Archive for July, 2012

Education or Training?

From the Simulating War forum on Yahoogroups, a participant quoted a memorable piece from General Andrew Graham, recent Director of the UK Defence Academy, to indicate the distinction between education and training:

Your 14-year old daughter comes home from school and tells you that she has been taught sex.
You ask her if it was sex education or sex training


Mission Command: for the raw recruit

I’m currently working on an introductory scenario for Mission Command. My hope is that players can learn by doing, rather than having to read the rules. Experience shows that expecting players to read rules is a forlorn hope.

The players will take command of a Soviet infantry battalion and a tank battalion. The mission, set in 1944, is to push in a German outpost in a small village just over 1k ahead, which represents a forward position of the main German line several kilometres to the west.

The idea is that each player has part of the Soviet forces; only one or two companies depending on the number of players. This will give each person from 3 to 6 elements to move around, hopefully enabling them to concentrate on just a small section of the battle for their baptism of fire.

Germans are handled by the umpire and are prepositioned (no cheating unless absolutely necessary). The enemy should provide a challenge but not a difficult one – more a perceived challenge than a real one, because the focus is on learning the basic game mechanics.

The terrain layout provides variety. There’s some open ground, but significant cover, hills and ridges, woods and streams. The terrain is designed to illustrate how the game deals with line of sight, movement and resistance to fire effects, not to trap the unwary.

The troops used by the players have been selected to provide a range of troop types – no-one likes to play a WW2 game with no tanks. But they also have significant small arms, a mortar and even a supporting AT rifle!

With a fair wind the game should take not more than evening. It must be played fairly slowly, so that players get the feel of the sequence of play. For example it matters how you group your elements together when you advance. The action sequence permits immediate battlefield reconnaissance, but you can also advance quickly without it. Some troops can be put on overwatch or in good fire positions to take advantage of enemies flushed out by moving troops. And of course co-ordination of infantry, armour and supports is vital.