ConSim guest session at King’s College, London

Yesterday – for the second year running – I attended the ConSim guest session at King’s College, London. The session was chaired by Professor Phil Sabin and the main guest was a Major Tom Mouat, who works at the Defence University, Shrivenham. (I have known Tom Mouat for over thirty years, and he is a very informative and entertaining speaker as well as being a very experienced wargame designer.)

After a brief introduction entitled ‘Professional Utility of Wargames’ by Phil Sabin, Major Mouat made a presentation entitled ‘Wargaming in the UK MOD’. As usual with any talk done by Tom, this was informative, incisive, and witty.

After a short break each of the ‘guests’ (including me) briefly introduced ourselves. We were particularly asked to give advice to the fledgling wargame designers. Mine covered three main points:

  • Wargame design requires that you …
    • Always have clear Aims and Objectives as these will define your …
    • Specification, which in turn evolves into your …
    • Initial design. This should be rigorously …
    • Play-tested as this will help you to …
    • Refine your Final Design.
    • Once the final design is completed, resist the temptation to tinker with your completed project!
  • Simplify, simplify, simplify!
  • Always remember that the Outcomes should define the Processes/Mechanisms and Inputs you use and not the other way around.

After each of the ‘guests’ had spoken, the students had the opportunity to ask questions and the ‘guests’ were invited to make suggestions/comments as to possible solutions or avenues that the students might wish to follow. The session ended with most of the attendees continuing the discussions informally. In my case I spent about thirty minutes talking to one student about their wargame … and I think that my advice was of some help to them.

I will certainly go to future ConSim guest sessions if I am invited as I find them help me to reflect upon what I have learnt from the wargames that I have played and designed.

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