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posted by mrbluze on Wednesday March 26 2014, @04:50AM   Printer-friendly
from the no-really-I-am-actually-doing-work dept.
An anonymous coward links to an article from the Economist about "American officials who play board games to understand war:

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.

 
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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by rts008 on Wednesday March 26 2014, @09:13AM

    by rts008 (3001) on Wednesday March 26 2014, @09:13AM (#21404)

    I will grant you the learning basic strategy aspect, and patience and determination you alluded to, and DOD having off the wall scenarios(a point worth returning to), being aspects of war games.

    In context of TFA, I'll agree that they are all good teaching tools...but they are extremely limited.

    While they can teach someone to plan effective strategy and tactics, they fail miserably in one major regard: "Murphy's Law of Combat"

    Any combat veteran can tell you...Demon Murphy rules the battlefield.(returning to above referenced point)

    A big part of Demon Murphy's power comes from human decision making, and encompasses too many variables to compute. (note:rules for the war games)
    A 'perfect plan' only exists until you introduce humans, then it falls apart. Maybe Bender had it right to 'fix' this: "Kill all humans." (joking)

    "We did not know enough about the weather in advance", "Who knew that idiot would cancel the supply run!", "Why did we get a shipment of desert gear in the arctic?", SNAFU is Demon Murphy's domain...forget that at your own peril!!!

    As a combat vet who also was responsible for mission planning and execution for my unit, I can assure you that no matter how much you war game, no matter how good at it you are, all of that falls in the toilet with the first mission...and every one after that.

    Compare it to a university degree, then having to get 'on the job training for the real world' when you actually start a job.

    What to do:
    1)plan the mission
    2)backup plan 1
    3)backup plan 2
    4)GOTH plan 1 (Go TO Hell=GOTH ie: when Demon Murphy starts to play...he will, rest assured)
    5)GOTH plan 2
    6)Bend Over and Kiss Your Own A** Goodbye plan(because no one else is going to be around to do it)

    A side note:
    As they taught us in special forces training..."If you ain't cheating, you ain't trying!"
    Translate that as Kirk's solution to the Kobayashi Maru exercise:

    "Saavik's response is, "Then you never faced that situation...faced death." Kirk replies, "I don't believe in the no-win scenario." Despite having cheated, Kirk had been awarded a commendation for "original thinking."(wikipedia)

    Kirk would have recieved an 'Outstanding" rating on the evaluation from my instructors. :-)

    BTW, good luck with your gaming next week, sounds fun...maybe I will have to check out DoD.

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by VLM on Wednesday March 26 2014, @12:47PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday March 26 2014, @12:47PM (#21454)

    "While they can teach someone to plan effective strategy and tactics, they fail miserably in one major regard: "Murphy's Law of Combat""

    I think you'll be surprised to learn they tend to be a spectacular success at this. If you ever play a game like this, or even watch a game on youtube, you'll see lots and lots of dice rolling and the game designers seem to take a perverse thrill in being able to randomly screw up even the simplest plans.

  • (Score: 1) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 26 2014, @02:59PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 26 2014, @02:59PM (#21536)

    no matter how much you war game, no matter how good at it you are, all of that falls in the toilet with the first mission...and every one after that.

    Perhaps you didn't war game enough, and/or are not good at it. The more they are played, the more accurate they are re:rules of the game. Some war games are still woefully inaccurate because they ave not been played enough to take all variables into account. War games are valuable; they teach things. They may not be that valuable in your opinion, but they do have value. I disagree that all of this value "falls in the toilet with the first mission...and every one after that".