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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: 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 VLM on Wednesday March 26 2014, @12:54PM

    by VLM (445) on Wednesday March 26 2014, @12:54PM (#21457)

    "Campaign for North Africa"

    I LOLed at the BGG line "Playing Time 60000 minutes"

    The 80s were a magic era for ultra long format wargames. Roughly contemporary with that era, some friends of mine were into an epic starfleet wargame, name of which I forget, simulating in great detail the battle between the federation and the romulan star empire. Took them the entire summer and they didn't nearly finish.

    Around the same era there was a full WWII simulation, again, takes the whole basement for almost real time to play thru. 10K counters and statistics like that.

    One thing I do know about wargames, even the "normal" duration ones, is in a battle between the common american housecat and some counters, the cat always wins. So I never got into this "takes 4 years to play the game" deal.

    In this modern era of "print posters on demand" and laser cutting and 3-d printers I've got an idea stuck in my brain that I could produce and CC license a pretty good epic scale wargame in the 1000 hour class. Maybe someday when I retire...

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  • (Score: 2) by VLM on Wednesday March 26 2014, @01:03PM

    by VLM (445) on Wednesday March 26 2014, @01:03PM (#21463)

    "name of which I forget"

    I searched and its Federation and Empire. And a game only takes 5-10 hours unless you buy the 20 or so add on packages so you can tactically simulate star fleet marine individual combat instead of just rolling the dice to see if you take the station, or tactically simulate resource production and logistics instead of just rolling dice. Then, if you own and use all the addons, one game takes all summer. I think the romulan star empire was winning when they went back to school.