"Good advice, but I'm in Afghanistan and they are home so it will be a bit of a while. Alan Emrich and Darin Leviloff of VPG were fgood enough to send me some copies of their games, so I am trying to keep my hand in. I had hoped to link up with…"
Still on the run,. Gaming has suddenly become popular around here! The game we are working on for TRAC is set in Afghanistan, Helmand to be specific. We are doing an operational look at a brigade-level AOR, using (at this point anyway), a point-to-point/area map, with a combination of cards, counters, and small plastic cubes to represent all the various LOEs the different palyers may undertake. Four players, U.S., GIRoA, Bad Guys, and DOS, with NGOs as a wild card. It is part of a larger Army effort in which they are doing a detailed tactical spread-sheet game of a single battalion AOR, with everything tied together using a Cultural Geography model to represent the effects on population attitudes of what happens on the game board. Our game is literally a board game at the moment, with the intention of shifting to computer based once we have the design completed to our satisfaction.
What exactly would you want to get out of the game (both in terms of knowledge gaps for trainees to be addrsesed, and tasks they're likely to deal with professionally)?
The World Bank, for example, has its "Carana" simulation that it regularly uses for training Bank staff for work in conflict-affected and fragile countries, addressing issues of DDR, SSR, rule of law, economic reconstruction, capacity building, fiscal issues, etc. You'll find some more information on it at PaxSims (http://paxsims.wordpress.com/2009/01/27/carana/), and when you're next in DC you could always meet up with Gary Milante (who runs it at the Bank). The Australians (AUSAID) are working on a revision of it to expand the 3D/all-of-government aspects--Gary could tell you more.
I also run a peace operations simulation for university students, which we've sometimes adapted to other settings—you'll find an article about it in the January 2010 issue of PS: Political Science and Politics (http://journals.cambridge.org/repo_A70oQazF).
It sounds to me like you might find some recent work by Joe Miranda and Roger Mason even more on target. The worked with aprofessor at Georgetown and another at NDU to design a simple game on reconstruction in Afghanistan, presuming essentailly a victoryfor the counterinsurgency forces with just a relatively small leftover insurgency force. I will try to give you more info about our game later. Gotta run right now.
As I'm sure that you know, I'm trying to depict insurgency warfare in a game system. If you wish, you can download the rules at Legion Wargames. I would also value your input in the discussion groups: World of designing and Ici, c'est la france!