CFP: Connections-USA 2019

This is reposted from an email received by Tim Wilkie, a Great Guy who is organizing the Connections-USA conference.

I’ve posted many times on this blog about how interesting and valuable these conferences are, at least to me. You should consider attending, if you have any interest in how government (primarily the military, but the lessons are often widely applicable) uses wargaming.

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Connections 2019 will be hosted by the U.S. Army War College at the Army Heritage and Education Center in Carlisle, PA, August 13-16.

Connections is an interdisciplinary* wargaming conference that has been held annually since 1993, with the mission of advancing and preserving the art, science, and application of wargaming.  Connections participants come from all elements of the wargaming discipline, and include those in the military, government, academic, private sector, and commercial hobbyist fields.  By providing a forum for practitioners to share insights and best practices, Connections works to improve gaming as a tool for research, analysis, education, and policy.

Presentations on any aspect of professional wargaming are welcome.  The 2019 conference theme is Futures of Wargaming, and with that in mind, presentations on wargaming future events, advances in wargaming techniques, wargaming to train future leaders, and related topics are especially encouraged.

Please submit your proposal via the Google Form at the following link (which contains additional information):
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeyDQazE8CCsGmzjKorpEdaB1eQF9ijsKOdnYwMC5JnL8-uOg/viewform?usp=sf_link

It is by no means necessary to have attended a previous Connections conference to participate as a speaker.  More information about past Connections events and current updates on the status of planning for Connections 2019 can be found at the conference website:
https://connections-wargaming.com/

Feel free to pass this along to those who you think might be interested, including posting this in appropriate places online.  For additional information or any questions or concerns, please contact me at timothy.wilkie@ndu.edu

Timothy Wilkie
Research Fellow
Center for Applied Strategic Learning (CASL)
National Defense University
timothy.wilkie@ndu.edu
(202)433-4865

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*[best thing I read on the Net yesterday, from “S**t Academics Say”: “We’re all two drinks away from becoming interdisciplinary.”]
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Back from Connections-UK 2018

Well, that was a great time! Connections was great, went better than I expected.

Rex Brynen did a very good report, and the Connections-UK website has audio and some slide decks.

https://paxsims.wordpress.com/2018/09/07/connections-uk-2018-conference-report/

http://professionalwargaming.co.uk/2018.html

The first day was the megagame – “Green and Pleasant Land” by Jim Wallman. It concentrated on UK government internal operations as they dealt with different natural and artificial crises and emergencies – floods, a death in the Royal Family, and some nefarious doin’s as well. I had fun as the the “Adversary” (Russian) Minister of Defense (Phil Pournelle played Putin). Before the game began, Anja v.d. Hulst and I “bugged” seven tables in the UK Government room with sticky notes – they had no game function but when the Cabinet found one of them they panicked and withdrew to a secure bunker. Their nuclear submarine fleet had just put out to sea so we didn’t know what they were up to! Uh oh…

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Photo: Tom Mouat

Second day was my “Game design as Journalism” presentation and later, the dialogue between me and Volko Ruhnke. It went far better than I ever thought it would, I had been spinning so many brain-cycles over it I thought it was no good. But I never want to talk or write about Creativity itself ever again, it’s easier just to make things.

There was also a game fair: I had brought giveaway copies of Guerrilla Checkers, which attracted quite a few people, and got two fellows into a game of Second Lebanon War.  “We are Coming Nineveh”, which we had playtested a couple of days before, was also on display. (two right photos: Tom Mouat)

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With LCol Neil Stevens and LCol Ranald Shepherd, all looking very pleased with ourselves.

On the third day, I chaired a plenary session on “validation” that featured two presentations by people who had used my work. The first was by two LCols in the British Army who had used A Distant Plain as a training aid for their staff officers to give them some appreciation of the complexity of the Afghan situation, and in the second John Curry talked about recent games that examined the Ukraine Crisis… I am quoted as saying I got it “half right and half wrong.” (Yes, just don’t ask me which half is which.) Even if the games are not a perfect mirror of historical reality I felt validated myself and was very grateful, as always, to hear about my stuff being used in contexts outside sheer entertainment.

Before and after the conference, I had a day or two to enjoy London… I went museum hopping. At the Imperial War Museum I saw this:

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“Douglas” the ventriloquist’s dummy.

“Douglas” and his handler have quite a story. Arthur Harden joined the Artillery and served in the 59th Division’s Divisional Ammunition Column. He was a hobby ventriloquist and entertained the troops with Douglas (possibly named after Douglas Haig) when out of the line. His commanding officer recognized the morale-maintaining function of the dummy and took him on his orderly room staff and promoted him to Sergeant (Harden, not the dummy). Harden said later, “The Colonel enjoyed Douglas so much that he prevented my posting elsewhere and mildly discouraged my taking a commission.” It certainly saved his life, though Douglas’ case has a hole in it from a piece of shrapnel (hidden in this shot).

https://www.forces.net/news/creepy-dummy-entertained-soldiers-during-ww1

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The kids didn’t quite get the point.

I also went to the National Army Museum, which was quite fun. There was an interactive display where a CGI drill sergeant from the Guards would come out and berate you (in clean language) over your sloppy drill when you stood on the footprints.

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Wellington’s cloak and barometer. Also, the skeleton of Marengo, one of Napoleon’s horses.

 

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T.E. Lawrence’s robes and dagger.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also went to the Victoria & Albert and British Museums, but did not have a lot of time to spend in either. I liked the 20th century design rooms at the former and just went to the Roman Britain room in the latter to take some pictures for my dad.

I also went to Richmond, to see a puppet show in a barge moored in the Thames river. The barge is brought up into London during the winter for shows. Very talented puppeteers.

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Puppets from earlier shows hung on the walls.

On my last day I went out to suburban Dagenham to visit David Turczi, where we talked about our newest projects and played Root, a very interesting asymmetric game by Cole Wehrle. I didn’t really know what I was doing but still won as the Cats, on a Domination card.

Now, back to work!

 

And awaaay we go once more…

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For the Last Big Trip of 2018. I’m leaving for the UK on Friday the 31st, for the Connections-UK conference on professional wargaming at Kings College London, 4-6 September.

http://professionalwargaming.co.uk/2018.html

I’ll be presenting on game design as journalism (a very revised version of the San Diego PCA presentation), doing a semi-structured dialogue on creativity and design with Volko Ruhnke on stage (and I think I will never write about creativity or the creative process again, I’ve spent weeks dithering and thinking about it and it has been driving me nuts…), and chairing a plenary session on “wargame validation” where the speakers are using A Distant Plain and Ukrainian Crisis as examples.

“Journalism” presentation text: Games journalism 29 Aug and the slides: Games journalism 29 aug

We’ll also have the game demos and plays: I am bringing Guerrilla Checkers as always, and advertising play of Second Lebanon War from the Brief Border Wars quad (actually I am bringing the whole quad, in case someone wants to play Cyprus 1974 or Vietnam 1979 instead). And we will be demonstrating We Are Coming, Nineveh! too.

Before and after will be playtesting of things, merry meetings, a megagame organized by Jim Wallman (one of my favourite madmen), a puppet show on a barge, and general snooping around!

I may post from Blighty, or I may not… as usual I am working off the little tablet with tiny keyboard.

Be good while I’m gone!

Off again, off again, jiggety-jig…

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On Monday I am going to Washing Tundy Sea, for the 2018 iteration of the Connections conference on professional wargaming.

https://connections-wargaming.com/connections-2018/

I’ll be at National Defense University at Fort McNair… among other things, facilitating a gamelab table discussion and giving a short seminar on “Perspectives on Counterinsurgency Gaming” (largely my usual talk on how games on modern irregular warfare are rare and subversive, and don’t get no respect because they upset people for a variety of reasons when they pay attention to them at all… so you’re not missing much if you’ve heard it from me before).

Also, demonstration/participation games of Guerrilla Checkers, Second Lebanon War and We Are Coming, Nineveh (Mosul urban combat game).

Looking forward to seeing many of the Usual Suspects again!

Going to be hot (32-35 degrees) and humid (with two days of thunderstorms). Quite a change from Arizona (though I hear the monsoon season has started there now).

Probably won’t be posting from there as I will be working off a teeny tiny tablet; more when I get back.

Ten Busy Days Away

 

Wow, that was a very busy trip, nearly the last one of a very busy year!

On Saturday 2 September I flew to London, a 9 hour flight. I arrived at about 1200 Sunday 3 September local time but 0400 body time… I got to the student residences at King’s College London (just across Waterloo Bridge from the Strand Campus where the conference was, very convenient but also what the British call “cheap and cheerful”), unpacked and went out to get a few things I needed (snacks, an adapter for the wall socket adapter I had bought in Canada but which proved to be the wrong one, and a new portable umbrella to replace the one I had bought last time I was in London in 2013 and carried back this time, but which somehow got lost or escaped in the last 20 miles before arriving). Then I tried to get some sleep… to avoid getting the jetlag that plagued me last time, I took a sleeping pill for the first couple of nights. Normally I do not use them, but it seemed to do the trick this time. (Of course, now I am back but my brain is still 8 hours in the future, so it’s harder re-adjusting now.)

On Monday I went for a bit of sightseeing… to Ian Allen Ltd. nearby to have a look at their very idiosyncratic and particular stock of military history reference and research books (really, this is the place to go if you must have a book on SS parade helmets RIGHT NOW), and they seem to have every Osprey book ever printed. I got a “BEWARE OF THE TRAINS” mug for Akito, from the Trainspotters’ section of the store. Then to Hackney, to get some tickets for a puppet show on a barge on the Thames River that Friday night…but the office they advertised there was just a house where they kept props. I did get things straightened out but saw more of Hackney than I intended to, though I did get to go by 10 Martello Street, once the home of Throbbing Gristle and Industrial Records – it is still artists’ studios.

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“The Death Factory”, they called it. Oh, those crazy kids….

I also went to the British Film Institute on Southbank, the Tate Modern, and very quickly to the Imperial War Museum – I would go back there later.

Tuesday was the “megagame” before the conference proper – an East Asia crisis simulation game called Dire Straits, that involved nearly 100 players and was set up and very ably run by Rex Brynen and Jim Wallman. Rex did a very good writeup of the form and intention of the exercise here: https://paxsims.wordpress.com/2017/09/09/dissecting-dire-straits/

They gave me the coveted role of Kim Jong Un, in which position I oversaw a team of very clever people who came up with some brilliant ideas, as we conspired to make trouble and so ensure the autonomy and integrity of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

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Me looking Dear Leader-like. Photo by Tom Mouat.

As you can see by the photo, we were also playing at the same time an elaborate side-game of whose faction was gaining or losing power through representation in the organs of DPRK government. Part of this was the Obsequious Loyalty Forms which had to be completed by each player on my team each turn, to comply with a task I had set them – e.g. write a haiku about me, or draw a picture of the statue of me they would erect on their properties – for which they would be rewarded or punished. During my time in the catbird seat (which I did not dare leave during the entire four hours of the exercise) I had only two assassination attempts against my person, and one challenge on the floor of the Central Committee. Another thing I did was have them applaud everything I decided, which worked to freak out everyone in the rest of the large room as bursts of loud and sustained applause would erupt randomly from the North Korean corner.

At the beginning of the game they played a short video which detailed the events that had-will happen(ed) in each involved country (USA, Japan, the Koreas, Russia, China, Taiwan, etc.) the next few years between now and the time of the game.

The background music that played when they got to North Korea was “99 Luftballons” by Nena (remember that one?) and without realising it we had a balloon-themed time of it:

  • The head of the Air Force drew an especially poor statue of me watering the World Garden of Peace and Cooperation, so we picked on a senior officer of that service to be tied to a weather balloon and set free to drift away – his frozen corpse dropped and shattered into a million bits on Russian territory, but they were dissuaded from regarding that as a hostile act.
  • Later, Russia and China leaned on us not to do any more ground-based missile launches (our first move in the game was to do a test launch of a MIRV device on a ballistic missile, which succeeded and rather set the cat amongst the pigeons), so we hit on a low-tech way of skirting it: take the test missile aloft with large weather balloons, drop it and fire it in mid-air – we got a satellite-killer up into low-earth orbit that way.
  • South Korea was bombarding our people and spreading dissension through propaganda broadcasts while moving forces up nearer the DMZ, so we decided to make a peaceful riposte. All DPRK schoolchildren were given a piece of fruit and the day off school to build small balloons to which were tied messages of peace, friendship and praise for the Dear Leader (again, written by members of my staff) and released to float south when the winds were right. Incidentally, the balloons were all made with strips of aluminum foil in them, so when they were released the South Korean military radars were completely spoofed by this strange blobby cloud of something drifting towards them over the border… they panicked, but not enough.

We did other things later in the game like hack Donald Trump’s Twitter feed, which made him pretty mad (even though he was not played by a person in the game; his decisions were the resultant of sets of policy vectors set and pushed by members in the large US Cabinet on a game board, which I thought was a brilliant touch), offer the USA shipments of food to help with its food bank problem, and condemn in the press a SEAL team’s failed attempt to sabotage our SSBN research program as “sneaky and moist.”

We had fun, though it was a serious exercise too – for me, it was a very intense time as crisis after crisis came in, needing to be dealt with.

The BBC did a story on it, even: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-41172485?SThisFB

After supper was an informal game session, where I brought Colonial Twilight to show and play – one of the few copies in the UK at the time.

The next day was the official beginning of the conference – the usual plenary sessions broken up by tea breaks, which were necessary in my view to allow the socializing that allows these kinds of things to progress and grow stronger. In the afternoon was a Games Fair, which was an organized time for people to bring their game designs to show and play. There were games on topics ranging from hospital triage and cyber strategy to a future war against Hezbollah and naval warfare. Bob Cordery took some nice pictures here: http://wargamingmiscellany.blogspot.ca/2017/09/connections-uk-2017-games-fair.html

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Photo: Bob Cordery

Bob also played in my five-player game of Caudillo, which went down very well despite my having forgotten a few minor rules. The two women on the right of the photo were business students from Venezuela and obviously weren’t fooled by the game’s setting in the city of “Maracas”, and its objective of determining a stable successor in power to “Jesus Shaves”.

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That evening there was a second session of the Games Fair, and I taught a group of five guys through a session of Colonial Twilight. Two of them had never played a COIN system game before so it was a slow start, but we got all the way through a campaign before having to pack it in.

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Photo: Ivan Seifert(?)

The next day I chaired a plenary session on “wargame design and analysis”. Rex and Jim, two of my favourite madmen, presented on the design and content of megagames in general, with commentary and analysis of how Tuesday’s game had gone. They were followed by a talk on the state of Swedish professional wargaming, and another on the risks and pitfalls encountered in playing through a game on nuclear missile defence. If nothing else, gaming these sorts of things points out how easily and quickly sides can be misunderstood, and actions and intentions distorted.

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Mmmm… thinky thinky. (photo: Bob Cordery)

The last major activity was a breakout session in which we separated into several groups and brainstormed ideas for gaming out aspects of future conflict (of any type) in “The High North” which is one of the topics the British Ministry of Defence is concerned about as a near- to mid-future theatre. My group went with an idea for a game design that would explore the dimensions of conflict between indigenous peoples in the far north and the other forces and complications that would arrive, in the wake of a changing climate. I think I will be taking some time to ponder this seriously later.

That was Thursday, and the end of the conference… though a bunch of us settled at a nearby pub to have a drink or two and do some more of that necessary gettoknowyou that (also necessarily) tends to get pushed aside in the structure of a conference.

Friday I shifted out of student digs and to my stepsister’s place in Islington. I had a late breakfast with Rex Brynen, and we had an excellent talk at a very nice place in St. Pancras station, near a large statue called “The Meeting” and the point where the high-speed trains leave for Europe (another thing that did not exist when I was in the UK in the 80s). That night we went out to the west end of the city to Richmond, where we saw a puppet play on a barge moored in the Thames (in the winter they move it into the city near Regent’s Canal). It was very well done and was all about how one should never put their trust in poets, which I thought a good theme for any medium.

Saturday I went to Tesco Superstore, a large grocery store in Lambeth, to get a large number of chocolate bars for Lianne… they sell a cheap dark chocolate that is really good, so I ended up getting three and a half pounds of it. Then I carried all that over to the Imperial War Museum.

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Front of the IWM, featuring a pair of guns from a battleship.

This was one of the best military museums I’ve ever been to, not just because of the quality of the artifacts on display but also by the thought that obviously went into the different exhibits. This museum is not the expected dusty closet of retired regimental colours and nostalgic battle scenes in oil paint by retired regimental officers; it’s far more about the aftereffects of conflicts and wider lessons learned (or not). As an example, the main exhibit that covered the Falklands featured the uniform and effects of a war artist who went with the troops, and the original Spitting Image puppet of Margaret Thatcher.

IWM thatcher

I had to leave from there and travel to the Isle of Dogs, to Fabian’s place where we would do further play of Caudillo, as we did back in 2013. (Playtesting Dios O Federacion)

We had a good time and the group made some great suggestions for turning this into an even more personally involving exercise for the players.

My arm went out of joint when James won the game (photos: Richard Barbrook).

Sunday I traveled all the way out to Dagenham, a town far out in the Greater London suburbs. I spent the day with David Turczi, with whom I’ve been working all year to design Nights of Fire, the thematic sequel to David’s game Days of Ire on the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. The game is pretty much there, we are just doing small tweaks and sealing and caulking against Stupid Gamer Tricks (which I continue to be quite bad at predicting or perceiving).

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I’ve learned a lot from David about new methods and mechanics to put into games to make them more interesting to players, without sacrificing too much of the historicity.

Also, we played a mid-length game of Mark Herman’s Churchill, a very clever 3-player game. I did too well as Churchill and Stalin won the peace.

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The woman on the left was posing for her boyfriend, not photobombing me.

Monday was the last day, and my stepsister took me to lunch at a nice place in Camden Lock. This is a somewhat touristy area with a lot of open-air and semi-outside markets with neat stuff in them. That night I packed up and we sat and watched The Devils, a demented Ken Russell film I had never had the chance to see. It was a good day to relax and start to decompress.

I didn’t get to sleep that night though, and was up at 0500 to catch the first tube to Heathrow Airport, because security there can take a very long time to get through. As it turned out, it wasn’t bad and there was no rush after all. The plane ride back was 9 1/2 hours (jet stream or head winds I guess) and quite boring; I watched three rather unmemorable movies. I also caught a cold because the whole row next to me was occupied by a Dutch family who all had the same virus, and whose darling little plague-vessel children hadn’t ever been taught to cover their mouths when coughing.

Come to think about it, maybe they were not Dutch but Phlegmish.

Well, that was the trip – busy and some intense times but I enjoyed myself quite a bit, came away with many new ideas and intend to go back next year!

 

 

Back to Blighty

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Nope, not this time.

On Saturday I’m leaving for London, to attend this year’s Connections-UK conference at King’s College London. I’ll be chairing a plenary session on “wargame design and analysis”, and participating in some other shenanigans!

Other than that, I am taking a couple of extra days to see friends and collaborators, and play some more games – I am taking Colonial Twilight, Caudillo, the Brief Border Wars quad, the Freikorps re-do (still haven’t decided on a name) and Nights of Fire for show and tell and test-driving.

Really looking forward to seeing London again! Hope the jet-lag isn’t as bad as last time.

Posting may be spotty as I will be working off a tablet and it’s hard to type on it. I’ll be home on the 13th. Be good, now….

Back, then forth

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Thanks to LTC James di Crocco for the flyer, and for organizing the film!

Wow, what a busy week! But it was certainly worth it.

I got into Carlisle PA very late on Sunday night. The next morning I had breakfast at the nearby Hamilton Restaurant, a nice cheap diner place that’s been there for 84 years. I had scrapple for the first time in my life… it’s a regional delicacy, let’s call it that. Think of toast made of pureed meat.

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It’s the Pennsylvania treat!

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were spent in meetings, panels and testing sessions, as well as the movie and game event on Tuesday afternoon.

On Monday I had an hour or two in the War College Library and quite by accident, I happened to set my stuff down in a chair next to the very area I wanted to poke around in – urban guerrilla warfare! I found an old copy of “Report on Urban Insurgency Studies”, something put together under an old ARPA contract in 1966 by “Simulmatics Corporation”. Along with case studies of urban conflicts, including the Algerian insurgency, it also included “URB-INS”, directions and descriptions for making and running a manual game on counterinsurgency in a generic city. It was pretty sophisticated for its day – double-blind play with an umpire using a third board; time lag on intelligence and movements; uncertain information on sympathizers for either side; interrogation and arrest; etc..

Simulmatics was one of those little companies that sprang up like mushrooms in the early days of using social science and computers to defeat insurgency, funded by ARPA project money. Simulmatics did work in computer simulations in the early 1960s analyzing American voter behaviours, and so were pioneers in doing that kind of work for political parties, but  did not do well in contracted ARPA work in Vietnam trying to develop psychological weapons and predictors to defeat the Viet Cong (as described in The Imagineers of War: The Untold History of DARPA, the Pentagon Agency That Changed the World, a new book by Sharon Weinberger).

Tuesday morning I sat in on a panel on “Games and Innovation in the Classroom” with LTC Pat Schoof from the Command and General Staff College (James Sterrett’s delegate), Jim Lacey and Peter Perla. I was especially glad to see Peter, as I don’t get many chances to talk with this highly intelligent guy … luckily we were able to have dinner the night before, and talk up a storm. No pictures because it was in Collins Hall, a building where I had to lock up my tablet and phone before entering.

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Tuesday afternoon we were in Root Hall, the main building, and had a couple of hours of guided play of Colonial Twilight before the movie. The College has some nice printers, so they were able to make double-size maps which were almost too big to play on.

The movie went well too. I made some introductory remarks on the Algerian history and war development up to the point the movie begins in 1957, and some comments on how the movie came to be made (did you know Pontecorvo’s original idea was to make a dramatic movie called Paras, starring either Steve McQueen or Warren Beatty?).

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Halfway through the movie, after the scene of Colonel Mathieu’s first briefing with his officers, I stopped and talked about the historical and effective tactics the French used in the actual Battle of Algiers, and at the end I talked about some of the liberties the producer/star Yacef Saadi had taken with history, and about the historical impact of the film. My remarks are here, in case anyone is interested: remarks on the war and film.

On Wednesday I was in the War College Library for a playtest of South China Sea, a grown-out and complexified version of Breaking The Chains, a game on naval warfare in the area by John Gorkowski published by Compass Games (which will also be doing the new version). (https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/137498/breaking-chains-war-south-china-sea) A class of students at the College will use this game at an event in the summer to explore the wild world of “joint operations”.

Wednesday night I had dinner with now-retired LTC Dave Barsness, who was my escort officer last year, and who has somehow contrived to look even leaner, fitter and more tanned than the last time I saw him! Afterwards I went to a talk at the Army Heritage Education Centre which is near the War College, where one of the faculty there talked about his recent book Elvis’s Army, on the US Army’s years between Korea and Vietnam. I’ve always been interested in this period, especially the brief and weird Pentomic Division reorganization, so it was a really interesting talk. One of the topics was the legendary M29 Davy Crockett recoilless gun, which fired a small Mk 54 nuclear warhead with variable yields in the 10-20 ton range. Problem was, the warhead’s danger radius was a considerable fraction of the launcher’s accurate range, so unless you had considerable ground cover (or preferably a ridge or mountain) between you and the explosion, you were cooked.

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On Thursday it went up to 32 degrees (90 F and humid) and I got a lift to the Harrisburg airport from LTC Jim Di Crocco, a friend and fellow gamer who had been my escort officer on and off and around the College, taking time out from his very busy week that would end with a trip to Bangkok the next day. Thanks Jim! After a delay caused by a certain amount of something observed leaking from the starboard engine, we took off for Toronto, affording me a nice view of the cooling towers of Three Mile Island.

However, that delay cost me my comfortable connection to the flight to Ottawa. The plane landed at what must have been the very end of Pearson Airport (gate F93?) and I galumphed as fast as I could through Customs and Security, making it to the plane just as they were about to close the door and leave… another two minutes and they would have been gone. We landed in Ottawa in a thunderstorm, and had to wait until the lightning stopped to disembark.

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My good friend Andreas playing the game with his kids.

I stayed with my friend Andreas and his family, here he is playing Guerrilla Checkers with his very smart children.

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Friday I was in a meeting with Rex Brynen and Tom Fisher, his partner in design crimes, talking with staff in Global Affairs Canada about a matrix game exercise they were planning to try out on their people. That morning I had had a chance to wander around Parliament Hill, where I hadn’t been since 1989 and my Class B days. It’s pretty much the same except for all the added security people, searches and roadblocks. I also saw them post the guard at the National War Memorial, something they did not do back in the day.

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I’m not smiling, I’m having an attack of colic. Photo by Denis Lavergne.

Friday night and Saturday  I was at the Cangames convention, showing and playing Colonial Twilight with Rex Brynen and Michel Boucher. On Saturday Michel taught me to play The Grizzled (Les Poilus), a co-operative game I had been meaning to try. It was very interesting and affecting, enjoyable (?) on a lot of levels. That night I went to Michel’s place for a delicious dinner of roast chicken, and I met his wife and daughter as well as getting a quick look at his massive and eclectic wargame collection.

Major score at the Cangames flea market: the complete (well, haven’t inventoried the counters but it looks so) set of Command Series Games, Volume I by Rand Games Associates, published in 1974, even with red drawer box in 1974-was-a-long-time-ago condition… for a very good price, with only a couple of missing counters. Maybe not hugely innovative or even good games but a piece of hobby history I have been looking for a long time. http://mapandcounters.blogspot.ca/2010/03/mixed-memories-rand-game-associates.html

Sunday it was time to go. I spent the morning playing Settlers of Catan with Andreas and the kids. Flight home not as stressful or sweaty as the flight in, but I was very happy to have Victoria Day off to depressurize.

In three days we are taking off for Tempe Arizona for the 2017 Consimworld Expo! Almost a whole week in the sun, it will probably be over 100 degrees every day. I’m bringing a bunch of stuff to test and show, and we’ll see who bites on what…

More later, during or more likely after the Expo.