June 14, 2024

Connections Online 2024 AAR & Video Archive

Armchair Dragoons PAO, 29 April 2024

Connections Online 2024 was held from 15-20 April, co-hosted by the Armchair Dragoons.  As an online/distributed conference, everything was virtual, and all presentations were streamed through YouTube.

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As Connections Online is a practitioner-focused conference, rather than a game-playing convention, the core events were panels & presentations that were built around this year’s theme of “Distributed Wargaming Lessons Learned”.  There were a few game sessions, primarily over Discord, designed to showcase how distributed wargaming can work by allowing the practitioners to play in the games themselves.  These game sessions were not streamed.

Connections Online 2024 was held the week of 15 April, and consisted of 12 Core and 6 Extended events. This year’s theme, “Distributed Wargaming — Recent Lessons Learned,” was an explicit attempt to capture conclusions and best practices from our collective experiences during the covid pandemic.
Next year’s conference will take place the week of 7 April 2025, and will focus on wargaming or advanced technology.

––  Chris Weuve, Conference Chair

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Our attendance has been slowly trending downward, which could be a combination of screen fatigue, the novelty of an online conference wearing off, or (specific to this year) competition from 2 other major wargaming events held in the same week, or people just don’t like us.  That said, viewership of the YouTube videos after-the-fact remains very strong, so there does seem to be value gained from the material, just not necessarily live.

  • Attendees:
    • 2024: 86
    • 2023: 140
    • 2022: 157
    • 2021: 231
  • Speaker-to-attendee Ratio:
    • 2024: 31 of 86 (36%)
    • 2023: 42 of 140 (30%)
    • 2022: 47 of 157 (30%)
    • 2021: 49 of 231 (21%)

For those of you that did not attend, we’re curious about why not.  Your feedback helps us in our future preparation, and we do take it into account when planning next year’s events.  We’ll leave this open for a few weeks.
(note: this is anonymous; you don’t need to ‘sign in to Google to save your progress’ on a one-question poll!)

 

Many of our survey questions are the same from year-to-year, so that we can benchmark our performance over time.  An example of this is our question about the variety & diversity of our topics.

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click images to enlarge

 

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We always ask our participants what takeaways they have from the conference:

What (if any) takeaways from Connections Online do you anticipate being applicable to your professional role?

  • Learning about employers and career trajectories helps me better inform students about game design opportunities outside of the entertainment industry.
  • The need for better UI design and consideration of human factors, how much can go wrong trying to organize even the simplest thing.
  • To remain open minded, keep networking and connecting, looking into AR for physical Kriegsspiel facilitation.

 

What (if any) takeaways from Connections Online do you anticipate being applicable to your hobby role?

  • The opportunity to participate in games run by experienced adjudicators/professional wargame designers/practitioners makes me more confident in my ability to run such games for my students. This is especially important for online connections conferences because these games can include people who would not normally be able to engage in professional wargames due to their geographic location.
  • The genre has really moved on now from what I grew up with. That is fantastic, of course, but I feel really out of it now and that makes me sad.
  • Use of different platforms. Broadening topics for simulations.

 

We asked the speakers What is the single most important thing to improve for the next Connections Online?

  • More interactivity. Put hang-out voice at the top of the channel list for folks to gather. Run a game jam AS a side event over the week, with gathering and mentorship sessions once a day.
  • Perhaps some scenario examples that can be shared – techniques and outcomes. What scenarios are popular – again within what can be shared given how much classified work is done by the group.
  • Find new and different speakers, especially those who haven’t presented at Connections conferences before.

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Connections Online 2025 will be held 7-12 April, 2025, with the theme of “Wargaming Future Technologies”

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Connections Online will be upgrading our social media presence / channel content over the next 2-3 months.  You can follow the conference on Facebook, with Twxtter, BlueSky, Mastodon, and LinkedIn pages all coming soon, too.


Livestream Archive

At this point, all of these broadcasts are public, and shareable.

 


Thank you for visiting The Armchair Dragoons and mounting up with the Regiment of Strategy Gaming.
You can find our regiment’s social media on MastodonBlueSky, Facebook, TwXtter, YouTube, and even Threads, if we could ever get an auto-post to it.
(We have an Instagram page and it’s really just a placeholder & redirect to our articles.)
You can support The Armchair Dragoons through our Patreon, also, and find us at a variety of conventions and other events.
Feel free to talk back to us either in our discussion forum, or in the comments below.


Brant G

Editor-in-chief at Armchair Dragoons

View all posts by Brant G →

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