03 August 2011

Connections 2011, Day 3, Other Morning Panel

1010 - 1130 Toward More Comprehensive Wargame Adjudication Panel, Co-chairs: Jon Compton & Al Nofi
Speakers: Dr. Stephen Downes-Martin, Adjudication, the diabolus exmachina of wargaming; Rich Phares, The Why and How of Adjudication; Mike Markowitz, Wargaming the Future & the Future of Wargaming

as always, my comments in red

Dr. Stephen Downes-Martin talking about adjudication
Using it to solve useful conflict in a game between participants
NOT BOGSAT - it's not a wargame without a game, which implies the ability to figure out who won

Using the dice as a model to tell us what happened. Sorry Navy, there's a non-zero chance that the aircraft carrier would've sunk, and it just did. So now what?

How to build adjudication models looking into the future when no statistical model exists?
How to build adjudication models for things for which no statistical or historical model exists?
Posted the (in)famous spaghetti-bowl slide of the AfPak COIN and noted that this is the model through which the COIN needs to be adjudicated.
---- I think I was going a bit to fast to capture Dr Downes-Martin's true nuance here... please see his comments below

Deductive gaming* is useless - no statistical model. This is all inductive gaming.
---- ditto :)
If the adjudicators are trying to sort out the rules of the game as they work through it, why aren't they playing the game themselves first?
Multiple 'fraud factors' in wargames. Personal experience not always generalizable...
Design the game to include adjudicators as players and evaluate their inputs/outputs.
Design a belief-based system that includes player beliefs about self and adversary.

* later edit: Dr Downes-Martin was speaking of this particular context - PMESII and similar social science contexts

more after the jump

Switch over to Rich Phares, who actually grabbed me ahead of time to tell me he reads our site... that doesn't happen too much, so I thought I'd call it out and mention that it was kind of cool :)
the "Arts & Crafts Division" over at BAH.
Building on the board wargaming world over at BAH.

Quantitative, Qualitative, Hybrid games
Three reasons to adjudicate:
1. Players want to know how they did
2. Clients want the answer to their question
3. Someone (client / players / sponsor) wants to know if anything important happened
- What did we learn?
- Do we need to do this again?
BIG reason for adjudication: Closure

Examples of games...
Veteran's Administration Supply Chain Management
Designed to explore the less-than-optimal arrangements in their supply chains.

Naval Reserve Unit Leadership Game
Exploring the aspects of Navy life, civilian job, personal life
Managing resources, working as a team w/ other players on your team, learning to mitigate events
It's possible to have a great reserve unit, but you lose your civilian job and end up divorced and homeless

Cloud Computing Wargame
Examine trade-offs between deploying IT capabilities in diff environments and explore acquisition strategies
Designed to show off what the company knew about cloud computing and encourage folks to come to BAH for cloud solutions

(panel sort of humming along here...)

Mike Markowitz coming up... this should be quite a bit of fun.

"I'd rather be designing games of tanks shooting at tanks or ships shooting at ships. But the sponsors all want this policy crap, and you gotta go where the work is."

To understand the future of wargaming, you have to understand the future of war.
The future of wargaming is very bright, because the future of war is very bright. And this may be cheerful for the wargamers, even if it is disappointing for humanity.

"This is not exactly the enemy we wargamed against." LTG Wallace, CG, V Corps, OIF

Why can wargames fail
- flawed combat models
- edge-of-the-map illusions
- mirror-imaging
- wishful thinking (techno-triumphalism)
- premature closure

Flawed models:
So much based on force-on-force attrition rates
But combat is a human event, not an engineering problem
Operations dominated by perceptions: lawfare, refugees, detaimees, collateral damage, real/fake atrocities

Framing errors:
Get out of the tyranny of the map
Is real conflict happening outside of your battlespace
The critical dynamic may be completely non-spatial
---- this completely ties into Brian Train's example of the Tupamaro game

Mirror Imaging:
The enemy is *not* like us, especially in cultural values
Assymetries from a "jihad" game
- Worldview: Wikipedia/Google Earth vs the Holy Koran
- Purpose: Stability and democracy vs Justics under the caliphate
- Means: Brigades, air wings, battlegroups vs AK47s and suicide vests
- Actions: CONPLANS, OPLANS, ATOs vs stories about heroes and martyrs
So much of our culture is embedded in symmetry, like Chess
Senior officers taught in football metaphors while the world is playing soccer against us

Wishful thinking:
Leaders are optimists, planners are pessimists, Operators are paranoid, Analysts are paranoid pessimists
When the purpose of the game is to make leaders happy, the odds are stacked against real-world validity

Premature Closure:
"It's not over if you take Moscow" (1812, 1941)
"It's not over if you take Kabul" (1839, 1879, 2001)
"It's not over if you take Baghdad" (1258, 1401, 1534, 1917, 2003...)
it's over when the enemy either (a) does what you want him to, or (b) one side has no will to continue
But we constantly have to get the wargame over by 1630 so people get home on time

4 near-future wargames that he highlights as examples of excellence:
- Persian Incursion
- Next War: Korea
- Red Dragon Rising
- Battle for Baghdad

Where do we go from here:
Convergence, Catastrophe, Collapse, Chaos, Contraction

I'm not capturing a lot of the Q&A, b/c it's more comments than questions

By: Brant


Stephen Downes-Martin said...

You state "Posted the (in)famous spaghetti-bowl slide of the AfPak COIN and noted that this is the model through which the COIN needs to be adjudicated."

I obviously did not communicate clearly. I used the AfPak model as a visual to indicate the messiness of the PMESII world, and stated that games about PMESII issues need to be adjudicated using some model or understanding about the PMESII issues.

Stephen Downes-Martin said...

You impute to me "Deductive gaming is useless - no statistical model. This is all inductive gaming."

I obviously did not communicate clearly. I indicated that deductive gaming in the absence of statistics, nodels or case histories was not possible. Inductive gaming is all that is possible in these circumstances.

Brant said...

Thanks for the clarifications. Please keep in mind that unlike Rex Brynen, who cleaned up a lot of thoughts after-the-fact, I was taking my notes as they were happening, and hitting "post" as we had a slight break in the action.
I will include notes above to ensure that folks see your clarifications down here in the comments.