How It Works

Choose what type of strategic wargame you’d like to play:

Matrix Wargame: A great choice for multi-team, competitive scenario-based games, intended for 10-50 players (include more with multiple, simultaneous games). The game unfolds as a strategic debate with wide latitude for players to design their actions and challenge the validity of opposing teams’ moves during each turn.

Seminar Wargame: The best option for when you have a small number of players that will cooperatively analyze a scenario – likely with a high degree of uncertainty. Game controllers identify a series of questions that are posed to the single team for response and debate. The seminar format is a great way to conduct synchronous in-person games and provides you an interactive focus point for discussions with a shared screen or with multiple logins on individual laptops. Special options allow you to use a presentation mode, and create all turn information prior to your event if desired. 

Once your account is created with the WarPaths Admin, you’ll receive an email invitation to set up your game based on one of the two formats above.

Choose how you’d like to play:

A range of options in WarPaths gives you complete control over the formatting and delivery of your game. At the highest level, choose between:

Synchronously: Using a video conferencing service, distributed players develop their inputs for discussion and debate at the end of each turn. Or, co-located teams split up into separate rooms to design their actions. Players share the same game information and can review drafts of inputs before submission and review by the White Cell. Features of the Seminar format facilitate discussion of participants in the same room.

Asynchronously: Enable additional comment sections to facilitate discussions each turn. Use timers to limit argument development, critique, and response phases to develop a rich understanding of the topics at hand.

Or, switch back and forth between these two modes if you desire within the same game!

Build your game:

Create the background scenario used to motivate the game with a series of information slides that can be shared with everyone, or restricted to a single team. Include optional attachments and links to videos or external websites to enrich the information environment.

If you are using the matrix format, you can have up to three arguments submitted per team, per turn. You can choose to use a traditional matrix format (action, result, 3 justifications) or a DIME-centric format (explaining how integrated diplomatic, informational, military, and economic actions work together to create a single strategic effect).

Use color-coded conditions to convey the state of the game using various combinations of color families (red, yellow, green, and blue) each with shades to represent weak, moderate, or strong conditions. Have up to 13 colors for a single condition (including white/neutral)! You can have up to three conditions per game (each with different color schemes, if desired) and tie each to one of the three arguments the teams develop each turn. Conditions will color-code the map at the country or Admin-1 political levels, which you select in your game development panel. Contact WarPaths to discuss custom map areas for your game.

Finally, create custom teams to represent any combination of stakeholders relevant for your game. Send email invitations to your players that automatically assign them to teams. Use the main map to assign unit icons to each team for them to move over the course of the game.

Play your game:

Players have immediate access to the game map when invited, but the game is in a “Turn 0” state for familiarization with the scenario and interface. Once the game controllers begin the game, they are able to develop their moves each turn. You can also choose to play a familiarization round and reset to Turn 0.

Game controllers can add any number of icons, additional scenario slides, key media articles and social media posts, intelligence updates, and others easily and quickly during the game to drive the development of the game. Each can be shared in draft form at the beginning of the game and revealed at a designated turn.

Teams submit their moves before the end of each timed turn and once enabled, can review the submitted moves of the other teams for debate. The game controllers can quickly review and approve proposed changes to the map and update the state of play for everyone.

Flipping back through the history of the game (wing all changing conditions, text submissions, incident icons, and intelligence reports for all completed turns) helps with teams seeing the evolution of play and also helps with after-action reviews of the game and key lessons learned.

Reset, Rework, Rerun:

In addition to quickly resetting to Turn 0, you can choose to modify the scenario, use different players, or start from scratch in designing a new game and build on lessons learned collected during play.

With multiple Game IDs, you can maintain different scenarios to run as needed. If you choose, you can copy scenarios between Game IDs to run multiple simultaneous games. White Cell members designated as “hoppers” can jump between games quickly to manage more than one game.

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