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Wednesday, 18 July 2018

New book: The Matrix Games Handbook: Professional Applications from Education to Analysis and Wargaming

This is the latest book to be published by the History of Wargaming Project
Matrix Games are an established way of running seminar type narrative games in the professional environment. This handbook is the most comprehensive set of papers to date on their use in education, training, research and innovation.
The book starts by exploring the origins of Matrix Games, with contributions on the development of the method.

The second section of the book has a sample game about NATO and Russian posturing on the Baltic Sea. Many wargames explore war in this contested area of sea, but a Matrix Game is used to explore a conflict short of kinetic.
In the theory section, some of the underpinning philosophy of Matrix Games is outlined by Chris Engle, the inventor of the method. Along with some of the emerging themes from using narrative based games.

Education has applied the technique of Matrix Games in teaching. This section includes examples from around the world from language training to military education.
The final section outlines more applications of Matrix Games including operational analysis problems, innovation and using a Matrix Game to explore contemporary conflict by Professor Rex Brynen.

The chapters include

Section 1: The History of Matrix Games

The Early Days of Matrix Games in the UK by Bob Cordery

The American History of Matrix Games by Chris Engle     

The Rise of Professional Matrix Games by Tim Price

Section 2: Practical Advice          

Running Matrix Games by Tim Price

Checklist by Tim Price    

Sample Game: Baltic Challenge: NATO and Russian posturing in the Baltic Sea     

The Australian Perspective by Todd Mason          

Section 3: The Theory of Matrix Games

Walking in the Dark: An Allegory of Knowledge by Chris Engle     

The Intellectual Underpinnings of Matrix Games by Chris Engle   

Verbal Algorithms and the Human Machine by Chris Engle            

Emerging Themes from the Matrix Game Based Narrative Methodology by John Curry    

Section 4: Matrix Games and Education

Gaming Multi-Agency Responses by Helen Mitchard       

Using Matrix Games in the Classroom by Dorian Love

Effective Learning at the Swedish Defence University by Johan Elg

Language Training by Neal Durando

Reflections on Military Language Training by Jose Anibal Ortiz Manrique

Section 5: The Professional Application of Matrix Games

Gaming the Wars of the Future by Chris Engle

Operations Research Tools by Ben Taylor

Building Boyd Snowmobiles: Matrix Games as a Creative Catalyst for Developing Innovative Technology by Paul Vebber

Using a Matrix Game to Explore Contemporary Conflict by Rex Brynen    

Further Reading


  1. Looking forward to this title as well.

    W.r.t. matrix games and their applications: I think a lot of the "resistance" against matrix games comes from the fact that it is not a game in the traditional sense, but more a collaborative exercise to explore a given (military) problem through narrative mechanics.

  2. Good

    I have been eagerly waiting for this to come out since you mentioned it was in the offing at CoW

    The one thing I learned about Matrix Games is that it is one thing to read about them (and this book will be fascinating) but the 'real' understanding comes together when you "play" one. Both Bob Cordery and Tom Mouat are masters at umpiring them and I am indebted to them.

    Best Wishes

  3. It was a "good" summer holiday read


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