Talk:Wargaming/Archive 1

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Proposed new section: philosophical considerations: from Spinoza1111 13:49, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Comments on this draft are welcome.

Philosophical Considerations

Two philosophical considerations sometimes covered in opinion columns of Strategy and Tactics, the most in-depth journal of the wargaming community, were its relation to reality in general, and, its relation to politics in particular.

All wargames are "digital" and not "analog" simulations: a paper wargame is a form of paper computer. This makes it difficult for wargames to simulate both continuous phenomena such as the fog of war in the large, or individual and small unit stress in the small, or discontinuous phenomena, such as the way in which the death of the Swedish leader Gustavas Adolphus at the battle of Lutzen violated a "rule", that the leader's death would cause his troops to become disheartened and to flee.

Many wargames for this reason had to incorporate idiomatic (special-purpose) rules to accurately simulate the course of the war, but here the danger became that the wargame (as in the case of SPI's World War I) would replicate history; SPI's World War I game consistently generated a final, enthusiastic German offensive late in the game, followed by a "black day of the German army" in which the combined pressure of the Allies stopped the offensive at the Meuse.

But, if simple and "orthogonal" rules generate a game like chess with its distance from real war, and "idiomatic" special cases, a game that simulates a reality independent of the skill of the commanders, the philosophical question becomes what is being simulated, refought or recreated in a war game...indeed, whether a war game is reducible to a complex mathematical formalism and is for this reason of no more relation to reality than chess.

The illusion, of choice, freedom and skill may encapsulate a "great man on a white horse" philosophy of history which generates "virtual history", consisting of speculations as to what the world would "be like" if (for example) the American Confederacy had won the American Civil War. The assumption in these alternative histories is that the battlefield decides history; in the case of the Confederacy, the gamer who "wins" at Gettysburg, or who throws the dice that brings Britain into the war on the Rebel side, doesn't have to reflect whether there were further "Secesh" (secessionist) impulses in the Confederacy which would have resulted in its breakup, followed by a *reconquista*, either by a French-dominated Mexican empire or the industrializing North.

Ideologically, the very idea that history can be simulated as a Turing machine, in discrete jumps, encapsulates possibly too much freedom for the illusion, if that is what it is, that men determine events, and for this reason, neither Tolstoy nor Marx would have approved of wargames.

The relationship of wargaming to politics is also conflictual. James Dunnigan's 1970s game Oil War, which included scenarios for the invasion of Iraq, could be gamed in 1978 as a "fairy" war game, eliminating both Israel and the EU as combatants but correspondingly reducing the size of the Iraqi army to reflect the effect both of the 1991 settlement and ten years of sanctions. These plays accurately predicted the difficulty of getting to Baghdad whenever the weather turned and the critical role of A-10 aircraft, but left the players ignorant of the situation after the inevitable victory of the coalition of the willing, and perhaps insensitive to the state of a leaderless and chaotic country.

In President Bush's infamous claim of victory in May 2003, the war had been won as a wargame; but a wargame can't simulate "losing the peace" and is indifferent to suffering.

Ethically, Redmond Simondsen did reflect in some columns on some of the unpleasant characters attracted to wargaming, who in today's terminology were at best nerds, too often chickenhawks (willing to simulate, at least, the overstress of counters representing suffering men) and at worst crypto-Nazis. The spirit of Mencius was alive in the best wargamers and game designers, like RAS himself, for their play and their creations revealed the pity of war, but it wasn't present in all players.

Like a computer simulation of a physical process, a digital or discrete wargame adds nothing to the quality of the assumptions of its designers. Unfortunately, this can lead to decisions drained of considerations (such as politics and international law) exogenous to the fascinating and reified technology, whether this be brightly painted toy soldiers immune to suffering and death, brightly inked counters likewise immortal, or glamourous computer screens. A good example would be the second Schlieffen plan, to invade France in 1914, in which the game showed a clear advantage to Germany if it invaded Belgium, a decision which may have brought Britain into the war. A more recent example would be (classified) Pentagon simulations which "proved" that it was militarily possible to invade Iraq after the American road to the north of Iraq was closed by a vote in the Turkish parliament.

James Joyce's Steven Daedelus said that history was a nightmare from which he would awake. The strange genesis of wargaming in the "peace and love" decade of the 1970s may have been a failure of imagination in which the mechanical generation of alternative histories REPLACED, for young males, the political hope for substantive change.

This is going to take some time to digest....
You might want to consider breaking this up into subsections. Right now, it's a bit wordy and hard to follow, and seems to wander around a bit. Subsections that force you to concentrate on one thing at a time should force you to organize things a bit more, focusing your thoughts, and helping the reader (me ^_^). You might want to simplify the language slightly; I'm reasonably well-read, but I'm going to have to look up 'exogenous'. The rest of the article isn't at this level, which will make it look odd. The subject matter is a bit more advanced, so the language is needed... which may be the problem. This is the 'main', 'introductory' article on wargaming, and this entire essay is probably a bit much for that, suggesting you have the start of a new article—which should be summarized and referenced in this one.
Speaking of which, you should reference this article where you can. It could be regarded as 'original research' by some as is and showing that it is at least a subject that has been written about elsewhere should help. The bulk of the tactical wargames article is largely built off a single Lorrin Bird article from Campaign for instance.
Oh—and wikify where you can, of course.
To a certain extent, I'd go more for talking about what wargames do and don't simulate. That would be part of a discussion of wargame design that I'd like to do at some point. More philosophically, I'd touch on war vs wargaming—the fact that wargaming was most popular when war was least popular is one I find interesting. There's also a comment in "My Journey to the Cathedrals of Wargaming" (Panzerfaust... something like #70), one person being talked to mentions that he'd done most of his wargaming in the same period he was most heavily involved in the peace movement. -But that's just me. --Rindis 18:37, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Wargames Research Group

I contest the addition of this company to the list of wargame publishers. Though it doesn't say it, the list is supposed to be notable publishers. I looked at the web site, and it states that it is a two-man operation. Though it is possible that the rules they publish are very popular, I doubt they are, especially since the articles on the games they wikilink to don't even exist. Actually, I see a few companies on the list that perhaps should be trimmed out. Anyone else? —Frecklefoot 14:15, 23 Oct 2003 (UTC)

They are a good candidate for being the best known publisher of rules for wargames with miniature figures for their period. The list and article contents can usefuly be expanded until each class of wargaming has enough coverage for its own article. Miniature figure wargaming should make for an article with some colorful and interesting to children pictures of games at some point. JamesDay 15:40, 23 Oct 2003 (UTC)
You seriously have got to be kidding if you know anything at all about wargaming to be suggesting that WRG shouldn't be included. If you exclude GW which almost is a monopoly, then WRG has got to be the number one in terms of the impact the various related rules to WRG has had upon the wargaming world (with the possible exception of some of the very early rules such as Little Wars, Kriegspiel, etc... ). Do however agree that Phil Barker is one of the most notable wargamers, not quite at the same level as H.G.Wells and Featherstone but still right up there. Mathmo 09:00, 28 May 2005 (UTC)

I think that instead of trimming companies based on what we think are big/important we should include as many as possible. Trimming companies is probably again the NPOV guidelines. More links to non-commercial websites are nicer too.Burgundavia 05:32, 4 May 2004 (UTC)

I think including fewer is better. Fewer entries makes the article more useful. Consider this: we eventually have a list of 250+ companies. What reader is going to try to sort through that many? Making a judgement on notable is not POV. For example, is War Squid notable compared to Warhammer 40K? That's easy—no one's heard of War Squid (I made it up), but Warhammer 40K has thousands of users. —Frecklefoot 15:03, May 4, 2004 (UTC)

James is right, they are a major publisher of widely used rules for wargames using figures. Phil Barker (the original WRG founder) should probably be included in the list of notable wargamers, very much a contemporary of people like Gush and Featherstone. --Peterjohnston 09:00, 18 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Notable board wargames

This section currently has a few problems. First it breaks the list into 'CoSims' and 'Board-based wargames', but gives no difference between them. If you wanted to be really picky with the given definitions, then you could exclude some games from the first for not having cardboard pieces, but that would eliminate two of the four games currently in that part of the list (unless you want to talk about the original Nova version of Axis & Allies); and you can exclude games that use area movement from the second section (instead of a grid), but that tosses Axis & Allies (again).

I suggest we collapse it into two sections: Board-based wargames, and Miniature wargaming, and get rid of the duplicates in the list. Maybe have list items for *families* of games (i.e. the five Warhammer games listed) to help keep the list under control.

Also, the only Outpost boardgame I'm aware of is not a wargame (just a fun trading game). Anyone know different? Rindis 04:26, 26 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Okay, I just re-organized the list, and added a bunch of new items. At this moment, I'm trying to avoid taking anything off the list, but I expect the next step is to start trimming it down as it's probably overgrown now. I'm figuring that notable means any of famous, innovative, or best of type, so it is pretty broad. I want to be evenhanded, and will certainly look up anything before I remove it, but I'd like to see some discussion why a particular game is or isn't notable as the list gets worked on. (Or even, is it really a wargame?) Rindis 22:40, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)
One idea is create a table, such as the one at Middle Ages in film, with a notes field that says why its significant. Or, possibly find a list allready made somewhere that lists the "all time best" wargames, or the "essentials". Either way it's tough because you have to remain neutral and not give personal opinions about a game. As with the above article, could just provide external links to reviews located elsewhere. Stbalbach 23:54, 28 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Okay, just did a major cutting down of the 'Notable' lists. I'm storing what was cut here, so people can put them back if they feel strongly enough about it. Just remember we now link to the full lists, so try to keep this very short (Board games can probably stand to lose a couple more).

Board games



My first rule in doing this was no redlinks. We have the full lists for those. This should just be a teaser that goes to decent articles (this last is not yet true). --Rindis 17:30, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

Just updated the list after trimming red-link game designers. Some of the missing bios are depressing.... --Rindis 15:29, 17 June 2006 (UTC)


Don't shoot the messenger, Stbalbach, but I just noticed that wargaming was included in the template. That's why I added it to this article. Now, the template includes board games too, but I didn't add it to that page, because it nearly always isn't roleplaying (even in a loose sense). Now, as for wargaming, yes, it isn't 100 % RPG, but it certainly can be viewed or enjoyed as an RPG by some. (French, English and German lads reenacting the Battle of the Somme springs to mind. Even English guys with pin-helms.) There can be an overlap with live action role-playing. And by your rationale, miniature wargaming wouldn't be RPG'ing either. Please follow some links before gassing something (if you gas, gas consequently). — Phlebas 17:31, 2 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Wargaming is on the template as a "see also", meaning it is related but not the same. Wargaming, as a term, preceeds RPG and is very distinct. It is confusing to add the RPG template to the Wargameing article. By definition, RPG and Wargaming are not the same. Can you find exceptions? Maybe. In fact you could turn it around and say there are RPGs that more like Wargames. If anything there should be a Wargame template, I guess no one has created one yet, but the Wargame side of things is older and larger than RPG's which have only been around since the 1970s (and 1980s in large number). Stbalbach 19:58, 2 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Just a note - the template has been revised substantially by WP:RPG; non-RPG elements have been removed. Percy Snoodle 15:35, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

accounting for losses in military wargames

I have always been curious how exactly military exercises or wargames are carried out. How exactly do two sides "battle"? Do they just move their units near each other, then afterwards say "you, you, and you are dead, and your tank is destroyed"?

I think so, except that the judge is an neutral observer rather than the participants. Nowadays we're starting to see live exercises combined with computer simulations, so sometimes the simulation calculates the casualties. — B.Bryant 5 July 2005 03:53 (UTC)
Interesting, thanks. I was reading "Inside the Aquarium" the other day and the author described large-scale wargames with special forces units deployed "behind enemy lines" to disrupt communications centers and attack various targets of opportunity. Given that nobody is going to know in advance where they're going to attack, and the "battles" are rather small-scale(a dozen or so commandos attacking a communications post, for example), how would they calculate the casualties here?

External links

What external links do people think should be included in this article? I've removed the following, with reasons. Feel free to disagree, or add more- but please give reasons here before re-adding. Thanks. --Petros471 13:10, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

  • Rajesh Goyal[1] - external link goes to an empty page, therefore can't verify notability
  • De Bellis Antiquitatis or DBA [2] - advertising, doesn't seem to offer any usefull info for general reader.
  • PullThePlug, Information Security Wargames and Community - Non-notable content
  • Modern WargameA forum-based wargame, with Modern, World War II and World War I formats. Created by Glenn Botto - promotion.
  • forum for companies and wargamers both, and a great source - promotion
  • The Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design - server cannot be found error
  •, a miniature fansite showing models of various wargames - personal site, non-notable content
  • Personalized Game Recommendations Patended video game recommendation system. Claims to be right 90% of the time. - promotion, not relevant to article.

I'm not really an expert on wargaming, so could someone who is take a look at the links I've left and decide which are the best of those? See also External links style guide

The only one I would consider retaining is consimworld, because they seem to aggregate news from various sources. It's good to have both static reference-type sites as well as those that are a little more newspaper-like, ads and all. Stan 14:13, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

Ok, re-added.

I've also removed the following:

Please note if I've removed your website/one you like that does not mean that I think it's a bad site, just that it's not suitable for the article/have to stop somewhere (in adding links). See WP:NOT (Wikipedia is not a mirror or a repository of links...) As always feel free to disagree, but please say why :) --Petros471 20:32, 19 December 2005 (UTC)

Computer section is too small

OK, first off, the computer wargame section is way too small. Maybe I'll have to add some stuff. Secondly, the use of the phrase "lack of human interaction" as a "disadvantage" is very subjective, because it implies that human interaction is an absolute value and has no place in an encyclopedia. And secondly, it is also a false statement in itself, since many computer wargames do involve "human interaction" (albeit usually not face-to-face).

Removed the statement that all zero-sum games might be wargames because it's self-evidently not true. DJ Clayworth 03:43, 3 April 2006 (UTC)

Proposal to split

This article is a hodge-podge of quasi-related subjects. Dungeons & Dragons has nothing to do with the modern science of wargaming, as carried out by the military (e.g. [3]). The sections of this page don't really work either. There are "computer wargaming" and "military wargaming" sections, which would seem to imply (incorrectly) that these are mutually exclusive.

I propose that this article be split into articles, covering recreational wargaming, computerised wargaming and historical wargaming. TreveXtalk 16:25, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

I do feel that military wargames (that is wargames conducted by the military, not military-themed wargames) need a separate article. Which we have in the stub war exercise. We should disambig to that page, and think about the naming a bit.
As for your final three-way split proposal: what do you propose the difference between 'recreational wargaming', and 'historical wargaming' to be? Also, computer wargaming, is a valid form of wargaming, and there's no real need for a separate article on it. Unless you mean something different by 'computerized wargaming', which I'm not certain about.
What this article really needs is a thourogh airing-out and rewrite. Along with a major trim of the hideously-overgrown 'notable' sections. All things I hoped to do someday, when other projects are done... ;) --Rindis 20:39, 27 April 2006 (UTC)
Maybe this article needs to be toned up a little, even bits split off. But your suggestion I don't believe is at all suitable, there is far too much cross over and bits left out for your 'three sections' to be suitable. Mathmo 04:46, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
A two-way split between professional and recreational is reasonable, as they are very different. Distinction between board and computer wargame is reasonable too, although not much purpose in making that split until somebody writes the content to fill them up. Stan 13:13, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
Okay, I moved the more obvious military info over to war exercise, and re-wrote the intro some. I do think that separate pages on the different forms of wargaming will be good (miniatures, board, computer), but we really need this one organized and a good article before we worry about it much. I'm also thinking that we should make the term 'wargame' an actual disambig page. (Considering that we now have two disambig notices at the top of this, we probably need one.) --Rindis 18:22, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
Although the article does needs divisions (else it is going too big), the military & civilian shouldn't be totally separate. It would be best to trace a general history of wargaming, including early 19th century Kriegspiel and all, which continues on to this day with nuclear dissuasion modelizations and military wargames played by automatons (see Manuel de Landa), and include the civilian application of it as a leisure game. The relation between both can't be broken, as if civilian wargames had nothing at all to do with the military wargames; actually, people such as Jean Baudrillard may go so far as saying that simulation has replaced reality, and the troubling identity between military & wargames is clear when modern military machines operate just like civilian war games, thus potentially enducing a confusion between reality and virtual reality (more exactly, "imaginative reality" since virtual reality may be very real). Tazmaniacs 21:50, 7 May 2006 (UTC)
PS: this means that if the civilian part goes too big, than the article should go like: "Introduction", "History" (including 19th century Kriegspiel AND later civilian application", "Modern wargaming" with two separate sections: "modern military wargaming" and "modern civilian wargaming", where then all of the civilian wargames can be listed. Again, the distinction between military & civilian is not so strong, and this main page should cover ALL ASPECTS of war games, with details left over for specific articles. The template will then stirs us to the articles in which we are interested into. Beside, with all the people working on good civilian wargames, I'm sure the Pentagon has no way of paying that much imagination & ideas: thus, civilian inventions on wargames might be brought back into military application. Tazmaniacs 21:54, 7 May 2006 (UTC)

Couple of points of contention

"non-computerized wargame (Kriegspiel)", I do believe Kriegspiel has got a much more narrow and specific definition than that.

Why is there a section called "Types of military wargaming"?? I'd say that is rather redundent, to add the word military in front. It is already dealing with matters which are military. Unless you are refering to profesional wargaming (which it doesn't seem to be), and then it should be refered to as such to avoid confusion. Mathmo 04:50, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

I periodically see references to "kriegspiel" as a synonym for "wargame", but these are mistakes by non-knowledgeable people. "Military wargaming" as a meaningful term is kind of a leftover from the AH diversification period, where they experimented with non-military themes using the board wargame conventions. At most worth a parenthetical note somewhere. Stan 13:13, 28 April 2006 (UTC)
Avalon Hill intially refered to their games as 'a type of kriegspiel'. This gave the term some currency as 'wargaming', but has fallen out of favor since. This fact should probably be mentioned in the 'history of' but dropped elsewhere. --Rindis 18:22, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

Kriegspiel only has currency as part of wargamer argot, but I too believe it to be pretty rare in common usage now. Putting it in brackets after wargame in the text of the page is odd, it should only be referred to in the history section, unless a wargame argot section is added (which is an idea).

'Wargames and wargaming as computer terms', the stuff about hacking, is completely unrelated to the hobby of wargaming, and should be on a separate page.

Computer & board wargames are part of the one hobby, and still share enough in common to be one the one page.

Gary Gygax has designed some wargames but is mostly notable as a roleplayer (very notable). His inclusion on the list is odd. There are a quite few names on the list that mean nothing to me, and several notable names missing. Are they wargame players, or designers? The latter seems more useful.

Perhaps good selection criteria for the notables list would be: notable pre 1974 historical wargamers (eg Wells); Charles Roberts Clausewitz Award winners for boardgames after 1974 (; and notable computer wargamers (Grigsby, Keating, Koger, Trout, perhaps a very few others). -- MikeKr 01:41, 3 May 2006 (UTC)

The entire 'notable' area (games and gamers) is just overgrown and filled with trash. I'm figuring on ripsawing it at some point, and hashing things out. I'm kind of working my way down the page. The major questions are how big/exclusive do we want the lists to be? And what sort of criteria? Gygax, as an obvious example, is a notable person, and is a wargamer. He's not really notable as a wargamer, but several lists of this type do include people involved in the subject, but known for something else entirely. If you toss Gygax, do you toss Curt Shilling? He's involved in MMP, but I'm not sure helping keep ASL alive is a notable contribution to wargaming, and all his noteriety as a person comes from being a MLB pitcher anyway.
So, there's some issues that need hashing out there. All I know is that I think 'notable wargamers' should probably be half it's current length, and 'notable wargames' maybe a quarter. And once we try doing something with it, my opinion will change. :P --Rindis 02:30, 3 May 2006 (UTC)
Of course Gygax has won a Clausewitz too (sigh), so he should stay using that as a guide. Notable people like Walter Cronkite, who may also just happen to be wargamers, don't belong on the list, IMHO. It's notable wargamers, not notable people who are also wargamers. Famous people who are/were wargamers could be a seperate list.
Computer wargamers are also eligible for C's, but so far haven't won. Perhaps they shouldn't be an exception to this rule.
Using the award as a basis for inclusion on the list would result in the following deletions.
Delete: Alessandro Barbero, Tony Bath, Phil Barker, Larry Bond (despite Harpoon), Walter Cronkite, Frank Davis, Joe Dever, Phil Dunn, Don Featherstone, Charles Grant, Paddy Griffith, George Gush, Irad "Terry" Hardy, John Hill, John Prados (despite Third Reich), Curt Schilling (despite founding MMP), Lionel Tarr, Christopher R. Wagner, C.F. Wesencraft, Brigadier Peter Young.
Bond and Prados are the only ones I have real doubts about, and they may in time also receive Clausewitzes. <g>
There are as many deletions as there would be additions by my count, so if some computer wargamers were added my list would be longer, and get one longer every year, but any other criteria used would need to be equally defensible, I think. What criteria are you proposing? -- MikeKr 03:10, 3 May 2006 (UTC)
Personally, winning an award is the criteria for being on a 'list of award winners'. This is would be a useful list, but not what you want for a section of the main page of the subject. The list should be brief (maybe a shortened version of a separate 'list of notable'), and preferably of interest to those reading the page; generally people who are only tangentally aware of wargaming (we, wargamers, should be aware of everything here ^_^).
So, I'd say the real criteria should be to list people and games that a person who found the 'Wargaming' article interesting would possibly find interesting. Kind of a targeted 'see also'. It's horribly subjective, and subject to POV (sigh), but is far more likely to be informative in a short amount of space. --Rindis 16:12, 3 May 2006 (UTC)
You're right about the list I proposed duplicating a list of award winners, albeit awards for being notable wargamers. That list exists on the CSR home page & on pages here in any case.
OK, so I seem to be arguing for a 'wargamers' category page, listing every person with a link to 'wargaming', that would allow us to have a much shorter list of notables here. Which still leaves the question of who to put on the latter list.
Adding a category page & editing all of the pages to point to it will be a bit of work. ;-) -- MikeKr 23:35, 3 May 2006 (UTC)

If you only include people notable enough to justify their own articles, that will constrain the list sufficiently. If you want to be tough on the living, only include those famous enough to have had their birthdays published in a proverbial "reputable source"... :-) Stan 13:37, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

Are you the Stan Shebs of XConq fame? If so: very pleased to meet you, & congratulations on a great game.
As to a reputable source for birthdays ... hm ... the more I think about both notable lists, the more I think they should just both be links to category pages somewhere else. -- MikeKr 23:56, 4 May 2006 (UTC)
Yes, the very same. I even left a secret redlink to Xconq somewhere in WP, but didn't feel cheeky enough to create the article myself. :-) I assume by "category page" I assume you mean a list (categories work differently), and indeed it's often a good idea to split lengthy lists off from articles. In this case I would suggest list of wargame designers, since I'm not sure anybody got famous for just playing wargames. Stan 03:35, 5 May 2006 (UTC)


Thought I'd point out this article, Military exercise. Probably all military stuff should go into there and this article be kept purely for the recreatational side of things, with links across to the other when needed. Mathmo 06:27, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
That's been what I've been doing. I'm just going slowly at the moment, so there's a chance for objections. Now that I've copied the military side over to Military exercise, I'll be trimming that section back here and trying to come up with a more unified article. --Rindis 17:45, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

Although I do understand the needs for separate articles, the section about "history of wargames" is totally justified, and the intro should'nt excluse the military Kriegspiel, invented by Prussians at the beginning of the 19th century, with civilian war games, which are, like many other technological inventions, side-effects of military wargames. Military wargames are still used today, and formed the basis of modelization of nuclear dissuasion. Tazmaniacs 21:44, 7 May 2006 (UTC)

The history needs to talk about early military war games and how they led into the civilian hobby. It seems a pretty likely assertion that early wargames (Little Wars, and Mr. Jane's rules - whatever they were called) were inspired by contemporary military exercises.
However, I'm less than impressed with the assertions you make about Frederik the Great. "he put together his armies as a well-oiled clockwork mechanism" just says he treated his army as a machine (in accordance with prevailing 'clockwork universe' philosophy of the time), it says nothing about wargames (of any type). Did he drill his troops in field exercises (i.e., something more that basic drills)? Did he use studies of possible situations to prepare his generals for war?
I'm also leery of the idea of going into the theories of 'game modeling' here as, one, it's better handled in that article, two, I don't think it's ever had that great an influence on wargame design.
Aside from FtG, I think you've got some good things here, but they are oriented on the military study of war. Right now, that is split off to the war exercise article. I'm perfectly willing to see that renamed (I don't see it as a great name, just an existing page on the subject), but I think as long as we try to mix military studies with civilian leisure in the same article we are doomed to a lack of focus so great as to make a meaningful article nearly impossible. I want to see a good article on how the military studies and prepares for war (but I am not the person to write it), but it will tend to destroy an article on civilian games about warfare, and vice versa. And contrary to your point a couple sections above, I do think that there is a more than large enough divide to do two separate articles. There are points of crossover, (e.g. Harpoon), but by and large, the hobby has a much different focus and separate history from the military study. --Rindis 19:15, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
I think you misunderstood me. I am not saying that there should'nt be two different articles. I am saying that one main article should treat both matters simultaneously, with one specific articles treating each specific articles. That makes three articles in total. There are evident clear links between civilian & military wargaming, it is absurd to deny it. I will look up for more info concerning Frederick when I have time. Regards, Tazmaniacs 22:14, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
You seem to bypass the fact that civilian military games are clearly issued from military wargaming. If Frederick the Great played miniatures wargaming, no, it wasn't just for playing. If the Prussians generals played wargames with dices, no, it wasn't just for their personal leisure, when they were bored waiting for war. And the fact is that these games, which were played by military, are to this day played by civilians (I've played some of them, like many people). The basics Dungeons and Dragons, which gives different dices according to weapons and all, this comes from the military wargames and the modelization of the lethality of each weapon. Tazmaniacs 22:19, 8 May 2006 (UTC)
Uh... I don't think it's all that clear myself. Certainly there is some cross-polination, as a person involved in one will be interested in the other, but the connections tend to be tenuous at best. The hobby of wargaming starts more-or-less with H.G. Wells, and by what he discusses in Little Wars he didn't have any real awareness about how the military was practicing anything; and Mr. Jane who was involved in military analysis (understatement), but I don't know if his rules were worked out on his own, or with the benefit of how any naval war games of the time were adjudicated. Certainly Fletcher Pratt's Naval War Game was an effort to produce an empirically playable set of rules based on the model of Jane's, and did not pay much attention to what military analysts thought were important (which it was critisized for, but the game tended towards better predictions than the analysts...).
Charles S. Roberts originally thought of Tactics as an aid to training when he served in the military, because wars were hard to come by. He wasn't imitating existing war games, he was coming up with a war game becase there were none! It was published for the hobby market, and it is unlikely that anyone of importance in the military saw it before that point (and likely not even then). From there, the hobby has tended to go from the abstract (Tactics and Blitzkrieg) to specific historical subjects, which of course get no attention from the military (from a strictly gaming point of view). The military is quite rightly worried about fighting the next war, and draws lessons from the past, but doesn't (so far as I've ever heard) put its members in the role of it's predecessors.
D&D of course evolved out of Chainmail. The exact ancestry of the rules are obscure, the more so since they were evolved over a period of time by the members of the club that Gygax & Perren were in at the time (such evolution of rules was a common hobby of miniatures games clubs). But frankly, I don't know of any military that tried to reduce body armor to a simple number, or ever considered weapons as doing a 'range' of possible damage (or ever tried to statistically represent anything from medieval history, for that matter). --Rindis 20:48, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
What you say is interesting. However, do not misinterpret me: I am not claiming that both are identicals, or that today, in 2006, military plays miniature games. But you do yourself recognize that there is "cross-polination", and that Charles Robert thought of Tactics as an aid to training, while Fletcher Pratts produced a game which tended to better analysis. H.G. Wells may very well have invented the game on its own: history of technology — and games are part of it — do not follow linear and continual progress, they skip times and places, and most often than not, inventions are done simultaneously in various places, or repeated over time and forgotten (or they don't acquire the social momentum to become popular, so they eventually get forgotten). But you do clearly recognize a link, and I think that mention of Charles Robert should be included in the article. I don't have much time, but just a few quotes:

"Modern war games originated in the Prussian army in the nineteenth century. They were part of the process through whcih armies acquired a new 'institutional brain': the general staff, created as a response to the Napoleonic victories of 1806. War games, of course, precede the Prussian model, but they were, like the clockwork armies they emulated, elaborate versions of a chess game. Modern war games, a technology existing at the intersection of 'cartography and the scientific study of history, began with the 'motorization' of armies [not to be understood in a literal sense] brought about by the turbulent social movements in France." p.89 Manuel de Landa, War in the Age of Intelligent Machines.

"To reduce relevant factors in his analysis, Henri Jomini made the assumption that military units of equivalent size were essentially identical — equally well armed, disciplined, supplied and motivated. Only differences at the top, in the capacity of commanders and the quality of their strategic decisions, were of interest. Like chess players or war gamers, commanders play with units of forces whose 'values' are more or less known, not variables as Clausewitz would suggest, but constants in the equation of warfare" (de Landa quoting Paret and Craigs, Makers of modern strategy)

Thus, Jominian theory (vs Clausewitzian) explains the importance military staff has put in war games.

"Schlieffen's schemes were 'tested' over and over using war games and staff raids until they froze into a rigid plan that his successors inherited, which left so little room for political maneuvering that it almost forced itself on the strategists in charge of conducting the first World War... When war games were first introduced in the Prussian army in 1824, the rules were very rigid and the effects of friction and chance were represented by the trowing of dice. This was the original Kriegspiel. When professional tacticians played the role of the umpire applying the rules, their rigidity became obvious and a free form of the game began to evolve around the person of the umpire. This figure came to represent not only the laws of combat, but also the effects of friction, where natural catastrophes like a hurricane or the noise in data gathered by intelligence services. The hardware of war games evolved along with the developments of mapmaking taking place in the nineteenth century. From a scale of 1:26 in the original 1811 version of Kriegspiel, it came to be played on maps drawn at scales of 1:5000 or even 1:10000 toward the end of the century [de Landa quotes here Andrew Wilson, The Bomb and the Computer: Wargaming from Ancient Chinese Mapboard to Atomic Computer, New York, Delacorte Press, 1968, p.5] . Cartography had always been an essential branch of military technology, although it remained underdeveloped for a long time... The Prussian general staff and modern war games began.. as a reaction to those bitter defeats [Napoleon's battles], and the same is true regarding the modern age of cartography." (de Landa p.92)

Somewhere else in the book he quotes a military warfare historian, who set up "lethality index" for each weapons, from claws to swords to fire-arms; that is, he considered "weapons as a range of doing damage" as you put it. It is considered to be one of the most important progress of military wargames. As an anecdote, "in the early 1960s, when Richard Bissel from the CIA, father of the U2 spy plane and co-engineer of the Bay of PIgs invasion, played Red in a counter-insurgency war game and was able to exploit all the vulnerable points in the American position that he had uncovered as part of his job. The files of his game have remained classified ever since." (p.100) Of course, in the 1960s, game theory & computers started entering the picture. But until that, "Jominian military", as de Landa put it, used wargames because they though the battle was won by the general staff. Computers, as you know, where then invented by the military, and so the RAND Corporation started using computerized war games, which could integrate a lot more factors than simple war games. I'll stop here, but I do not think at all that what you said contradict me, quite to the reverse, it completes the picture. Again, this is not to say that they are identical, but there are clear interferences that we should'nt ignore. Tazmaniacs 22:34, 9 May 2006 (UTC)

PS: thus, early Prussian war games used "maps", "counters" and "dices", as games that we play for fun. They played it to prepare their strategy. Tazmaniacs 22:38, 9 May 2006 (UTC)
Concerning the drill question: "Foucault suggests that the process of extracting information from the human body, of understanding and exploiting its mechanisms, might be as old as the 16th century. Beginnning in 1560 the creation of large standing armies involved the developments of a number of techniques for assembling a motley array of vagabonds and mercenaries into an efficient war machine. Two centuries of constant drill and discipline transformed a mass of unskilled and rebellious human bodies into the robot-like entities that melded together into the armies of Frederick the Great." (p.138) Tazmaniacs 00:43, 10 May 2006 (UTC)
Okay, since it keeps cropping up: 'one die, two dice'. ^_^
I have to admit this discussion is wearing me out, and it seems the rest of the audience is asleep. -_^ I guess that the main difference here is whether a unified article, as well as separate articles is necessary. My contention is that, by and large, the two forms have separate evolutions, histories, and forms, despite points of contact between them, so an article with equal coverage of both is unneccessary.
Right now, the history section starts with the rise of military war games as a training technique, follows the path to the fifties and the evolution of game theory and nuclear deterrent. It then skips back to H.G. Wells and then immediately back to the fifties and Charles Roberts. Part of the problem is that both sides are horribly underdeveloped. We don't trace the growth of miniatures wargaming through the first half of the 20th century, nor are things like the Louisiana Maneuvers mentioned, and neither part really talks about events past the mid sixties.
Past this, the article talks about entirely about the hobby (of course, I stripped out most anything else shortly before you began...), with the exception of some of the links at the bottom. See also and the 'notable' sections are entirely dedicated to the hobby.
The last time that these topics were mixed in one page (that is, a few weeks ago), it promped a proposal to split the topic from TreveX. The general thought (okay, maybe just mine) was to divest the page of the less related topics and clean up the remaining 'hobby' bits.
Let's see... the Prussian games I'm aware of were in the nature of 'ride out, look at the terrain, have a situation described to you, come up with what you would do.' (One of the later 'free form' versions, I believe.) The map version is a bit new on me. Of course, the lesson here may be that the military came up with something close to the civilian hobby wargame, and immediately rejected it (in favor of umpires, etc.). The 'modern age of war games' mentioned is meant, I'm pretty sure, to mean purely the military ones (staff studies, live exercises...), which became slowly more common from that point forward, while the hobby had to wait another half-century before really geting started. I excluded 'basic drill' in a comment earlier, with good reason; while it is the basis of such essential things as maintaining unit cohesion, it is not meant to offer any real idea of what a war is like, or predict what will happen in one.
Sigh, I keep hoping to write a short missive, but our subject matter is pretty wide-ranging... ^_^ --Rindis 19:43, 11 May 2006 (UTC)
P.S. ( ^_^ ) Lethality index: That sounds like a hard-and-fast number, not a range. Actually, my point was that the military tends to express things with solid numbers, whereas gamers tend to intoduce randomness. In D&D, the highest roll on a dagger will do more damage than the lowest roll on a sword - contrary to a fixed lethality index. Not that there aren't exceptions (both ways, presumably), Hal Hock's Tobruk is understood as being extremely mechanistic in nature. --Rindis 17:46, 15 May 2006 (UTC)

Card wargames

When I read the section on card wargames (I think I played all the ones listed there), I wondered if Magic: The Gathering and it's descendants would count as "card wargames" or not. --Habap 11:36, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

I've been trying to decide that since I wrote the section. M:tG is certainly close to being a wargame. Probably as close as Naval War, and therefore should be mentioned, at least in passing. Not being a big CCG player (I've played maybe 3-4 different ones), I can't really go into it as I'd like. What I'd like to mention is the fact that M:tG is at least conceptually related, and then point out those CCGs that come even closer to being a wargame (from the simulation of war viewpoint). Dixie seems like an obvious candidate, but I just know what's its subject matter is, not how the game plays.
–Wait. I'm not the only person on Wikipedia who's played Armor Supremacy? O.O --Rindis 15:46, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
Armor Supremacy is the one I'm not certain that I've played. I have, however, played Dixie. I might even still have my card set, but it wasn't particularly good. --Habap 16:33, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
^_^ Well, if you're not sure, does this look familiar?
I'm less concerned if Dixie is good, than if it actually tries to feel like/simulate the Battle of Gettysburg (or whichever set you have). I get the feeling that it doesn't really, but I don't know this. And if you do know of a CCG that does this, to any extent, drop it in the article. All the ones I can think of pretty much follow the same route as M:tG; conflict, but too abstract to feel like a 'real' war. As I recall, Jyhad was a little more "simulational", but of course was decidedly in the realm of personal conflict, not organized warfare. --Rindis 19:07, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
Oh, now that I see it, nope. I have never played AS. I'll have to see if I can dig up my Dixie cards, but my recollection is that it was too random to simulate the battle. I thought I had a few dozen cards (which would have been part of the problme), but it looks like they sold in complete sets. --Habap 19:22, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Notable games

The list of "notable" games seems pointless as is. There is already an article on "list of wargames". I think if we're going to present games as "notable", they really need to be notable and proven as such - else, why include them? I've gotten the list started with titles I feel are notable - most were on the list already. I've deleted some - no offence intended, but if anyone wants to champion their inclusion, I'd suggest one or two brief sentences on why they should be considered notable. The ones I selected are mostly milestones, except for ASL whose notability comes from longevity and sheer amount of "stuff" published for it. Comments welcome.Michael Dorosh 01:32, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for all the help! I've added in a couple where the notability is a bit easier to define, I'll think about some others. I tend to weight both milestones and longevity for 'notability'. Some of the old list was also 'best of class', though that can be hard to define. --Rindis 20:01, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Notable wargamers

Likewise with the notable games section - which seems really nicely cleaned up now - I've subcategorized notable 'wargamers'. Some people would fit into all three categories, naturally, but I think for example Charles S. Roberts is more notable for being an entrepreneur than a designer (Tactics II may have been first, but it certainly isn't the "greatest" wargame out there - his impact was in creating an entire industry). Hopefully this is ok. Wasn't sure where to fit H.G. Wells in. Likewise Curt Schilling does a lot of writing and scenario creation, but he didn't develop ASL - his creation of MMP was instrumental just in keeping the franchise alive. Thoughts?

I think there needs to be more detail on why the chosen ones are notable; their impact should be hobby-wide rather than individual achievement, IMO. For example, the fellow who designed Harpoon - did that impact the entire hobby? If so we should briefly encapsulate that.Michael Dorosh 20:25, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

I agree with a mention in an earlier discussion there is probably no one notable for playing wargames (notable who do, yes; notable for, no). Instead of 'Entrepreneurs', maybe 'Founders' for people like Wells and Roberts (I would also include Jane and Scruby, and probably Featherstone, perhaps Dunnigan). It leaves Schilling without a place, but that may not be too bad (he's been a boon to ASL, and MMP, but I don't think his contribution to the industry is up to the other names on the list, no matter how glad I am that ASL is in print).
Right now, my biggest concern is keeping the various notable sections from growing overpoweringly large, as lists like this are wont to do. ^_^ Of course, with the current versions we're developing, they might actually support a separate article. (Need to do something about spinning board wargaming up to its own real article, kind of silly to have one for miniatures, but not board games.) Note also the article game designer. --Rindis 23:45, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
Good points all around. I think Schilling's creation of MMP, the ASL Journal, and the ASL Open may qualify for notability, at least as far as present company goes - he could be bumped as other notables are identified. As for game players, I can only think of Fish Connors, who seems to be mentioned a lot in ASL circles - but again, is that really notable? If no one has heard of him outside of ASL, I'd say you're right. I guess we need an equivalent of Ken Uston - he wrote guides on how to beat every console game in existence in the mid 1980s (still have his dog eared book at home, in my lap actually as I type this, as I had quite forgotten his name!) I don't expect we'll find anyone who is accepted as a 'master' at multiple game systems. That alone I think would qualify as notable.Michael Dorosh 03:36, 18 August 2006 (UTC)