Human Wargaming

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Wargames are analytic games that simulate aspects of warfare at the tactical, operational, or strategic level. They are used to examine warfighting concepts, train and educate commanders and analysts, explore scenarios, and assess how force planning and posture choices affect campaign outcomes. RAND has developed and can execute various types of wargames, including scenario exercises, tabletop map exercises, “Day After…” games, and computer-supported exercises.

  • Red and blue profiles with thinking gears in their heads, illustration by JakeOlimb/Getty Images

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    How to Avoid Aggression or Escalation in a Crisis

    Anticipating how an opponent may be reasoning, and then seeking ways to alter that thinking can inform an effective influence strategy. Deterring adversaries by threat of punishment alone is often ineffective. A better approach might involve a mix of several measures, such as being able to thwart aggression, reassurances to reduce the adversary's fears, and relationship-building.

    Feb 16, 2021

  • A reconstruction of the Prussian military wargame Kriegsspiel, based on a ruleset developed by Georg Heinrich Rudolf Johann von Reiswitz in 1824, <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kriegsspiel_1824.jpg">photo</a> by <a href="https://twitter.com/mkirschenbaum/status/815032700209860609">Matthew Kirschenbaum</a> / <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en">CC BY 4.0</a>

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    Use Wargaming to Sharpen the Tactical Edge

    As a growing consensus embraces the utility of educational wargaming, a more daunting question remains: Can the Joint Force integrate and sustain educational wargaming in the operating forces? The challenges are substantial, but they are not insurmountable. The answer depends on bold leadership, sufficient tools, and eager partners.

    Mar 8, 2021

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