Category Archive 'War Gaming'

04 Dec 2011

International Red Cross Contemplates Regulating Gaming

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Watch out, war criminals, Amnesty International was trying this week to get former president George W. Bush arrested by such impeccable democracies as Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Zambia for war crimes against terrorists, and soon the International Red Cross may be coming after you for laying down that land mine in Call of Duty.


One of the world’s largest and most respected humanitarian groups in the world is investigating whether the Geneva and Hague conventions should be applied to the fictional recreation of war in video games.

If they agree those standards should be applied, the International Committee of the Red Cross says they may ask developers to adhere to the rules themselves or “encourage” governments to adopt laws to regulate the video game industry.

The International Committee of the Red Cross is mandated under the Geneva Conventions to protect the victims of international and internal armed conflicts. That includes war wounded, prisoners, refugees, civilians, and other non-combatants. The question they debated this week is whether their mandate should be extended to the virtual victims of video game wars.

During this week’s 31st International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in Geneva, Switzerland, members of the committee held a side event to discuss the influence video games have on public perception and action.

“While the Movement works vigorously to promote international humanitarian law worldwide, there is also an audience of approximately 600 million gamers who may be virtually violating IHL,” according to the event’s description. “Exactly how video games influence individuals is a hotly debated topic, but for the first time, Movement partners discussed our role and responsibility to take action against violations of IHL in video games. In a side event, participants were asked: ‘What should we do, and what is the most effective method?’

“While National Societies shared their experiences and opinions, there is clearly no simple answer. There is, however, an overall consensus and motivation to take action.”

The International Red Cross made this video to document war crimes against imaginary electronic entities (IEEs).

It makes perfect sense. If Geneva Convention protections can be extended on a completely non-reciprocal basis to terrorists and illegal combatants who routinely violate those conventions and all other laws and customs of war by a simple fiat and decree expressive of an international, entirely non-democratic and unrepresentative, consensus of self-appointed elite holier-than-thous, why shouldn’t entirely fictive and imaginary electronic entities not be entitled to receive the same kinds of rights and immunities from the same sources on the basis of similar reasoning and procedures?

Hat tip to Walter Olson.

03 Sep 2010

Charles Swann Roberts (1930 – August 20, 2010)

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PanzerBlitz, designed by Jim Dunnigan in 1969, was the best of the Avalon Hill games.

Charles S. Roberts passed away recently from emphysema at 80 years of age. Roberts was best known as a historian of American railroads, but in 1954 he took advantage of his professional experience in printing and advertising to found the game company Avalon Hill in 1954.

Avalon Hill created an entire new war gaming hobby with its board games based on historical events. AH’s crucial innovations included the use of a grid overlaid on a flat folding map, zones of control (ZOC), an odds-based combat results table (CRT), and terrain effects on movement, troop strength, morale.

The earliest games were primitive, featuring large and arbitrary units, a rectangular grid offering overly limited movement and possibilities of unit interaction, and thoroughly unbalanced scenarios.

AH’s publication of PanzerBlitz, designed by the legendary Jim Dunnigan, in 1969 represented a design breakthough featuring a hexagonal map grid, tactical level units, and multiple typically far more balanced scenarios.

Dunnigan went on to operate Simulations Publications, a rival company that eclipsed Avalon Hill and created a new era in simulations gaming.

Baltimore Sun obituary

Hat tip to Walter Olson.

Fighting one’s way to the vital Russian village of Bednost (Poverty)

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