I want to pull out an insightful comment that was made on my previous post, because it touch on a lot of the issues that both started this blog, and the speaker series that Dr. Perla’s remarks were part of. In his comment, Graham Longley-Brown points to three problems that hold gaming back:
1. A lack of agreed definitions. This starts, as Peter made very clear in his talk, with ‘wargaming’ itself. We often fail to communicate in our field, even (especially!) among expert wargamers.
2. Poor wargame design. Peter also made it clear that the aim of a wargame is too often just an afterthought. Not having the aim of a wargame stamped on everyone’s forehead from start to finish inevitably leads to a suboptimal solution.
3. Not having the correct wargame design team working together from the outset
I know the American community has also been fighting the definition monster. The other two points seem far more pressing- gamer don’t know how to do our craft (or at least not how to d it well) or know who they need to preform it. That’s a strong, but often not unwarranted indictment of the field.
One of the things I’m trying to do with the series of speakers it to start to identify what the practical lessons we need to get gamer’s early in their career. My starting list is:
- Styles of games and game designers (“Way of the Wargamer” falls in this category to me
- Creating good game objectives (client management, condensing objectives, appropriate scopes for a game, carrying objectives through the design process)
- Scenario Constructions
- Role Constructions
- Rules of Engagement
- Selecting and managing players
- Using models and simulations in gaming
- Social Science and gaming
- Hard science and gaming
- history of gaming
- gaming in different places (ex. how do different services game differently)
- gaming for different purposes (ex. training vs. education vs. analysis)
(For many if not all of these there is more than one right answer- my hope is that over time there will be multiple lectures on each topic to show the different styles and perspectives that are out there.)
So my question to the group is what is missing here? Is there a better way to approach these issues that would make them more understandable to a non-expert? What will help us establish good design, and put together the team to execute that design?