Archive For The “Columns” Category
Brant Guillory, 6 November 2018
The following is the set of slides from Brant’s ’06 Origins War College talk about integrating civilians into wargaming. Note that these are only the slides and not a full accounting of the entire robust discussion around the topic. Also, the talk focused on the game design effects, and not on the larger real-world implications of civilians on the battlefield.
Brant Guillory, 10 July 2018
How are headquarters units implemented in wargames, and what functions do they serve? As wargamers, most of us have enough appreciation of history to understand the value of a headquarters in combat and its ability dramatically affect a battle as it unfolds. There are a variety of ways in which headquarters units can be portrayed on the tabletop.
Originally published in Battles! Magazine, here’s a look at HQ units on your tabletop
But first, let’s look at what they do in real life (as always, “the disclaimer”: the doctrine being discussed is American; it’s what I know). (more…)
Brant Guillory, 8 July 2018
Note that this is a reprint of this article.
Click images to enlarge.
What is the Fog of War?
If ask 10 different people, you’ll get 10 different answers. In fact, I did just that, and here are some excerpts:
“Fog of War is the state of affairs on the battlefield (or pertaining to it) that is beyond a commander’s knowledge. For example, a commander may have a unit which has achieved a specific objective, but the commander is unaware of it due to the fact not having been relayed back to him. A second example may be that a specific objective may house an enemy commander’s HQ but that knowledge is withheld for whatever reason; in terms of conditions on the battlefield may appear to be an irrelevant objective or one that seems a dangerous, undefined, or irrelevant mission.”
“the enemy’s course of action is unknown and/or unconfirmed.”
“Fog of War refers to the confusion and lack of certainty a commander faces while making decisions on how to conduct a battle or war. Since modern war occurs over an area too large for a single commander to view, they rely on information from various sources to develop a mental model of what is occurring. They make their judgment and issue orders based on what they believe is occurring. Lack of information, wrong information, late information, all contribute to create an imperfect perception of what is occurring. This disconnect between what the commander thinks is occurring and what actually is occurring is referred to as the Fog of War.”
“The Fog of War is the lack of certainty in regard to the intent and composition of the enemy.”
“It is summed up as uncertainty based on lack of knowledge.”
“The Fog of War is that period of uncertainty from when the Enemy’s intentions are surmised and the enemy’s actions are known.”
“All the things everyone doesn’t know for sure during an armed conflict.”
So, generally, the “fog of war” is the lack of perfect situational awareness that comes about naturally as a result of actions on the battlefield. Of course it can be present in varying degrees – it is never either “on” or “off”. Curiously enough, the US Army and Marine Corps have no official definitions in their field manuals defining operational terms and graphics.
When examining the issues around “fog of war” however, how can we apply the problems, and their potential solutions, to boardgaming. This is one area in which our computer-gaming brethren have our butts kicked. Computer models can integrate a variety of fog of war effects, in large part because the computer can hide or reveal as much or as little as the programmers desire. It’s much harder to hid information when it’s all printed on a counter in front of you.
Why logistics so rarely shows up in wargames ~
Brant Guillory, 1 June 2018
Here’s a logic puzzle for you.
You have 4 snakes that have to get through a maze. They each have a destination, but there are only 3 start points and only 3 endpoints. Oh, and the routes through the maze cross in several places, which means you have to sequence your snakes through the maze. And by the way, there is a certain sequence the snakes need to depart and arrive.
Does your head hurt yet? What if we started putting some obstacles in the maze? How about if the snakes stop off for a bite to eat? What if we start including snakes going the other direction, too? Some passageways are too small for some snakes, do you route them through those pathways to free up space for other snakes even if the smaller ones now take longer to get where they’re going? (more…)
Continuing the long-running discussion ~
Dr James Sterrett, 10 July 2018
Previously published back at GrogNews, we have a guest article written by Dr James Sterrett, an instructor at the US Army’s Command and General Staff College. Please note that these are his ideas and are not reflective of official US Army policy, doctrine, canon, religion, or other official imprimatur.
the objective of an activity [is] more important that the software (or paper rule set) being used
Brant and I have cheerfully sparred over the distinction between games and simulations over the years. What follows is my take, focused on training & education, in two different variants. The first is useful as a snappy comment, while the second works better analytically. In the end, both point to the objective of an activity as more important that the software (or paper rule set) being used, and neither variant is perfect. (more…)
Brant Guillory, 5 March 2018
This might be one of my favorite topics (as evidenced by the bibliography on the GrogNews site as well) and was the subject of much of my academic work, as well.
This article was originally published in Battles magazine #3 and GrogNews, and was cited in Dr Sabin’s book Simulating War.
Dr James Sterrett (of the US Army CGSC) has previously offered his thoughts on the topic, as well.
Games and Sims for Training and Learning
This is a favorite topic of mine, and the Origins War College has hosted several panels over the last few years devoted specifically to the basic topic of “What is a game and what is a sim, and what can we do with them?” (more…)