During World War II German U-boats plagued the British forces, and so a grand strategy game was devised by Captain Gilbert Roberts and a group of ten Wrens (members of the Women’s Royal Naval Service) assigned to his team in an attempt to understand and reveal the U-boat's tactics.
The story of how these young women designed a game that helped the Allies win WWII is remarkably well-told in New Yorker journalist Simon Parkin's new book 'A Game of Birds and Wolves', and now he's coming to GDC next month to share behind-the-scenes insight into the game's design!
In a special GDC 2020 Design track talk titled "Designing the Secret Game that Helped Win World War II" Parkin aims to show you how a group of young women and a retired naval Captain designed a game to expose a fatal flaw in Allied anti-U-boat tactics (and develop effective countermeasures) using balls of string and nubs of chalk.
Their little-known work was fundamental to victory in the Battle of the Atlantic, and this session examines the unique power of games to affect the world in tangible ways, as well as the important role of gameplay at the highest levels of militaries and governments around the world. It promises to be one talk you won't want to miss!
GDC 2020 runs from Monday, March 16th through Friday, March 20th. This will be the 34th edition of GDC, and now that registration is officially open, you'll want to take a look at the (ever-expanding) session schedule and your GDC pass options -- register early to lock in the best price!
Gamasutra and GDC are sibling organizations under parent company Informa Tech