ConSim guest session at King’s College, LondonPosted: January 24, 2014
I thoroughly enjoyed the very informative chat that we had over our meal, and then it was off to the meeting room where the session was being held. After a brief introduction by Phil Sabin, Ted Raicer shared his experience of being a board wargame designer with 26 published games to his credit. This was followed by a very short Q&A session and then each of the ‘guests’ (the ConSim PhD course graduates/teaching assistant and myself) briefly introduced ourselves and ‘shared’ what we considered to be the most improtant lessons we had learned when designing wargames.
After a short break to restore our personal comfort, it was then the turn of the students to tell the ‘guests’ about their projects and to share any problems that they were experiencing. The ‘guests’ were then invited to make suggestions as to possible solutions or avenues that the students might wish to follow. The session ended with most of the attendees (but not me as I had an appointment!) going over to the nearby pub to continue the discussions informally.
Several things struck me about the students. Firstly that the range of projects (i.e. wargames) they had chosen was very diverse including:
- The Anglo-Zulu War
- The Russo-Turkish War of 1877/78
- The Battle of the Yellow Sea
- World War I from 1914 to 1918
- The Linebacker Bombing Raids over Vietnam
- The fighting in Fallujah
- South African Army operations against Seleka in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
The second thing that struck me was the gender balance of the students. I expected that the majority would be male, but in fact there were slightly more female than male students on the course … something that was very encouraging to see.
Thirdly this was a truly international group of students, and reflects that course’s uniqueness. I do not think that there is another non-military university in the world that offers a PhD course in Conflict Simulation Design (I may be wrong, but an Internet search did not find any), and I was honoured to be able to meet and listen to them.
I would certainly go to future ConSim guest sessions if the opportunity arose … and would make sure that the next time I did not have an urgent appointment to go to straight afterwards!