Matrix Games

We have developed a one or two day workshop on how to use and create matrix games. This workshop has been run for the Australian Army, Navy and the Defence Science and Technology Organisation. It was also adapted and used as part of an operations research course at the Australian Defence Academy.

Matrix games are a form of structured seminar war game. Players propose an ACTION that leads to a RESULT that is supported by a number of REASONS that either enable the action and/ or provide a link between the ACTION and RESULT. The argument is the adjudicated (by a variety of means appropriate to the type of scenario) and the situation is updated to reflect the result. Previous RESULTS can be used as REASONS in subsequent arguments and this allows back tracing to analyse which arguments had the greatest influence on the outcome.

Scenarios can be replayed, with different participants, or to examine alternate branches. The method also lends itself to scaleable scenarios where the findings from one scenario are used as the basis of the next, more detailed scenario. Alternatively, a matrix game scenario may be used to identify elements of the situation that require further evaluation/ exploration by other means.

Colleagues at DSTO have refined the method so that the difference between enabling REASONS and causal REASONS are more clearly recorded.

The format of matrix games was developed by Chris Engle, but has been further refined by many people around the world. In particular, some early users were members of Wargame Developments.

The slides that support the workshop can be found Here.

Thanks are due to Tim Gow for the use of his Falklands war scenario. Don't cry for me Argentina

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