Suscipe Domine Traditional Catholic Forum

The Parish Hall => The Gaming Corner => Topic started by: Adeodatus on March 17, 2014, 11:54:42 PM

Title: Consims in The Economist
Post by: Adeodatus on March 17, 2014, 11:54:42 PM
In this really cool article, The Economist discusses the use of commercial consims/wargames in defense/intelligence think tanks.

http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21599016-understand-war-american-officials-are-playing-board-games-war-games (http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21599016-understand-war-american-officials-are-playing-board-games-war-games)

I really enjoy seeing these get some press.

(http://cf.geekdo-images.com/images/pic820083_md.jpg)

Persian Incursion

(http://cf.geekdo-images.com/images/pic841550_md.jpg)

Labyrinth, the War on Terror 2001 -

(http://cf.geekdo-images.com/images/pic338429_md.jpg)

Harpoon v4.1

Title: Re: Consims in The Economist
Post by: Wicked Papist on March 18, 2014, 01:33:46 AM
I've always wanted to play games like these.
Title: Re: Consims in The Economist
Post by: Adeodatus on March 18, 2014, 02:12:16 PM
I've always wanted to play games like these.

They vary in levels of accessibility. Games like Persian Incursion and Harpoon (and Advanced Squad Leader) are for "wonks only". Volko's Labyrinth is pretty accessible. That's an interesting one because it has (as you might expect from something written by a CIA analyst) an apparent number of neo-con assumptions... until you dig beneath the surface. For example, it's still not clear in Labyrinth whether the effort it takes to generate a casus belli and invade Iraq ultimately rewards the US player. I'm very good at the game and I don't think that it does... I never invade Iraq.

What is most important about many of these titles is that they are thought-provoking and act as springboards for dialogue. I recall a game of Labyrinth where I as the US hit my opponent like a ton of bricks in A-stan and drove him into the FATAs (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) in Pakistan. Then I spent a ton of resources coaxing Pakistan into a position where I could deploy troops there. I couldn't touch my opponent in the FATAs but he had so much invested there that he was hoping to topple the government and set up a Jihadist state. Once I had my "boots" in the door I just started throwing money and political capital at Saddam and the Gulf States. In the end I flypapered my opponent into a total standoff in Pakistan and then shifted gears, winning "hearts and minds" in the oil region and establishing a pro-American "anti-Caliphate".

Could it have gone that way in real life? No game, no matter how good a simulation, could ever answer that. But raising the question is very valuable.

I think a totally accessible place to start, if you're interested in consims, is Hell's Gate by Phil Sabin. Phil teaches strat studies at King's College. The game was originally published in his book Simulating War but it has since been published in a lovely deluxe version by Victory Point Games of California. It's about the Korsun Pocket in WWII and is meant to teach encirclement theory and force-to-space ratios.

(http://cf.geekdo-images.com/images/pic1544134_md.jpg)

The rules are simple but it presents its core concepts in a very solid way.