vendredi 17 mars 2017

D&D at CIA [media buzz + historical context]

Four CIA training agents attended the SXSW Festival in Austin, TX march 2017. They displayed some tabletop/board/role-playing games used to train agents of the CIA.

Benefits of tabletop games :
- Low cost
- Easy and quick to design, modify and adapt
- Stimulate collaboration and cooperation in team
- Train to manage resources, budget and time
- Help analyze, modelize, synthetize and forecast complex environments and quick changing real-world problems
- Force players to handle multiple scenarios simultaneously
- Develop critical judgement on the game model and its biais

"People playing a game, together they're experiencing the designers’ mental model [...] They are learning it, very quickly, because they’re inside, operating in it. Pushing levers, pulling cords, seeing what happens. Stories are very sticky, and they’ll remember their own stories. [...] The greatest power of simulation games is that players have to operate these games themselves and know the rules." (David Clopper, CIA Senion Collection Analyst, game design program since 2008, admitted player of Dungeons and Dragons).

Sources: Ars Technica, SXSW & LaPresse

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Previous Intelligence/Military training games:
  • China: Wei-hai (-500) and Weiqi (-400) as games of encirclement, outflanking and territorial acquisition for the scholar caste.
  • Germany: various Kriegspiels (from 1797 to 1876) were used by the military elite as simulation of battle conflicts. During WW1, the german high command playtested the 1918 spring and final offensives.
  • UK: the War Office designed Rules for the conduct of the war-game on a map in 1896 (before HG Wells published the miniature commercial wargame Little Wars in 1913).
  • US: RAND Corporation designed the Cold War Game (in 1955 and 1956): four political massive strategic and role-playing games. The wargame Tactics was published one year before (1954) and it started the beginning of the golden years of wargaming in America.
Sources: cf. Zotero TRPG-JDR > History of RPG > Cold War-Wargames

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