Play the game, change the game!

MMOWGLI stands for Massive Multiplayer Online Wargame Leveraging the Internet. It is a message-based game to encourage innovative thinking by many people, connected via the Web. It has been used to study a number of topics, such as how the Navy can prepare for the future of energy......starting in 2021 and beyond.

The MMOWGLI project was originally sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) for the United States Navy. The goal of the project is to explore the potential of a Massively Multiplayer Online War Game Leveraging the Internet (MMOWGLI), with a variety of themes, to expand engagement in military and non-military strategy development for complex geopolitical problems. The platform is designed to support large numbers of distributed global players working together on idea generation and action planning, with an eye towards surfacing innovative outlier strategies.   Several dozen games, workshops and courses have used the MMOWGLI platform.

A focus on the future of piracy.The second and third MMOWGLI games picked up where the original MMOWGLI pilot left off. We focused on the Gulf of Aden through 2021 but very quickly transition to some possible future piracy hot spots: providing "Recovery and Resilience" in the South Pacific in the wake of climate change, and responding to the unprecedented "resource grab" that could happen during the first ever ice free Arctic summer. Each of these represented a so-called "wicked problem" in which complexity and uncertainty make it difficult to arrive at simple solutions. Complex economic, social, military and political considerations are acted out by diverse players. From the pirates themselves to shipping companies to foreign navies and international institutions, the diversity of interests and perspectives will challenge future solutions, military or otherwise. Current game news is found on the Piracy Blog.

A focus on the future of energy use.Our second major game was Energy MMOWGLI which brought together players to consider how to reduce the heavy reliance by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps on a finite, expensive and unreliable supply of fossil fuels. This dependency degrades our strategic position and the tactical performance of our forces. The global supply of oil is finite, it is increasingly difficult to find, and cost continues to rise. We need to improve our energy security, increase our energy independence, and help lead the nation towards a clean energy economy. Among other themes, we plan to examine the Navy Energy Security Strategy and consider Energy Efficient Acquisition, Sail the "Great Green Fleet," Reduce Non-Tactical Petroleum Use, Increase Alternative Energy Ashore, and Increase Alternative Energy Use DON-Wide. Please register to sign up and be notified when we launch the Energy MMOWGLI game. Current game news is found on the Energy Blog.

A new kind of war game.These characteristics call for a new kind of war game that can engage diverse players from across many organizations and ranks, both in the United States and beyond. In fact, this kind of war game can even engage the educated public in an arena that has traditionally been reserved for a limited elite. The future strategies for situations like we see in MMOWGLI will play out in an environment where players can rapidly communicate across boundaries, self-organize in ad hoc online networks, and share a wide variety of media and resources to influence decisions. MMOWGLI is designed to guide strategy development in this context.

A collaborative effort.MMOWGLI was jointly designed by Institute for the Future (IFTF) and developed by the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS). IFTF expanded the goals of its earlier gaming platforms, Signtific Lab and Foresight Engine, designing extensions that create a robust multimedia environment for collaborative strategic planning by networks of people who may be complete strangers. NPS drew on its broad knowledge of worldwide Naval operations as well as its deep capacity in computer science to develop this new gaming software using a Web-based architecture, building an open-source platform that can test the limits of new online environments. NPS continues to maintain and extend the codebase. Interested stakeholders are welcome to contribute to these efforts.

For more information:

The MMOWGLI Players Portal describes all game activities.

Please see the Credits and Contact page to learn more about who we are and how to reach us.

Please look at the Frequently Answered Questions (FAQ) to learn more about the game.

Interested sponsors are welcome to propose new MMOWGLI games.  Please contact Dr. Douglas MacKinnon (djmackin@nps.edu) , Rebecca Law (rllaw@nps.edu) and/or Garth Jensen (garth.jensen@navy.mil).

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