Working Group 3

A Letter from the Co-Chairs:

This is a call for papers and participants on the topic of “Gaming the Irrational”.  This is a broad topic, and there are many ways to interpret it.  We encourage and value creativity!  Here is the description:

This working group will explore the differences between our game designs and the real world that is the result of our failure to deal with the irrational. By irrational we mean the broad category of events where someone does something against their objective self-interest, or established norms. We also include situations where we choose to ignore the uncomfortable variables for political, ethical, or doctrinal reasons.

There are examples from almost every war. When someone shoots down an airliner in the middle of battle. Or when Abu Ghraib derails years of political groundwork. Or when we assume leaders who will behave rationally in making decisions at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels of war. When adverse information is released about a commander. When troops in contact get confused and lose their position and start driving off in the wrong direction. All of these have effects in the real world that are rarely included in our games.

These gaps occur in game play, where players are unable or unwilling to mimic real-world behavior. They also occur in our designs, where we fail to include the possibility of real-world options occurring. How many future force games include Congressional play, for example? We invite participants to join in this conversation and do at least one of the following:

  • Write a paper on a topic related to the irrational in game design;
  • Comment on other papers, or just comment online;
  • Come to our workshop at Connections 21 and discuss a select set of topics in an open forum.

Our website is located here: There you will find a place to discuss the topic, and a place to upload papers so others can comment.  We will publish the papers as a proceedings at the end of the conference.  There will be a meeting of the working group at the next Connections Conference at Ft. Leavenworth Kansas on 22-25 June, BUT you do not have to attend the conference to participate in this working group!

Justin Peachey, Ed McGrady