Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Connections UK conference: Day 1

I have spent the day at King's College London, attending the first ever Connections UK conference. (The conference programme can be downloaded here.)

There have been Connections conferences in the United States since 1993, and their objective has been to 'to advance the art, science and application of wargaming by bringing together all elements of the field (military, commercial and academic) so participants can exchange information on achievements, best practices and needs.'

According to the Connections UK conference website, 'Connections UK will strive to do the same but the primary purpose of the initial event will be to learn what we all do and share best practice. A significant subsidiary purpose will be to discuss future events, their format and feasibility.'

I will be attending the second day of the conference tomorrow, and I hope to write a detailed blog entry about the event as soon as possible thereafter.


  1. Looks interesting, Bob. I look forward to reading your report.
    What constitutes a 'professional wargame practitioner' I wonder?

    And 'best practice' reminds me of INSET &c.... glad to be rid of all that educational jargon!

    Regards, Arthur

  2. Arthur1815,

    It has been a very interesting couple of days.

    A 'professional wargame practitioner' is (as far as I can make out) someone like you and me. In other words someone who either derives some income from their involvement in wargaming and/or whose approach to wargames design is properly structured.

    'Best practice' is nicking good ideas from each other!

  3. Bob,
    Thanks for that clarification - 'professional wargamer' sounded not unlike 'professional gambler', giving me a mental image of men in a smoke filled room moving units of toy soldiers across the green baize:
    'The Peer'[after studying the table in silence]:"Well, old boy, I'll see your Imperial Guard with Colborne's Brigade - and raise a flank attack by the 52nd Light Infantry..."
    'The Corsican'[throwing toys down on table and storming off]: "Too rich for me! I fold..."

    I suppose I might qualify under the first part of your definition - never under the latter!

    In my experience 'best practice' usually meant some idea approved by those on high, which they would then attempt to impose on others, in inappopriate situations and without the necessary resources...

    Best wishes,

  4. Arthur1815,

    I am glad to have been of assistance!

    I must admit that I like the image you conjure up in your vision of the 'professional wargamers'. Very evocative!

    I know what you mean about the use of the expression 'best practice' in education ('this is how it MUST be done') ... but this did not seem to be how it was viewed amongst those who were at the conference.

    All the best,


  5. Intrigued as to what "whose approach to wargames design is properly structured" means.

  6. Mike Whitaker,

    A properly structured design process should follow something like this:
    1. Aims and objectives are set
    2. Means, methods, processes, inputs, and outputs are identified.
    3. The design is drafted.
    4. The design is tested, and alterations, amendments, and changes are made (this stage may be repeated until the design meets the original aims and objectives).
    5. The design is implemented.
    6. The design is evaluated.

    I hope that this makes things clearer.

    All the best,