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Dark Guest Cyber Wargaming book cover Dark Guest Training Games for Cyber Warfare Volume 1 Wargaming Internet Based Attacks   23 December 2013
by John Curry and Tim Price MBE

Dark Guest contains five separate games for use in education about cyber warfare and information security. The games cover a range of topics from defending a single company to an exercise about a nation state under cyber based attack.
The games include:

   Enterprise Defender: Protecting a Modern Business

   All Your Secrets Are Belong to Us: a Matrix Game

   Conspiracy! The Card Game

   Media Wars: The Battle to Dominate the Information Space

   Tallinn Soldier: A Sample National Crisis Game Based in Estonia in 2007

The authors have many years experience in information management, cyber warfare and game design. John Curry is an academic and editor of the History of Wargaming Project. Tim Price MBE is an army officer with over 25 years experience in simulation and gaming. Together they bring their experience together to create a valuable resource for education and training. ...

Product Details: 97 pages 15.6cm wide x 23.39 tall   ISBN 9781291669121

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Product details:
     Paperback: 97 pages
     Publisher:
History of Wargaming Project
     ISBN:
978-1291669121
     Dimensions:
15.6 x 23.4 cm

 


 

Review: Curry and Price, Dark Guest (Training Games for Cyber Warfare) by Rex Brynan

Reproduced with permission from the Pax Sims Blog where it was published on the 21/4/14

This booklet is intended as a guide and aid for those involved in promoting broader awareness of “cyber warfare” and information security within their organizations. It consists of a discussion of the challenges of training on the issue, and overview of cyberwargaming, and a brief discussion of the rise of hacking and hactivism. Thereafter, it presents five games that can be used (or modified) in a training context:

  • In “Enterprise Defender” a hacker team secretly prepares descriptions of possible cyber attacks while a security team identifies IT defences. These are then discussed and resolved by an umpire as a way of both exploring the issue and generating a broader exploration of the topic.
  • “All Your Secrets are Mine” is a matrix game, whereby participants examine hacking and military-industrial espionage through a series of verbal actions and counter-actions that are assigned a probability weight by the umpire, then resolved with dice.
  • “Conspiracy” is a card game in which participants create the cards prior to game play, and is intended to show the interactive and interconnected nature of hacking and cyberwarfare.
  • “Media Wars” involves efforts by a fictional environmental group that has seized control of an oil refinery and is trying to get its message out, while the local government and other stakeholders also compete to influence the information space. Again, the primary game mechanism is one of teams developing media strategies, which are then rated by an umpire, with effects also dependent on a die-roll.
  • Finally, “Talinn  Soldier” is crisis game based on the 2007 attacks against Estonian government and private sector servers by pro-Russian activists.

The games are not technical ones. Indeed, experts in cybercrime, warfare, and hacktivism may find the lack of technical detail and analysis in this volume surprising.

If so, they would be missing the point. Dark Guest is intended to provide resources for those who have the task of spreading awareness of cyberwarfare issues within larger organizations, possibly inspiring them to modify the sample games provided or develop their own for their own particular needs. The games are thus designed to encourage non-IT specialists and managers to think about potential vulnerabilities (although some might also encourage IT specialists to go beyond issues of hardware and software to reflect on more general questions of policy, strategy, and context). All of the games are relatively free-form, and most are rather abstract. They are thus highly adaptable and designed to promote discussion-through-play. Most can also be played quite quickly, making them very suitable as ice-breakers or to provide a change-of-pace as part of a broader training programme. A previous edition of Dark Guest included a full rules-based card game on cyberwarfare, which has been dropped in this edition precisely because the authors feel that a book containing “generic ideas… [with] wider application” would be more useful for those seeking to integrate serious games into their training process.

One key aspect that the authors note, but could do more to address, is the fundamental importance of effective game facilitation and umpiring in free-form games such as these. Considerable skill is required to do this, since the moderator simultaneously needs to run the game, adjudicate actions (in a way that participants find convincing), maintain player engagement, deal with less cooperative players or those “fighting the scenario,” while all the time exploiting the teachable moments that the game generates. Experienced teachers may have some of these skills, and experienced role-playing-game “dungeon masters” have others—but not all neophytes have all of them. Given that this is volume 1 in what promise to be a continuing series—and given its association with the longstanding History of Wargaming research and publication project—this may well be an aspect that the authors turn to in a subsequent volume.



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