War Game Design

These War Game Design videos began as recorded Zoom sessions conducted for the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization at the US Department of State, based on topics I usually present during the war gaming design course conducted annually by the War Gaming Department of the US Naval War College.

game design INTRO

This first presentation strives to establish a foundational understanding of war games, their uses and key design concepts.

INTRO TO Matrix games

This presentation addresses a type of gaming called "matrix games," and discusses their design and use.

Problem statements

I tackle problem statements and their relationship to objective and purpose, and some of the ways external game sponsors can have a negative impact on the game design process.

visual communication

While not specific to war games, PowerPoint is often used to conduct war game inbriefs or report out war game results, but the lack of good visual design principles dramatically reduces its effectiveness. This lecture presents some techniques to improve the impact of presentations built with PowerPoint.

Distributed gaming

First presented at the Connections US war gaming conference in August 2020, this presentation outlines an organizational taxonomy to help game designers, sponsors and players 'get on the same sheet of music' when talking about distributed games.

Modeling in games

In this video, I discuss the use of "models" in war games. In this case, a model is loosely defined as anything that represents something the player interacts with that is not another player, and not just mathematical combat models. These are models you can build with Excel and be used by designers, players and adjudicators.


This lecture addresses scenario development and game element selection and definition (a.k.a the pieces or "pucks" in war gaming parlance).


This presentation discusses the considerations that go into the war game adjudication process. No, you won't get the truth, and yes, rolling dice is just fine!