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August 27, 2019

Some distinctions between types of war-related games

L Updated
There Will Be Games

One of the disadvantages of writing articles for magazines, such as “Against the Odds,” is that it can be literally years from the time it is submitted to the time it is published.  I recently sent ATO an article about different kinds of war related games, and I’m going to briefly categorize its 4,000 words in 400. 
I will not respond to any comments here, sooner or later the full article will be published.

Joe Angiolillo’s taxonomy of war related games:
?    Games about war
?    Wargames
?    Simulations

Games about war ?    no connection with reality
?    symmetric
?    no variation in terrain and units
?    no representation of actual or even fictional events
?    no attempt to tell a story
Games such as Conflict, Risk and Chess fall into this category.

?    asymmetric
?    variation in terrain and units
?    real or fictional event is depicted
?    there is an explicit story involved (remember "story" is part of hisSTORY)

Simulations ?    wargames taken to an extreme ?    term papers with board and pieces and no concern for play balance
?    more or less forces particular outcomes in order to match history

Now a different distinction, between war game (two words) and battle game:

War game
?    the heart is economy
?    ultimate objective is to improve your economic capacity and destroy the enemy's
?    for two players, occasionally for more than two
?    cover years or even centuries
?    territory usually equates to additional forces, following the age-old principle that land equals wealth
?    more likely to use areas (like a normal map)
?    generally large-scale and strategic

Battle game
?    no economy, instead an order of appearance
?    ultimate objective is to destroy opposing units because they cannot get more
?    intermediate objective (e.g. territorial, or even “capture the king”) as a victory avoids much of the tedium of destroying units
?    almost always for two players
?    usually cover a few days to a year or so
?    territory is only useful for the terrain and geopolitical implications
?    usually maneuver-focused, and often use a hex or square grid
?    generally smaller scale and tactical/grand tactical

Finally another category:
Conquest games (Risk, History of the World, Vinci/Smallworld)
?    can be either war or battle game, usually war ?    are usually in Joe’s “Games about war” category
?    very few "realistic" or real world restrictions on what you can do--"freedom to do whatever you want"
?    attacker can always get the upper hand (odds favor those who attack-attack-attack), so it’s not strategically wise to play defensively
?    usually symmetrical
?    typically large scale
?    combat typically very simple
?    particularly attractive type of game related to war for those who aren’t hobby gamers

Take it as it is, please, I am not at liberty to discuss it further.

There Will Be Games
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