ALL BLOG POSTS AND COMMENTS COPYRIGHT (C) 2003-2016 VOX DAY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRODUCTION WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION IS EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Mailvox: teaching 4GW

William S. Lind and LtCol Thiele are improving the state of American university education:
I teach undergraduate courses in Political Science and after reading Lind's Four Generations of Modern War on your recommendation, I had to throw out two whole lectures on war and terrorism.  I've gone two semesters with new lectures and I'm looking to expand on this theme in my Intro course through some form of non-lecture activity.  After reading an article from Jeffro on wargaming in the classroom, I'm considering introducing a game which would demonstrate thematic concepts on 4GW, but I have little experience in wargaming beyond Risk and PC gaming. 

Could you recommend an appropriate game?  My classroom size is approximately 10-12, making 2 or 3 person teams possible, and I can probably devote two 1.5 hour sessions to this activity.  Andean Abyss and Cuba Libre have come up but I can't afford to buy multiple games in a trial-and-error fashion.  Thank you.
Interesting question. Let's throw this out to everyone and discuss the matter. My first thought was Junta, but that's probably too focused on the traditional civil unrest. And it has made me think that perhaps it would be worthwhile to design a game around the core 4GW concepts. It wouldn't be too hard, the first question would be deciding whether to make it totally theoretical or utilizing real and/or historical settings.

Another possibility would be Fallujah 2004: City Fighting in Iraq. This wouldn't teach 4GW concepts per se, but would help illustrate some of the challenges involved. However, it's a solitaire game, which could be seen as a positive or a negative, depending upon the professor's perspective. Decision Iraq is a two-player game that deals directly with the insurgency, so I'd probably take a close look at that one. The rules can be found on the Decision Games site here in RTF format.

Labels: , ,

47 Comments:

Anonymous Susan July 01, 2016 1:09 PM  

One of the big enticements for lots of people is relevancy, so I would guess that combining the 4GW concepts with situations that the average gamer could relate to would be a great way to educate all while entertaining the player.

That is why your books are so successful Vox. Everyone who reads them can relate some or all of the reading matter to their own experiences and interests.

Blogger Chester July 01, 2016 1:14 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous Brick Hardslab July 01, 2016 1:18 PM  

Make a new game. Ken Burnside's acquaintance, Scott Palter could set a game during the action on New Washington during the CoDo withdraw. Jerry Pournelle based the action on the Nika riots. You have distant powers, local gangs, imported thugs, resources. etc.

Blogger Chester July 01, 2016 1:19 PM  

Fire in the Lake from the COIN series that Andean Abyss and Cuba Libre come from is in use at the Army War College.
http://www.gmtgames.com/p-566-fire-in-the-lake-reprint-edition.aspx . Out of Print but copies can be found.

A Distant Plain, about Afghanistan, is still available from the publisher.
http://www.gmtgames.com/p-481-a-distant-plain-2nd-printing.aspx

Blogger Titus Quinctius Cincinnatus July 01, 2016 1:19 PM  

4GW game idea: Use an overview interface with multiple political and military 4GW options, which become more involved as you grow your group, acquire better resources, etc. You can do stuff ranging from pampheleting to blowing up bank HQs, and what you do and WHO you do it to (were civilians hurt, did you benefit one "tribe" in the process, etc.) determines an ever-changing "sympathy" index which measures how much support, both hard and soft, your group has. Also have an index which tracks government stability. For the parts where military action would be involved, you could slide into a FPS interface.

Something like the old "Liberal Crime Squad" game, only with better graphics, FPS, and more sophisticated options?

Blogger 1337kestrel July 01, 2016 1:31 PM  

Titus,

If it's a computer game we're basically at the point where you can simulate a couple million citizens in a graph database instead of simplifying it down to a "discontent" level.

Anonymous Elipe July 01, 2016 1:33 PM  

Star Wars: Rebellion, from Fantasy Flight Games, comes pretty close. The Rebels can't match the Empire in strength of force, but has to resort to more 4GW-esque tactics to win. The Empire wins when they destroy the Rebel base, but if the round marker overlaps with the "reputation marker" (on a tracker of round numbers), the galaxy sympathizes with the Rebels too much, so the Empire wins.

The Rebels can move the reputation marker lower on the track by achieving objectives like destroying a star destroyer for the first time (generally done by a surgical hit-and- fade attack on an Imperial fleet) or blowing up the Death Star.

I'm sure you can draw some parallels in that game to real life 4GW. Think moral level of war; destroying a star destroyer isn't really a huge blow to the Empire militarily, but it energizes Rebels and Rebel sympathizers in that it's been shown that the Empire isn't invincible and that you CAN get away with harming the Empire.

And it's Star Wars, normal people love Star Wars.

Anonymous Elipe July 01, 2016 1:36 PM  

Oops, I meant to say the Empire loses when the reputation marker overlaps with the round marker.

Blogger tz July 01, 2016 1:41 PM  

I think that after this "long, hot, summer" the local campuses will provide for a great deal of practical 4GW training as the SJWs, and BLMs converge and they will be doing more than they did to Trump supporters.

Call the game maybe "Box Cutters and Baseball bats" and make alcohol-free (diesel?) Molotov Cocktails.

Stink and smoke-bombs might also prove useful.

The police should be quite entertained as spectators as they were in San Jose.

Blogger tz July 01, 2016 1:44 PM  

For two more conventional examples you will have to wait about a month before they are released, there will be "Cleveland" and "Philadelphia".
Isn't Lind from Cleveland? We need to arrange for a helicopter and have him narrate the action in a livestream.

Blogger tweell July 01, 2016 1:53 PM  

I personally like Junta for this kind of thing - it's fast, engaging and demonstrates the attitude of our elites very well. It would work for one session. Cuba Libre needs at least 3 hours and can be confusing for the game neophyte. Others in that series are harder and take longer to play, IMO.

Blogger Elocutioner July 01, 2016 1:56 PM  

Do we have a Victoria game yet?

Blogger tz July 01, 2016 1:57 PM  

The most difficult part of any such "game" is to get the various levels - Moral, Mental, and Physical right.

Smashing the enemy is often the exact wrong thing to do, but most don't simulate hornet's nests.

I'll add the tactical, operational, and strategic axis.

"Provide food and medicine and care to the locals" is not normally considered a tactic.

The immediate mental model is still "Kill people and break things", but the shift is from sword to scalpel.

While soldiers aren't "social workers", they are keepers of the order - that is what the state (v.s. stateless) does, and most will choose a "rule of law" alien over a closer but rival tribe.

A game might be based on a general taking over a state in the process of failing and preserving it which might mean putting a not nice person in charge instead of letting it dissolve.

Losing at the moral level ends up with a dissolved state (with the Hama exception, but total obliteration isn't typically a 4GW tactic, and would we nuke everywhere).

Anonymous Rolf July 01, 2016 2:04 PM  

New game:

A game for two to four players. (1)Government, (2)fed up insurgents, and optional (a) thugs/criminals trying to profit from chaos, who can be co-opted/used by (1) or (b) foreign government trying improve situation by capitalizing on situation (they could also help (2)).

(1) and (b) have significant military force, and (1)'s victory conditions are killing/arresting a number of (2) or (a), or surviving fifty turns, or having the economic conditions score rise by some percentage.

(2) victory conditions are reaching a certain popular support level, increasing their numbers by some percentage, keeping (a) out of the picture or co-opting them, or overthrowing the government.

(a) VC are surviving and being coopted by (1) or (b) (i.e., they are a defacto branch of the government, who act as protectors) and growing profits by a certain amount.

(b) VC by overthrowing the (1), coopting (2) and (a).

Another option would be a "first-person" insurgent RPG game where simply surviving the military/police forces arrayed against you is a victory.

Blogger Geoff martin July 01, 2016 2:05 PM  

@4 Yes. Cuba Libre is very very good. Haven't had a chance at any other COIN games yet, but they have to be closer to fitting the bill than anything else out there already.

Anonymous Kell July 01, 2016 2:33 PM  

No suggestions on a specific game that hasn't already been mentioned, but if he's concerned about cost he could write directly to the publishers on whichever game or games seem like good bets and ask if they have any discounts for games that will be used in the classroom.

Blogger Artisanal Toad July 01, 2016 2:47 PM  

What would be the best tool to develop a game like this? I'm thinking of something along the lines of Sid Meier's Civilization in terms of style of play.

Blogger Snidely Whiplash July 01, 2016 2:59 PM  

Artisanal Toad wrote:What would be the best tool to develop a game like this? I'm thinking of something along the lines of Sid Meier's Civilization in terms of style of play.

I envision something like a city map, with populations in specific locations. And by populations, I mean actual NPCs, who react to the actions of players, based on tribal and class identity, personal and familial impact, neighborhood dynamics, etc.
The individual NPCs have a support score for the sides, ranging from indifference to supporter to militant. The balance of supporters in a neighborhood determines your freedom of operation in that zone. IT also determines how much money and intelligence is generated.
If one of the NPCs is pushed hard enough, they become a militant and join your force, either as a soldier or as an intelligence asset. However, there is also a fear index, which inhibits this reaction.
media is also modeled, and media reports determine external aid, weapons supply, etc.
Actions could include, setting up checkpoints, blockades, raids, sweeps, ambushes, IEDs, and terrorist strikes.

This is interesting.

With a decent computer, you should be able to have a population of a couple hundred thousand.

Blogger Alfred Genesson July 01, 2016 3:15 PM  

There's a few problems here. 1. Lecturer is not a gamer. 2. Only 1.5 hour sessions. 3. Unknown familiarity of the players. 4. budget

Now, as far as the cost goes, he(guessing, I refuse to use they) might write to GMT, Decision, and Victory Point Games to see if they might help him out. Game companies are fairly known for being generous for educational purposes. That said, most of these are going to take more time than class would allow, and not be able to remain set up. Replace 2 lecture times with an out of class session perhaps. Not to mention setup and teardown time for the games.

Now, the other factors. Teaching games is a learned skill. It's simply different than lecturing, and students shouldn't all be subjected to reading the rulebook to learn the game, as it's a lousy way to learn most games. To get some of the concepts(unequal victory conditions, traitors, and unknown alliances)here are some simpler recommendations.

Avalon; Templar Intrigue; and Two Booms and a Room
They're fairly cheap and Two Booms and a Room would only require one copy. Avalon and Templar Intrigue might require two. They are not great games, but some of the concepts carry over, and that's part of the point. All three could be played in that time, and another lecture devoted to talking about concepts from other games.

Blogger Artisanal Toad July 01, 2016 3:16 PM  

@18 Actually, I was thinking more of the back end modeling in terms of the political system to begin with, which automatically creates a set of strengths and weaknesses for the State and opposition. For example, in a democracy, if one assumes the government is actually accountable to the overwhelming will of the people then other than purely defensive actions and selective elimination of threats, the majority of actions should take place against the polity or a specific group within the polity.

OTOH, if the government takes control (in whatever fashion) then there's a different set of rules and political objectives at play, which calls for a different set of strategies and tactics.

Then there are the effects of technology and the various options available to the different groups. The State gets all the big-ticket items and fancy equipment while the opposition gets off-the-shelf tech in terms of manufacturing (3D printing, CNC milling, robotics, wireless control, etc.).

Intelligence operations on both sides, allowing for the co-opting of the leadership of government, media, corporations and private organizations using all manner of tactics from blackmail to intimidation to accomplish many different strategic goals.

The durability of the infrastructure should be realistic as well as its susceptibility to attack, along with the predictable outcomes of infrastructure failure.

Third party interference, such as criminal gangs would offer some interesting options as well, might be an interesting player option.

Force multiplier options such as cracking open prisons in order to obtain shock troops... that goes hand in hand with the criminal gang player option.

Build in racial issues, political issues, religious issues, feminism, hypergamy, you name it. Hell, the grand prize for doing it right might be a choice between handing over the source code or an all-expense paid vacation at gitmo.

Blogger Elder Son July 01, 2016 3:32 PM  

I don't think "Get out. Anything that moves after 24 hours is fair game with overwhelming superior fire-power" exactly does it.

Blogger SirHamster July 01, 2016 3:34 PM  

@14 Roff,

Have you played any of the GMT games? Because your description sounds eerily like some of the blogpost reviews I've read on their COIN board games.

Their Vietnam game has S. Vietnam, US, Vietcong, and N. Vietnam as 4 separate factions with differing win conditions.

Blogger frenchy July 01, 2016 4:06 PM  

I know of a book: "Mastering Tactics" by John F. Schimitt.

It's a book that contains a compilation of 15 Tactical Decision Games (TDGs) he put together for Marines back in the 90s. It also includes a discussion section to review your Course Of Action.

Good luck finding a copy, though.

Blogger Austin Ballast July 01, 2016 4:11 PM  

The 1.5 time window would rule out most comprehensive games. He needs to figure out the exact idea he wants to get across and then find a game that would meet that purpose. I wouldn't bother with anything that has a play time of 1.5 hours as it will normally take twice that for the first play through.

I will have to consider this a bit, but nothing in my fairly extensive collection jumped out at me for these tight constraints.

I would recommend designing a basic set collection game with a set of cards related to an event you wanted to cover. Coming up with the events on the cards would take the effort, but wouldn't be an insurmountable problem.

Print the cards with someplace like ArtsCow and the price should be affordable, especially during one of their sales.

Blogger Theproductofafineeduction July 01, 2016 4:36 PM  

Sounds something like a mega-game would be best. I participated in one that involved alien first contact that had different groups playing aliens and then different roles within nation states that had their own objectives to achieve. Lots of fog of war since and uncertainty because you only know a little of what is going on at a time and aren't entirely sure that information from your team mates or spies is good or intentionally bad.

Perhaps the Mega-Game for the Chinese Warlord period could work?

http://www.megagame-makers.org.uk/download/interesting/Interesting%20Times%20Game%20Handbook.pdf

Or one for the Vietname war

http://www.pastpers.co.uk/downloads/megagames/LY%20Game%20Description.pdf

Blogger tweell July 01, 2016 4:37 PM  

A possibility that my son brought up - Revolution by Steve Jackson Games. Will it teach everything? Not at all, but it's fast and easy. He played it at a con and said it was fun.
http://www.sjgames.com/revolution/

Blogger tz July 01, 2016 4:57 PM  

Open your golden gates of hell.

Some things just seem like SJW convergence at different strata but if you look closer you see 4GW themes. Wait for one death, then #HLM, then we can see if the next great San Francisco fire precedes the next earthquake. The best black-knighting would be for the city to stop enforcing the no-trespassing laws so the homeless could use the tech campi. Including the "sanctuary" seeking undocumented.

Don't pray for movement when you live in a faulty area.

California is a failing state. Why is it Cali and not Kali?

I know some of the elite are buying bug-out strongholds, but whether they will be able to get to them before TSHTF is a question.

Blogger tz July 01, 2016 5:11 PM  

@20 This is part of the Phys/Mental/Moral effect. The more the State wins at the physical level, the more it loses at the moral level so the existing populace provides more support and troops to the 4GW forces.

The clear term is ASYMMETRIC warfare. I don't think it is easy to have a plane run into a building or a water supply poisoned or destroyed (What will the NSA do if the river is diverted in Utah?).

The other problem is how do you play both sides - State v.s 4GW. They have to be very different, and the State is the harder one to model because it is a stumbling, stupid, giant.

Anonymous Gordian July 01, 2016 5:20 PM  

OP here. Just to clarify the parameters of my question.

Last year, I set up a Prisoner's Dilemma-style game with a deck of playing cards and candy for tokens in order to teach Realism and Nuclear Disarmament. Towards the end of the game, the students decided that everyone would disarm and they would evenly split the pot of candy. Except, of course, one student defected, refused to disarm his nukes, and took the whole pot. That semester, I got some of my best essays on arms races, the Realist problem of trust, and international affairs.

With 4GW, my problem is not the SJWs, who sit sullenly through the lecture and then complain behind my back to the Admin, but the military kids, of which my institution has a good number. I tend to get, "My dad drove an Abrams in Iraq and he says all we need to do is... (fill in the blank). 2/3 of my essays at the end of the last two semesters focused on either "we've got to find their base and blow it up" or "we need more surveillance so we can tell the /real/ radicals from the moderates."

I'm not 100% wedded to the wargame idea, but I'm looking for some way to nail home the ideas of 4GW, especially the abolition of the soldier-civilian line and the impossibility of dividing the population into mythical "moderates" and "radicals." I get looks of incredulity from my students when I quote Lind saying the only way to prevent 4G terrorism is the drain the swamp altogether. I want them to /feel/ the frustration of being hit over and over again by an opponent they can't find or hit back. Lectures don't convey experience, and most people learn by experience.

Blogger Were-Puppy July 01, 2016 5:51 PM  

Hmmm - sounds like if there was something where they played the actual state forces, and had to contend with 4GW being waged against them, they might get a better picture.

Blogger 1337kestrel July 01, 2016 6:03 PM  

Sounds like we need a Civ VI mod for 4GW.

Blogger Thucydides July 01, 2016 6:07 PM  

Most of my understanding of 4GW is from "The Sling and the Stone", where 4GW is defined as:

"Fourth-generation warfare (4GW) uses all available networks — political, economic, social, and military — to convince the enemy’s political decision makers that their strategic goals are either unachievable or too costly for the perceived benefit."

Perhaps the best example might be the First Intifada of 1988, where the Israeli army and politicians were being thwarted by a combination of rock throwing children, international press and an organized Palestinian citizenry creating "parallel structures" distinct from both the nominal Israeli rule and the PLO.

How this could be "gamed" is difficult to imagine, and certainly is far different from the Second Intifada, where the PLO asserted control over Gaza and the West Bank, or subsequent battles between Hamas and the IDF, where conventional "kinetic" actions predominated. Still, I will be very interested to see what emerges.

Blogger JaimeInTexas July 01, 2016 6:13 PM  

A combination of Risk and Belegarth? Strategy, kinetics and DIY skills.

Blogger Theproductofafineeduction July 01, 2016 6:47 PM  

@28

This is why I think a mega-game would best suit what he is trying to get across. You could easily simulate the state by having that team be much larger with more roles or individuals assigned to each role. This would do two things, it would gave the state the capability to have overwhelming power to bring to their enemies, however, given my experiences with mega-games, it is much harder to coordinate and your risk for getting bad information goes up exponentially; I could also see adding in an additional dynamic by having some government players have a secret objective of either aiding the insurgents, enriching themselves or taking over a certain position.

You could also have a faction comprised of civilians, each one getting their own objectives and goals. This would create a more realistic environment as the civilians will choose which side to support based on what has happened to them and/or what their objectives are. This would more accurately represent what would happen in real 4GW than a simple government does X therefore Y because that's not how the real world works. sure overwhelming force could result in a populace becoming more sympathetic to the insurgents except when it doesn't because the populace hates the insurgents so much they dont care if there is collateral damage.

I think that is probably one of the biggest hurdles in counterinsurgency policies because what works in one country or region with one populace is not necessarily going to work with another.

The more I think about it the more this sort of thing HAS to be realized as a mega-game. A simple board game just wont do. Unfortunately I don't see a mega-game of this caliber but perhaps Castilia house will try their hand at mega-game making some day.

Blogger lowell houser July 01, 2016 6:49 PM  

4GW is just another name for insurgency, where the targets of the insurgency are chosen smartly. Instead of bombing a pub or shooting up a mall, they assassinate middle management to make the supreme leadership appear weak, and to harass military supply facilities,etc. rather than seek out direct conflict. All sounds good until you realize that for insurgency to work the politicians back home have to decide to bring home the troops. Attempting to use 4GW in your own country can only result in a doubling down because there's no where to recall the troops to. In other words, at some point you either need to convince the military to join you and stage a coup, or you need to kill them.

Anonymous UniballDeluxe July 01, 2016 9:11 PM  

4GW should be renamed 4GP, that is, 4th generation politics. It certainly isn't war. War is when a country uses all of its resources to kill the people and destroy the resources of another country. Real war hasn't been seen anywhere on this planet since 1945. The little things we've grown accustomed to calling "war" nowadays would hardly qualify as "minor theaters" in the second world war.

Real war has as its objective the extermination of another country. Real wars end when the losers, faced with inevitable annihilation, surrender unconditionally.

The 4GW literature is about brush fires, police actions and extended politics. They're not about war. The reason that 1st world nations are unable to defeat insurgencies is simply because the 1st world nations only go to war in extreme extreme circumstances. We haven't seen that in decades.

Another way of describing the difference between war and "what passes for war" is that in war, the armed forces do not distinguish between enemy military forces and enemy civilians. And the US military knows that the difference between Iraq and Germany was not in the quality of our occupation forces. No, it was in the character of the wars that preceded the peace. They don't talk about it publicly because real war is a violation of the Geneva Convention (that protects civilians). For example:
Just War Theory and Democratization by Force

Military Review, US Army, September-October 2012
Just War Theory and Democratization by Force: Two Incompatible Agendas
Cora Sol Goldstein, PhD
Is the doctrine of minimum collateral damage compatible with a strategy of democratization by force?
" The principles of jus in bello are incompatible with total victory and, therefore, with democratization by force."
http://usacac.army.mil/CAC2/MilitaryReview/repository/MilitaryReview_201210310001-MD.xml

Blogger Matthew Davis July 01, 2016 9:47 PM  

deiouss: Remember when I mentioned to you that I was beginning to believe intellectuals had failed to consider the implications of spreading their ideas to the masses? The further I carry the idea the more frightening it is. Primarily because even a meager knowledge of history should make that conclusion obvious. The French Revolution was brought about by the introduction of progressive ideas to the masses. It resulted in absurd amounts of bloodshed and the rise of a dictator who nearly conquered Europe. It was also a turning point that spread liberal ideas across the globe and led to the foundation of our republic.

deiouss: In the case of Nazi Germany though, Hitler took a poor understanding of social darwinism, "blood and soil", Nietzsche's nihilism, and the ideas of a few other philosophers and used their ideas to create his concept of the superior Aryan race, and even more catastrophically his concept of Lebensraum. He took the ideas of intellectuals and orchestrated the greatest catastrophe in the history of man.
deiouss: Now thanks to the socialist policies of the Democratic party and this belief among baby boomers that forcing their children to go to college would result in them becoming wealthy has birthed an entire generation that lack valuable skills but possess a crude knowledge of liberal ideas. They graduate with worthless degrees, and without work they begin devoting themselves radically to causes that were progressing adequately.

deiouss: 10 years ago egalitarianism was continuing to be accepted by society at a practical rate. Racism, sexism, and all forms of bigotry were declining. Now we have people who consider themselves victims looking at their situation and placing blame on the institutions which control the overwhelming majority of the world's power and wealth. These institutions are controlled by white men. Whether that came about because white men are superior, inferior brutes, or simply by luck is irrelevant.

deiouss: Now we have millions of young adults with IQ's similar to Hitler's, completely convinced of their enlightenment and superiority. We are on the brink of a revolution that will seek to gain what it already possesses. As I grow older I have become more of a pragmatist. I still believe the act of aborting a fetus is not immoral. However, adopting a policy which allows abortion threatens the existence of our species. What is "ethical" does not matter when it's implementation is a threat to humanity. There is no god, and Christianity has its flaws, but compared to the other world religions it is an adequate opiate for the common man. Evolution is an elegant theory explaining the origin of species. There is no need to push these ideas on the working man even if they represent reality.

deiouss: All that being said, I do not advocate the suppression of the dissemination of the truth. To do so would go against the core of western civilization. It is instinctual for man to try to understand the world around him. The consequence of this is that we will always experience cycles of war. So long as we do not destroy the entire species in our rage, it will be these wars which drive the progression of humanity.

Blogger Tim July 01, 2016 9:53 PM  

I can strongly recommend Diplomacy to your college class. Not really a war game, the combat is simplicity itself. But the backstabbing and negotiating that goes on is an education in itself to college students. The deer in the headlights look they get when they realize they are on the losing end of a double cross is priceless.

Anonymous Rolf July 01, 2016 10:20 PM  

@22 - nope. But I figure the biggest differences in 4GW / asymmetrical warfare are a vast disparity in force level/composition and win states. Hard to write rules for, perhaps, but logical in principle.

Blogger Student in Blue July 01, 2016 10:58 PM  

UniballDeluxe wrote:4GW should be renamed 4GP, that is, 4th generation politics. It certainly isn't war.

Have you forgotten Clausewitz so soon?

OpenID malcolmthecynic July 01, 2016 11:29 PM  

Ah, somebody mentioned Junta! You're the first I've heard. I played it once with a group of friends and it was incredibly fun.

Blogger 罗臻 July 01, 2016 11:50 PM  

We read Machiavelli in class and had to apply it while playing Diplomacy. But that is only state vs state.

Anonymous quamuri July 02, 2016 12:20 AM  

So there are two basic ideas here - one is to go after the non-linear strategic dynamics of 4GW (i.e., the shifting relationships between the different players and their goals), and the other is to try to model the actual resources and sources of power that are the focus of 4GW. I think you're generally going to only get one or the other, because both are tough to do, and doing both at once would make for a very messy game.

Along the line of modeling the strategic dynamics, but abstracting away from the mechanics of the struggle: Junta is a very good suggestion. "Steam Noir: Revolution" is a relatively new game which I have not played, but which seems to accomplish this nicely (in terms of shifting priorities and loyalties). "Liberté" has some of the right strategic dynamics, although the theme might not make it easy for students to see the 4GW angle.

In terms of games that get more specific about modeling the multi-dimensional nature of the struggle, it's worth thinking about both Illuminati (don't laugh) and 1989. Neither are war games proper, but they both have multiple ways of building up your position, emphasizing different types of power/support.

The impossible dream of a 4GW would have the full continuum from military, to paramilitary/militia/partisan, to terrorist, to popular/mob support, to administrative/organizational and cultural support. But very few games are ambitious enough to try for more than one or two neighboring regions on the continuum. Ironically, the only game I can think of that does a creditable job hitting multiple points along the continuum is a pre-1GW game, "Here I stand". This game is completely unsuited for his class due to its complexity and length, but what is interesting is that it has a fully-fledged religious system and a fully-fledged political/military system, and both systems are equally central to the game (in part because different players have a different mix of military and religious goals), and they interact without one directly determining the other.

Anonymous Chico and the Man July 02, 2016 12:26 AM  

In college we played a campus wide version of the old party game Mafia. Other than a few safe zones and travelling in pairs with someone you hoped wasnt a killer, you could be "killed" anywhere/anytime on campus. We did it for a week. The amount of distrust and betrayal sown in that week nearly wrecked our friend group.

If you want to simulate the fear of not knowing where and when you might get hit by an enemy that can merge into the population, something like that might work (a longer, campus wide game). These days with social media you could develop a game your class plays while pulling participation from the student body. Just hope it doesnt turn out like tge paintgun battle in the TV show "Community."

Blogger ray July 02, 2016 2:07 PM  

Old Publishing Policy: You'd better be Totally P.C., and know somebody.

New Publishing Policy: You'd better know somebody.

Blogger Lazarus July 02, 2016 11:43 PM  

I cannot think of any 4GW that does not have an overt or covert state sponsor.

Anyone? 4GW is an auxiliary of the state. Maybe like contract work versus full employment with benefits?

OpenID ymarsakar July 08, 2016 12:42 PM  

It'd be easier for him to stream someone playing Hearts of Iron 4 or Crusader Kings II, while lecturing about key points.

Unless he can actually play the war game, and a lot of war games are hard to learn, he won't be able to combine his lecture notes with the student activities well.

Post a Comment

Rules of the blog
Please do not comment as "Anonymous". Comments by "Anonymous" will be spammed.

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts