DIP 600: Wargaming and Simulation

Spring 2016

Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce

Tuesday 1pm-3:30pm

420 Patterson Office Tower


Dr. Robert M. Farley

Office: POT 1177

Office Hours: Wednesday, 9am-11am

Office Telephone: 859-257-4668

E-mail: farls0@gmail.com


This class will familiarize students with the practice of wargaming and simulation for policy effect.  The course begins with a brief study of the history of policy gaming and simulation, and of the interaction between commercial and policy gaming.  The second third of the course focuses on extant simulation practice in military, diplomatic, commercial, and bureaucratic fields.  The final third of the course delves into the principles of simulation and game design. 


The course primarily revolves around class discussion, with some interactive lecture.  In each class, the students will examine (and if possible, play) a particular game or simulation with an eye toward design principles, process, and outcomes.

Student Learning Outcomes:

After completing the course,

·         Students will understand the historical contours of policy and commercial gaming

·         Students can evaluate the purpose and process of specific games and simulations

·         Students will develop a command of the vocabulary of policy simulation practice

·         Students can use best practices to develop simulations in policy environments


Students with Disabilities

If you have a documented disability that requires academic accommodations, please see me as soon as possible during scheduled office hours.  In order to receive accommodations in this course, you must provide me with a Letter of Accommodation from the Disability Resource Center (2 Alumni Gym, 257-2754, email address jkarnes@email.uky.edu) for coordination of campus disability services available to students with disabilities.

Absence Policy

You must inform me in writing if you know in advance that you will miss an exam due to an excused reason such as: illness, serious illness or death in your immediate family, a University-sanctioned field trip, or religious holiday.  Excuses for missed exams will be granted as per University policy.

Academic Integrity

Per university policy, students shall not plagiarize, cheat, or falsify or misuse academic records. Students are expected to adhere to University policy on cheating and plagiarism in all courses.  The minimum penalty for a first offense is a zero on the assignment on which the offense occurred.  If the offense is considered severe or the student has other academic offenses on their record, more serious penalties, up to suspension from the university may be imposed. 

Plagiarism and cheating are serious breaches of academic conduct.  Each student is advised to become familiar with the various forms of academic dishonesty as explained in the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities.  Complete information can be found at the following website: http://www.uky.edu/Ombud.  A plea of ignorance is not acceptable as a defense against the charge of academic dishonesty. It is important that you review this information as all ideas borrowed from others need to be properly credited.

 Plagiarism includes reproducing someone elses work, whether it be a published article, chapter of a book, a paper from a friend or some file, or something similar to this. Plagiarism also includes the practice of employing or allowing another person to alter or revise the work which a student submits as his/her own, whoever that other person may be. Students may discuss assignments among themselves or with an instructor or tutor, but when the actual work is done, it must be done by the student, and the student alone.  However, nothing in these Rules shall apply to those ideas which are so generally and freely circulated as to be a part of the public domain (Section 6.3.1).


Grading will be based on class participation (10%), two 7-9 page memos (25% each) and one final project (40%). All work will be graded on an A (4), A- (3.7), B+ (3.3), B (3), B- (2.7) and so forth scale.  Final grades above 3.5 will be awarded an A, between 2.7 and 3.5 a B, and below 2.7 a C or lower.

Each of the two 7-9 page analytical papers must be typed and double-spaced.  Please do not exceed the page limit.  The specific topic is up to you, although the papers should engage with the practical use of simulation and wargaming within a policy environment. The papers need not hold to any particular format (policy oriented memo, for example), but should be internally consistent in focus.  Additional research is welcome, and may be necessary for the adequate presentation of some topics.  The papers will be evaluated on both content and presentation.  Information must be accurate, arguments must be well thought out, and style must be compelling.  The memos must conform to standards of academic citation (system of your choice). The first response paper is due on February 23, the second on April 5.

Class participation includes active discussion of the week’s reading material, as well as the development of discussion questions once during the course.  You are expected to demonstrate engagement and familiarity with the subject matter in question.

The final project involves develop of a game scenario for a policy setting of your choice. Details pending, but the simulation must include a statement of purpose, a description of teams and game play, and an explanation of potential scenarios.  Your grade will include presentation of the game to the class at the end of the semester.

Class Materials

Purchase of the following books is recommended, but not required.  These texts are best acquired through Amazon or similar service. Edition is irrelevant.

·         Micah Zenko, Red Team

·         Jon Peterson, Playing the World

·         Mark Herman, Wargaming for Leaders

·         Evan Hillebrand and Stacy Closson, Energy, Economic Growth, and Geopolitical Futures

Most of the rest of the class readings are available online.  A few will be available through photocopies.  Note that many of the online readings are available on JSTOR or other secure databases, which requires either a University computer or a properly configured connection.

History of Wargaming

Week 1: January 19 History of Wargaming

Reading:                Peterson, Playing at the World, 3.1-3.1.5, 4.1

Game: Chess

Week 2: January 26 Boardgame

Reading:                Peterson, Playing the World, 3.1.6-3.1.7

                                David Hill, The Board Game of the Alpha Nerds

Game: Diplomacy

Week 3: February 2 Policy Simulation

Reading:                Shubik, Martin. On the Scope of Gaming. RAND

Schwabe, William. 1994. An introduction to analytic gaming. Santa Monica, CA: RAND.

Game: TBD


Week 4: February 9 Roleplaying

Reading:                                Peterson, Playing at the World, 2.5-2.10, 3.2

Game: Dungeons and Dragons

Week 5: February 16 Computer Simulation

Reading:                                Evan Hillebrand and Stacy Closson, Energy, Economic Growth, and Geopolitical Futures

Game: International Futures Model, Command


Policy Application of Simulation

Week 6: February 23 Military

Reading:                                Bracken, Paul, and Martin Shubik. 2001. War gaming in the information age: Theory and purpose. Naval War College Review (Spring): 47-60.

                                Herman, Wargaming for Leaders, chapters 1-5

Game:  Jutland

Week 7: March 1 Commercial

Reading:                                Peter M. Saunders, Experiential learning, Cases, and Simulations in Business Communication

Jean-Claude LarréchéJournal On simulations in business education and research Business Research Volume 15, Issue 6, December 1987, Pages 559-571

Bernard Keys and Joseph Wolfe, The Role of Management Games and Simulations in Education and Research, Journal of Management

Herman, Wargaming for Leaders, chapters 6-11

Game: TBD


Week 8: March 8 Diplomatic

Reading:                                Testing the Effects of Confidence- and Security-Building Measures in a Crisis” Two Political-Military Games

Beriker, Nimet, and Daniel Druckman, 1996. Simulating the Lausanne Peace Negotiations, 1922-1923: Power Asymmetries in Bargaining. Simulation and Gaming 27 (2) (June 1) 162-183.

Robert Mandel, “Political Gaming and Foreign Policy Making during Crises” World Politics / Volume  29 / Issue 04 / July 1977, pp 610 - 625

                                                Herman, Wargaming for Leaders, chapters 12-16


Game: TBD


Week 9: March 22 Bureaucratic

Reading:                                FEMA: Table Top Exercise Materials

Table Top Exercise Planning Guide (Washington State)

Thomas, Margaret A. 1982. An energy crisis management simulation for the state of california. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, R-2899-CEC.


Game: Active Shooter!

Simulation Design

Week 10: March 29 No Class

Reading:                                Micah Zenko, Red Team (entire)

Week 11: April 5 Design I

Reading:                                Perla, Peter P., Michael C. Markowitz, Christopher Weuve, Karin Duggan, and Leesa Woodard. 2004. Wargame-creation skills and the wargame construction kit. Center for Naval Analyses.

Game: TBD

Week 12: April 12 Design II


 Jones, William M. 1986. On the adapting of political-military games for various purposes. Santa Monica, CA: RAND.

Peter de Leon, “Scenario Designs: An Overview” RAND June 1973


Game: TBD

Week 13: April 19 Presentations I

Game: Student Developed

Week 14: April 26 Presentations II

Game: Student Developed