Real-world simulations teach how to defend against disinformation: Hybrid CoE organized the Helsinki Countering Disinformation Wargame

Policymakers, journalists, media influencers, and experts from the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats gathered in Helsinki 23-27 May for the Helsinki Countering Disinformation Wargame (CDWG). This was a series of events that seek to build the capacities of Hybrid CoE’s 31 Participating States and their populations to counter disinformation through the development and implementation of two wargame simulations and a boardgame. The events will lead to the further development of tools and techniques to help counter disinformation, and will include strategic communications strategies.

“By simulating real-world scenarios we raise awareness of disinformation and offer participants the opportunity to practise the best approaches to recognizing, responding to, and defending against disinformation,” said Ms Shiho Rybski, Director of Training & Exercises at Hybrid CoE.

The Helsinki Countering Disinformation Wargame consisted of three parts: First, a one-day conference titled Demystifying disinformation was organized on Monday 23 May in a physical and virtual format. Second, on Tuesday and Wednesday, national teams from Hybrid CoE’s Participating States practised their skills in countering disinformation in a two-day virtual wargame connecting the capital cities with the Helsinki-based control cell. Day one focused on Russian disinformation, day two on Chinese disinformation.

Finally, on Friday 27 May, two half-day boardgame events were organized, where university students were able to play a physical boardgame – entitled Malign – developed in cooperation with the Georgetown University Wargaming Society and Hybrid CoE. The card-driven educational boardgame is designed to help players better understand, detect, and deter disinformation.

The CDWG project is funded by the U.S. Global Engagement Center. The project endeavours to develop and implement a physical boardgame on disinformation for university students and Hybrid CoE’s Participating States. The project also seeks to design and implement a virtual wargame on disinformation to be made available to Hybrid CoE’s Participating States, tailored to their needs and hybrid threat landscapes.  

[For more information, please contact:
Shiho Rybski, Director, Training & Exercises,]

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