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Wednesday, 2 September 2020

New book- A Practical Guide to Medieval Warfare: Exploring History through Wargaming

 

New book by Richard Brooks and John Curry. 

I started work on this book approximately 30 years ago in a series in the Nugget, the Journal of Wargame Developments. As a result of lockdown, the book is finally published. 

It is available from Amazon and other online book stores, including for the Kindle.

Medieval warfare is part of our culture. However, there are severe limits to our current understanding of the conduct of military campaigns culminating in sieges and pitch battles during the medieval era. This book is an attempt to develop further understanding of some aspects of the medieval military reality, in particular around the operational and tactical scale.

It looks at the medieval operation art of war such as the numbers involved, scouting, logistics, march rates and the length of the campaign season.

Then it looks at the medieval battle; how armies deployed, advanced, fought, won and lost. The many topics include dressing the ranks, the advance to contact, battle cries and pre-battle speeches.

The third section explores sieges and street fighting. such as the lengths of sieges, success rates. and the practical details involved in storming a castle.

The fourth section of the book includes five sets of rules to allow the reader to create interactive models of medieval warfare on the tabletop for them to explore. From pitch battles, to skirmishes, raids and retreats, the games allow the reader to create interactive models of medieval warfare on the tabletop for them to explore.

This book is written from the perspective that there was a medieval art of war. War took time, effort, planning, logistics and skill to initiate, conduct and win. We assume that the medieval warrior largely knew what they were doing and if we do not comprehend the decisions they took when waging war, this reflects our lack of understanding, not theirs. This book aims to fill some of the gaps in our mental models of the medieval warfare.

Game #1: Middle Aged Spread - Battle level rules 1066-1485

Game #2: Sword and Spear: Wargaming Low-Level Battle Tactics

Game #3: Once More unto the Breach: Skirmish Rules

Game #4: Gaming Retreats: Cymerau (1257)ar. It includes a detailed model of Cold War air combat. The game demonstrated that a second Argentine invasion would initially be successful.

Game #5: Gaming Cattle Raids: The Night Belongs to Paddy


 

Sunday, 24 May 2020

The Handbook of Cyber Wargames: Wargaming the 21st Century New book

Co-authored with Nick Drage, this is an exciting new handbook covering the emerging battles in cyber space.

Cyber security is one of the big challenges of the 21st century. Failure to meet the threat can have major consequences for the individual, a company, an NGO or a nation state. The cost of cyber crime is in the billions of pounds per year. Cyber wargames are an essential part of the training cycle, education and operational analysis needed to rise to meet this threat.

This handbook aims to fill a gap in the training for cyber-attacks and cyber warfare. By providing worked examples of different types of manual cyber wargame, including aims and objectives for each, it provides a basis for the reader to understand the potential range of games on offer. It also helps educate clients about the different types of cyber wargame available and can help them procure the right type of game in order to meet their needs.

Cyber wargaming combines two complex fields:  wargame design and cyber operations.  This handbook is full of examples of such manual games. It includes examples of:

     Network attack and defence exercises
    Committee games

    Company and state level games

    Example of a Matrix Game

    Analysing the cyber security space using Confrontation Analysis

    Media Wars: The Battle to Dominate the Information Space

    Attack Chain modelling
The book is full of additional information for the reader, such as how a cyber conflict might develop or what the key decisions C-Suite leaders need to consider when faced by a sustained cyber attack.

 

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Message of hope from a gamer in China

I was most touched to receive this email from a gamer in China I know. So I thought I would share it.

John

Dear All:
This is Frank from MiniWarfare, China. You received this letter because your email is in my contact book. Among you, there are rule writers, manufacturers, retailers, editors, in US, UK, Italy and so on.

As far as I know, things are very bad in America and Europe. The government asked businesses to shut down and work from home, just as China did 2 months ago. You are in a very difficult time but what I would like to tell you, do not panic, it will be OK.

You know, things are getting better in China. My province has basically returned to normal work. The children will return to school in two weeks. Now we don't need to wear masks outdoors.
In your countries, the population density is lower than in China, and the medical conditions are better than in China, so don't be pessimistic, we can make it, so can you.

Wish you healthy and happy, all of you!

Thanks

Frank  

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Lessons from a pandemic game


In May 2019, I was the lead umpire in a game about a pandemic in the UK. The game was a committee game, largely free kriegsspiel. The decisions made in the game reflected those being made in the current situation in the world and are not that interesting. What is perhaps more interesting were the wider decisions in the game. 

The Welsh government used the opportunity to get a better settlement from the UK government, the Scottish declared independence in the belief London could not retain control and Russia threatened the Baltic Republics; intending to seize them while nato nations were fully tasked with the pandemic.

Of course, games are not predictive; wargamers use the shared experience of the game to explore the potential.

However, now we are in a real pandemic, the possibilities of real world scheming in Cardiff, Edinburgh or Moscow are now looking less like some wargame fantasy.

Friday, 13 March 2020

Gaming the pandemic


One of the ways of creating a model of the decisions states make facing a pandemic is using Confrontation Analysis- the Card game. This views the potential choices as cards in the government hand which can be played or not.

For example, the government can play a card- “mobilise all nursing students and direct them into hospitals to create a pool of reserve nurses!

The factors in this this situation are:

Public confidence in government

Impact on economy

Impact on virus

Each of these are rated +5 (best outcome possible) to -5 (terrible, very bad) 0 = a balance of good and bad.

The card would say “mobilise nursing students”

Public confidence + 2 (the public like the idea of mobilising and fighting the pandemic)

Impact on economy -2 (they will expect to get paid like trained nurses)

Impact on virus + 2 (it would help fight the virus)

For this card, another factor is added- Universities -1 (as they will lose money on the students not being students for a while, if universities are paid for absent students add -1 on to impact on economy as well as being paid, the universities are paid).

The pandemic has stages e.g. Contain, delay, pandemic, recovery. Each stage may have a different score. These are listed in order.

e.g. The card mobilise nursing students looks like this:

public confidence -1\0\+1\+1

Impact on economy -1\-1\-1\-1

Impact on virus 0\+1\+2\+2

Special- Universities -1, if universities paid for absent nurses score is 0 but extra -1 to impact on economy.

It does not take long to generate a whole series of cards that can be used to inform a discussion about what choices governments have at each stage of the pandemic.

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Successful Professional Wargames: A practitioners handbook

New book published by the History of Wargaming Project. link

The back cover says:

"You will benefit from this book if you are a practitioner of the art of serious wargaming. Done well, the simple act of putting players in an immersive environment, asking them to make decisions and then face the consequences of those in a dynamically evolving narrative generates astounding insights and internalises learning objectives. Yet, as Clausewitz said of war, everything in wargaming is simple, but doing the simplest thing is difficult. This book explains the seemingly simple. It is a detailed guide to designing and delivering successful wargames, whether you apply the technique to Defence, other government departments, business, the emergency services, academia or humanitarian operations. This is important because good wargames save money but, first and foremost, they save lives.
The author

In his book, Graham Longley-Brown draws on his first-hand experience and those of leading professionals around the world to tell the story of wargaming best practices. From delving into the nature and applicability of wargames (they’re not just for the military), to building the best teams for producing and managing them, to articulating the life cycle of a successful game, it is a story which will prove invaluable for professional practitioners of wargames for both security and business.
Peter Perla, author of The Art of Wargaming

This book offers a cornucopia of invaluable information and ideas based on Graham Longley-Brown's decades of hands-on experience in designing and running professional wargames. There are extensive contributions from other experts, making the book a gold mine of insights from across the global wargaming community. It is essential reading for anyone wishing to use this increasingly prominent analytical and educational technique.
Professor Philip Sabin, author of Simulating War

Soldiers take great pride in being physically fit. Sport plays a major part in Army culture. But fighting power comprises three components: physical; moral and conceptual. The physical component is important, but the conceptual component is the decisive and campaign-winning differentiator: in war, the winners are the thinkers, the rest are losers. Wargaming is not only a directed element of the military planning process, but it also provides a fitness training programme for the brain in which every thinking Army officer should engage. Anyone involved in military thinking, or indeed any form of tactical or strategic thinking, from government to business, will derive huge benefit from Graham Longley-Brown’s excellent exploration and explanation of the (often neglected) art of wargaming.
General (Retired) Andrew Sharpe CBE
 

Sunday, 3 November 2019

David Rowland's The Stress of Battle: Quantifying HumanPerformance in Battle for Historical Analysis and Wargaming

by David Roland
Editor: John Curry
This is one of the classic works on historical analysis of combat by David Roland as part of his work in the Ministry of defence. It was widely recognised for its pioneering research on combat.
 
The book starts by summarising development of UK MoD historical analysis from studies in the 1970s. The development in the 1970s, of pulsed laser weapon simulators enabled real-time force-on-force exercises to be conducted and monitored. Analysis of these exercises, allowed advice to be given on more realistic combat modelling, and in particular human behaviour and reactions, underpinning operational effectiveness, force structures and equipment procurement studies.
 
Using quantitative Historical Analysis (HA), it was possible to extend to comparisons between the levels of effectiveness between simulated and real combat and to establish basic combat degradation estimates, one weapon class at a time. The effects of suppression, surprise and shock, were also quantified. The result of this research shed new light on infantry combat, armour v anti-tank weapons and heroism on the battlefield.
 
The large number of diagrams make the analysis clear and although the book is based around statistics, no in-depth maths is needed to understanding the conclusions.
 
The book has been published by the History of Wargaming Project as part of ongoing efforts to document the development of professional wargaming.