Game Lab challenge Haiti earthquake HADR scenario as window into methods for tomorrow’s wargames operations other than force-on-force chaotic, complex, operational environment involving broad range of DIME/PMESII factors full glare of international media (and associated political pressures) highly interagency and multinational short term urgencies with long-term implications wargame application/use beyond traditional clients
designing for whom? much discussion in all three groups of client needs and characteristics multiple clients (not all known in advance) varying range of game experience (and game support infrastructure), high proportion of novices adaptable to varying needs (time, complexity, subject matter)
learning what? groups identified appropriate learning objectives not a planning exercise or a detailed “how to” game more about relationships, interactions, harmonizing/deconflicting varying agendas “nonconventional” learning objectives: chaotic immersion, recognition that no matter how well you do people will die avoiding “wrong lessons” population as passive victims crude view of organizational differences
delivered how? digital or manual? moderation with white cell? card-and-board suitability for level of complexity adaptability self-contained influence of design repertoire
players groups generally settled on 4-12 players some elasticity in player numbers shaped by user and delivery method US (military + USAID/State)? UN NGO (one? two? many?) Haitian government survivors? media? minor actors represented through events
players the challenge of cooperative play with asymmetric victory conditions reward organizational objectives with additional resources (Group C) fixed or changing objectives players ought to have different comparative advantages is coordination a quality of game play, or a discrete action or state? changing capacities over time
length of game brief suggested 1-2 months what were the natural “eras” of HADR in Haiti? what are the lessons the game should teach? variable turn lengths to address relief-reconstruction continuum, second and third order effects what are the constraints generated by likely employment of game? 7-12 turns (Group B) 4-8 hours (Group C) how many game interactions?
key variables and processes all groups identified some version of cluster sectors (medical, food, WASH, shelter, security, infrastructure, etc) Group A also emphasized logistics/supply chain dynamics, and importance of spatial nodes/locations Group C also wanted a geographic component, ability to model population movement Group B, by contrast, went for an entirely sectoral approach (map as backdrop) how to measure “success”? humanitarian conditions organizational priorities and successes Haitian politics
game mechanics all groups decided on some sort of card-driven mechanism for event generation combined event/ops/coordination cards? (Group A) individual decks (group C), plus assets (chips)? advantages of a card-based system broad range of lessons, events, vignettes rules-on-cards learning-on-cards easily modified
game mechanics fog of HADR initially hidden need values (group C) with geographic multipliers population might sometimes self-fix problems need to focus on how player decisions shape situation and how they receive feedback
real and alternate histories should the game actually model historical events, or introduce added uncertainty through variable starting conditions? aftershocks weather crime and political stability should earthquake dynamics be tweaked to increase learning outcomes?
other considerations idea proliferation and the need for ruthless simplification how to abstract/simplify without losing immersion and suspension of disbelief? extensible game mechanics porting to other platforms