"Real Wargaming" Topic
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|Jabsen Krause ||22 Aug 2016 4:25 p.m. PST|
|Great War Ace||24 Aug 2016 9:27 a.m. PST|
"Wargames are synthetic experiences; to make the most of them, we need to integrate them with all the other tools (analysis, exercises, history, real-world experience) that we have available to help us make sense of what we can and should do in the present and the future."
An example of this in my personal experience is my almost lifelong study of the battle of Hastings. Until quite recently I held a view of the battle narrative found in virtually every seminal modeling of the sequence of events defining the battle. It wasn't until I read a book that asserted that "everyone else has got it wrong", that a completely different picture of that day, 14 October 1066, expanded to my view. I used all the narratives that I had collected (including, of course, the original sources translated into English), and the countless repeated warnings about historical events being far more complex than simple narratives can describe, and my own limited experiences of the same phenomenon, vis-a-vis my version of shared events vs others' memories of the same, my having wargamed Hastings dozens of times, and finally my participation in a live-action role-play (reenactment) on the historical battlefield: all of these "integrated other tools" supplemented the seminal historical accounts to provide me with a more comprehensive model of what "the battle of Hastings" actually was and how it can be more realistically seen today. The short version of this is: the battle was spread out over miles and hours, and in no way reduces down to a simplistic "line vs line" conflict located on a singular hill. The argument that "everyone else is getting it wrong, because they are talking about the wrong hill", is itself wrong, because the battle took place on BOTH hills, the space between, and the miles of forested wilderness north of both hills. The marshes and declivities, even "malfossen", are not to be reduced to singular events, but should be seen as multiples of similar events in different places throughout the day and into the early nighttime, thus rendering any narrative derived from eyewitnesses confusing to the point of irreducibility. There cannot be a single narrative of a linear or chronological battle, because too many conflicts occurred in places too far apart to be able to model "a battle" on the wargames table. And I believe that the reality of any large scale battle is the same for all of our well-known battles that we enjoy refighting as wargames….