The Serious Role of Gaming at RAND

RAND uses gaming techniques to develop insights into a host of 21st century challenges.

In this Events @ RAND podcast, David Shlapak, codirector of the RAND Center for Gaming, describes a recent series of games examining potential results of a Russian invasion of the Baltics. He discusses the strengths, weaknesses, and limitations of using gaming in research.

David A. Shlapak

David A. Shlapak

Senior International Research Analyst and Codirector, RAND Center for Gaming, RAND Corporation

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  • Rethinking Russia's Threat to NATO

    A series of wargames examined the probable outcome of a Russian invasion of the Baltic states. The wargames showed that a near-term Russian invasion could reach the Estonian and Latvian capitals in less than 60 hours.

  • Gaming and Public Policy: Q&A with David Shlapak

    Aug 11, 2016

    David Shlapak discusses how using games in research can help improve decisionmaking across a wide range of areas, including national security, health care, and climate change.

  • How Can Gaming Help Test Your Theory?

    May 18, 2016

    Yuna Huh Wong

    The act of designing a game will force you to articulate your theory or to be more specific about it. It will also require you to operationalize your variables and theoretical constructs of interest into a specific context, and prompt you to anticipate the ways in which it may play out in that scenario.

  • Wargaming the Defense of the Baltics

    Russia's incursion into Ukraine has caused alarm in the Baltic States, all of which were once part of the Soviet Union. In light of the Russian threat, RAND conducted a series of wargames and found that NATO was incapable of repelling an invasion of some Baltic capitals. This research suggests that it is possible to change the Kremlin's calculus and avoid a rapid takeover of the Baltics with a force of seven brigades, including three heavy armored brigades.

  • Getting the Most Out of Your Wargame

    Jan 26, 2016

    Elizabeth M. Bartels

    Some famous historical wargames offer a compelling narrative of what wargames can be at their best and worst, but they cannot illustrate the full range of contemporary wargaming that leaders should strive to achieve. A better understanding of how wargames can be helpful — or backfire — is critical.