Two weeks before Russia began its current invasion of Ukraine, we offered a #BruteCast panel on “Rapid Wargame Prototyping for Crises.” When the invasion actually occurred, #TeamKrulak staff started looking in real time at how to apply rapid prototyping concepts to the wargame platforms already offered to the Marine Corps University and wider national security communities. The goal was to provide “living” wargame layers and mechanics to allow these communities to learn and test battlefield developments as they were observed, in order to provide campaign analysis and inform future decisions. Mr. Tim Barrick, director of wargaming at Marine Corps University, and Maj Ian Brown, operations officer at the Krulak Center, discuss the prototyping and designs processes applied to the Operational Wargame System and Fleet Marine Force/Littoral Commander wargame systems as the war in Ukraine unfolded.
#BruteCast S5 E5–Tim Barrick & Ian Brown, “Wargaming and the Russo-Ukraine War”
Well, a card game actually. Picked up a replacement copy of Star Wars: Jabba’s Palace – A Love Letter Game (Z-Man Games, 2022). My original copy was a birthday present but I gave it up to RockyMountainNavy Jr. as he packed for college.
Armchair Dragoons Regimental Commander Brant was gracious enough to publish my article, “Thematic? A look at Flashpoint Series Volume 1 from GMT Games” (29 Aug 2022). The article in turn kicked off a wide-ranging (and reaching) Twitter discussion of “game” vs. “simulation.” Listen for more on that topic in the near-future!
Feature image “OWS tutorial with the Marine Corps War College Advanced Studies Program. Doing the Battle Royale naval domain scenario focused purely on teaching game mechanics.” Courtesy @BarrickTim on Twitter.
Summary: “How do we establish or improve wargaming education, including sponsors, participants, and future designers? The question stems from the uncomfortable truth that the wargaming discipline has no foundational pipeline, no established pathway from novice to master. Consequently, the wargaming community stands at a dangerous precipice at the convergence of a stagnant labor force and a patchwork system of passing institutional war-gaming knowledge. Unsurprisingly, this can lead to ill-informed sponsors, poorly scoped wargames, an unreliable standard of wargaming expertise, and worst of all, risks the decline of wargaming as an educational and analytical tool. This fundamental challenge is a recurring theme throughout this volume and each author offers their own perspective and series of recommendations”.
I am a proud supporter of Sebastian’s game, and a real fan of The Dietz Foundation. While technical hurdles and an obstinate military bureaucracy during the funding campaign were hard enough for me to watch, what really frosted me was some of the Twitterati commentary. In particular, some folks “bemoaned” that Sebastian was literally doing “all” the marketing for the game and very directly implied that the publisher was not building any buzz for the game.
Yes, @SebastianBae pounded the Twitter-verse with tweets. So did Jim from the @FoundationDietz account. I also personally saw multiple tweets from not only Sebastian or Jim but others EVERY DAY. Granted, this was not a “traditional” big-name publisher campaign. The announcement of the game didn’t get teased in a monthly newsletter, then dropped a month later, and then have the occasional monthly update. Sebastian, as nice a guy as he is, didn’t get designer spotlight moments on BGG. No, this was a small campaign by a first-time designer using a small publisher. So, did it work?
Littoral Commander reached its funding goal in 13 days.
Even without the “correct” buzz the Twitterarti wanted.