24 July 2012

Connections - Day 2, afternoon sessions

The Connections Interdisciplinary Wargaming Conference

Afternoon session

I missed some of the introductions when I was in the wrong room. D'oh!

Anders Frank (Swedish Defence College) is discussing the development of wargaming in the Swedish military.
Low-fidelity wargames that focuses on "good enough" and capture the major attributes of warfare without detail overkill. Designed for good gameplay to learn by doing.
Pros: shorter dev times; day to learn & use; increased freq of use; engages students
Cons: Some responsibility shifted to instructors; well-suited for their base design purpose, but not more generalizable; require certain pre-req level of knowledge

First game was SSM: Simple Surface warfare Model
Cadet course in naval/littoral warfare for basic tactics
(video demo of the game)
Another game: MAO - Master of Air Operations

Lo-fi wargame issues
-- Maintaining students suspension of disbelief
-- Over-enthusiastic team "Gamer mode"
-- Not enough time for iterative use
-- essential/delicate relationship between gaming & debriefing

Wargaming research
-- Document structure & knowledge of wargaming
Build off of pedagogy, interaction, etc

"Gamer mode": desire to win over-rides the desire to learn, and rational game-based decisions take over rational real-life decisions

Ellie Bartels (CASL) talking about GEMSTONE.
Originally created to support a CISA/SPOLIC program in ICTF; mostly foreign students (20-30 nations represented)
Models US FM 3-24; doesn't have to model reality, has to be in line with doctrine
Why multi-method gaming? Social science of COIN / Systems Dynamics Modeling
-- Social science of COIN: complex causality and mix of hard/soft metrics
-- SD: dynamic adjudication that lets red & blue impact the environment
Discussion of Pearl Conflict, the actual scenario run last year
-- Blue team is 5 sub-teams, 1 nat'l gov't, plus 5 regional subordinate gov'ts
-- Red team is 5 independent non-coordinating teams; red team played by alumni from host nation
Turn sequence (will post graphic later) in which 1 day of game-play = 1 year of game time.
A lot of coordination btw blue teams in which they move resources / assets / budget around the country.
Player outputs are metrics (scaled scores + GIS data) and qualitative feedback (headlines & narrative)
Key findings:
-- GEMSTONE fills hole in DOD model, strat level, limited resources, host-nation focused
-- MMG eases staff burden while maintaining complexity
-- SD model provides a consistent underpinning to inform students

Dr Stephens Downes-Martin, talking at the level of serious, high-stakes wargamers
The Three Witches of Wargaming: Boss, Sponsor, Players
They are the three people who will interfere with your game
Even if they were once expert wargamers, they are not now (their experience will be perishable)
They will want to 'help' your design process; if they do it at the beginning of the process you can recover, but if they do it on day one of your game, it's too late
You need to have the professional courage to stand up for your design and face down higher-ranking leadership
The gamble is when the holes in your design will show through (before or after your sponsor rotates out)

The boss: research shows that once a practitioner ("doer") is moved to leadership (responsible for overseeing "doers") and then moves back to doing (i.e., giving you advice as a practitioner) they are not as effective as they were before. You can reduce these conflicts by ensuring your boss stays informed with your developments.

The players: you're not "inviting" senior leader to play in your game; you're "recruiting" them. Keep the players focused on the objectives of the sponsor (the four-star who may not be there) instead of their personal thoughts on what's happening. Explain what the sponsor is wanting and recruit them to lead the game cell through the game as designed.

The sponsor: fixing the sponsor can potentially fix the other two. You want the sponsor to bring to you a clearly-articulated problem and some guidance on participants. What you usually get is a poorly-thought-out solution with no real problem articulated. Or you get a sponsor that's too busy to talk to you, and puts an "action officer" in the middle of the communication flow.
You need to meet with the sponsor, not the action officer, not matter how much their subordinates claim to represent it. Don't start until you meet the sponsor. Need a full-scale analysis with the sponsor
4 questions:
-- What do you want?
-- Why do you want it? (and if they mention stakeholders, drill down about why they want it)
-- Why don't you have it already? (a wealth of information: bureaucratic issues, incompetence, etc?)
-- When are you leaving? (establishes your time horizon)
(No known correlation between being good at your job and being good at analyzing your job)

By: Brant

1 comment:

Stephen Downes-Martin said...

You are recruiting the senior leader of each cell to lead that cell through playing the game as designed. The other players in the cell do indeed play as their own thoughts dictate guided by the leadership of the senior player.