March 4, 2024

Connections Online 2021 Archive



Connections Online 2021

WHAT: Connections Online Wargame Conference
WHEN: 12-14 April, with extended events from 10-18 April
WHY: To advance and preserve the art, science, and application of wargaming


ConnexHexBlocks-1Connections is an international series of conferences dedicated to advancing and preserving the art, science, and application of wargaming (to include gaming of business and non-war topics) by bringing together wargaming professionals (and some dedicated hobbyists) interested in the theory and practice of wargaming for analysis, education, and training — and fun, too.

Connections Online is proud to join the Connections family with an online-only conference on Distributed Wargaming.
Video will be livestreamed through YouTube, with additional interaction through a dedicated Discord server for registered attendees.

All core Connections Online events will take place from 12-14 April during core hours of 10am to 4pm EDT(UTC -4) – what conference director Chris Weuve calls “Los Angeles to London” hours.  All core events will be recorded and available for future viewing.


Note that while most of the events have been recorded from their live streams, they accompanying chat from Discord was not archived.  Please see below for the recordings for those events that were streamed.



Event Proceedings

Events are listed chronologically as they occurred during the conference.  Events with multiple iterations are listed based on their first iteration.  The Armchair Dragoons AAR is here.  The ACD forum thread is here.


Wargame Bootcamp – Learn to Use Discord, VASSAL, TTS
Seminar Presentation on 2021-04-10 18:00:00 and Hosted by Karl Kreder, Tim Porter
Seminar Presentation on 2021-04-11 18:00:00 and Hosted by Karl Kreder, Tim Porter
Seminar Presentation on 2021-04-18 18:00:00 and Hosted by Karl Kreder, Tim Porter

Intro on how to play board wargames online using Discord, Vassal, & Tabletop Simulator. Acquire practical exp & confidence in how to effectively use these apps. No prior exp req’d, but MUST have VASSAL / TTS installed in advance on your computer. This session will cover VASSAL first, TTS second.
(was not streamed / recorded)


Connections Online 2021 Welcome
Keynote Presentation on 2021-04-12 14:00:00 and Hosted by Chris Weuve

Welcome to Connections Online 2021, and a brief history of the Connections Conferences

Can be viewed HERE


Wargaming for Education
Panel Presentation on 2021-04-12 15:00:00 and Hosted by James Sterrett, Kristan J Wheaton, Kyleanne Hunter, Sebastian Bae

The Wargaming Educational Panel will feature educators and wargaming experts from a wide range of educational perspectives. The panel will explore poignant issues in wargaming education — such as lessons learned from the virtual environment, who should learn to be designers, and advice in integrating gaming into the curriculum. The panel will feature Dr. James Sterrett of CGSC, Dr. Kyleanne Hunter of the US Air Force Academy, Kristan Wheaton of AWC. The panel will be moderated by Sebastian Bae from Georgetown’s Security Studies Program.

Can be viewed HERE


Distributed Wargame Tools & Techniques
Panel Presentation on 2021-04-12 17:00:00 and Hosted by Merle Robinson

This panel outlined some of the challenges gaming with electronic tools and forums. It discussed several online tools and how they work including samples of political, resource management, and naval gaming. Detailed examples of applications using Discord, Slack, Excel tables, and naval plotting tools were presented and addressed the advantages and disadvantages of the tool sets. Panelists: Ed McGrady, Patrick Dooley, Merle Robinson, and Chris Carlson.

Can be viewed HERE


Practical Design in Wargames
Keynote Presentation on 2021-04-12 19:00:00 and Hosted by Brian Train, Mike Markowitz

Brian Train and Mike Markowitz are known throughout the wargaming community not only for innovative, playable wargame designs, but also for their practical know-how in the design of wargame elements
Both have recently presented to the Georgetown University Wargame Society (GUWS), the links for which are below. Please join Mike and Brian for a discussion of those videos — and bring your questions!

Can be viewed HERE


History of Wargaming
Seminar Presentation on 2021-04-12 23:00:00 and Hosted by Matt Caffrey

Matt Caffrey, author of “On Wargaming“, discusses the history of wargaming.

Can be viewed HERE


The Gettysburg Campaign & Insights into Multi-Blind Wargame
Keynote Presentation on 2021-04-13 14:00:00 and Hosted by Sean Barnett

A discussion of a large multi-blind, distributed game of the 1863 American Civil War Gettysburg Campaign and the insights it provides into multi-blind wargaming. The presentation by long-time wargamer Sean Barnett will cover an overview of the historical campaign, game design–emphasizing limited information elements, a summary of the course of the game, issues encountered, and insights regarding multi-blind wargaming relevant even to modern professional wargamers.

Can be viewed HERE


Recent Articles in Wargaming
Panel Presentation on 2021-04-13 15:00:00 and Hosted by Jeremy Sepinsky

Four panelists will be discussing their most recent articles on wargaming, across a range of topics, followed by a discussion and Q&A session from the attendees.

Articles to be discussed by the panelists

Can be viewed HERE


The Georgetown University Wargaming Society
Panel Presentation on 2021-04-13 17:00:00 and Hosted by Sebastian Bae

Sebastian Bae and Lexee Brill discussed the growing wargaming program and society at Georgetown University. They discussed Basics of Wargaming, a graduate level wargaming course taught by Sebastian Bae, and the wide range of activities led by the Georgetown University Wargaming Society (GUWS). They also shared some challenges and lessons learned during a year of virtual learning and their vision for the future.

Can be viewed HERE


Western Approaches Tactical Unit – Analysis & Perspective
Keynote Presentation on 2021-04-13 19:00:00 and Hosted by Tom Mouat

The Western Approaches Tactical Unit (WATU) was a unit of the British Royal Navy created in January 1942 to develop and disseminate new tactics to counter German submarine attacks on trans-Atlantic shipping convoys. It was led by Captain Gilbert Roberts and was principally staffed by officers and ratings from the Women’s Royal Naval Service (Wrens) from all across the British Empire, using Wargames as their primary tool for studying U-boat attacks and developing countermeasures. No one group can be said to have won World War 2 for the Allies, but WATU is on the short list. This panel will look at WATU, the wargame they developed, and the Wrens who made it happen.

This panel pre-supposes a little bit of knowledge about WATU. For maximum benefit, please consider watching one or more of the following videos:

Can be viewed HERE


Across Suez (team wargame)
Wargame on 2021-04-13 21:00:00 and Hosted by Marc Monnin, Mike Erickson
Wargame on 2021-04-16 21:00:00 and Hosted by Marc Monnin, Mike Erickson

Re-fight the battle of Chinese farm on 15 Oct 1973. We will play SPI’s Across Suez with 2 teams of 4 players (Egyptian & Israeli) via Discord.

(was not streamed / recorded)


Squadron Strike Teaching Game (Vector Movement)
Wargame on 2021-04-14 00:00:00 and Hosted by Brian Trotter, Ken Burnside

This is a teaching game using the ships from an upcoming Squadron Strike product with very streamlined ships, using Mode 2 (Vector) movement. Ships are small, you’re armed with lasers and nukes, and all materials will be provided.

(was not streamed / recorded)


Family of Connections Conferences
Keynote Presentation on 2021-04-14 14:00:00 and Hosted by Matt Caffrey, Rex Brynen

Overview of the international family of Connections conferences with representatives of each discussing their events, best practices, and lessons learned.

Can be viewed HERE


Distributed Campaigns Over the Long Haul
Panel Presentation on 2021-04-14 15:00:00 and Hosted by Brant Guillory

While distributed gaming became essential during the past year, many gaming groups have maintained geographically-distributed campaigns for up to several years. Given the practitioners’ bias toward ‘one-shot’ or focused events, what lessons can be learned from long-term asynchronous play?

Can be viewed HERE


SISO Distributed Wargame Working Group
Panel Presentation on 2021-04-14 17:00:00 and Hosted by Stephen Downes-Martin

Covid-19 made distributed wargaming a requirement for both safety and economic reasons. Given that the latter will outlast the pandemic, and that distributed wargaming techniques will likely be necessary during planning on a real battlefield, the Simulation and Wargaming Standing Study Group of the Simulation Interoperability Standards Organization started a Working Group on “Distributed Wargaming”. The focus of which is to “examine how technical, social and design processes can exploit the advantages and overcome the disadvantages of professional wargaming in a distributed environment”. Three key contributors to that effort present their work in progress covering both theoretical background and evidence from practice.

  • Mark Sisson: “A model of distributed wargame insight development”
  • Chuck Turnitsa: “Transparency of Information”
  • Kiran Lakkaraju & Jon Whetzel: “Experiences running a public experimental wargame”

Can be viewed HERE


The Future of Connections Online
Keynote Presentation on 2021-04-14 19:00:00 and Hosted by Chris Weuve

A discussion of what’s next for Connections Online, as well as a brief preview of what’s coming up at Connections US in June 2021.

Can be viewed HERE


Online Integrity: Conflict Sensitivity
Wargame on 2021-04-14 21:00:00 and Hosted by Paul Howarth
Wargame on 2021-04-16 16:00:00 and Hosted by Paul Howarth

Online Integrity: Conflict Sensitivity in a safe to fail environment. A training game developed by Outreach Group, 77th Brigade, to highlight issues and hazards during overseas deployments and how to mitigate against their effects. This adapted version was produced during the pandemic to engage with new audiences, building an appetite for future live games and designers.

(was not streamed / recorded)


Men Against Fire: Paddy Griffith’s Sandhurst Wargame
Wargame on 2021-04-15 00:00:00 and Hosted by Jim Owczarski

Man-to-man double-blind combat in WW2, as each individual soldier has their own motivation & victory conditions, and a narrator providing the action for everyone.

Can be viewed HERE


Exploring historical conflict w/ games: a modeling approach
Seminar Presentation on 2021-04-15 16:00:00 and Hosted by Xavier Rubio-Campillo

This talk will explore the potential, limitations and challenges of wargames as learning tools to explore past conflicts from three perspectives: playing, designing and analysing.
The study of past conflict is one of the most popular topics of historical research, but also a predominant topic beyond the academia. Tabletop wargames are one of the most interesting expressions of this interest on past conflicts as they provide detailed simulations of thousands of battles, campaigns and wars through the abstraction of terrain, soldiers and weapons into maps and counters.
The wargaming approach to the past has seldom received academic interest except for some exceptions; at the same time, wargames are models that force the designer and the player to assess and understand the battlefield as a complex and dynamic interaction of multiple factors. This talk will explore the potential, limitations and challenges of wargames as learning tools to explore past conflicts from three perspectives: playing, designing and analysing.

Can be viewed HERE


Atlantic Chase
Wargame on 2021-04-15 17:00:00 and Hosted by Karl Kreder

A chance to play through GMT’s Atlantic Chase game, replicating some of the campaign that was analyzed by the WATU.

(was not streamed / recorded)


NSDM Revealed!
Seminar Presentation on 2021-04-15 19:00:00 and Hosted by Merle Robinson

National Security Decision-Making Game staff discuss their history, designs, processes, and how they execute their seminar games. Benefit from our 30 years of running events for hobby, academic, and military audiences. Learn all our secrets!

Can be viewed HERE


1985: Under an Iron Sky
Wargame on 2021-04-15 21:00:00 and Hosted by Karl Kreder

TRL’s Cold-War-goes-hot-in-Central-Europe wargame at the operational level

(was not streamed / recorded)


Fog of War and Tabletop Simulator
Seminar Presentation on 2021-04-15 21:00:00 and Hosted by Tim Porter

Fog of War functionality in Tabletop Simulator for a team versus team with umpire/referee based (proof of concept) table with limited visual knowledge. I am kludging in onto the Lock N Load Tactical system Day of Heroes (Mogadishu 1993 Black Hawk Down) board game components.

(was not streamed / recorded)


Research for Historical Role Playing Games
Seminar Presentation on 2021-04-16 00:00:00 and Hosted by Byron Salahor

Discussion of research and game-execution considerations for historical-based role-playing

(recording will be added later)


How to create game modules in Vassal or Tabletop Simulator
Seminar Presentation on 2021-04-16 15:00:00 and Hosted by Tim Porter

How to create basic modules. Will need some basic bitmap graphic editing knowledge (not Photoshop level). 2 hours per software

(was not streamed / recorded)


A Nightmare Come True – The “1985” Series
Seminar Presentation on 2021-04-16 16:00:00 and Hosted by Anthony Morphet, Fabrizio Vianello

From Soviet doctrine to chemical wpns, from air war to amphibious ops, passing thru REFORGER, electronic warfare & Polish revolts. How do you turn WW3, the worst nightmare of 20th century, into a living room sim? 
TRL Games will offer some hindsight on the design process & the decisions to take.

Can be viewed HERE


Megagaming in the Hobby Environment
Seminar Presentation on 2021-04-16 19:00:00 and Hosted by Merle Robinson

An overview of the Mega-game phenomenon sweeping colleges and conventions in North America. Learn of their origins, the varied types, and how some of them work.

Can be viewed HERE


You can keep up with all of the Connections Conferences on Facebook

Note that future Connections Online conferences will continue to point to this page, and past conferences will be archived to their own separate entries.

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