Connections Conference 2021

Day 2! Major General Donn Hill opened the conference-proper with the history of how General W.T. Sherman’s brainchild came to embrace wargaming. This was not a self-gratifying look down memory-lane, but a prelude to the major conundrum of the conference: when wargaming becomes an established organizational tool, practitioners take on the organizational AND ethical responsibilities of the host organization. So how do wargamers make sure their craft is not all about winning?

Tom Nagle presented Warpaths, a browser based tool to design, facilitate, and record distributed matrix games. While it’s still under development, ringing endorsements from our colleagues at the UK Fight Club and Connections UK got our attention – it’s hard enough to coordinate a single room of people, but Warpaths helped coordinate a 60-person game across 6 time zones! Major strengths seem to be in the ways Warpaths forces players to look at the game. First, a zoomable map feels natural to generations used to GPS navigation – granularity and scope are easily manipulated, allowing the control cell to bring attention to critical data while players can change their focus on what they need. Secondly, arguments are submitted in standard written forms – with set amounts of character limits. Structure for the non-wargamer, conciseness for the subject matter-expert, familiarity for the social-media savvy, and ease of use for control cells, all in one simple innovation. I hope to hear more from Tom in the future!

A successful first day of Connections! Through monumental effort, our Hosts at CGSC and our team of amazing volunteers have brought us to this point – over a dozen presenters, two simultaneous tracks, streamed live to Youtube, organized through our lively Discord community – and the show is just getting started! Remember, if you want to see our schedule, visit us at our app, and remember that all times are in Central Daylight Time!!!

The first day of Connections is traditionally dedicated to wargaming education, and we presented our most robust educational program yet! Matt Caffrey, Sebastian Bae, Ed McGrady, and Mike Ottenberg took our wargaming neophytes through some of the most important concepts of our field. From the best practices of a starting wargaming practitioner (play as many and as diverse games as you can!), to the many opportunities the Military Operations Research Society, to plans for continuing education in wargaming, we are happy to start building our repository of educational guidance.

Our presentations started off to a bang as well! Games to determine the future of Special Operations Forces in Civil Affairs, Pandemic Gaming, Trust in Cyber games in the Cyber Realm, and a host of perspectives on Army Wargaming challenged our Discord Community with pressing needs and unique innovations.