Posts Tagged “Battle Lab”
Or: haven’t we seen this movie before, and the sequel, and the spinoff, and the remake, and the prequel of the spinoff of the remake?
Rapid fire thoughts about your game acquisitions ~
Brant, 27 April 2020
Plenty of us have a stack of wargames that we haven’t played yet. And quite frankly, there’s a not-insignificant portion of that stack that is, in all honesty, unlikely to ever get played. Occasionally, we’re just holding onto something in unpunched condition (ie, “investing”). Sometimes we got it, read thru it a bit, and decided we weren’t going to play it after all. But how many of us bought something with the express purpose of studying the game more than playing it?
What do you buy? What do you read or study? And what do you actually play?
That brings up a very interesting three-part question: What do you buy? What do you read or study? And what do you actually play?
In my case, I buy a lot of games from designers and companies I like to support (that said, I’m a bad comparison for “what do you buy?” because as a regular reviewer of games and convention event organizer, I don’t spend nearly as much on games as it might appear). But the games that I study and the games that I play do tend to diverge quite a bit. (more…)
Seeing a new way to do things ~
Brant, 31 March 2020
The professionals talk about wargaming in very different terms than the casual hobbyists do. Don’t get me wrong, the professionals know the difference between a hobby or game and their jobs. Most of them also wargame for fun, and have a huge knowledge of the hobby. But for casual wargamers the professional uses of wargames mainly seem like two cases, and an occasional third.
Brant Guillory, 2 July 2019
There’s an interesting thread / discussion over at BoardGameGeek about an oft-tread topic of “how many ____ games do we really need?”
This question is invariably muttered under the breath whenever a new Stalingrad, Gettysburg, D-Day, Waterloo, or Bulge game is released, we’re rapidly approaching those saturation points for Sicily, Jena/Auerstedt, Battle of Britain, Shiloh, Midway, Leipzig, strategic-level AWI games, and Kursk.
Great, another game about the same old battles, in the same old places, with the same old contestants, resulting in many of the same old results and lessons learned. The fact that no one even needs to reference a map or any further details when discussion the Peach Orchard, or Hougoumont, or Sainte-Mère-Église, or the Tractor Factory tells you how well we’ve over-gamed these topics. Or have we? (more…)
What aren’t we training, and why not? ~
Brant, 23 May 2019
The US military has a wargaming problem. Well, honestly, they’ve got a bunch, but we’re only going to focus on one specific problem in this column. And I have no idea if other militaries suffer from a similar problem, so I’ll let our international readers (both of you!) chime in with your thoughts if you’ve got some inside information.
The core of the issue is this: US military games don’t account for soft factors, like morale, training, esprit de corps, technical competence of the commander, or simple soldier skills, among literally dozens of others.
Look, we know that not all units are created equal and that not all leaders are equally competent. But there’s never a platoon of morons in a JANUS exercise, and at BCBST, you’re never allowed to stick C CO in the rear of the march column because if they were out front they’d be the most likely to get lost en route. Well, you’re allowed to stick them in the rear, but if the evaluators ask you why, you’d better not give that answer, because how dare you accurately assess a weakness of a subordinate unit and then develop a plan to minimize the exposure to that weakness (and isn’t that a real piece of risk management?).
Brant Guillory, 14 May 2019
Note that this is a companion piece to the original column on recon & intel in tabletop wargaming.
In the tactical world, we have several different tools we use to ensure that we get the right data at the right time.
One of the key methods involves the use of map graphics. We use transparent overlays on standard-size military maps (1:50k) and use graphics to indicate enemy actions: locations of units, routes for movement, places we expect them to attack or defend, etc. (more…)