Tuesday, March 19, 2019
A look at using wargames to think about hypothetical situations: an invasion by Russia into the Baltic. The article focuses on "professional" wargames (exercises by governments), but does mention some possible uses of commercial games as a source of research.
The problem that I see here is that professional wargames comes with professional price tags. They also take a long time to roll out. Maybe a better approach would be a combination of large-scale professional wargames plus easily obtainable commercial games?
Commercial games can be a valuable teaching tool. Not only do you (by a process of osmosis) learn history, but you can learn to think about hypothetical situations (such as the one that opens the above article). Rather than get stuck in an endless development cycle to try and attain the standards listed in the above article, maybe use something like this game to get leaders at all levels thinking about the implications of actions at a tactical, strategic or operational level?
Here's a review of one such commercial game, Empire of the Sun, designed by Mark Herman and published by GMT Games. One interview with the designer spoke about how he played the game with an actual practitioner (at around one hour, three minutes) of the naval craft. The admiral in question may have been mystified by the game at first (cardboard counters), but knew how to play the "game" of running fleets and implementing a strategy.