North Korea wargame compendium

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Given the success of the previous (and ongoing) Israel vs Iran wargame compendium, I thought it might be a good time to start a similar listing of wargames dealing with a potential future conflict in the Korean peninsula. The listing includes commercial/hobby games where these address serious analytical issues of strategy and military operations. Some student simulations have included, although model UN-type crisis committees haven’t.

(Most recent update: 28 May 2013)

Millennium Wars: Korea, One Small Step (2003)

Boardgame designed by Joe Miranda.

North Korea: The War Game (2005)

“Dealing with North Korea could make Iraq look like child’s play—and the longer we wait, the harder it will get. That’s the message of a Pentagon-style war game involving some of this country’s most prominent foreign-policy strategists.”—an account of a crisis simulation convened by The Atlantic.

Crisis in North Korea Simulation, ICONS Project

Explore the complexities of negotiating an end to a crisis in an atmosphere of mutual suspicion and mistrust. This simulation places students in the roles of key global leaders as they attempt to determine the cause of a recent explosion in North Korea and de-escalate tensions between parties. In the wake of Kim Jong-Il’s death, the international community’s concerns about North Korea’s nuclear program are heightened and events in the simulation have precipitated a crisis that threatens to ignite a regional conflict.

DMZ: The Next Korean War, Decision Games (2010)

Boardgame designed by Eric Harvey.

CENEX 2011, University of Denver (2011)

A crisis negotiation exercise “covering simultaneous crises in the South China Sea and the Korean Peninsula.”

Next War: Korea, GMT Games (2012)

GMT Games’ wargame of a future conflict in the Korean war, designed by Gene Billingsley.

Center for Strategic and International Studies, Korean Peninsula Crisis Simulation (2012)

In November 2012, CSIS held a two-day crisis simulation exercise in collaboration with the International Communications and Negotiation Simulation (ICONS) Project of the University of Maryland.  Three teams were formed for the exercise: a China team, a U.S. team, and a control team which played the roles of North Korea, South Korea, and Japan.  Participants included senior members of the U.S. foreign policy and security expert community, many of whom were former U.S. senior officials.

The simulation was designed to test and enhance U.S.-China crisis management capabilities in general, and to underscore the benefit of advance discussion between the U.S. and China to respond to potential contingencies on the Korean Peninsula.

Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce, University of Kentucky, Korea simulation (2011)

Graduate student simulation, involving “a disaster and succession crisis in North Korea, and included teams representing North Korea, South Korea, Russia, China, Japan, and the United States.”

Unified Quest 2013, US Army War College

US troops intervene to secure the nuclear arsenal of the dictatorial republic of North Brownland. It proves to be a hard slog.

Dartmouth College Korea simulation (2013)

Simulation with student participants at Dartmouth College.

Drive on Pyongyang, Modern War magazine (2013)

Boardgame designed by Ty Bomba.

Lesson plan for Korea simulation, New York Times “Learning Network” (2013)

Should the United States rely on diplomacy and incentives or military confrontation to deal with a nuclear-armed North Korea? In this lesson, students will play the role of White House advisers, exploring policy options and recommending the best strategy for preventing war in East Asia.

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About Rex Brynen

Professor, Department of Political Science, McGill University.
This entry was posted in Strategy and Policy and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to North Korea wargame compendium

  1. brtrain says:

    There’s a generous amount (i.e., maybe five or six) commercial/hobby games that focus on a new Korean War: Redline Korea, Millennium Wars Korea, Crisis Korea 1995, Korea 2005, Hornet Leader, the redone DMZ as well as the Drive on Pyongyang game you cited. However, they all focus strictly on the military operations and there is nothing at all about diplomacy or incentives to avoid combat, or even to modify the conditions for combat (I think the latest game had some scenarios where China could participate, or not). Of course, you could say that these games start after all these measures short of war have been tried and failed – so IMO they are not joke games, but they are exploartions of failure.

  2. Pingback: The Crimea crisis in games | Wargaming Connection

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