Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Summary of Findings: Wargaming (3.75 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 2017 regarding Wargaming as an Analytic Technique specifically. This technique was evaluated based on its overall validity, simplicity, flexibility and its ability to effectively use unstructured data.

Wargaming, when done correctly, can provide a range of reasonably accurate forecasts and , in these conditions, is a best considered an analytic method. When the simulation is not validated or has been simplified for the purposes of playability, wargaming is best thought of as a analytic modifier designed to teach the basic elements of a conflict without actually being used to predict outcomes.  It can and has been used in military, law enforcement, and business. It is used by the military to recreate historic battles or simulate future conflicts in order to prepare for all possible contingencies before an actual war begins. Similarly, teams within businesses play as their company and the competition too. Teams are made to reflect all the other competitors that affect a given industry to simulate a number of possible outcomes. This can take into account numerous aspect of business such as strategy, marketing, and finance.

  • When executed correctly, Wargaming can simulate realistic conditions
  • Its structure allows for replicability of the simulation
  • Can create insight in possible avenues of attack/approach not previously considered
  • Able to identify unforeseen obstacles in current strategy, procedures, or tactics
  • Gives alternative perspectives for evaluating scenarios
  • Provides accurate, holistic depiction of active, dynamic competition
  • Requires extensive lead-time to prepare (game design, playtesting)
  • Difficult to balance realism vs playability
  • Realism is often difficult to achieve
  • Susceptible to over-confidence or systematic bias
  • Often complex, costly, and time-consuming
  • Validity can be an issue; bad information can give false hope
  • Can’t plan for unexpected variables/events

  1. Choose a situation or environment for which to simulate in a Wargame
  2. Design the simulation to encapsulate all possible factors within the environment
  3. Run the simulation until complete
  4. Compare and analyze the results toward reality
  5. Re-run the simulation to increase confidence level in results
  6. Reevaluate factors and re-run as necessary

Application of Technique:
The class received handouts of grid paper that had obstacles courses outlined on them. The class was then divided in half so that each person had a partner to participate in the activity against. The class then was instructed on the rules of how they were to move through the obstacle course, with the objective to make it through the course as quickly as possible and ahead of their opponent. The rules were that each person was assigned an identifier (Shape on the grid as a game piece) that they were able to move either horizontally or vertically in a given turn. Each player was able to accelerate their piece by one block per turn so they could gain speed, the same principle was applied to deceleration. If a player hit an object or a barrier in the course the player's momentum would drop to zero. The same principle applied to if players pieces were to come in contact with each both players momentum would drop to zero.

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