What are we talking about?
• An area lacking in predictable outcomes.
• An assumption of rational behaviour.
• General Butt Naked1
• An area lacking in numerical quantification.
• The AT-11 Sniper Missile problem.
• An area of constant flux.
• Network links and nodes.
"Gentlemen, we have run out of money.
Now we must think"
"A wargame is a warfare model or simulation
in which the flow of events is shaped by
decisions made by human players representing
the opposing sides, during the course of those
Ex Agile Warrior 11 – Insight #10
Wargaming is a powerful tool which is currently not well understood
and therefore somewhat neglected.
The wargame includes four essential elements:
• It must be genuinely adversarial.
• It must be Umpired.
• It must involve a deliberate element of uncontrollable chance.
• Scenarios should be fought through as often as time permits.
We currently treat wargaming as an unstructured review of our plan or
available courses of action - it is, more often than not, a self-analysis
or talk-through to identify weaknesses or confirm our comfort with
our own decisions and reasoning. We need rapidly and radically to
re-address our understanding and use of this very powerful tool and
to resource it appropriately.
• Lists of factors
• +1 for digging a well.
• +1 for medical inoculations.
• +1 for Flaming Pigs1
• +1 for Dancing Pigs2
• Very often single sided...
• Very often hidden in a Black Box.
• Need to be calibrated.
Prediction and Role-Play
• "forecasts based on the results of role-playing
sessions can make accurate predictions of
human responses to conflict or change.1
How good are we at forecasting how others will behave in conflicts?
What we would expect from random chance ?
3 possible answers:
33% probability of
getting it right by
Using judgment is often WORSE then guessing !
But a role play achieves substantially better forecasts
The Bottom Line
• A proper opposition generates an action /
reaction feedback loop that produces insights
vastly more powerful (and accurate) than a
single opinion, however well informed.
So - how can we use Role-Play?
• Confrontation Analysis.
• Matrix Gaming.
• In all cases – people role-play the "enemy".
• Should not be restricted to people "like us".
• Live Role-Play of formal meetings.
• JMC Meetings, Shuras, etc.
• Live Role-Play of incidents.
• Negotiation Training.
• Encounter events.
• Based on Game Theory.
• Applied to Bosnia operations.
• Developed by Prof Nigel Howard.
• Taken forward by Mike Young (DSTL).
• A little opaque and quite scary.
• Needs an expert facilitator.
Firstly, we help
the scenarios by
The Dilemma Explorer program in action
Matrix Game - Keeping it Simple
• Take it in little steps.
• Describe what you want to do.
• Give reasons why it would work.
• Allow the opposition to give reasons why not.
• Assess the difficulty and the reasons why.
• Come to a judgement.
• Requires an open mind…
• Deceptively easy to do.
"War with Japan had been re-enacted in
the game rooms at the Naval War College
by so many people and in so many
different ways, that nothing that happened
during the war was a surprise … absolutely
nothing except the kamikaze tactics toward
the end of the war; we had not visualized
Admiral Chester Nimitz
• A Military Judgement Panel.
• with only military is probably rubbish.
• We already have what we need.
• The problem isn't the technology.
• Wargames and Role Play.
• Better at predicting outcomes than anything else.
Major Tom Mouat MBE
MSc psc ato sim
SO2 DS Simulation and Modelling
College of Management and Technology
Defence Academy of the United Kingdom
Shrivenham, Swindon, Wiltshire, SN6 8LA
Tel: +44(0)1793 784136
Mil: 96161 4136