On Free-Form Gaming
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This Note describes the procedures, appropriate uses, and limitations of the free-form game. It discusses free-form gaming as a procedure for organized study of the complex problems entailed in confrontations and crises, whether between nations or within organizations. The author suggests that to be useful, a study game must have a substantively informed design and playing teams whose members, in combination, bring knowledge of the issues and processes being simulated into the exercise. Free-form games have a number of limitations: They cannot adequately represent the multiple and diverse staff and systems operations that go on in "real life" national crises; they rarely can be used to cover a simulated crisis from beginning to end; and they do not lend themselves to detailed and mechanically rigorous comparative analysis across several games.
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