Gaming Methods in Action

  • Researchers demonstrating a gaming exercise for board members in Santa Monica, 1966

    The Serious Role of Gaming at RAND

    RAND uses gaming techniques to develop insights into a host of 21st century challenges. In this Events @ RAND podcast, David Shlapak, founding codirector of the RAND Center for Gaming, discusses the strengths, weaknesses, and limitations of using gaming in research.

Featured Research

  • Lauren Buitta, founder of Girl Security, and RAND's Jenny Oberholtzer, Stacie Pettyjohn, Becca Wasser, and Ellie Bartels host a wargame for girls, July 2019, photo by Dori Gordon Walker/RAND Corporation

    A Wargame at RAND Puts Teen Girls in Command

    As a student, Ellie Bartels (cohort '15) worked with her fellow RAND "Dames of War Games" to develop and host an event for young women to learn firsthand about national security. The day offered a lesson in strategy, in the hard realities behind news headlines, and also in agility and resilience.

  • A participant votes for the team he thinks should win RAND's education policy game, Let's Improve Tanner High School!, in Pittsburgh, September 28, 2018

    Education Policy 'Game Night' Debuts at RAND

    Parents, teachers, principals, and community leaders played RAND's first education policy game. Participants had to work through scenarios affecting a fictional high school, such as how to cut its budget by 4 percent. The game showed researchers how different stakeholders might approach school improvement challenges and what drives their decisions.

  • The game box cover for Hedgemony, design by Rick Penn-Kraus/RAND Corporation

    Hedgemony: A Game of Strategic Choices

    In this tabletop military strategy game, players represent the United States, its allies, and its key competitors. They must use “hedging” strategies and decide how to best manage their resources and forces.

  • A radio telescope in front of a field of stars

    Opportunities for Including the Information Environment in U.S. Marine Corps Wargames

    Wargaming is enjoying renewed prominence in the defense community, yet the information environment remains underdeveloped and underrepresented in wargames.

  • Military leader briefs a team of government officials, photo by Gorodenkoff/Adobe Stock

    Conceptual Design for a Multiplayer Security Force Assistance Strategy Game

    Researchers developed a portfolio game in which players explore the potential benefits and risks of different security force assistance strategies under different conditions. This paper explains the conceptual underpinnings and basic rules for the game.

  • Russian President Putin after a news conference following Russian-Bulgarian talks, with Prime Minister of Bulgaria Boyko Borissov, photo by Kremlin/Public Use

    Design Considerations for a Structured Strategic Game

    To explore how Russia could use gray zone tactics and to what effect, researchers developed a strategic-level structured card game examining a gray zone competition between Russia and the West in the Balkans. This report describes the game's development and the research behind it.

  • An activist outside the Dutch embassy in Kiev, Ukraine, holds a banner that says not to listen to Russian propaganda, February 5, 2016, photo by Gleb Garanich/Reuters

    How to Counter Russia's Gray Zone Tactics

    Russia uses gray zone tactics—ambiguous actions that target domestic or international public opinion—across Europe. Wargames found that vulnerability to these tactics varies. And they can be countered by hardening Western societies against Russian propaganda and attempts to undermine democracy.

  • A helicopter lands during the trident juncture exercise in the Netherlands

    NATO's Amphibious Forces: Command and Control of a Multibrigade Alliance Task Force

    At the request of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa, RAND researchers facilitated three wargaming events exploring how to leverage and enhance the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)'s existing amphibious capacity by organizing extant national forces into a coherent multibrigade command and control (C2) structure.

  • Jerusalem skyline

    What if Palestinians Start Voting in Jerusalem City Elections?

    Since 1967, most Palestinian residents of Jerusalem have boycotted municipal elections to avoid legitimating Israeli rule. But recent polls suggest that some might be warming to the idea of voting. A game with Israeli and Palestinian policy experts examined possible consequences of the boycott ending.

  •  ALES wargame brings maritime and amphibious leaders together to explore command and control challenges, discuss future capabilities and interoperability, Official NATO photograph by JWC Stavanger/Released

    A Wargame Method for Assessing Risk and Resilience of Military C2 Organizations

    Wargames typically role-play and exercise the roles, responsibilities, and authorities of a prescribed command-and-control (C2) organizational structure in the scenario rather than compare and contrast alternative structures in a rigorous manner. This report provides a "how-to" guide for conducting a C2 risk and resilience (C2R2) tabletop exercise (TTX).