Our focus throughout the preceding chapters was on the engineering-level treatment of aerospace simulations. In the last section we made an excursion into the world of real-time simulators, but essentially concentrated on the technical aspects of aerospace systems. However, the treatment of modeling and simulation would be incomplete without an egression to the rapidly growing field of wargaming.
A war game is a simulation of a military operation, involving two or more opposing forces, using data and procedures that model a real-life situation. This definition captures the main elements: entities that reflect the real world and are in conflict with one another. Although the emphasis is on military engagements, war-gaming-like techniques are also applied to civilian endeavors. Like nations, the corporate world is subject to competition and conflicts. CEOs, functioning as generals, experiment with winning strategies using war-gaming techniques.
The best known and first war game is the venerable chess game. The chessmen are the entities, their moves model their real-life mobility, and the two opposing players are in conflict for the winning call: checkmate! Generations have enjoyed this game, which was first played in the eighth century. It was much later, in 1811 in the Prussian military, that Herr von Reisswitz formalized the “Kriegspiele” (the German word for war games). In sand tables with elaborate terrain models he confronted blue and red forces and maneuvered them under strict rules of engagement. His fame spread to the United States, and there Major W. R. Livermore, playing catch up, published the “American Kriegspiele” in 1879. The U. S. Navy picked up the idea in earnest with the first fleet maneuvers in 1887. Ever since, the U. S. Navy has led the military services in the art of war gaming.
Many publications have appeared in print. If you are serious about researching this subject, the book by Peter Perla The Art of Wargaming4 is a most quoted text.
I invite you to throw off all engineering inhibitions, abandon high-fidelity six degrees of freedom, and reach out to the wide world of opposing armies, air forces, and navies. Follow my guided tour of building a war game, participate in a demonstration, and learn to critically assess the results.