*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 22, 2014, 10:00:21 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 36 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: [Matrix Game] Mitrovica Matrix Exercise  (Read 959 times)
Neal Durando
Registree

Posts: 2


« on: October 27, 2008, 03:58:14 AM »

In the context of one of my military English classes for my consultancy, www.defenselinguistics.org, I recently began conducting an Engle Matrix Game, using the situation in Mitrovica, 2000 as a background. My students are staff officers of a divisional command with an intermediate to advanced grasp of English. I have been thinking about using an MG for some time now, but was a bit concerned about getting the concept across. Language exercises, after all, require very clear instructions especially when you are trying to hold a discussion.

I prepared the scenario this summer, knowing that a large percentage of my students have deployed to Kosovo at some time and will probably do so again in the near future. I also wanted to conduct an MG as a proof-of-concept for other, more ambitious reasons. I was heartened to see that MGs have already been conducted within similar commands within the British Army and also to learn that they are not so different from the wargaming step of the doctrinal "Military Decision Making Process," or MDMP (no lie!).

Unfortunately, on the day I chose to do the exercise, most of my students were stuck in a real operational briefing. In attendance were a communications major and two civilians who also work for us. Only the major had deployed to the Former Republic of Yugoslavia. Nobody knew much about the recent history of Kosovo. I decided to persevere because these are chatty students and I knew they would play as soon as they understood the concept. You should know as well that this is the first time I've run this kind of game. What follows are the actual notes we took during play--in the future, I will have students actually write out their turns and dictate them to other students who will enter them into the class computer, as this is a valid listening and speaking exercise.

Oddly, the civilians unhesitatingly chose the Serb and Albanian community roles. The major begrudgingly took the KFOR role and I played the CNN role. We were using an alternate version of Chris Engle's scale wherein arguments are rated on how well they build on previous ones. Each player had five coins to spend on making an argument or a counterargument. I explained the rules in English and conducted the game in English.

Here we go:

Initial Situation

Two days ago, a fifteen year-old Albanian boy was shot and killed by a sniper while playing on the banks of the Ibar river. Yesterday, a bus carrying Serb civilians was attacked with RPGs. Both communities claim that nobody can ensure their security and seem to be arming themselves. Albanians from other communities are reported to have already moved into the AO. KFOR troops, largely French and American units, along with Greek and Dutch elements, are on high alert. For the moment they control the main crossing point over the Ibar River.

Turn One

Argument 1.1, Serbian Community
Serbian intelligence infiltrate the KLA, weakening them, so that they can no longer protect the Albanian community. The Serbian player chooses the CNN player as referee. He has four coins left.

CNN player judges the argument as “Needs Preparation” (to-happen roll 5-6) because Serbs and Albanians speak different languages and this would be a very hard operation.

Argument 1.2, CNN
CNN sends a news team to FRA KFOR barracks to cover a ping-pong competition. The troops are having a great time but, unfortunately, they don't seem to be very serious. The CNN player chooses the Serbian player as a referee. He has four coins left.

The Serbian player judges the argument as “Okay” (to happen roll 4-6).

Counterargument 1.2.1, KFOR

Yes, but the FRA Public Affairs Officer (PAO) insists that CNN cover the troops maintaining security at the main bridge. The KFOR player chooses the Albanian player as his judge. He has four coins left.
The Albanian player judges the argument as "Everything Set” (to-happen roll of 2-6).
Results: Serbians, fail; CNN, fail (KFOR counterargument also fails as it depneds on a successful CNN roll

Turn Two
The intial situation is unchanged.
Argument 2.1, KFOR   
KFOR organizes a football competition on the south side of the Ibar River. CNN is invited to cover the match. The game, a tie, works to lower tension throughout the city. KFOR chooses CNN as his judge. He has three coins left.
The CNN player says, “Are you kidding? The war just ended! Nobody will want to come to a football game!" The argument is judged “Too Much” (to-happen roll of 6).

Counterargument 2.1.1, Albanian Community
Yes, and stakes are negotiated such that the loser of the match must leave Mitrovica. He selects the KFOR player as his judge and has four coins remaining.

The KFOR player thinks about it and decides the argument “Builds on the Past” with a to-happen roll of 3-6.

Counteragument 2.1.1.1 Serbian Community
Yes, and the referee is Serb, so the Serbs win the match. He has three coins left and chooses the CNN player as his judge.

The CNN player moans and sighs, ”Good Lord.” He judges the argument as “Too Much” (to-happen roll of 6).

Results: KFOR   failure (All subsequent counteraguments are predicated on this argument’s success. Therefore, they fail).

Turn Three
The intial situation is unchanged.

Argument 3.1, Albanian Community
KLA members detonate an IED as a bus carrying Serbs passes. CNN films the attack and the horrific casualties.  He chooses the Serbian player as his judge. He has three coins left and chooses the Serbian player as his judge.

The Serbian player shrugs his shoulders and rates the argument as “Okay” with a to-happen roll of 4-6.

Argument 3.2, Serbian Community
Serbs shoot at the KFOR checkpoint on the main bridge from the Albanian side. Everyone thinks the Albanians are responsible. He chooses KFOR as the judge and has two coins remaining.

The argument is rated “Builds on the Past” with a to-happen roll of 3-6.

Counterargument 3.2.1, CNN
Yes and we catch the attack on film. KFOR troops are not wearing body armor, takes casualties, and the platoon leader panics. KFOR’s future in Mitrovica seems futile. CNN has three remaining coins.

The Albanian player judges the argument as “Okay” to happen on a roll of 4-6.

Results:
Albanian, success; Serb, success; CNN, success   

Turn Four
Situation

An IED attack in Serb territory has caused terrible civilian casualties. KFOR has suffered 1 KIA and 2 WIA in a sniping incident which CNN says was perpetrated by the Albanians. Images of a panicking KFOR platoon leader are picked up by all major networks.

Argument 4.1, KFOR
KFOR reinforces the bridge with another platoon of troops. SOP is changed so that body armor and helmets are to be worn at all times. An inquiry is conducted to determine the culprit. KFOR calls a meeting between Serbian and Albanian community leaders. As a result, tension decreases.

The CNN player judges the argument as “Builds on the Past” with a 3-6 roll to happen. He has two coins remaining.

Counterargument 4.1.1, Serbian Community
Yes, but the Serbs refuse to participate because they don’t recognize KFOR’s legitimacy in Kosovo. He is now on his last coin.

The Albanian player judges it “Okay” (4-6).

Counterargument 4.1.2, CNN
Yes, and the disastrous announcement is framed by CNN as a perliminary step to newly-opened conflict. The American public loses its taste for nation building and the U.S. withdraws from KFOR. Two coins are left for the CNN player.

KFOR judges the counterargument as “Builds on the Past” with a  3-6 roll to happen.

Results: KFOR, failure

We'll pick up the game again in the next class session. I also hope, eventually, to conduct turns on line.




Logged
MatrixGamer
Member

Posts: 601


WWW
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2008, 09:31:16 AM »

Thanks for posting this Neal. Sounds like a good game - for language training purposes - since it got people talking about topics far off military tactics. I'm doing a play test now on the MatrixGame2 yahoo group to test a creative writing Matrix Game. Romeo and Juliet is a retelling of Shakespeare's classic story which aims at getting incoming college freshmen comfortable with making things up. People are so timid that way.

I want to give credit to Universalis on using coins in games. I'd considered doing that before encountering Uni but definitely followed that lead based on their example. The two games play quite differently but the coins work to time the game and make people feel okay about taking charge. They've "bought the right" to make something up... so it's not cheating.

I hope other educators see this post and try this out. Unlike a lot of games Matrix Games can be played in fragmented chunks and still be useful to teaching. This makes them fit into most class room time frames more easily.

Chris Engle
Logged

Chris Engle
Hamster Press = Engle Matrix Games
http://HamsterPress.net
Neal Durando
Registree

Posts: 2


« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2008, 11:52:30 PM »

Romeo and Juliet is a retelling of Shakespeare's classic story which aims at getting incoming college freshmen comfortable with making things up. People are so timid that way.

The dynamic of my course changes according to so many factors. In this case, there were no commanding officers present. Usually it means that students will look for ways to subvert the exercise or game. This gets almost unmanageable when I teach my sergeant's course. Anyway, it was very interesting to watch the interest level of one of the civilian students, normally rather timid, rise.[/quote]

I want to give credit to Universalis on using coins in games. I'd considered doing that before encountering Uni but definitely followed that lead based on their example. The two games play quite differently but the coins work to time the game and make people feel okay about taking charge. They've "bought the right" to make something up... so it's not cheating.

I haven't quite given up hope of someday running a version of Uni in a class but, conceptually speaking, it requires more patience to understand. I'm happy with the above results, even though we sort of thrashed about, because I now have four of a group of about twenty who understand the exercise and won't freak out when we do it again, thus reducing the amount of time I need to explain the game. My hope is to infect the culture of the place where I work with this sort of thinking. Shouldn't  be hard. The military planning process includes similar discussion activities and my language classes feature situational role playing.

I hope other educators see this post and try this out. Unlike a lot of games Matrix Games can be played in fragmented chunks and still be useful to teaching. This makes them fit into most class room time frames more easily.

I can't believe I waited so long. I normally consider a class a success if roughly a third of it consists of students talking in a semistructured or free discussion. In this case, we did a short pronunciation lesson and talked for an hour and a half. Also, unfinished games give me another language task to assign. Someone has to brief newcomers, after all.
Logged
Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.16 | SMF © 2011, Simple Machines
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!