Monday, December 31, 2007

End-State Wargaming? - value of military history, and of war games

Pictured: Victory Games, Pacific War

LEADING OFF THIS issue, Congressman Ike Skelton advocates studying history to better prepare for the reality of the future. Complementing this theme, Matt Caffrey provides an interesting perspective with his piece on the history of wargaming. Just as we should not limit our study of military history to certain conflicts, in the mix of wargaming and history, so should we be careful not to wargame just the wars we would prefer to fight--rather than the ones we get. Effective military leaders will be students of both military history and wargaming.

Military history is full of painful insight about the end states of war. For example, due in part to the Versailles Diktat following World War I, that conflict certainly was not the "war to end all wars." The aftermath of World War II was also enigmatic, leading to the cold war and Korea, among other problems. The Korean conflict clearly has not yet left us. The denouement of Vietnam was hardly spectacular. We are still heavily engaged with no-fly zones in Southwest Asia--as Maj Brent Talbot and Lt Jeffrey Hicks remind us in their article. And Europe is still haunted by the Balkans nightmare, despite world wars and air campaigns like the recent one over Kosovo--analyzed in Lt Col Paul Strickland's piece on Operation Allied Force. Military leaders are well aware of war's end-state dilemmas; yet, despite much focus on desired end states, historical reality reflects many undesired outcomes.

Wargames might also provide insight about ending war, but usually they do not. Why? The answer is that wargames support their intended objectives, and although many of them focus on desired end states of war, they are not specifically designed to do that--thus, in practice, they don't. Typically, an educational wargame begins with growing political, economic, and social unrest in one or more conceptual theaters. Then the scenario builds, with increasing problems leading to open hostilities and consequent decisions to engage militarily. In this process, wargaming students concentrate on the difficult challenges of deploying, employing, and sustaining military forces-and hopefully learn something in the process. Unfortunately, however, learning often stops there and does not include grappling with issues about the desired end states after the termination of shooting.

By the time most educational wargames reach the end state of war, students are exhausted and eager to finish (as are combatants in real war). Hence, wargames often terminate in a fizzle because students' minds are elsewhere, preparing to "go home."

What we need is specifically designed end-state wargaming, but one has to look far and wide to find it. We should begin conceptually with the war(s) already long into the fight and the major focus of the wargame on the end--and beyond. This would provide the time and focused mental effort necessary to really work through the complex end state of war fighting, involving the myriad military, political, economic, and social ramifications.

As students of military history, how might we see better end states from war? Because wargaming can, indeed, influence reality, end-state wargaming needs to be a reality.

(*.) Wargame, used as a single word, runs contrary to current English lexicographical practice. But with an eye toward the German rendering of the concept in the single word Kriegsspiel, for purposes of simplicity in this issue of APJ, we spell the term--and its variants--as one word.

COPYRIGHT 2000 U.S. Air Force
COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

White Dwarf: tabletop wargaming - periodical

Pictured: a lifesize space marine

White Dwarf: tabletop wargaming - periodical
Whole Earth, Winter, 2002 by Gareth Branwyn

My intellectual friends, my arty-fatty friends, hell, even my deep geek friends think I've gone off my nut on this one. White Dwarf is the monthly house organ for Games Workshop, Ltd., a UK company that makes fantasy and sci-fi tabletop wargames. The hobby doesn't seem to be big in the US (though it's growing), but it's huge in Europe. Next to Star Wars and Star Trek, their future universe (Warhammer 40,000) is probably the largest collaborative alternate sci-fi universe out there, with over seven games devoted to it, seven (!) different magazines, dozens of novels, comic books, coffee table art books, THOUSANDS of game components and countless fan websites, White Dwarf is a gorgeously produced full-color magazine with beautiful photographs of mind-boggling 28 turn painted miniatures and futuristic landscapes. The game's enthusiasts spend inordinate numbers of hours lavishly painting details one can barely see with the naked eye.

I've always been fascinated with wargames, not cause I'm a hawk (far from it), but because I'm fascinated by systems and how they interact given fixed parameters and random modifiers. Wargames are perfect little contained systems (part fixed rules, part fixed variables controlled by dice and part real-time decision-making with the rules and rolls). Wind 'em up and watch 'em go! I've also always been fascinated by world modeling, creating believable worlds and climbing into them. This goes all the way back to creating comic books as a kid, then to playing D&D as a teen, later to computer games/MUDS/ MOOS, etc. Warhammer 40,000 is a collaborative world model that you render in the real world, on a tabletop. I don't just want to watch sci-fi, I wanna direct! WH40K lets me direct.

The analog nature of the hobby is a great antidote to the digital saturation of so much of the rest of my life. When guys of my dad's generation got old, they made a space in the basement to tie their own fishing flies or to paint mallard ducks or whatever. Taking an alternate universe from a complex sci-fi mythology, and downloading it into an analog world of miniature models, alien landscapes, and futuristic architectures is perhaps how aging cyberpunks (at least this one) plan on retiring.

White Dwarf Magazine
$50/year (12 issues), 888/497-2537,

COPYRIGHT 2002 Point Foundation
COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Tokyo Games Day Pictures

Games Day Pics...

by Chris Zanella

Got your pics right here...

Games Day Pictures

I had a lot of fun, not just with the games but the people I got to play the games with. I have a tendency to lose a lot but always the other players make losing so much fun. Traveling so far has been worth it everytime and I will keep doing it everytime.

Thanks Matt for cooking solo for all of us and Nick for putting this together again.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Computer War Games: How To Estimate Decisions Made By C & C Trainees

Pictured: A radio controlled Sherman tank

by: Donald Jones

Now that the Russian military is cash-strapped and can afford only a limited number of field preparation exercises, computer warfare games (CWG) ar of special importance for in operation(p) grooming of C & C agencies and elements because they make it potential to upgrade career-area skills of officers and rehearse modern C & C methods. Estimation of decisions made in the procedure by members of missile forces and artillery (MF & A) C & C authorised personnel department presents the hardest part of it. Modern theory and methods of estimating the results of CWG education numerous on the one hand and, on the other, there no sufficiently studied and in general accepted methods and templates to estimation decisions being interpreted. This can be put down first of all to objective difficulties involved in formalizing the outgrowth of estimating the decisions of commanders (persons in authority): the complexity of initial operating(a)-tactical situations; considerable uncertainty of stimulation information; the numerous criteria used in estimating the trainees' decisions and the need for reducing the -making values to one generalized value.

Moreover, existing methods of processing the results of CWG breeding not quite adequate for dealing with uncertain stimulus ; the many criteria used in estimating decisions made by authoritative personnel office of C & C agencies of MF & A during state of war games either not into history or into chronicle without due thoughtfulness. This, as a rule, reduces estimate objectivity. In order to achieve the main objective of CWG--to train C & C staff office of MF & A and pinpoint their errors--the CWG headquarters should have tools to promptly and objectively approximation the decisions ; to idea the caliber of work by C & C agencies in the main and by person members of its force; to appraisal the performance of trainees on a leg-by-microscope stage basis.

Meeting these requirements calls for careful preparations of CWG, designing appropriate methods of estimating the performance of C & C agencies and someone members of the who undergo . Continued from page 1. Estimation of armed combat employment plans is based on decisions made at the stagecoach of preparation for the functioning of MF & A subsystems: reconnaissance, command and control, effective engagement and support.

To this end, we take indicators of the selected system for stimulant , whereas indicators of the other subsystems selected and normalized to match the computed units. This organization of the modeling cognitive process makes it conceivable a more complete gauge of the calibre of decisions made by C & C trainees in provision the functioning of MF & A subsystems. Thus, comparative approximation of decisions made by C & C and the drafting of recommendations for upgrading these decisions include: the assignment of problem (formulation of basic characteristics of decisions to be made of C & C trainees); for variants of computation experiments (determination of the functional-tactical background, usable-tactical scenarios of MF & A fight trading operations, forecasts of enemy fighting ); the development of an integrated information model ( squad versus supporting team up); determining the values of indicators essential for idea of decisions related to variants of scrap under considerateness; analysis of values of the indicators essential for estimations; of decisions for every of C & C trainees; the selection of the best arrived at by the trainees; analysis of mistakes made by the trainees and the drafting of recommendations for upgrading their decisions.

The suggested methodological approach makes it imaginable to upgrade the timbre (validation and speed) of of decisions made in various forms of useable of C & C agencies, such as games, command post exercises and during the course of solving somebody problems of battle employment of MF & A in army (corps).

About The Author

Donald Jones

Soccer The War Game! —Looking Back To Its Origin

by: Ray Smith

Believe it or not, but the modern day soccer owes its origin to the barbarous war mongering nature of human beings.

There is no proper documentation that can state the date and place of origination of the most popular modern day sport—Soccer. However, depending on the socio-historical facts and data we can assume that some type of a ball game was played somewhere in this planet for at least over 3000years now.

The earliest evidence of soccer was found in Kyoto, Japan where a field marked to play a ball-kicking game was found.

There is also proper documentation that supports the fact that the Chinese military forces around 2nd and 3rd century BC (Han Dynasty) played a game that involved kicking a ball into a small net. This was then an essential skill building exercise for the armed forces.

Historical evidence also shows that some form of Soccer was played also by the Greeks and the Romans, however, the primitive form involved a larger team on each side. At times the team strength would go up even to around 27 people on each side. The Greeks were playing four different forms of the ball game, namely "Episkyros", "Ourania", "Pheninda" and "Keritizein". Episkyros was the closest to football. In this 2 equally numbered teams, would try to throw the ball over the heads of the other team. There was a white line between the teams and another white line behind each team. Teams would change the ball often until one of the team is forced behind the line at their end.

Now, how many of you would believe that the modern day soccer actually originated as a war game?

Unbelievable, but true! The first Football (as Soccer is called in Britain) game was played by the locals of east of England, where they started a game, kicking around the severed head of a Danish prince whom they have defeated in a war. That marked the origination of Football as a war game.

After this, for a long time, football was played by rival towns and villages where the objective was to move the ball to a predetermined spot. Hundreds of people would take part in these games and a single game could last a whole day. Punching, kicking, biting , everything was allowed.

The savage nature of this form of football was not much appreciated by the rulers and the Royalty took all possible steps to stop these games. King Edward III of England, passed laws in 1331 to stop the game, he was followed by King James I of Scotland in 1424. The Queens were not far behind, rather, had a more strict approach. Queen Elizabeth I of England, enacted laws that could sentence a football player to jail for a week followed by penancing in a church.

However, in spite of all their best efforts and intentions they could not stop the game. It was too popular among the masses and they loved the game.

The first approach to regularize and give a civilized form to this game was taken by the famous Eton College of England in 1815 when they established a set of rules for the games. These rules were accepted by the other schools, colleges and universities. Later, in 1848, these rules were further standardized and a new version was adopted by all the schools, college and universities. This new set of rules was known as the Cambridge Rules.

At this stage, there were actually two set of rules that were being followed in this game. Some organizations preferred to follow the rules of the Rugby School, that allowed tripping, kicking and carrying the ball, whereas the Cambridge rules prohibited all this methods.

In October, 1863, The Football Association was formed, when eleven London schools and clubs came together to establish a single set of rules to administer any football match that were to be played among them. On 8 December 1863, Association Football and Rugby Football finally split onto two different organizations.

In 1869, these rules were further amended to exclude any handling of the ball beyond the scope of acceptability and that created the foundation for the modern day sports mania—SOCCER !

About The Author

Ray Smith, by profession a marketing expert is also an authentic source of sports information. A sports enthusiast and self-motivated researcher, he is always updated with the latest happenings in the sports world.

Live scores, league tables, fixtures and updated statistics available at

Monday, October 1, 2007

Review of Game Meet of Sept. 30th, 2007 in Tokyo

Battlelore: Nick D. & Sam First game of the day. Sam showed up first so got to play Nick D. on Matt's nicely painted set (Matt was on a mission to have eggs and bacon cooking in the kitchen). The "real" trees on the board made for a very nice feel during the game.

We played the first scenario The Battle of Agincourt and it was Sam's first time, but that didn't seem to slow him down any. Nick's archers did some nasty work at the beginning, but he possibly got too aggressive with his units in the center (and did a dumb move too). Sam drew the dreaded Mounted Charge card and devastated some of Nick's troops. He was up 3 to nil in a big hurry. However, Nick got a few decent cards and did a little troop rearrangement dance to keep his half-strength archers in the back while collecting 3 of Sam's flags.

Read More:

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

KevCon in Kanagawa: Oct. 7th & 8th, 2007

KevCon in Kanagawa on Sunday & Monday Oct. 7th & 8th

Featuring some Games Workshop Game Tournaments

Play Starts at Noon on Sunday, October 7th and finishes on Monday

We will hold the following tournaments:

Warhammer 40K, & Lord of the Rings on Sunday and Monday.

Plus please bring your own games as open gaming of all kinds is

New people welcome!

The above tournaments will be ongoing over the two days, so you can
join in other games as well, then play your next opponent as the
tournament unfolds.

Warhammer 40K will be held at our Tsukahara School.

Lord of the Rings will be held at our Anne School (Kevin`s House).

Everyone welcome!


Sunday and Monday October 7th and 8th.
Monday is a national holiday.

Cost: Free

What to bring:
Your armies, favourite games, and a sleeping bag.

*Please help with cleaning up before you leave.

In Minami Ashigara City, near Odawara, Kanagawa


Warhammer 40K Tournament:

Contact Chris Zanella by Email to play or if you have any questions:


Kevin`s English School (Tsukahara Station)
2659-5 Tsukahara
Minami Ashigara Shi, Kanagawa 250-0122

For Lord of the Rings (GW) and Open Gaming Contact:

Kevin Burns by Email:

LOTR & Open Gaming will be held at Kevin`s House:

Kevin`s English School (Anne) --also Kevin`s House
Address: Iizawa 242-23 Minami Ashigara City, Kanagawa

How to Get There from:
Tokyo, Fujisawa, Atsugi, Machida, Yokohama or Sakhalin:
Take the Odakyu Line to Odawara and be sure to get into one of the
first four train cars as the train splits. Take a Kyuko (express
train) it has red kanji on the side usually next to the door up top.
It takes about 90 minutes.

*The Tokaido line also runs to Odawara.

For Tsukahara School:
Get off at Odawara Station and transfer to the Daiyuzan Line. Get off
at Iiwahara Station, it takes 10 minutes from Odawara. Take the only exit.
Cross the train tracks. Take your first left. Walk straight past the
golf driving range on your right, then you will see the white
house-like building on your right, across from the Fuji Supermarket.
The Tournaments are up on the second floor.

For Anne -- Kevin`s House:
Get off at Odawara Station and transfer to the Daiyuzan Line. Get off
at Daiyuzan Station, it takes 24 minutes from Odawara. Take the only
exit, walk straight out to the main street out in front and head left
down that street through the traffic lights (under the covered
pedestrian overpass). Over the bridge and you will see our green
roofed house with "Kevin`s English School" signs plastered all over
the place.

How to Get There:
From Shizuoka, Nagoya and other points South: Take the
Tokaido line or the Shinkansen and get off at Odawara. Transfer to
the Daiyuzan line and follow the directions above (for Tokyo).

**The Shinkansen also stops at Odawara. You take a Kodama Super
Express. It takes about 40 minutes from Tokyo. Costs a little over
3,000 Yen one way.

Take a break from the city and see some mountain views and breathe
some fresh air.

Feel free to pass this on to interested people. Games of all kinds
welcome. Bring whatever you would like to play, chances are, others
will want to play it too. We have three guest beds and some futons.
Bring a sleeping bag if you`d like. It is a nice area as well.
A great break from wherever you live with a great bunch of people!

Kevin Burns

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Magic the Gathering Bar in Tokyo

You know a game has hit the big time if they make a bar for it! The Oz Cafe in Tokyo
is also known as the Magic the Gathering Bar. Check out the link:

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Make & Take Day at my School

One idea to bring new game players into the hobby is to have a model day.
I know a lot of you are teachers, and many of you teach children.
This is what one of our teachers did on Saturday. Our students had a
lot of fun, and though we used Gundam models, you could just as easily
use Rackham, Games Workshop or others. Chris taught them how to make
the models and how to paint them using felt pens--like sharpies.

You will note a couple of girls in the group!

The next step might be to teach them how to play a game. You could
incorporate some English into it, to make it a bonafide English

Have them talk about what they will do on the turn or have them ask a
question in English each turn.

I have regularly incorporated games into my English classes. Many of
them are games designed specifically for English students--Speaker
Friendly and Rock Talk. Others are The Japan Game, but I have sometimes
used regular board games like China, Settlers of Catan and others,
while requiring the students to speak English.

On the other hand, I think half of what we do as English teachers, is simply expose Japanese to another culture. We open up a new world for them. Playing a game in a relaxed atmosphere, is another way of doing this. Perhaps at times, relaxing the requirement for English production, and just "hanging out," together, arguably is a good idea, and may well help us down the line in terms of getting our students
to engage in the tougher English activities we ask of them.
What do you think? I would be interested in hearing your comments on this?

One of the JIGG members, a university professor, commented at one of the KevCons that there is a lot of pedogogical evidence in support of using games for teaching.

Indeed it makes for an interesting class and a break from the everyday
English class.

For more on our model day, see the following link:

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Announcing the Games Workshop Club for Japan

An unofficial club for arranging to play Games Workshop games in Japan.
Post what games you like to play and arrange to play with others.

We will announce GW events in Japan as well!

If you are new to GW, our members can teach you how to play.
If you are a veteran of
GW games then come and enjoy!

Kevin Burns

The So-Called Evils Of Roleplaying Games: Courage, Opportunity, and Friendship

by: Claire Cruver

I was never a normal child. My parents split when I was eighteen months old, and, living with my mother, we always struggled with having "enough" - enough food, enough clothing, enough for bills. My stepfather had no desire to help raise us three children, and as my older brother hit the seventh grade, my stepfather uprooted our still very young family and moved across the city.

In the fourth grade, having just moved schools, I was friendless. Because of some oddly placed school district line, I would have to attend another school in another district after that year. With this knowledge, instead of trying to be social, I turned to the books. That year, I found out that I was able to do complex algebra. By sixth grade, I was into factoring multiple-page geometric formulas; I switched schools again from elementary to middle school to attend seventh grade. I was on the fast track there, taking every excelled course that the school would allow me to take.

By the time I reached 10th grade, I had a 4.0 GPA, a high IQ, and no social skills. I could count my friends on one hand. I was living in a family situation that was less than desirable; my mother was divorcing my stepfather and my brother was moving away. Again, I poured myself into studies, graduating two years early and going to college on a state grant. Though my history may sound like the typical, run of the mill social misfit's background, mine was given a light when I came across a multi-user dungeon called "World of Darkness".

Despite its cheesey title, I had hopped aboard because I was an angry teenager, and I just wanted to chop the heads off all the little, text-based fanged bunnies, but I found that the community provided by the game was something like a chatroom mixed with a video game. While I was gleefully lopping off limbs on dwarfs, I started speaking with my groupmates, and found that I was not precisely the odd one out when it came to problems. The online world effectively introduced me to the notion that other people had problems, too.

The older generations believe that chatting and being part of an online community exposes you to the evils of the internet world - the evils that are the people purposefully choosing to hurt others by misrepresenting themselves and their intentions. What is often overlooked is that, for people like me, it is much easier to speak freely with your peers if you do not have the physical awkwardnesses that accompany speaking to them in person.

In gaming, I also relearned how to interact with people. Gradually, I made friends, switched games, and fell upon a game called FiranMUX after a random search for something new and original, for something that required more brainpower than typing "Kill Bug" fourteen times in a row to level up. FiranMUX, written and run by the husband and wife team of Stephanie and Adam Dray, is an original-themed text-based roleplaying game with heavy leanings toward the Greek and Roman periods in our own history. The characters, storyline, and playerbase have been the spawn of this original story ever since. FiranMUX became my new escape from the ordinary and my vehicle to speak with people like me, who actually cared about me and my hopes and dreams and problems.

For once in my life, I felt truly accepted. Acceptance is one of those feelings every misfit strives for throughout their adolescence, and a feeling that few people actually find. At the risk of sounding egotistical, I was too advanced for my immediate, school-aged peers, but the people I spoke to online accepted me without seeing my face and judging me based on age or IQ. They accepted the important parts of me - my mind, my feelings, my personality.

With their ready acceptance of me, the struggles of my real life melted away. I had people with whom to speak. My parents' divorce, my lack of a normal college life, my frustration at the world holding me down because I had not reached that perfect age of 18 and therefore only semi-employable, my constant fights with my siblings -- everything melted away. Call it an addiction. Call it me deluding myself. Call it turning my back to the world.

I call it finding an audience. As my new home, I soon found that FiranMUX hosted an annual event called FiranCon, where all able players congregated in real time on a hotel in Maryland for one three-day weekend of laughter, stories, amazingly strong friendships, and three long evenings of insomnia. Although I had missed that year's Con, I did make the next one. Then nineteen, I found what would turn out to be my first love nearly a year later, a new home in the world, and more opportunities to better myself than I could ever hope to count in my little town across the country in Washington State.

Con was held in May; by September, I had packed up myself and my belongings into a car purchased from the estate of my dead grandmother, and moved across the country into a better job, a better city, and a chance to start again. Now, three years later, I am still very much a part of what the Firans term "Firan Culture" as well as an active member of the local social group. I have a job that pays me three times what I could ever hope to earn in Washington State, creating a comfortable living for myself. I have a home. I have friends who care about me, and whom I actually care about. I am gradually achieving the goals that I set out three years ago to achieve.

The old cliche is that hindsight is 20/20. If I had known that gutting elves back in my World of Darkness days would lead me through romance, heartache, friendship and tears, I am not sure I would ever have had the courage to ever meet the Firans in real life. Online roleplay communities are not the evil that they are made out to be, but windows to alternate futures and betterment of oneself.

In truth, FiranMUX changed my outlook on life by changing my outlook on people. The game helped build my social skills and gave me the self-esteem needed to shed the walls I had so firmly put up around myself. In improving myself, I improved my abilities to make my world better. I shed the once angry aura and gained enough belief in myself to leave everything I knew behind for a chance. In short, the online community presented to me the leverage needed to foist myself from the hole that my life began as.

Looking back at where I have come from and what I have built for myself, I can honestly say that without games like the World of Darkness and, very specifically, FiranMUX, I would probably be a depressed word-processor, stuck in a bad neighborhood with few, if any, friends. As a person, my personality has warped into that of an optimist, always looking at the bright side instead of allowing circumstance to drag down my attitude. Instead of hiding from troubles, I face them. I could not have done it without an audience to listen.

I was never a normal child. In all honesty, I may not yet be a normal adult, but I am definitely a better person than the abusive, introverted, angry child I was once. Blame this turnabout on the supposed evils of chatrooms and text-based games. Blame this turnabout on the ability of a seemingly harmless online game to create and promote such an outstanding sense of real-life community that FiranMUX has achieved. Regardless of the reason, the fact that online gaming can impact even a single life in such a way is an incredibly geeky notion, but perhaps not one so far-fetched in this new age.

By Claire D. Cruver, of FiranMUX (

About The Author
Claire Cruver is a young author/designer/roleplayer who currently resides in Maryland.