The Project aims to research and publish key works in the development of professional, hobby and educational use of wargaming. It currently includes work from Donald Featherstone, Fletcher Pratt, Peter Perla, Phil Barker,Fred Jane, Charles Grant, Stuart Asquith and Terry Wise...
I was most touched to receive this email from a gamer in China I know. So I thought I would share it.
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.
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
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
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
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.