Home Forums General Books and Magazines Zones of Control: Persepective on Wargaming

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  • #85209
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    Has anyone else read Zones of Control – and if so, any thoughts on it?

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #85212
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    http://snv-ttm.blogspot.be/2016/08/zones-of-control-perspectives-on.html

    Tiny Tin Men Blog: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/
    Wargaming Mechanics Blog: http://wargaming-mechanics.blogspot.com/

    #85306
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    Interesting Phil.  And what did you think when you got to the end?

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #85335
    MartinR
    Participant

    Yes, I read it some time ago.

    Something of a curates egg. Interesting in parts. In fact until you’d mentioned it in this thread I’d completely forgotten about it! Which perhaps says how much it has influenced me.

    Simulating War by Phil Sabin is much, much better.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #85339
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    I’ve not read it (it’s on the very long list of books to get round to)and would be interested to know what both Whirlwind and Phil made of it after reading it all, to see if it moves it up or down the notional pile of books by my bedside (Martin’s post dropped it down the pile by a couple of slim volumes).

     

    #85346
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    Hello Guy,

    I have put a fuller review on Amazon, but as a really basic summary:

    I thought there were a few really insightful bits (for me, on soldier load (or the lack of it), non-combat pathways to success (or the lack of them))

    There were some very interesting sections about the historical application of wargaming in the military and for political strategy

    The bits on designing wargames of various kinds were okay, but generally much inferior to Phil Sabin’s books

    I quite enjoyed a couple of quite random bits – I liked the chapters on RPG combat systems and the history of Games Workshop.

    Some were grounded in “critical studies”; some were okay, some were a real slog together.  Left-wing politics suffused it, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing of itself, but in the end I found it both a bit relentless and worse, unconvincing.

    So all-in-all, it was interesting about the subject of wargaming, particularly for real-world purposes, but much less relevant for hobby gaming, especially miniature gaming.

     

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #85351
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Thanks Whirlwind.

    Interesting review. Around 1970 I read Andrew Wilson’s ‘War Gaming’ in the Pelican Books edition (originally published as ‘The Bomb and the Computer’ in 1968 – not sure why ‘War Gaming’ was thought ‘sexier’ than that title), and have wondered off and on what the current view from the posh seats was on ‘wargaming ‘ as a useful professional tool ever since.

    I have known several ‘professional’ wargamers over the years (I know a couple of the authors of ZoC) and have been surprised at the divisions amongst ‘gamers’ about the ‘relevance’ of gaming. I can understand the desire of people trying to sell gaming concepts to the military and governments to distance themselves from the Orcs and toy soldier aspects of hobby games. What I find harder to understand is why so many hobby gamers insist their games have absolutely no connection to professional gaming. It may be a very small connection, but I find it hard to conceive of a ‘war’ game that doesn’t have at least a vestigial connection to real military activity. There was a period in the 70s and 80s when political pressures made it make sense to distance oneself perhaps but that is surely long gone? I think many hobby games would be much improved if they acknowledged and embraced a closer connection.

    The term ‘professional wargaming’ covers a multitude of sins of course (although possibly it shouldn’t if we were all being precise), from Operational Research via sand table exercises, TEWTS, CP Exercises, Computer simulations, training simulators – flight, air combat, tanks, weapons systems etc to logistics models and Crisis Management games. And that doesn’t even take in the historical insight brigade. Paddy Griffith believed wargames could offer insight into history, although he was almost a lone voice for long enough, as to admit to being a wargamer was almost the kiss of death to an academic history career for a time, such was the prejudice against the ‘toy soldier’ impression of wargaming.

    Wargaming as a teaching/learning tool seems to have gone in and out of fashion with various trends at least since von Reisswitz. Robust practical types have sneered and ignored and academic types have overstated, to the detriment of a sensible appreciation of the middle ground. It can be a useful tool for soldiers and historians alike (although not necessarily in the same game). Increased and increasing computing power over the last thirty years or so seems to have worked its magic in legitimising professional gaming again (not always because of its usefulness, sometimes because of its whizziness). I await another reversal of fortunes as someone uses a modern ‘Midway’ game outcome as a scapegoat or decides a couple of IFVs are a better use of the planning/gaming budget.

    I think this book has just moved up the ‘to read’ list.

    Thanks again for reminding me!

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