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.


  1. Not sure I would agree that the wargame would correlate with real world decisions for the very simple reason, no skin in the game.

    Yes Russia could take advantage of the situation and risk their forces falling to the Corona virus, because MOPP exhausts troops capability to maintain operational tempo.

    As for Scotland and Wales, again I doubt it, but for different reasons related to the virus, better together and share medical resources than divide and risk the general public complaining when people start dying due to the disruption the politicians caused.

    1. I think the wargame made the point that states might not be averse to using the current situation to promote their own political aims: realpolitik is alive and well! National leaders make decisions based on their judgement of risk versus potential gain. However sometimes ideology influences their judgement of acceptable risk.

  2. What a very strange post. If there was a point (and I tried hard to spot one) it might have annoyed me, so I just left it.


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