Monday, October 24, 2016

Summary of Findings: Wargaming ( 4 out of 5 Stars)

Note: This post represents the synthesis of the thoughts, procedures and experiences of others as represented in the articles read in advance (see previous posts) and the discussion among the students and instructor during the Advanced Analytic Techniques class at Mercyhurst University in October 2016 regarding War Gaming as an Analytic Technique specifically. This technique was evaluated based on its overall validity, simplicity, flexibility and its ability to effectively use structured data.


War gaming is a modifier that allows participants to engage in a scenario that takes information from other analytical techniques and tests them. This testing helps the participants to better understand the given instance and check assumptions. Wargaming has generally remained in the realm of the military, but has in recent years began to move to private sector usage.


  • Can create insight into possible avenues of attack/approach not previously considered
  • Gives an alternate perspective for situational analysis and evaluating scenarios
  • Structured
  • Incorporates role-playing, which research suggests improves forecasting accuracy
  • Its structure allows replicability of the war game
  • Allows decision makers the opportunity to practice making decisions they may have to realistically make in the future.


  • Often complex, costly, and time-consuming
  • Validity is an issue
  • Can’t plan for unexpected variables/events
  • Realism is often difficult to achieve


  1. Identify an issue that requires analytic assessment.
  2. Develop the foundation of the simulation based on known data available at the time
  3. Run the simulation until complete
  4. Compare and analyze the results toward reality
  5. Re-run the simulation as necessary to improve confidence in the results

Application of Technique:

A game of strategic Battleship was played for an in-class exercise.  The class was divided into two teams of four.  Teams consisted of 3 primary roles: game master, advisors and spies. The game master controlled where strikes would be made, advisors and spies were both trying to influence strike locations. Spies would also try to secretly communicate with the opposite team’s game master revealing their team’s positions.  The game master was secretly informed who their spy was while the individual spying against them was hidden.  The game master had to decide who to listen to and who to ignore while planning their moves.

For Further Information:

War Gaming Wikipedia:

Game Review: ‘Command’ is A Worthy Successor to Harpoon:

Harpoon Game Review:

The Art of War:

Chess Wikipedia:

Battleship Game, Wikipedia:

Fuld and Company - Ken Sawka, Wargaming:

Competitive Insights - Wargaming:

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