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Digital Gaming => Ally/Opponent Finder => Topic started by: Tripoli on October 02, 2020, 07:23:48 AM

Title: Proposal: Hegemony PBEM Game
Post by: Tripoli on October 02, 2020, 07:23:48 AM
It looks like RAND corporation has released Hegemony," a wargame designed to teach U.S. defense professionals how different strategies could affect key planning factors in the trade space at the intersection of force development, force management, force posture, and force employment."  https://www.rand.org/pubs/tools/TL301.html  I am thinking that it might be an interesting game to do an AAR.  So here is the question: Would a team of motivated, dedicated Grogs be willing to learn, play, and write an AAR on their experiences.  Although it is an expensive purchase ($250), I am willing to fund it. Please note that this is a tentative proposal.  I have a lot of work to do before I could firm it up, including reading the rules, determining if I could make a Table Top Simulator module, and actually buying the game.  If people are interested, I would ask the following:

1) This is a professional level wargame.  People would have to be willing to commit to playing it to completion and doing some relatively minor amount of writing about their strategy, etc
2) Ideally, players would have some level of experience (even if it is old) in the military or national security field.  As a minimum,  being an experienced gamer would be a requirement. 
3) While I would try to do the game virtually, it may be possible for people in the Northern Illinois/Wisconsin area to meet and play it.


So here is the question: In an attempt to gauge interest in this, is there anyone who would be willing and interested in trying this?  Right now, I am simply trying to gauge interest in whether this is worth my time and expense to pursue.
Title: Re: Proposal: Hegemony PBEM Game
Post by: JasonPratt on October 02, 2020, 07:59:35 AM
Interested, but it may depend on what else I'm currently doing; and also whether I'm even going to be competent at it!  :crazy2:

Even if I don't, I'd still help contribute some funding to a group play of it.  O:-)
Title: Re: Proposal: Hegemony PBEM Game
Post by: Tripoli on October 02, 2020, 09:53:55 AM
Interested, but it may depend on what else I'm currently doing; and also whether I'm even going to be competent at it!  :crazy2:

Even if I don't, I'd still help contribute some funding to a group play of it.  O:-)

Thanks for your kind offer IRT the funding.  I don't think I will need any right now, but I do appreciate it.  FYI, I've also reached out to some folks I know from my military days, some guys from my wargaming group, and the Georgetown University Wargaming society to see how much interest there is in this game.  Ideally I would like to get an eclectic group of professionals/DoD retirees, talented students and professional/amateur academics to go at it.  That way, we could possibly get some good brainstorming and insights, and publically demonstrate what games can do for for education and analysis, while having fun at it. 
Title: Re: Proposal: Hegemony PBEM Game
Post by: Yskonyn on October 18, 2020, 10:37:30 AM
How’s this progressing? It’s way out of my league, but I am interested in following updates about it.
Title: Re: Proposal: Hegemony PBEM Game
Post by: Tripoli on October 18, 2020, 10:43:18 AM
Thanks for asking.  So far, only one person has indicated a desire to play.  I figure I need at least 5, so 3 more to go.  :)
Title: Re: Proposal: Hegemony PBEM Game
Post by: edatthebeach on October 30, 2020, 09:59:52 AM
If you are still looking for a player for Hegemony, I would be interested in playing and working on the AAR.
Title: Re: Proposal: Hegemony PBEM Game
Post by: jkadtke on October 30, 2020, 12:14:55 PM
Yes, I would be very interested in playing Hegemony, and can commit to whatever AAR you require.
Title: Re: Proposal: Hegemony PBEM Game
Post by: Tripoli on October 30, 2020, 12:36:28 PM
Great!  That is 3 so far.  I think we will need about 5, but we're getting closer.  If we get one more, I'll buy the game so we can start to get familarized
Title: Re: Proposal: Hegemony PBEM Game
Post by: jkadtke on October 31, 2020, 01:44:00 PM
Just a suggestion, but maybe consider contacting the developers at Rand and ask them if they would donate a game
to the group, in exchange for a reasonably professional AAR of our playtesting.  It would also be cool if we could discuss
the game with them as we go along.
Title: Re: Proposal: Hegemony PBEM Game
Post by: Vanguars on November 04, 2020, 08:46:10 AM
The Georgetown Wargaming Society sent me to this thread - I'm an instructor who is doing playthroughs of Hedgemony to see if it meets lesson objectives or can be adapted.  I own a copy of the game and have already run two partial games.  I would be interested in helping out this effort and might be able to wrangle in some facilitators/adjudicators if we get to that point.
Title: Re: Proposal: Hegemony PBEM Game
Post by: Tripoli on November 04, 2020, 10:38:53 AM
The Georgetown Wargaming Society sent me to this thread - I'm an instructor who is doing playthroughs of Hedgemony to see if it meets lesson objectives or can be adapted.  I own a copy of the game and have already run two partial games.  I would be interested in helping out this effort and might be able to wrangle in some facilitators/adjudicators if we get to that point.

Thank you very much!  Right now, we are still short of the number of players we would need.  However, that may change.  I will definitely keep you in mind!
Title: Re: Proposal: Hegemony PBEM Game
Post by: Redleg82 on November 09, 2020, 07:28:18 AM
I'd be very interested in taking part in testing Hegemony if you are still looking for players - I'm a former US Army officer and Foreign Service Officer, and have a good amount of gaming experience.  Thanks in advance.
Title: Re: Proposal: Hegemony PBEM Game
Post by: Tripoli on November 09, 2020, 08:41:48 AM
I'd be very interested in taking part in testing Hegemony if you are still looking for players - I'm a former US Army officer and Foreign Service Officer, and have a good amount of gaming experience.  Thanks in advance.

Thank YOu!  I'm still gathering names, but we are getting closer to making this a "go"!   :)
Title: Re: Proposal: Hegemony PBEM Game
Post by: JasonPratt on November 09, 2020, 09:54:37 AM
Before I really sign up for it, I think I'd need a better idea of why professional military experience is recommended. Because I have none, at all. ;) So I don't want to get involved in something where I'm only going to be a dragging block to other players.

I'd still want to watch the discussions and read the DARs/AARs of course.
Title: Re: Proposal: Hegemony PBEM Game
Post by: Tripoli on November 09, 2020, 11:36:39 AM
Before I really sign up for it, I think I'd need a better idea of why professional military experience is recommended. Because I have none, at all. ;) So I don't want to get involved in something where I'm only going to be a dragging block to other players.

I'd still want to watch the discussions and read the DARs/AARs of course.

Jason- In my proposal I recommended military/national security experience or significant gaming experience because I am intending to run this as a near professional-level wargame, so experience in the military or national security fields would be useful, as it gives the player some background in how things work in the area.  However, simply having significant gaming experience is also acceptable, as I have found that frequently talented amateurs can be really creative.  Gamers in particular frequently have a way of pulling a system apart, figuring out how it works, then proceeding to come up with innovative ways of breaking it.  Frequently, their "out of the box" thinking gives the pros and their plans the proverbial "monkey wrench".  Ideally, the team of players would be a mix of both types: something in the neighborhood of a 75-25 or 66-33% split between the two

You would certainly be welcome to play.  Your knowledge of the social sciences and gaming experience would definitely qualify you as a talented amateur.  Hell, I'd personally say you are ahead of a significant number of national security "professionals" I've worked with (and sadly in some cases, for).   :(
Title: Re: Proposal: Hegemony PBEM Game
Post by: Yskonyn on November 09, 2020, 12:11:00 PM
How big is the rulebook? Or are there several.  :hide:
Title: Re: Proposal: Hegemony PBEM Game
Post by: Vallhalla on November 09, 2020, 06:37:16 PM
I am interested in helping. I have the DoD experience but not a lot of gaming experience.
Title: Re: Proposal: Hegemony PBEM Game
Post by: Sarah on November 09, 2020, 07:15:12 PM
I would be interested in it! I'm a current junior at college, so that does limit my schedule a bit to outside of class time, but I'd love to see what Hegemony is like.
Title: Re: Proposal: Hegemony PBEM Game
Post by: Tripoli on November 10, 2020, 08:18:47 AM
Vallhalla-The lack of gaming experience isn't crucial-Most DoD wargame players have no experience in games (and based on what I saw at some of the DoD -sponsored games, it shows   >:D)  We can get you up to speed.  It sounds like we may be nearing the minimal "critical mass" for me to buy the game and develop a CONOPS for how we can execute this event. 

Sarah-Thanks for your interest.  We may be able to have you participate, but I would like to discuss with you some potential roles, based on your experience, interests and available time.  If you can either post here (or PM me privately) a little bit about your gaming experience, the reasons for your interest in the game and what you are studying in college, as well as how much minimum time you could spend on a weekly basis, it would help guide that process.   In any case, since I am intending for this to be written up as an AAR and published at GrogHeads, you will be able to follow the game.

To anyone else that is interested in playing/supporting/participating: I am still recruiting for the game, so if you have any interest in participating, there is still time.  Right now, I am only at the stage of determining whether there is enough interest in pursuing the project.  I don't expect to actually complete recruiting until towards the end of this year.
Title: Re: Proposal: Hegemony PBEM Game
Post by: JasonPratt on November 10, 2020, 12:20:07 PM
Incidentally, the title of the game id HeDgemony. With the D limned in red, in the rulebook.

Or it might be HedgEmony, as in the introduction video. The narrator of the video definitely emphasizes the "hedge" in pronunciation, because the game is intended to simulate "hedge" theory or ops.

(First footnote in the rules: "The name Hedgemony arose from the nature of a common challenge facing those who craft U.S. defense strategy. For the past 30 years, U.S. defense policymakers have been focused on an environment that has presented the United States with options for employment of defense forces in many different roles (such as humanitarian assistance, counterinsurgency, and major power conflict) and in many different locations (such as Afghanistan, Estonia, Haiti, Iraq, Korea, and Somalia). U.S. defense policymakers must prepare for a variety of near-term contingencies while also building U.S. armed forces for the future. The tension inherent in this set of challenges led us to think in terms of “hedging strategies”—the kinds of strategies investment professionals use to deal with uncertainty in the investment markets. This challenge also typically entails efforts to either maintain parity or achieve overmatch with one’s adversaries. Hence, we have the term Hedgemony.")

These are both available at the Rand link in Tripoli's original post.

I'll try posting the video code here: https://www.rand.org/pubs/tools/TL301/_jcr_content/par/product/par-research-brief/multimediavideoplaye.embed

I've tested the code (on the latest Firefox thus presumably any Mozilla engine) and it should open up a video in a new browser window.
Title: Re: Proposal: Hegemony PBEM Game
Post by: JasonPratt on November 10, 2020, 12:22:11 PM
https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/tools/TL300/TL301/RAND_TL301.rulebook.pdf

https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/tools/TL300/TL301/RAND_TL301.guide.pdf

https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/tools/TL300/TL301/RAND_TL301.abbrev-glossary.pdf

Those are the rules, the player guide, and the terminology docs. Same links as from Rand's page.

The rulebook strongly recommends (in the preface) reading the player's guide first; the rulebook is primarily intended for the Dungeon Master. ;) ("Facilitators", the guys running the game.)
Title: Re: Proposal: Hegemony PBEM Game
Post by: JasonPratt on November 10, 2020, 01:19:38 PM
Interesting. In keeping with the US DoD focus in the design intentions of the game, the US 'player' (a 'player' may be player teams of any number of people) is basically the main character whom the game revolves around, with the other players being allies or opponents.

"Although players are expected to try to win the game by achieving a certain amount of Influence, the game is primarily focused on the learning objectives of the U.S. player, with the NATO/EU player, the Red players [Iran, China, Norks, Russia], and the facilitators all serving, essentially, as “training aids.”"

"On the one hand, [non-US Players] are expected to represent allies (in the case of NATO/EU) and adversaries (in the case of Red) of the U.S. player. On the other hand, however, non-U.S. players also are expected to play the role of advisers to the U.S. player and to answer the U.S. player’s questions concerning their country’s or region’s game-relevant policies and trends. During the Red Signaling Phase of each game turn, Red players are expected to perform the role of intelligence briefing officers for Blue, presenting a summary of what Blue is likely to know about their nation’s or region’s intentions and of other salient intelligence relevant to Blue planning."

After being told of the conditions of each faction and the world generally at game-start, each Player must manually write out the goals they intend to achieve during the game; but there may also be victory conditions and faction goals designed into the session by the Facilitator.

In effect, this is a roleplaying game based around card-driven map adjustment play. It looks rather elegant.  :smitten:
Title: Re: Proposal: Hegemony PBEM Game
Post by: JasonPratt on November 10, 2020, 01:41:14 PM
Okay, my rough impressions offhand, after paging through the first part of the player's guide, is that the main reason military/DoD professionals are requested as players (aside from the point of the game being to train such people along with related State Department personnel), is because the game uses a bunch of contemporary acronyms and terms that insiders would be familiar with already, although the game rules do spell out what these are supposed to mean.

As a practical matter, anyone familiar with moderately complicated strategy games in modern settings (or even semi-modern settings, going back as far as let's say Napoleonic times) should be able to learn to 'translate' these concepts into gameplay we're familiar with. The rules are kind of more for explaining (overtly 'simple'!) strategy gaming in terms Defense/StateDep professionals will understand and relate to. Players don't even have to read the player's guide or rules, as long as the Facilitator is familiar enough to explain what's going on.

Example:

Quote
In Hedgemony, players may spend resources to do the following: Ø Posture or employ forces to accomplish some objective Ø Procure new forces (i.e., buy force structure, capacity) Ø Modernize existing forces Ø Improve specific force capabilities Ø Improve a nation’s capability or capacity to modernize forces Ø Sustain or adjust force readiness (U.S. player only) Ø Take other direct actions that may increase the players’ Influence.

Resources are generated at certain rates each turn, set by the scenario designer for each Player Faction, and can carry over to future turns (but can't be spent at a deficit, which is kind of hilarious since the goal is to simulate US State Department planning. ;) )

There are chits which get placed on map areas, and everyone has cards from various decks, including hidden hands of cards per turn, to play. Aside from personally defined Player goals (written out pre-game after learning the starting conditions), players are trying to score Influence as victory points.

So far I don't see any reason for seasoned strategy gamers to worry much.  O:-)

Not only count me in! -- but I'll also poll around outside Grogheads to see if other strat-gamers may be interested in being Players (or joining Player teams).
Title: Re: Proposal: Hegemony PBEM Game
Post by: Tripoli on January 18, 2021, 10:06:36 AM
I've had some recent changes in my personal life which have/will result in me  having in the short term insufficient time to game master the Hegemony game.  Hopefully, this situation(s) will resolve  in the next few months.  For right now, I'm going to have to table this idea.