september, 2018

14sep2:00 pm- 6:00 pm


Event Details

Space is limited! To participate, please register via the Doodle poll below: (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

“A wargame is a warfare model or simulation in which the flow of events is shaped by decisions made by human players representing the opposing sides, during the course of those events.”
–Peter Perla

In this event, we welcome Major Tom Mouat who specialises in modelling and simulation at the Defence Academy of the UK. He will be running a “matrix game” themed around an apocalyptic scenario from science fiction for students and staff of Anglia Ruskin University.

What is a Matrix Game?

In a “matrix game” there are few preset rules limiting what players can do. Instead, each is free to undertake any plausible action during their turn. The chances of success or failure, as well as the effects of the action, are largely determined through structured argument and discussion. This process allows for imaginative game dynamics that are lively and open-ended, and yet also grounded in reality.

Matrix games are particularly well-suited for complex conflicts and issues involving multiple actors and stake-holders, varying interests and agendas, and a broad range of (diplomatic/political, military, social, and economic) dimensions. The game system crowdsources ideas and insight from participants, thereby fostering greater analytical insight.

First developed by Chris Engle, matrix games have been played by hobbyists for years. They have also been used as serious games for training at the US Army War College, National Defense University, the Central Intelligence Agency, and elsewhere; for defence planning, capability assessment, and acquisitions in Australia, Canada, the UK, and US; for security planning for the Vancouver Olympics; as a research and analytical support tool at the UK Foreign Office; and as an educational method in various universities. They are particularly well-suited for multi-sided conflicts or other issues that involve a broad range of capabilities and interaction.

What will I have to do?

We will demonstrate the principles of a matrix game with a predetermined scenario, and then participants will work together to plan and implement an apocalypse-themed scenario. This requires no advance understanding of complex rules. Instead, in a Matrix Game you simply use words to describe why something should happen, the Facilitator or the players (or both) decide how likely it is, and you might roll a dice to see if it happens (but equally, in the face of a compelling argument, you might not need to). If you can say “This happens, for the following reasons…” you can play a Matrix Game.

The games themselves are not intended to be fiercely competitive, with obvious winners and losers. Instead they operate with the players working to generate a credible narrative. It is from examination of this narrative after the game that the players gain insights into the situation being portrayed. The player roles have objectives that will probably place them in conflict with other players, but it is perfectly possible for all of the players to achieve at least some of their objectives by the end of the game.

Space is limited! To participate, please register via the Doodle poll below: (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.


(Friday) 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm


Anglia Ruskin, Helmore 251


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