmosphere to a great extent and gives commanders the opportunity to make decisions. It also helps in providing the commanders with a future view which enables them to plan their future and to deal with any challenges they might encounter.  In fact, the role of war play is not only limited to training, but also extends to the aspects of military education, preparation, and development. The notion of war game is not only a means for the commander to have knowledge about the war before it occurs so as to be able to realize whether the decisions taken are right or wrong, but also it has become an effective means on which the armies depend when they train and polish the commanders’ capabilities as well as skills. In fact, the concept of war play is not exclusive to the military field but also it is employed by all agencies and departments that require a future vision in training or planning. This paper sheds some light on the notion of war game and its role in training and educating the commanders and staff.


Elizabeth Bartels, “The Science of Wargames: A discussion of philosophies of science for research games,” paper presented at the workshop on War Gaming and Implications for International Relations Research, July 2019.

[No abstract]


Richard Frank and Jessica Genauer, “A Classroom Simulation of the Syrian Conflict,” PS: Political Science & Politics 52, 4 (October 2019).

This article describes a semester-long classroom simulation of the Syrian conflict designed for an introductory international relations (IR) course. The simulation culminates with two weeks of multi-stakeholder negotiations addressing four issues: humanitarian aid, economic sanctions, ceasefire, and political transition. Students randomly play one of 15 roles involving three actor types: states, non-state actors, and international organizations. This article outlines the costs and benefits of simulation design options toward encouraging students’ understanding of IR concepts, and it proposes a course plan for tightly integrating lectures, readings, assessment, and simulation—regardless of class size or length. We highlight this integration through a discussion of two weeks’ worth of material—domestic politics and war, and non-state actors—and the incorporation of bargaining concepts and frameworks into the two weeks of simulated multi-stakeholder negotiations.


Paul Hancock. Jonathan Saunders, Steffi Davey, Tony Day, Babak Akhgar, “ATLAS: Preparing Field Personnel for Crisis Situations,” Serious Games for Enhancing Law Enforcement Agencies (2019).

ATLAS (Advanced Training, Learning and Scenario Simulator) is a serious game that was developed in conjunction with an intergovernmental organisation to deliver bespoke training simulations in virtual reality to assist field personnel in making decisions in difficult situations during field operations. This chapter describes the concept of ATLAS and the developmental process that led to the full-fledged game.


Erin Maudlin and Jeremiah Sanders, “Using Wargames To Teach The Critical Analysis Of Historical Sources,” Critical & Creative Thinking Conference (2019). (Text not available.)

This presentation describes the use of a wargame to actively involve students in the historical method through the creation of “primary sources” they later use to write an analytical paper. This assignment has been used at different universities in history courses to great success. Professional historians must analyze a host of often conflicting sources about their subject written by biased humans. While the reading about the historical process and visiting with archivists are helpful, these are nevertheless passive forms of learning, and their lessons may not adhere. Students often continue to view primary sources as authoritative in their research, and fail to think critically about bias in archival documents. With this assignment, students actively create and participate in an historical event—the wargame—which is essentially capture the flag with water balloons. Then, students create primary sources, such as letters home, “newspaper” reports, etc., and use this “archive” to write a cogent, analytical research paper of the event itself. The wargame makes the historical process transparent for students, as they can see every step along the way of how historians practice their craft: they experience the chaotic event itself; they participate in the creation of the primary sources about the event; and they have to evaluate the often conflicting sources in order to offer their interpretation as to why one team won or lost the battle. In other words, they have to “impose order on the chaos” of evidence about their historical event.


Andrea Redhead, “Gamification and Simulation,” Serious Games for Enhancing Law Enforcement Agencies (2019).

Gamification and simulation methods are two of the most important components of serious games. In order to create an effective training tool, it is imperative to understand these methods and their relationship to each other. If designed correctly, gamification techniques can build upon simulations to provide an effective training medium, which enhances learning, engagement and motivation in users. This chapter discusses their uses, strengths and weaknesses whilst identifying how to most effectively utilise them in developing serious games.


Anastasia Roukouni, Heide Lukosch, Alexander Verbraeck, “Simulation Games to Foster Innovation: Insights from the Transport and Logistics Sector,” Neo-Simulation and Gaming Toward Active Learning (2019).

There is an indisputable gap between the conceptualization and introduction of innovation and the actual and effective implementation of innovations in the complex sociotechnical system of transport and logistics throughout Europe. With our research we investigate the role of simulation games as an instrument to understand the dynamics around innovation processes in this system, by the means of literature review and in-depth interviews with key stakeholders of selected innovation cases within the Port of Rotterdam. The aim of our study is to gather valuable insights into how simulation games can be used to handle the extremely critical issue of effectively implementing innovation in the transport and logistics sector. It is thus expected to stimulate and enhance interaction among actors on policy level, by highlighting the potential advantages of using the approach of simulation games when the implementation of innovation is in discuss.


Robert Rubel, “The Medium in the message: Weaving wargaming more tightly into the fabric of the Navy,” Naval War College Review 72, 4 (Autumn 2019).

By now, the challenge and threat of a rising and contentious China and an increasingly hostile Russia have penetrated the Navy’s corporate consciousness, and current leaders are taking steps to shift the service from a purely power- projection posture to one that focuses again on defending American command of the sea. The Navy is initiating adjustments to fleet design and architecture as well as a rebirth of fleet experimentation. While perhaps late in coming, these responses to the emergent challenges of our time are encouraging.


 

Tristan Saldanha, Quinn Vinlove, and Jens Mache, “MICE: A Holistic Scorekeeping Mechanism for Cybersecurity Wargames,” Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges 35, 1 (October 2019).

Cybersecurity wargames are some of the best tools for teaching se- curity skills to groups of students, but the computational complexity of these games has increased disproportionately with the ability to measure the progress of the game. This paper introduces “Mice”, a new way of assessing security skills such as detecting malware, network intrusion, and network defense, which will allow for complex games to be scored and tracked in a way that traditional score keeping can not. Mice are adaptable to any kind of simulation and are easy to use for students and educators, promising more effective learning from a wide range of security exercises.


Geoffrey Sloan, “The Royal Navy and organizational learning—The Western Approaches Tactical Unit and the Battle of the Atlantic,” Naval War College Review 72, 4 (Autumn 2019).

The Western Approaches Tactical Unit is a unique example of a learning organization. It was created within the bureaucratic constraints of the Admiralty yet was highly effective in changing command culture in the Royal Navy—which proved to be the deciding factor in the early days of World War II, particularly during the Battle of the Atlantic.


Martin Stytz and Sheila Banks, “Future challenges for cyber simulation,” Journal of Defense Modelling and Simulation (online first, 30 September 2019).

[No abstract]


Yusuke Toyoda, Hidehiko Kanegae, “Gaming Simulation as a Tool of Problem-Based Learning for University Disaster Education,” Neo-Simulation and Gaming Toward Active Learning (2019).

This chapter addresses the connection between gaming simulation (GS) and problem-based learning (PBL) in disaster education. First, the chapter explains their relations theoretically and describes the introduction of Evacuation Simulation Training (EST) for earthquake evacuation to university students. EST empowered both Japanese and international students to conduct research, integrate models and practice, and apply their knowledge and skills to develop viable solutions to defined problems. Finally, the chapter demonstrates the utility of GS as a tool of PBL.


Feng Zhu and Kai Chen, “Application of Simulation Technology in Military Theory Teaching,” Advances in Social Science, Education and Humanities Research, 352 (2019).

Military theory teaching often involves abstract concepts and principles that are difficult to understand, such as command structure, tactics, equipment system, etc. It’s difficult for students to quickly understand and master in the traditional classroom teaching process. Aiming at this problem, this paper studies the application of simulation technology in military theory teaching. The advantages of the application of simulation technology in military theory teaching are analyzed, and then the application of simulation technology in theory teaching such as equipment system, military command and logistics application is emphatically introduced. With the help of simulation platform, students can be brought into virtual battlefield environment, which is similar to the real situation. It is conducive to enhancing the interest of students in learning and greatly promoting the improvement of learning efficiency.

RAND: Next-Generation Wargaming for the U.S. Marine Corps

RAND_RR2227.jpgRAND has published a new study by Yuna Huh Wong, Sebastian Joon Bae, Elizabeth M. Bartels, and Benjamin Smith on Next-Generation Wargaming for the U.S. Marine Corps: Recommended Courses of Action.

The U.S. Marine Corps has an opportunity not only to adopt wargaming best practices, tools, and approaches from other sources but also to adapt and develop them further to suit its own needs. This report is designed to help the Marine Corps understand the utility of different wargaming tools as the service invests in its wargaming capability and in building its next-generation wargaming concept. The authors have collected information on wargaming processes, facilities, and skill sets through research and interviews at various wargaming centers. They identify tasks by wargaming type in order to provide information on when in the wargaming process certain tools might be useful.

The authors make recommendations for low-, medium-, and high-resourced courses of action (COAs), with the COAs meant to build on each other rather than representing choices between discrete options. The low-resourced COA involves actions that can be implemented with minimal resources and relatively quickly, focusing on improving processes and the wargaming skills of staff already engaged. The medium-resourced COA builds on the previous one, featuring recommendations that require more resources, time, and research and that involve a greater degree of uncertainty, focusing on acquiring additional skill sets, personnel, and equipment. The high-resourced COA builds on the two previous COAs and requires major reorganization or changes in policy or actions of inherent high complexity and financial commitment, focusing on the construction of new and specialized wargaming facilities.

You can read the full report at the link above.

Practical advice on matrix games

PracticalAdviceOnMatrixGamesV11.jpgI have been running Chris Engle matrix games since 1988. With the increase in popularity and use of matrix games, both recreationally and for more serious matters, I felt that I should be prepared to stick my neck out and try to provide some practical advice on how to run the games in order to get the best results.

I have collated my notes into a small booklet, with short comments on the following topics:

  • What are Matrix Games?
  • Academic Underpinning
  • My Version of How to Play a Matrix Game
  • Argument Assessment
  • Diceless Adjudication
  • Notes about arguments
  • Turn Zero
  • Number of Things you can do in an Argument
  • Use of Dice
  • Reasonable Assumptions and Established Facts
  • Turn Length (in game)
  • Game Length
  • End of Turn “Consequence Management”
  • Inter-Turn Negotiations
  • Elections
  • Secret Arguments
  • Measures of Success
  • Killing Arguments
  • Spendable Bonuses and Permanent Bonuses
  • Levels of Protection and Hidden Things
  • Big Projects or Long-Term Plans
  • Number of Actors
  • Writing the Briefs for the Participants
  • Recording the Effects of Arguments
  • The Components (and Characters) Affect the Game
  • Starting Conditions
  • Cue Cards
  • Large-Scale Combat
  • A House Divided
  • Announcements
  • The Order in which Actors make their Arguments
  • Random Events
  • Dealing with Senior Officers, Dominant People and Contentious Arguments
  • Nit-Picking vs Important Clarification
  • Why I like Matrix Games
  • A few Words of Warning

Please bear in mind that this was chiefly written as “notes” to support demonstrations and course I have run using matrix games, rather than as a guide for someone who has never seen or heard of a matrix game.

The advice also does not cover how such games should be analysed in order to draw out any insights or conclusions. This is an important part of any professional game, but as I primarily use matrix games in an educational context, I haven’t had to that. In the times where I have run games for government departments, they have carried out their own analysis of the games (due to the level of classification), so the booklet doesn’t really cover this area.

More recently I have had the good fortune to be able to experiment with a couple of different game set-ups and mechanics, and I have incorporated them into the guide.

The guide is still a “work in progress”, and probably always will be, but I would like to add more to it in the future, if it is helpful. If anyone has an feedback, please get in touch.

You can download the booklet here.

Recent simulation and gaming publications, 1 October 2019

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PAXsims is pleased to present a selection of recently-published items on simulation and serious gaming. Some of these may not address peacebuilding, conflict, or development issues at all, but have been included because of the broader perspective they offer on games-based education or analysis.

Articles may be gated/paywalled and not accessible without subscription access to the publication in which they appear.


Spencer P. Greenhalgh, Matthew J. Koehler, Liz Owens Boltz, “The Fun of Its Parts: Design and Player Reception of Educational Board Games,” Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 19, 3 (2019).

Although board, card, and other analog games can serve as useful educational technologies, little research exists to support teachers’ efforts in finding analog games that are pedagogically appropriate or likely to be well-received by their students. In this study, the authors retrieved data associated with 208 educational games from the crowdsourced website BoardGameGeek. They used this data to summarize players’ description of games into 15 themes, mechanics, and genres that can support teachers’ comparison and evaluation of analog educational games. They then analyzed how these design features influenced player reception of these games—as evidenced by game ratings on BoardGameGeek. To do this, they used two models: a hierarchical regression (features were nested within themes, mechanics, and genres categories) and a flat stepwise regression (features were all at the same level). Both analyses indicated that themes were parsimonious and significant predictors of game ratings, suggesting that the theme of an educational game may be an important consideration for teachers. The findings of this paper present helpful initial guidelines for teachers, teacher educators, and others interested in educational analog games; however, holistic evaluation of analog games and thorough consideration of their pedagogical potential are important.


Donna Krawczyk, “7-Steps to Creating an Effective Simulation Experience for Educators in the Health Professions: an updated practical guide to designing your own successful simulation,” MedEdPublish, 10 September 2019.

Creating a simulation experience for learners can be a daunting task for educators. Through a literature search, this guide outlines a feasible method to effectively execute a successful learning experience for future health professionals through creating your own simulation event from scratch. By organizing this learning strategy into steps, an educator can easily reproduce their very own simulation and offer a highly recommended tool for enhancing health professional education within their in-class or e-learning curriculum. Reaching your students through simulation as a learning strategy does not have to be expensive nor does it have to be a complete re-enactment. To offer a simple but purposeful, clinically relevant simulation is also well remembered for real-life use. Simulation provides a framework for an experience to happen where a student is to engage prior knowledge into practice and the educator takes a facilitative role (Levine et al., 2003). Knowing when and where to use simulation and understanding its effectiveness is key in reaching your learners as well as offering appropriate debriefing. This paper will outline the skills you need and support your choices in which simulation event best suits the required tested outcome.


Matthew Price, “What Impact do VR Controllers Have on the Traditional Strategy Game Genre,” Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield, 2019.

With Virtual Reality (VR) technology becoming more accessible and popular, video games have been taking advantage of its uses. Racing games such as ‘Driveclub VR’, allows the player to have a higher level of interactivity than compared to their regular screen counterparts. This paper will investigate the impact VR technology can have on the Real Time Strategy (RTS) game genre.

This paper will give game developers who wish to develop a strategy game for VR, a list of recommendations that can help guide and influence their design process. The use of these recommendations will give the developer a template on how to create their VR strategy game, that has been guided by focus groups and research and will improve the quality of their control schemes and input mechanisms.

The project found that VR controllers can have an impact on the strategy game genre, but further development of the recommendations would be needed to see if they can be used in a fully developed game. Taking influence from various sources such as non-VR video games, VR Games/ Applications and tabletop games, a control scheme for VR games was created and made into a list of recommendations. The research into this found that participants design decisions were heavily influenced by Google Products such as Google Earth VR and Google Tilt Brush, this can be seen in the recommendations, especially when examining the recommendations for the UI. Other influence can be seen such as traditional strategy game style 3D spaces.


Michal Wolski, “This Game of Mine. Children’s Reaction to War in Video Game This War of Mine,” Filoteknos 9 (2019).

The article aims to analyze video game This War of Mine with The Little Ones DLC from the perspective of children characters. It argues that the game provides a double role reversal, which determines player’s ethical approach. The first reversal is based on the well-described mechanism of procedural rhetorics and consists of assuming the role of a victim of war rather than a warrior or a warmonger. The second reversal is established by forcing player to create an environment in which a child can be safe and play. In doing so, the player has to proactively maintain an illusion of control – the very thing the game itself constantly takes from them, leading to the bitter afterthought that war is most certainly not a game.


Malcolm Woodside, “Gamification is the future of learning,” The Cove, 12 September 2019.

Games have always been a part of learning. In today’s digital world, incorporating games and gamification is essential to contemporary learning. Monash University’s Professor Yeh Ping-Cheng has argued that ‘gamification is a must have teaching tool, because “students have grown up with videos and find it hard to concentrate on anything that isn’t a game”.’ These students, known as Digital Natives, have always lived surrounded by ‘digital’. Thus, to be effective, Army instructors should possess the relevant behaviours, attitudes, skills and knowledge (BASK) to select and implement appropriate gamification across their learning programs.

Army uses an array of games to learn and develop intended BASK. Role-playing games put learners in positions to apply the BASK to achieve required learning outcomes. The rivalry of well-designed team and individual competitions facilitate constructive learning. Deliberate gamification tends to improve engagement, motivation and productivity. It can teach soft skills essential to team work, such as collaboration, problem solving and resilience.

Recent simulation and gaming publications, 21 September 2019

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PAXsims is pleased to present a selection of recently-published items on simulation and serious gaming. Some of these may not address peacebuilding, conflict, or development issues at all, but have been included because of the broader perspective they offer on games-based education or analysis.

Articles may be gated/paywalled and not accessible without institutional access to the publication they appear in.


John Langreck et al, “Modeling and simulation of future capabilities with an automated computer-aided wargame,” Journal of Defense Modeling and Simulation: Applications, Methodology, Technology (first online 2019).

This article explores the development and application of an automated computer-aided wargame to establish high-level capability requirements and concepts of operations for future Navy unmanned aerial vehicles and unmanned underwater vehicles. The Joint Theater Level Simulation-Global Operations serves as the modeling environment, in which a computer-aided exercise models the impact of future intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets. Automating wargame simulations permits the replication of a large-scale exercise without the continued investment of support personnel and operating units. The environment enables experimentation that provides force planners with pertinent metrics to inform decision-making.


Alex Jones, “The conceptual analysis of groups and group dynamics of graduate students using a negotiation role-play simulation,” International Journal of Development Work 9, 8 (2019).

Group dynamic is the center of attention of organizations across the world. Employers nowadays are focusing on creating a collaborative culture among employees. This research brings to the forefront a unique analysis highlighting the important of groups, group dynamics and the main characteristics while conducting a negation role-play simulation. The nature of this study is qualitative conducted on graduate students majoring in business studies at the College of Business Administration at the American University of the Emirates in the United Arab Emirates. The findings have shown that group dynamics is an essential component of educating students majoring in business and that role-play simulation plays a significant part in the development of it.


Kathleen Monahan, “Social Work Student Participation in a Mock Disaster: Brief Notes from the Field,” Best Practices in Mental Health 15, 2 (2019).

With the increase in natural disasters and violent incidents across the United States, it is imperative that social work students are educated in how to respond to survivors, family members, and communities with skill-based trauma-responsive knowledge before they enter the field. Preparedness training for these events in the form of mock disasters ensures that institutions and communities are ready for traumatic events that threaten life. Including social work graduate students in mock disasters provides an opportunity for these students to develop skills, competency, and confidence to respond to disasters, as well as to participate in interprofessional collaboration. This article will present the experiences of second year social work graduate students who participated in a mock disaster in a regional hospital/university setting.


Jonas Hermelin et al, “Operationalising resilience for disaster medicine practitioners: capability development through training, simulation and reflection,” Cognition, Technology & Work (2019).

Resilience has in recent decades been introduced as a term describing a new perspective within the domains of disaster management and safety management. Several theoretical interpretations and definitions of the essence of resilience have been proposed, but less work has described how to operationalise resilience and implement the concept within organisations. This case study describes the implementation of a set of general resilience management guidelines for critical infrastructure within a Swedish Regional Medical Command and Control Team. The case study demonstrates how domain-independent guidelines can be contextualised and introduced at an operational level, through a comprehensive capability development programme. It also demonstrates how a set of conceptual and reflective tools consisting of educational, training and exercise sessions of increasing complexity and realism can be used to move from high-level guidelines to practice. The experience from the case study demonstrates the value of combining (1) developmental learning of practitioners’ cognitive skills through resilience-oriented reflection and interaction with dynamic complex open-ended problems; (2) contextualisation of generic guidelines as a basis for operational methodological support in the operational environment; and (3) the use of simulation-based training as part of a capability development programme with increasing complexity and realism across mixed educational, training and exercise sessions. As an actual example of a resilience implementation effort in a disaster medicine management organisation, the study contributes to the body of knowledge regarding how to implement the concept of resilience in operational practice.


From the US Patent Office comes this application from the US Navy (and inventors Jeremy Arias and Chad Klay) for an abstract, hex-based unconventional warfare game.

A board game for simulating unconventional warfare. The board game of the present invention includes hexagonal teritory board pieces, resource production unit markers, and infrastructure markers for representing teritory, resource production units, and infrastructure in an unconventional warfare scenario. The infrastructure markers include (1) base markers that can be placed at intersections of the hexagonal pieces, where each base marker allows a player to collect double resources and build military units; (2)population influence markers that can be placed at the intersections, where each population marker allows the player to collect resources and conduct influence attacks on neighboring infrastructure; and (3)military unit markers that can be placed at the intersections, where each military unit marker allows the player to conduct military attacks on the neighboring infrastructure.

What’s especially unconventional here is applying for a patent—it was my understanding that, generally, you can’t patent game systems.

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Recent simulation and gaming publications, 8 September 2019

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PAXsims is pleased to present a selection of recently-published items on simulation and serious gaming. Some of these may not address peacebuilding, conflict, or development issues at all, but have been included because of the broader perspective they offer on games-based education or analysis.

Articles may be gated/paywalled and not accessible without institutional access to the publication in which they appear.


John Langreck et al, “Modeling and simulation of future capabilities with an automated computer-aided wargame,” Journal of Defense Modeling and Simulation: Applications, Methodology, Technology, online first 3 September 2019.

This article explores the development and application of an automated computer-aided wargame to establish high-level capability requirements and concepts of operations for future Navy unmanned aerial vehicles and unmanned underwater vehicles. The Joint Theater Level Simulation-Global Operations serves as the modeling environment, in which a computer-aided exercise models the impact of future intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets. Automating wargame simulations permits the replication of a large-scale exercise without the continued investment of support personnel and operating units. The environment enables experimentation that provides force planners with pertinent metrics to inform decision-making.


K. Scott et al, “The Persuasion Game: Serious Gaming Information Warfare and Influence,” Journal of Information Warfare, forthcoming 2019.

In an age of hybrid, asymmetric, and non-linear conflict, the role of Information Operations has become ever more important. This paper presents a research project examining ways of better enabling stakeholders to respond to the increasing use of influence in warfare, hybrid conflict, competition, and the realms of hard and soft politics. The project consisted of an international cross-sector research group drawing on military, government, academic, and industry expertise to understand the best way to wargame influence. The use of wargaming as a training/research tool is familiar in military and civil contexts; the project discussed presents a truly innovative approach to influence studies, and shows the benefits of an interdisciplinary, cross-domain research team.


Tongfei Shang,Tianqi Wang, and Jianfeng Ma, “Firepower Distribution Method in Wargame System Based on Machine Learning and Wavelet Analysis,” Journal of Physics: Conference Series (2019).

It is the key to the success or failure of military operations to formulate practical and feasible operational plans quickly and in a timely manner. Aiming at the development and analysis of the auxiliary action plan of the computer chess system, the machine learning and wavelet analysis are used to analyze the research of the wargsme system from the planning and drafting process, which provides a reference for the fire distribution of the wargame system.


 

Tongfei Shang,Tianqi Wang, and Jianfeng Ma, “Research on Performance Evaluation of Wargame System Based on Deep Reinforcement Learning,” Journal of Physics: Conference Series (2019).

Deep reinforcement learning combines the advantages of deep learning and reinforcement learning to make end-to-end perception decisions in complex high-dimensional state action spaces. The paper proposes a deep reinforcement learning method for the deduction of the wargame system, which can better assist the combat commander in wartime decision- making. The simulation proves the effectiveness of the method.


 

Monika Magnusson, Geir Ove Venemyr, Peter Bellström, Bjørn Tallak Bakken, “Digitalizing Crisis Management Training,” ePart 2019 International Conference on Electronic Participation, online July 2019.

The ongoing digital transformation in government has enabled innovative changes in operational processes and service. However, while e-services and social media are widely adopted, earlier studies indicate that this transformation is still being awaited in other areas, such as crisis or disaster preparedness. Recent events such as the 2018 wildfires in several parts of Europe, as well as empirical research, highlight the need for more (systematic) training of local governments’ crisis management teams. Conventional training methods are time- and space-dependent and require long-term planning, making it complicated to increase the extent of training. In this interdisciplinary study, we report on the results from the Swedish-Norwegian CriseIT project that aimed to develop information systems (IS) for crisis management training. The purpose of the article is to describe information systems designed to support local governments’ crisis management training and to discuss how these artefacts could improve crisis management training practices.


Karen Louise Blackmore, Evan William Henry Allitt, “Building and sustaining the defense simulation training workforce,” Journal of Defense Modeling and Simulation: Applications, Methodology, Technology (online first, 19 August 2019).

The delivery of simulation training capability across the Australian Defence Force (ADF) requires a highly skilled workforce. Evolving training requirements, enabled by advances in computing power, network systems, display and peripheral technologies, and software environments, place increasing demands on the size of the workforce and the technical skills they are required to possess. In this research, we analyze existing simulation role frameworks and the various position descriptions and qualification requirements associated with these roles. To further explore the unique skillsets that translate to success in simulation roles, we also conduct a case study of a large external contract simulation workforce supplier, Cubic Defence Australia. Our findings highlight the complexity of the defense simulation workforce, including the lack of standardized position descriptions, competency frameworks, education and training pathways, and career progression options. Further complicating this is the importance of prior ADF service experience to the delivery of simulation systems that meet active training requirements, and the relationship between this service experience and career progression. From this analysis, recommendations for addressing the issues are made, including a call for a targeted and deliberate, multi-industry federal response to broaden the pool of candidates looking for careers in simulation.


Dan Wang, Shi Cao, Xingguo Liu, Tang Tang, Haixiao Liu, Linghua Ran, Xiai Wang, Jianwei Niu, “The virtual infantry soldier: integrating physical and cognitive digital human simulation in a street battle scenario,” Journal of Defense Modeling and Simulation: Applications, Methodology, Technology (online first, 21 August 2019).

Simulation has become a powerful method for military research and combat training due to its intuitive visualization, repeatability, and security in contrast to real-world training. Previous studies often divided cognitive and physical factors into isolated models using separated platforms. Ideally, both cognitive and physical aspects of a virtual soldier should be modeled on the same platform. We demonstrated an integrated modeling that combines cognitive models with physical human models. A simple task was used, requiring the virtual soldier to navigate in a virtual city, avoid enemies, and reach the destination asap. The Queueing Network-Adaptive Control of Thought Rational cognitive model helps the virtual soldier make choices after encountering enemies. Based on the information collected, the soldier will choose different strategies. Two general-purpose methods from the cognitive modeling and digital human modeling were combined. The results were able to capture the behavioral states as planned and visualize the movement of the virtual soldier, who was able to complete the task as expected. The results demonstrated the feasibility of integrated models combining cognitive and physical aspects of human performance in the application of virtual soldiers. Future studies could further compare the results of model output with human empirical data to validate the modeling capabilities.


Clément Judek, Frédéric Verhaegen, Abla-Mimi Edjossan-Sossou, Thierry Verdel, Simulation-based training for improving managers’ awareness to a crisis: An empirical study to attest the capability of the iCrisis simulation approach to generate accurate crisis situations,” IDRiM Journal, 9, 1 (2019).

Crisis management concerns have increased in recent years, but it is difficult to gain experience with it except by directly experiencing a crisis situation. Crisis simulations aim to offer this experience. iCrisis is a crisis situation simulation approach that operates on the assumption that it accurately simulates crises. However, no methodology exists that can validate this assumption. The aim of this paper is to determine whether iCrisis simulations can recreate crisis characteristics. We first make a literature review to define the concept of crisis; we propose a list of characteristics separated into two categories: the characteristics of a crisis situation and those of the reaction that it raises among the managers coping with it. Second, we present the iCrisis approach, its consideration of the crisis characteristics and how to control their generation during the simulation. Although the assessment of crisis charac-teristics is subjective, it is nevertheless relevant to use participants’ feelings at the end of a simulation to study these characteristics. Eventually, our observations highlight that the crisis situation characteristics can be observed and perceived by the participants during the simulation.


Sarah HarmonRemington MaxwellArnav Jhala, “Operationalizing conflict strategies in a board game,” Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games (2019).

The aim of conflict resolution education is to impart essential strategies and skills for resolving conflicts effectively. While these are important life skills, conflict resolution can be difficult to teach because it requires individuals to interact with others, explore new strategies, and receive feedback within a natural social context in order for strong connections to be made. As board games often involve co-located multiplayer interaction and can be effective tools for young learners, we explore the possibility of incorporating learning about conflict resolution into a tabletop game. We describe the process of designing an educational board game – StarStruck – that fosters discussions about conflict management via operationalization of conflict strategies drawn from an instrument founded in social psychology theory. Through in- and out-of-board interactions, StarStruck is designed to provide players with affordances to explore different resolution strategies within their natural social environment. We present examples from initial playtesting sessions to consider the expressive range of conflict scenarios generated by playing the game. This work serves as a preliminary illustration of how to map the vocabulary of conflict resolution to game mechanics, dynamics, and aesthetics so that players can naturally engage with and discuss conflict interactions.


 

Bruce Edmonds, “Some Philosophical Viewpoints on Social Simulation,” Review of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, July 2019.

How one thinks about knowledge can have a significant impact on how one develops models as well as how one might judge a good model.

Recent simulation and gaming publications, 22 August 2019

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PAXsims is pleased to present a selection of recently-published items on simulation and serious gaming. Some of these may not address peacebuilding, conflict, or development issues at all, but have been included because of the broader perspective they offer on games-based education or analysis.

Articles may be gated/paywalled and not accessible without institutional access to the publication they appear in.


Victor Asal, Justin Conrad, and Steve Sin, “Back to the future: teaching about the end of the world,” European Political Science (online first, 2019).

The paper examines the challenges of teaching about the impact of nuclear weapons on international relations to students who were born after the Cold War and suggests a variety of pedagogical approaches for helping them understand this impact including readings, media, and simulations. We first discuss the value of a multi-methods approach to teaching about nuclear weapons and then discuss resources for these different approaches. For readings, we identify key writing framed as debates that have worked with undergraduates like Waltz and Sagan as well as key articles and literature reviews and historical literature about the actual use of nuclear weapons during World War II. We then discuss different multimedia such as movies and music. Finally, we discuss in class simulations with a focus on Nuclear Diplomacy, providing some examples of student reaction to playing these simulations.


 

Mauricio Meschoulam, Andrea Muhech, Tania Naanous, Sofía Quintanilla, Renata Aguilar, Jorge Ochoa, Cristobal Rodas, “The Complexity of Multilateral Negotiations: Problem or Opportunity? A Qualitative Study of Five Simulations with Mexican Students,” International Studies Perspectives, Volume 20, Issue 3, August 2019.

Education in International Relations requires continual evolution. One approach is the use of negotiation simulations for complex issues. Despite the extensive literature on the subject, there is a lack of qualitative research on this approach, particularly in Latin America and Mexico. This paper presents the findings of a qualitative research on five simulations with Mexican students. The five exercises were characterized by the application of elements that are not usually included in traditional simulations, such as a multiweek phase of prior negotiations, the use of Twitter, the introduction of nonstate actors, a gala dinner, and a continuous feed of real world news. We investigated 118 participants through 30 in depth interviews analyzed with NVivo, a systematized analysis of 118 reports, documents and tweets, and a pre-post questionnaire applied to the fifth group. The results in the five simulations were highly positive. The students reported a greater awareness of the complexity of international negotiations. Such awareness can present both a risk and an opportunity: a risk because those circumstances caused discouragement and frustration in many participants, and an opportunity because those same circumstances, properly channeled, triggered parallel skills, and creative thinking. Therefore, the role of the facilitation team was fundamental.


 

LtCol Jim Sinclair, “The Evolution of Australian Army Training Adversaries, 1948-2018),” Australian Army Journal 15, 1 (Autumn 2019). (pdf)

One of the essential requirements for Army training is the creation of
a contemporary and relevant training adversary which allows tactics, techniques and procedures to be tested and weapons and equipment
to be evaluated. This is an important part of Army’s value proposition to government that it can provide directed capability. In most cases, the training adversaries developed by the Australian Army in the past have represented opponents the Army was actually fighting or generic opponents it was unlikely to fight. This led the Australian Army to train for operations against an adversary it was unlikely to fight rather than preparing for probable future conflict.

In 2015, Army adopted the United States (US) Army Decisive Action Training Environment (DATE). DATE provides a sophisticated operating environment and adversary construct which is constantly updated to reflect current real-world operations. The adoption of DATE will transform Australian Army training by providing a contemporary, reality-based training adversary, allowing Army to train for contemporary operations and conduct mission rehearsal exercises against a contemporary adversary for the first time.


 

Walter W. Kulzy III, “(Design) Thinking Through Strategic-Level Wargames for Innovative Solutions,” Phalanx, 52, 2 (June 2019).

…Using design thinking as a process to create prototype environments within a wargame is an effective approach. Decision makers are exposed to these prototypes and challenges to comprehend systematic relationships of actors and the secondary and tertiary effects of their decisions. By iterating through this environment, deeper understandings lead to new and useful strategies.


Edward Castronova, “American Abyss: Simulating a Modern American Civil War,” Journal of Games, Self, & Society 1 (2019).

In recent years, speculation has arisen in the United States about the possibility of a civil war. Here I introduce a paper simulation of such a war using state-of-the-art lessons about modern civil war that have been developed within the diplomatic/military/intelligence conflict simulation community. According to those lessons, counter-insurgency (COIN) operations are a beastly mess for everyone involved. The simulation allows players to see why: In a modern intra-state conflict, there are many actors at play, each with their own access to the critical resources of media, money, and arms. These actors all have asymmetric aims, which lead to constantly shifting loyalties. The result is a conflict that is unlikely to end until all of the players are completely exhausted. I developed the simulation described in this paper as a warning to those who want to take up arms: Do not.

 


9789463728010_prom.jpgHolly Faith Nelson and James William Daems (eds), Games and War in Early Modern English Literature: From Shakespeare to Swift  (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2019).

This pioneering collection of nine original essays carves out a new conceptual path in the field by theorizing the ways in which the language of games and warfare inform and illuminate each other in the early modern cultural imagination. They consider how warfare and games are mapped onto each other in aesthetically and ideologically significant ways in the early modern plays, poetry or prose of William Shakespeare, Thomas Morton, John Milton, Margaret Cavendish, Aphra Behn, and Jonathan Swift, among others. Contributors interpret the terms ‘war games’ or ‘games of war’ broadly, freeing them to uncover the more complex and abstract interplay of war and games in the early modern mind, taking readers from the cockpits and clowns of Shakespearean drama, through the intriguing manuals of cryptographers and the ingenious literary wargames of Restoration women authors, to the witty but rancorous paper wars of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.


Amanda Jaber, “Evaluating the Team Resilience Assessment Method for Simulation (TRAMS),” MSc thesis, Department of Computer Science, Linköping university, Spring 2019.

The Team Resilience Assessment Method for Simulation (TRAMS) is an instrument that consist of several measurements, such as team-member exchange, workload, the TRAMS observation protocol etc. This thesis researches the observation protocol. The TRAMS protocol is an assessment method for resilience in simulation games. The aim of this protocol is to support the identification of resilience strategies used and developed by the participants in a simulation game. It is a challenge to assess resilience in teams and that is why the TRAMS protocol has been developed. The scenario of the simulation games is a disruption for 10 days in the card payment system. During the simulation games, the participants work in teams and have to try to cope with the disruption in the card payment system. During the course of this study, 14 simulation games have been conducted with seven different teams. Each of the simulation games has been executed during one whole day, and the participating teams have in total played two games each. During every simulation game there were three observers equipped with the TRAMS protocol. To interpret the data collected with the TRAMS protocol, two methods have been used: transcription and thematic analysis. As a result, guidelines and design changes was formed. In addition, results showed that the distribution and frequency of observations of resilience strategies made were similar, that the observations noted by the observers were similar, and lastly eight themes from the data collection could be extracted:Coordinate and collaborate, Payment options, Cash circulation, Safety, Fuel and transportation, Inform, communicate and the media, Hoarding and rationing, Vulnerable groups. In conclusion, the TRAMS protocol is still under development and 15 more simulation games are planned to be conducted within the ongoing CCRAAAFFTING project. However, the protocol has been applied in this study ́s 14 simulation games so far, and the similarities in how the observers filled in the protocol and how similar the observations were, indicate that it hopefully can develop into a recognized research tool in the future.


 

Recent simulation and gaming articles, 15 August 2019

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PAXsims is pleased to present a selection of recently-published articles on simulation and serious gaming. We will start doing this regularly, in addition to our periodic “simulation and gaming miscellany” updates. Some of these may not address peacebuilding, conflict, or development issues at all, but have been included because of the broader perspective they offer on games-based education or analysis.

Articles may be gated/paywalled and not accessible without institutional access to the publication.


McDarby G, Reynolds L, Zibwowa Z, et al, “The global pool of simulation exercise materials in health emergency preparedness and response: a scoping review with a health system perspective.” 

Simulation Exercises (SimEx) are an established tool in defence and allied security sectors, applied extensively in health security initiatives under national or international legislative requirements, particularly the International Health Regulations (2005). There is, however, a paucity of information on SimEx application to test the functionality of health systems alongside emergency preparedness, response and recovery. Given the important implications health services resilience has for the protection and improvement of human life, this scoping review was undertaken to determine how the publicly available body of existing global SimEx materials considers health systems, together with health security functions in the event of disruptive emergencies.

The global review identified 668 articles from literature and 73 products from institutional sources. Relevant screening identified 51 materials suitable to examine from a health system lens using the six health system building blocks as per the WHO Health System Framework. Eight materials were identified for further examination of their ability to test health system functionality from a resilience perspective.

SimEx are an effective approach used extensively within health security and emergency response sectors but is not yet adequately used to test health system resilience. Currently available SimEx materials lack an integrated health system perspective and have a limited focus on the quality of services delivered within the context of response to a public health emergency. The materials do not focus on the ability of systems to effectively maintain core services during response.

Without adjustment of the scope and focus, currently available SimEx materials do not have the capacity to test health systems to support the development of resilient health systems. Dedicated SimEx materials are urgently needed to fill this gap and harness their potential as an operational tool to contribute to improvements in health systems. They can act as effective global goods to allow testing of different functional aspects of health systems and service delivery alongside emergency preparedness and response.

The work was conducted within the scope of the Tackling Deadly Diseases in Africa Programme, funded by the UK Department for International Development, which seeks to strengthen collaboration between the health system and health security clusters to promote health security and build resilient health systems.


 

Virginia C. Muckler, Christine Thomas, “Exploring Suspension of Disbelief Among Graduate and Undergraduate Nursing Students,” Clinical Simulation in Nursing 35 (2019).

Background

The nature and process of suspending disbelief is complex, subjective, and has not been well researched in clinical simulation.

Methods

A descriptive phenomenological approach with semistructured interviews explored student experiences of suspending disbelief during simulation-based learning.

Results

Among the 18 (69%) graduate students and 8 (31%) undergraduate students, three themes emerged from participant narratives including (1) frame of mind, (2) environment, and (3) tempo. Subthemes of frame of mind included cognitive focus, apprehension, and confidence.

Conclusion

Understanding nursing students’ lived experiences of suspending disbelief can enhance the educator’s ability to design and facilitate effective simulation, student development, and suspension of disbelief.

Highlights

  • Suspension of disbelief is complex, subjective, and underresearched.
  • Frame of mind or mindset influences suspension of disbelief.
  • Cognitive focus, apprehension, and confidence affect suspension of disbelief.
  • Functional equipment enhances the environment and suspension of disbelief.
  • Scenario progression without interruption promotes suspension of disbelief.

 

Louis P. Halamek, Robert Cady, and Michael Sterling, “Using briefing, simulation and debriefing to improve human and system performance,” Seminars in Perinatology (prepublication 2019).

Safety, effectiveness and efficiency are keys to performance in all high-risk industries; healthcare is no exception, and neonatal-perinatal medicine is one of the highest risk subspecialties within healthcare. Briefing, simulation and debriefing are methods used by professionals in high-risk industries to reduce the overall risk to life and enhance the safety of the human beings involved in receiving and delivering the services provided by those industries. Although relatively new to neonatal-perinatal medicine, briefing, simulation and debriefing are being practiced with increasing frequency and have become embedded in training exercises such as the Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP) of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). This chapter will define these terms and offer examples as to how they are used in high-risk activities including neonatal-perinatal medicine.


 

Sundeep Kaur Varaich, “Effectiveness of Simulation in Addressing Stigma,” PhD dissrtation, University of Northern Colorado, May 2019.

Mental health stigma hinders quality nursing care. The aim of this quasi- experimental study was to test if simulation was effective for addressing stigma in nursing education and evaluating student attitudes towards psychiatric conditions. A sample of eight-nine undergraduate nursing students were assigned to a control or treatment group and participated in either a chronic health challenge scenario or a mental health scenario to test the effectiveness of using a mental health simulation to address stigmatizing attitudes. Day’s Mental Illness Stigma Scale was used as the data collection tool for the post-test to measure students’ stigmatizing perceptions in relation to their assigned scenario. This scale was completed by the students immediately after the simulation and approximately three months after participating in the simulation scenario to evaluate change in perceptions. Analysis of mean scores revealed that students participating in the mental health scenario demonstrated more stigmatizing attitudes overall except related to the subscale for anxiety toward mental illness, for which the control group showed more stigmatizing attitudes. These findings indicate a need for further research into the use of simulation as an educational approach and the possibility of modifying this approach for effectively addressing mental health stigma.

(Emphasis added–this research shows a simulation experience potentially causing undesirable learning outcomes.)

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