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Thread: Connections 2010-2016 Wargaming Conferences

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    Council Member BayonetBrant's Avatar
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    Exclamation Connections 2010-2016 Wargaming Conferences

    Connections 2010 is being held in Dayton this year, sponsored by the Air Force Research Lab.

    http://connections-wargaming.com/

    Since 1993 Connections has worked to advance the art, science and application of wargaming by bringing together all elements of the field (military, commercial and academic) so they can exchange info on achievements, best practices and needs.

    The theme of Connections 2010 is enhancing wargaming ability to anticipate the future of warfare. We explore that theme through; two keynotes, four panels, three working groups, demos and a play test. See agenda. Still, many believe the most valuable element of Connections is the chance to meet leaders from across the branches of wargaming. This year Connections will also part of Big Week.
    Yep, Spring Break in Dayton!
    Brant
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    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Grmbl.

    I propose a NATO five-year ban on all computer-based wargaming, "exercises" and combat/support simulation studies.

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    Council Member BayonetBrant's Avatar
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    At the rate contracting is moving on many of these cases, you might get your wish regardless...
    Brant
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
    Grmbl.

    I propose a NATO five-year ban on all computer-based wargaming, "exercises" and combat/support simulation studies.
    On the other hand, much of the gaming discussed at Connections has little if anything to do with computers... I know that Joe Miranda from S&T should be there, and I've been asked to put on a miniatures battle (Blastoff) as well.

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    Council Member BayonetBrant's Avatar
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    Hey - I've got me on one panel, and Peter Bogdasarian (Corps Command series, and Tank-on-Tank) talking board games, too
    Brant
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    “their citizens (all of them counted as such) glorified their mythology of ‘rights’… and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure.” Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers 1959

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    Default Will be there....

    I'll be interested to see how this shapes up--wargaming helping us understand future warfare/security challenges. Anybody been able to tackle so-called "hybrid warfare" in a game?

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    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericmwalters View Post
    I'll be interested to see how this shapes up--wargaming helping us understand future warfare/security challenges. Anybody been able to tackle so-called "hybrid warfare" in a game?
    Bloodtree Rebellion by GDW took a swing at it, but more in the classic guerrilla sense (also a science fiction setting). Last time I was playing it, we had tweaked the rules fairly significantly, but I have no idea where those tweaks are .
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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericmwalters View Post
    I'll be interested to see how this shapes up--wargaming helping us understand future warfare/security challenges. Anybody been able to tackle so-called "hybrid warfare" in a game?
    Combat Mission Shock Force has a regular and irregular enemy on the board at the same time, so that's as close to Hybrid as anyone can get in reality.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

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    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
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    Jon Compton and Joe Miranda will both be there and will certainly be able to discuss Battle For Baghdad with you.
    Brant
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    “their citizens (all of them counted as such) glorified their mythology of ‘rights’… and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure.” Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers 1959

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    Council Member BayonetBrant's Avatar
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    AGENDA:

    Tuesday, 23 March

    1300-1700Optional Tutorials
    History of Wargaming, Mr. Matt Caffrey, Col USAF (ret), AFRL
    US National Defense 101, John Gresham, author

    1730-1900Ice Breaker

    Wednesday, 24 March

    0800 – 0830Welcome from AFRL & Wright Brothers Institute

    0850 – 1010Anticipating Military Tech Needs & Opportunities
    Co-Chairs: Dr. Al Nofi, CNA & Lt Col Tim Schulteis, AF/A8XC

    1030 – 1150Innovations in Military Wargaming
    Co-Chairs: Dr. Tiller & Dr. William Lademan, Marine Corps Warfighting Lab

    1150 – 1330Lunch speaker – Military Developments in 2009, John Gresham, author

    1330 – 1450 Innovations in Civilian Wargaming
    Co-Chairs: Brant Guillory & Major Mike Martin, US Army

    1510 - 1630 Methods of Future Warfare Adjudication
    Co-Chairs: Joe Miranda & Terry Christian, AFRL/XPTT

    1700-2100 Open wargame play/demo (at Comfort Suites)

    Thursday, 25 March

    0800 – 0840Keynote Speaker: Matt Caffrey, Technology as an Element of Strategy

    0900 – 1150Playtest Turn 1

    1130 – 1330Demos/Lunch

    1330 – 1540 Playtest Turn 2

    1600 – 1700Working Groups:
    Adjudication, Co-Chairs: Gov: Terry Christian, AFRL
    Civ: Dr Peter Perla, CNA
    Analysis, Co-Chairs: Gov: Ed Burge, AFRL
    Civ: Mike Garrambone
    Bicentennial WGing, Co-Chairs: Gov: Mark Montroll, NDU
    Civ: Judd Walls, BAH
    Edu: Steven “Flash” Gordon

    1700 – 2000 Dinner by working group

    Friday, 26 March

    0820 – 0900Outcome of Turn 2 / Pilot Execution Feedback

    0920 – 1020Working Groups Out Briefs
    Adjudication,
    Analysis,
    Bicentennial of Wargaming

    1040 – 1130 Connections “Hot Wash”
    Brant
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    “their citizens (all of them counted as such) glorified their mythology of ‘rights’… and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure.” Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers 1959

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    Council Member Wargames Mark's Avatar
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    At my day-job, we have been trying to make things happen using the VBS2 system for computer gaming. Some of the senior retired folks are impressed. Me, not so much. However, with more time to make the game system more realistic in its portrayal of Soldiers, and with a system to support the conduct of non-combat tasks, it could go somewhere...eventually. Probably. Maybe. I guess...
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    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wargames Mark View Post
    At my day-job, we have been trying to make things happen using the VBS2 system for computer gaming. Some of the senior retired folks are impressed.
    I have a proffessional developers edition of VBS2 on my system. It only works well with real humans behind it. The only combat simulation that does a better job than most soldiers is the orders based AI-system in Steel Beasts.

    However, with more time to make the game system more realistic in its portrayal of Soldiers, and with a system to support the conduct of non-combat tasks, it could go somewhere...eventually. Probably. Maybe. I guess...
    Do not hold your breath. Computer simulations are extremely capable, but very limited. They are not virtual training areas!
    They are basically calculators, which spit out the right result, given the right problem.
    They can teach and they can do some limited experimentation, but that is about it.
    The simulation itself is usually very un-important compared to how and how many people can use it for a specific purpose.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

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    Council Member Wargames Mark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by William F. Owen View Post
    I have a proffessional developers edition of VBS2 on my system. It only works well with real humans behind it. The only combat simulation that does a better job than most soldiers is the orders based AI-system in Steel Beasts.


    Do not hold your breath. Computer simulations are extremely capable, but very limited. They are not virtual training areas!
    They are basically calculators, which spit out the right result, given the right problem.
    They can teach and they can do some limited experimentation, but that is about it.
    The simulation itself is usually very un-important compared to how and how many people can use it for a specific purpose.
    I think games can make great training tools. I just don't like VBS2 very much (or its little brother, VBS2 Lite).

    To use commercial games as examples, I think I could do really good things with the poorly-named, but workable Combat Mission Strike Force, and also with older products like Close Combat (if equipped with a more robust scenario editor).

    I think games are a good way to explain concepts and let the student figure out "what right looks like" before they go out in the box and train on it hands-on. (That hands-on training is a real requirement and I do not think that gaming can replace it. No way, no how.)

    The problem with some games (like VBS2) is that they sometimes reward gaming-specific skills more than they do tactical skills and doctrinal knowledge. For example, some games place too much emphasis on deft manipulation of an interface. Trying to operate a weapon with a mouse is more difficult that doing it in real life. The use of expensive weapon-like controllers can make it a bit easier, but it's still not there.

    If one is trying to instruct a Soldier to operate a particular weapon, then a simulator designed to support that specific training may be helpful (weaponeer). But, if one wants to train Soldiers to perform a battle drill, or to make sound decisions in response to a given event (say reacting to a near ambush) then you don't really need to worry about how good a shot the Soldier is. We should be able to set that aside and concentrate on whether they understand what actions should be carried out. Marksmanship skills can be developed elsewhere. Let them point the mouse close enough to a target to make it apparent to the computer that the Soldier wishes to engage that particular object when he left-clicks, and so be it. Don't score a miss because he isn't a gaming superchamp. All we need to know is if his decision to engage that target at that time is a sound decision given the situation. This seems to be lost on some of the commercial gaming companies trying to create content for the military.

    When a game is too complex, it gets in the way of training. Simple interfaces are good.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BayonetBrant View Post
    Thanks for the links, Brant--I'll try to be there next year.
    They mostly come at night. Mostly.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Wargames Mark View Post
    If one is trying to instruct a Soldier to operate a particular weapon, then a simulator designed to support that specific training may be helpful (weaponeer).
    Agreed. It seems that the PC industry has got their foot in the door to military procurement and pushed down a number of 'simulators' that there was no need for in the first place. VBS, for one.

    If the simulator uses real-life equipment to generate feedback (as you mentioned, a wpns simulator - JAV, TOW, etc right up to a/craft) I'm all for it. Indoor simulated ranges can have some utility with ROEs and initial weapons instruction, too. However, I'll argue that any military simulator requiring the use of a keyboard or mouse is nugatory.

    Tactics games could be an exception, I guess. I've messed around with TACOPs, Combat Mission and Close Combat, but am still in split minds on their ability to add value to any professional military education program. That might be due to the fact that I would be shown up as a truly abysmal tactician if anyone were to observe me using those games, though.
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    It all depends on what you want to train. If the game is used as a stimulus to which you have to react, and you are training thought processes to be ingrained, then you can do a lot with the game that you'd be hard-pressed to do otherwise. This is especially true if the point is to work through staff processes and battle tracking. Any game can provide a suitable stimulus for that (ie, you don't need JANUS and 4 days of puckster training). If the game is intended to create some form of muscle memory effect, then yes, it needs to be much more tightly coupled to reality (Weaponeer).
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    Default Connections 2013 Conference on Professional Wargaming, July 22-25, Dayton OH

    The Connections 2013 conference will be held 22-25 July in Dayton Ohio, at the Tech^Edge Centre for Innovation near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

    Connections is the only national event dedicated specifically to professional military wargaming. Organized and chaired since its beginning in 1993 by (now retired) Air Force COL Matt Caffrey, the annual Connections conference has worked to advance the art, science and application of serious wargaming by bringing together all elements of the field (military, commercial and academic) so participants can exchange information on achievements, best practices and needs.

    The theme for 2013 is: "Enhancing Wargaming Support to Budget Decisions."
    Given the current and future uncertainty over US Department of Defense budgets, this is a timely theme indeed.

    Another valuable element of Connections is the chance to meet leaders from across the spectrum of wargaming. Past attendees and speakers have included Larry Bond, James F. Dunnigan, David Isby, Joe Miranda, Al Nofi, Peter Perla, John Prados and many more.

    Keynote speakers for this year are:

    - COL Chris Froehlich, Chief Strategic Planning Division, Air Force Material Command
    - Dr. Peter Perla, author of The Art of Wargaming, Lead, Wargaming, Centre for Naval Analysis
    - Dr. Thomas Allen, Deputy Director for Studies and Analysis, Joint Staff

    Connections is open to all contributors to the field of professional wargaming: military, government, defense contractor, academic, and recreational. It is an unclassified event. Many of the attendees are recreational wargamers in their spare time, but the emphasis of the conference is on discussion of activity and issues in professional wargaming, from the military, commercial and academic perspectives.

    Because of sequestration across most of the US Federal Government, there will be expanded opportunities for people to participate virtually in the conference via VTC, phone or Web. Information on how to participate virtually will be available shortly from the website.

    On the other hand, one of the most exciting elements of Connections 2013 will NOT lend itself to virtual participation. Luftwaffe Colonel Uwe L. Heilmann will be bringing a NATO team to conduct a "game lab". He and his team will conduct a manual NATO wargame that was designed for leadership development. Participants will them discuss how the wargame could be modified to enhance its ability to provide budget insights, some or all the modifications will be implemented, then the wargame will be played again. These game labs are a recent feature of Connections conferences and have proven very popular.

    See the conference website and agenda at http://connections-wargaming.com/

    Contact Matt Caffrey at matthewbcaffreyjr@gmail.com
    <mailto:matthewbcaffreyjr@gmail.com> for further information.

    Thanks for your interest,

    Brian Train

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    One clarification I have to add, from Matt Caffrey:
    One further point on Connections 13: sequestration across most of the US Federal Government has greatly accelerated an ongoing trend in the recent Connections. In 2011 Connections linked to 6 VTC sites, in 2012 it was 20 sites. For 2013 we will be greatly expanding the virtual element. For example our keynote speaker, Dr Thomas Allen, Deputy Director for Studies and Analysis, Joint Staff, will both give his remarks and participate in the keynote speaker panel via VTC. Also, while we have limited physical participation to practitioners in the field to maintain critical mass for participant interaction, there is no reason not to let anyone interested in wargaming to call in. I suspect this year we may well have more people participate in Connections via VTC, phone and web then will participate in person. That is by necessity because of the current budget constraints, still the long term impact may turn out to be a significant increase in the total number of people who can participate in, hence benefit from, Connections.


    Brian
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-24-2013 at 01:32 PM. Reason: fix quote

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    Default Connections 2014 professional wargaming conference(s)

    The Connections 2014 interdisciplinary wargaming conference will be held be held at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia on 4-7 August 2014:


    The theme for the 2014 conference will be "understanding international wargames cultures."

    In addition, there will be a Connections UK conference on 2-4 September 2014 at King's College London:

    They mostly come at night. Mostly.


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