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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: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 26 2014, @06:14PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 26 2014, @06:14PM (#21632)
    The powers-that-be are using board games to plan for current conflicts because of their extremely flexible nature. I have yet to see a successful set of "house rules" for a video game, but everyone I know plays a slightly different version of monopoly.

    One of the games mentioned by name in the article is Persian Incursion [boardgamegeek.com]. It is enjoyable for those who like to plan, analyze, and try out different tactics. It is not something I would break out at the family dinner table.
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