Posts Tagged “Battle Lab”

Battle Lab: Do We Really Need Another ____ Game?!

Battle Lab: Do We Really Need Another ____ Game?!

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…)

Read more »

Battle Lab: Recon & Intel in Wargaming, Deep Dive on COA Development

Battle Lab: Recon & Intel in Wargaming, Deep Dive on COA Development

Brant Guillory, 14 May 2019

originally published at GrogNews.com

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…)

Read more »

Battle Lab: Command Post Exercises at Origins, The Interview

Battle Lab: Command Post Exercises at Origins, The Interview

Brant Guillory, 7 May 2019

Brant Guillory: The “Sterrett Games” at the Origins War College seem to keep growing in popularity.  Aside from the nomenclature, what can you tell us about the origins of these ‘exercises’?
Dr James Sterrett:  I struggled to figure out how to present a paper at the Origins War College that would explain how CGSC uses games for military education.  No approach worked well until I realized that the key was to stop talking about how the exercises worked – and instead to run an exercise.

BG: If I’m a new participant to this entire process, what should I expect when I walk in the door for one of these games?
JS:  You’ll get a job!  Well, at any rate, a job on a staff for the duration of the event.  Jobs include roles such as the commander, the operations officer, and the intel officer.  We’ll teach you the basics of that job, and then provide an overview of the US Army’s planning process.  Then you start to do your job: you and the others on your staff use the planning process to create a plan for the battle.  Once the plan is complete, or time runs short for planning, we transition to fighting the battle.  At the end, we run a short After Action Review, in which we try to point out things that were done well (or poorly), and to discuss some of the learning points that might have been brought out if this were run at CGSC.

(more…)

Read more »

Battle Lab: Integrating Tactical Intelligence into Board Wargaming

Battle Lab: Integrating Tactical Intelligence into Board Wargaming

Brant Guillory, 10 December 2018

How does intel work in board wargaming?  How could it work?  Here are a few thoughts.

What is Intelligence? What is Tactical Intelligence?

Intel is critical information needed to make decisions; that information is currently unknown, or known but likely to change. Tactical intelligence is specific to the battlespace in which a commander operates, and is needed to make decisions of a direct military nature, involving the employment of battlefield operating systems to accomplish his mission.

For example, a commander may not know the strength of the enemy’s force at all – a situation common in naval combat. In this case, he is dealing with a “pure” unknown. In another case, he may be familiar with the enemy’s initial strength, but following attrition for maintenance and expected harassment and interdiction (H&I) fires, it can be expected that the enemy will hit the commander’s main defensive belt at something less than full strength, but the exact strength is uncertain.

Another common occurrence in reality, but rare in games (especially historical ones because of the way that scenarios are designed), a commander might have a fairly complete enemy order of battle – and his reconnaissance may even have eyes on the enemy – but he has no idea what the enemy objective is.

In any case, there is information about the enemy that the commander needs. That information is intelligence. It’s often developed through inference, and it’s rarely an exact science. Based on what can be seen, what does that tell us about the enemy’s strength, intentions, and capabilities? Based on what is known, what can be extrapolated?

These are the challenges that commanders face in a real-world intelligence development environment.

(more…)

Read more »

Battle Lab: Civilians on Hexagonal Battlefields

Battle Lab: Civilians on Hexagonal Battlefields

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.

(more…)

Read more »

Battle Lab: Headquarters in Wargames

Battle Lab: Headquarters in Wargames

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…)

Read more »