from the no-really-I-am-actually-doing-work dept.
Paul Vebber, a gameplay instructor in the navy, says that in the past decade the government has started using strategy board games much more often. They do not help predict outcomes. For that, the Pentagon has forecasting software, which it feeds with data on thousands of variables such as weather and weaponry, supply lines, training and morale. The software is pretty accurate for "tight, sterile" battles, such as those involving tanks in deserts, says an intelligence official. Board games are useful in a different way. They foster the critical but creative thinking needed to win (or avoid) a complex battle or campaign, he says.
The article goes on to explain that board games are advantageous over computer-based games for what is essentially a simulation:
...you can constantly tweak the rules to take account of new insights, says Timothy Wilkie of the National Defence University in Washington, DC. With computer games, this is much harder. Board games can also illuminate the most complex conflicts.