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Subject: Tactical Non-Kinetic Counter-Insurgency Games? rss

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I'm curious if there's a non-kinetic Counter-Insurgency game out there. After listening to the case study of the Kunar province counter-insurgency efforts in Afghanistan in The Accidental Insurgent by David Kilcullen.

It seems so ripe for a quality solo or multiplayer game...
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R Frisk
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Could you define what "non-kinetic" means in game terms?
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Leo Zappa
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lord frisk wrote:
Could you define what "non-kinetic" means in game terms?


Don't know how the OP will define it, but typically non-kinetic warfare usually involved sound or light waves at the tactical level, plus electronic warfare and cyberwarfare at the operational and strategic level. Lasers can be an example of non-kinetic tactical systems.

Some people might use the term non-kinetic instead to refer to operations involving training allied forces, establishing representative governments in failed states such as Afghanistan and doing other nation-building efforts. However, the more proper term to use in these cases is non-lethal versus non-kinetic.
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Kinetic, in military terms, refers to combat using lethal weapons (a firefight for example is kinetic combat).

Non-Kinetic...is not those things!

In Kunar province, for example, US forces worked with NGOs, local tribal elders, the ANA and ANP, alongside the Afghani government to build roads. Now, the roads themselves were a non-kinetic means to an end for a whole variety of reasons:
- travel
- trade
- jobs
- showing remote communities that the government was there and had a role in their lives
- drawing out Insurgent fighters who tried to disrupt the building...resulting in kinetic combat opportunities for local ANA and ANP alongside coalition forces to fight back to protect

It seems relatively simplistic on the surface, but knowing where and how that might be successful, maintaining relationships and coordination, ferreting out corruption and malignant influences, among other challenges would make for a rich game that provides delicate balance at the tactical level as opposed to something like COIN which abstracts those efforts at the strategic level (very well actually).
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Brian Train
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Kandahar

Also in this family:
Tupamaro
Shining Path: The Struggle for Peru
Algeria: The War of Independence 1954-1962
Andartes
BCT Command: Kandahar

These are just the ones I worked on.

Though these are a step up from the usual definition of "tactical": games at this level tend to be like Boots on the Ground and are focused strictly on the battle itself, and not the other circumstances that allowed the battle to happen.

Brian
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suPUR DUEper
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Would Ici, c'est la France! The Algerian War of Independence 1954-62 qualify?

Hope so; I have the reprint on preorder and we need some more to get it published..... whistle
 
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Jason Sadler
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SASO would make for some very interesting games, but I think they would have to break the tactical wargame model. Some kind of big crazy business management simulation might work. Tactically speaking, it involves lots and lots of mundane shit like handing out wheat seeds to replace poppies or special forces guys teaching people to immunize cattle. Agricola with bombs.

Edit: Anecdotally, kinetic/non-kinetic is pretty common parlance in the modern military. Switching from invasion to policing, training, hearts and minds was often briefed as the transition from kinetic to non-kinetic operations. When a catchphrase catches fire in the machine, you'll find it used for everything under the sun.

Edit edit: What about DRCongo? I know next to nothing about it, but it is by the Ragnar Brothers (Angola) and appears to be about trying to build infrastructure while dealing with multiple insurgent factions. I remember there was a tempest is a teacup over the subject matter when it came out.
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Leo Zappa
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BeatPosse wrote:
SASO would make for some very interesting games, but I think they would have to break the tactical wargame model. Some kind of big crazy business management simulation might work. Tactically speaking, it involves lots and lots of mundane shit like handing out wheat seeds to replace poppies or special forces guys teaching people to immunize cattle. Agricola with bombs.

Edit: Anecdotally, kinetic/non-kinetic is pretty common parlance in the modern military. Switching from invasion to policing, training, hearts and minds was often briefed as the transition from kinetic to non-kinetic operations. When a catchphrase catches fire in the machine, you'll find it used for everything under the sun.

Edit edit: What about DRCongo? I know next to nothing about it, but it is by the Ragnar Brothers (Angola) and appears to be about trying to build infrastructure while dealing with multiple insurgent factions. I remember there was a tempest is a teacup over the subject matter when it came out.


Yeah, your note on common parlance is right on. The military is a lot like the sports world and the business world, in that they love to roll out jargony catchphrases to establish a veneer of mystery and intellectualism to their often mundane activities! Having been a part of two of those three worlds, I've seen it first hand! I'd write more, but I'm off to do a paradigm shift and engage in some out of the box thinking.
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Gordon Blizzard
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BeatPosse wrote:
SASO would make for some very interesting games, but I think they would have to break the tactical wargame model. Some kind of big crazy business management simulation might work. Tactically speaking, it involves lots and lots of mundane shit like handing out wheat seeds to replace poppies or special forces guys teaching people to immunize cattle. Agricola with bombs.

Edit: Anecdotally, kinetic/non-kinetic is pretty common parlance in the modern military. Switching from invasion to policing, training, hearts and minds was often briefed as the transition from kinetic to non-kinetic operations. When a catchphrase catches fire in the machine, you'll find it used for everything under the sun.

Edit edit: What about DRCongo? I know next to nothing about it, but it is by the Ragnar Brothers (Angola) and appears to be about trying to build infrastructure while dealing with multiple insurgent factions. I remember there was a tempest is a teacup over the subject matter when it came out.


I'm definitely in agreement with this- most of our counterinsurgency wargames including the COIN series are wargames with a political/economic/cultural aspect, whereas I think a game that captures this kind of thing would definitely be more of a political/economic game with a war aspect.
 
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desertfox2004 wrote:
BeatPosse wrote:
SASO would make for some very interesting games, but I think they would have to break the tactical wargame model. Some kind of big crazy business management simulation might work. Tactically speaking, it involves lots and lots of mundane shit like handing out wheat seeds to replace poppies or special forces guys teaching people to immunize cattle. Agricola with bombs.

Edit: Anecdotally, kinetic/non-kinetic is pretty common parlance in the modern military. Switching from invasion to policing, training, hearts and minds was often briefed as the transition from kinetic to non-kinetic operations. When a catchphrase catches fire in the machine, you'll find it used for everything under the sun.

Edit edit: What about DRCongo? I know next to nothing about it, but it is by the Ragnar Brothers (Angola) and appears to be about trying to build infrastructure while dealing with multiple insurgent factions. I remember there was a tempest is a teacup over the subject matter when it came out.


Yeah, your note on common parlance is right on. The military is a lot like the sports world and the business world, in that they love to roll out jargony catchphrases to establish a veneer of mystery and intellectualism to their often mundane activities! Having been a part of two of those three worlds, I've seen it first hand! I'd write more, but I'm off to do a paradigm shift and engage in some out of the box thinking.


Make sure to get all your ducks in a row before thinking outside of the box; otherwise, you may end up with a false narrative.
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The idea (and choice of wording for the topic) came from reading:



I too was unfamiliar with the euphemism of Kinetic/non-Kinetic until reading.

There are two excellent case studies laid out in the book told at the tactical level. There's definitely room for a game in there if someone wanted to tease it out...though the danger would be in over-simplifying something already simplified (by the author's admission) for the purposes of the book. So the risk, as I see it, is likely not the scale but rather executing with fidelity.
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Brian Train
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Excellent book.
Kilcullen continues to put out good stuff; the next book you should read of his is Out of the Mountains.

Some serious wargaming has been done at this level, e.g.

https://paxsims.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/the-afghan-provinci...

https://paxsims.wordpress.com/2015/03/21/reconstructing-afgh...

But don't look for anyone to make a go of selling this commercially; as the panzer-pushing, hard-charging armchair warriors will tell you,

"We play WARgames here!
Bomby-shooty good good!
GRAAAH breakmanynecks!"


Brian
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Jason Sadler
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Very exciting to see pictures of young people engaged in thinking about Afghanistan. One girl was even wearing a pancake hat to get in character.

ltmurnau wrote:
Excellent book.
Kilcullen continues to put out good stuff; the next book you should read of his is Out of the Mountains.

Some serious wargaming has been done at this level, e.g.

https://paxsims.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/the-afghan-provinci...

https://paxsims.wordpress.com/2015/03/21/reconstructing-afgh...

But don't look for anyone to make a go of selling this commercially; as the panzer-pushing, hard-charging armchair warriors will tell you,

"We play WARgames here!
Bomby-shooty good good!
GRAAAH breakmanynecks!"


Brian
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desertfox2004 wrote:
I'd write more, but I'm off to do a paradigm shift and engage in some out of the box thinking.


Looking forward to your Power Point deck on that, soldier.
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