I received an email from a collegue asking about how long it should take to do a game design. An analysis he was involved in made a remark that a given project had take only 2 months when the “normal time” to put on a game was 3 months. He asked if there were any references for standards on how long it should take to “put on a wargame”.
I thought I knew the answer, but I looked around, and thought I would post here to see if I was off-base. I looked through Perla’s Art of Wargaming, the various CCRP pubs on experimentation, the NWC papers on Global and my own past time limes for wargame projects. Not unexpectedly all were silent on the “time it should take put on a game”. Like most creative endeavors, the scope (how many players, how many sides and how many different lines of analysis), and scale (how many different “layer” – strategic, operational, tactical – the game has together with the physical geographic extent) determine how long it will tames with large scope at a large scale (not like maps – large scale meaning covering a large physical area at a number of different levels of war) will take a long time. And vice-versa.
The other problem is that in most cases a game project will expand to fill available time and short cuts are taken if insufficient time is allocated making the metric of “time to design” a bad metric to begin with.
If one is conducting essentially the same game repeatedly, with the same process, then there may be some internal value to finding out that a process that started out taking 3 months, can now, because of refinement of the process (dare I say Leaning 😉 may reduce the time to 2 months. Even with very similar games, interactive wrinkles of innovative ideas can add complexities that can throw off schedules. There are a lot of parallels to software development in this regard. Unfortunately I don’t belive this is the case in the instance generating the question.
Coincident with the question, I came across (hat-tip to Linked -in) this blog with an interesting look at how people deal with time elements in general. I took the quiz and found that I am “chrononomically bi-polar”. I tended to answer either A’s or E’s with very few in the middle. Overall I was “Moderately polychronomic” but something about the questions had me scrating my head that this is trying to make a multidimensional problem two dimensional and I found myself thinking that between 2 situations my “chrononomic bi-polar” axis would shift 180 degrees from one end to the other.
It was a very enlightening few minutes of self-examination though…