Guerrilla Checkers at Sandhurst!

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“You’re probably wondering why I’ve called us here together…”

Captain Ed Farrell, a platoon commander at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, recently used Guerrilla Checkers to teach a group of officer cadets some lessons about asymmetric warfare in preparation for the phase in their training when they learn about insurgencies.

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Still looks a bit linear to me. Lawrence, wake up!

He reported that it went over well, but as so often happens with this sort of thing a lot of time is spent in explaining the game to people who are unfamiliar with manual games (even though this one has extremely short rules, and the mechanics are derived from two existing ones, it is different) and getting them to play it less gingerly. In this case they played the game in teams of two or three each side, and discussed each move, which slowed things down further but I can see the value of explaining your reasoning in syndicates.

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All photos by Ed Farrell.

He had A Distant Plain out for display purposes as well, to show what could be done with manual games, but there was no time to do more than show the bits. Still and all, he may have planted some ideas in young officers’ heads for future training aids!

I’m very grateful to Captain Farrell for using my game, and I hope he will try it again if the opportunity permits!

By the way, if you are interested in the game shown, here are the rules – I also have a basic version that works on Android devices and can send you the .apk file if you ask:

rules in Word with Maoist hints on play

rules in PDF with board to play on

RB @ DSTL

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(photo of Ukrainian Crisis in play, from Paxsims website)

Over at the Paxsims blog, Rex Brynen tells about a recent and very busy week spent at the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL):

https://paxsims.wordpress.com/2016/08/02/dstl-wargaming-trip-report-or-i-visited-portsdown-west-and-all-i-got-was-this-lousy-mug/

Among many other things, people played a series of games to explore “hybrid warfare”, including LCOL Dave Barsness’ Kaliningrad 2017, Volko Ruhnke’s Labyrinth, and my own Ukrainian Crisis.

Rex concludes matrix games FTW for analyzing this form of warfare, at least for the broad strokes, and I would tend to agree. But here’s the typical Brynen wit:

Ironically, one of the problems of a matrix game approach is that it does not require a great deal of preparation, nor need it involve a great deal of materials and complexity. This makes it an unattractive proposition for defence contractors and consultants since product creation and delivery generates relatively few billable hours. Similarly, a sponsor may feel that it does not seem enough of a tangible product compared with a more complex, traditional wargame.

Hm! Words to live by, I guess… though a poorly prepared and executed matrix game is just as much a failure as a poorly done game of another type.

Algiers and Algeria at AWC

 

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This was the first time I had ever moderated a film. Unfortunately Lianne’s presentation style hasn’t rubbed off on me.

Had a great time at the US Army War College! Made very welcome by COL Jerry Hall and LCOL Dave Barsness, both long-time wargamers. I arrived very late Saturday and Sunday LCOL Barsness took me on a tour of the Army Heritage and Education Centre. A very well put together museum; one thing they do is give you a small plastic card which is a profile of a typical American soldier, from the time of teh Spanish-American War up to the GWOT and you can read about “your” soldier when you reach the right exhibit. I picked a Specialist from Vietnam and found at the end that he was killed in the 11th month of his tour. They also had some very nice outside exhibits including life size replicas of a redoubt and a blockhouse, and another interesting one showing the various ways IEDs could be concealed.

Monday was the event; we set up five copies of Colonial Twilight ahead of time and got into the movie. Attendance was a little light because the students are very busy and near  the end of their program, and the timing wasnot great. But it was great to meet and talk with those who came, including COL di Crocco with whom I had been corresponding for a while but as a gamer.

The movie went over very well and people enjoyed the games.It was a real privilege to be able to help with the program.  And at the end, the customary group picture!

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