Author Topic: Thoughts on "Modern" Wargaming  (Read 5733 times)

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Offline bayonetbrant

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Thoughts on "Modern" Wargaming
« on: June 21, 2015, 06:24:45 PM »
This was my rant over in the "modern wargaming" discussion over at BoardGameGeek

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{soapbox}

The problem with "modern" is that a lot of people use "modern" to refer to anything "after Vietnam".

While much of the "major" hardware has remained the same since the mid-80s (M1s, M2s, M109s) there's a lot that's been swapped out and only appeared in the Cold-War-goes-hot-Fulda-Gap conflicts at the very end of the divided Germany, or later (MLRS, AH64s, Strykers, up-gunned/-armored HMMWVs, armed OH-6s etc).  Additionally, while the equipment might seem very similar, there's a lot of difference between an '84 M1 slick and the latest M1A2-SEP variants.

Most of all, though, the doctrine, not to mention the MTOEs, are completely different.

We used to have heavy brigades of 3 line battalions, each of 4 line companies, with the mech inf BNs also sporting a E CO with M901 ITVs.  Each Brigade had enough line companies to field 2 fully task-Org'ed battalions and still have a sizable reserve.

Today, under the revamped BDE structure, we're down to 2 line BNs, plus a RSTA that's got nowhere near the firepower of a non-divisional CAV SQN.  We've pushed the divisional assets down to the brigades - DIVARTY HQ and DISCOM HQ now gutted, MI and SIG COs at the MDE level - and with new assets like UAVs and satellite recon, our targeting has gotten crazy good.


So just because a game like Assault has M1s, and we're still using M1s does not mean that Assault = current ops.  Or even close.


Here's another way to look at it.  In 1985, looking back 30 years, you were looking at the end of the Korean War.  Think about all the changes in doctrine, equipment, manning, etc (for those of you in the know, DOTMPLF) from the end of Korea to 1985. 

Now roll forward another 30 years.  Are we really trying to convince ourselves that just because there's still some tracked animal called an "M1" rolling around that we've made no advances in DOTMPLF since 1985 that would necessitate treating the wargames differently? 

Are we really going to consider everything post-Vietnam (1975 - today) in the same "modern" bucket?  From about 1600 onward, you're hard-pressed to find any 40-year period in which warfare is so static that you've got interchangeable forces from the start of that 40-year period to the end of it. 

But we're trying to tell ourselves that everything from 1975 to today is essentially the same thing?  Really?


Look, the Cold-War-goes-hot scenarios were a blast to play and a blessing that they never game to pass.  I was in Germany from 83-88, so those games hit real close to home for me.  But they're not contemporary.  They're 'modern' only in relation to the grand scope of military history, but they're not 'modern' in the sense that Fire Team, or Team Yankee, or Red Star White Star, or Assault, or World At War, or MechWar '77 are in any way interchangeable with today's forces in today's conflict under today's DOTMPLF in today's warfighting environment.

{/soapbox}
« Last Edit: June 22, 2015, 09:14:38 AM by bayonetbrant »
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Offline bayonetbrant

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Re: Thoughts on "Modern" Wargaming
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2015, 06:25:07 PM »
thoughts from the Grognut gallery?
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Offline Steelgrave

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Re: Thoughts on "Modern" Wargaming
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2015, 06:29:00 PM »
Good points, well thought out and makes a lot of sense. Get much in the way of responses from over there?
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Offline Ubercat

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Re: Thoughts on "Modern" Wargaming
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2015, 06:41:28 PM »
Sticking to WW2 is modern enough for me.  :D

Seriously though, other than a good, operational level Vietnam game such as the Victory Games one from 1983 or COIN games like Andean Abyss and Fire in the Lake I've never been able to muster up interest in any war games post WW2.

Plenty of interest in earlier periods, though.
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Offline bayonetbrant

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Re: Thoughts on "Modern" Wargaming
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2015, 06:48:12 PM »
Good points, well thought out and makes a lot of sense. Get much in the way of responses from over there?

I cross-posted it here about 30 seconds after I put it up there.  So nothing yet.  But since it's BGG, I'm expecting buckets of vitriol, stupidity, ad hominem attacks, and thread derailments.
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Offline panzerde

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Re: Thoughts on "Modern" Wargaming
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2015, 07:16:59 PM »
All excellent points. The First Gulf War is as far back from today as WW2 was from when I was born, during Vietnam. Hell, the invasion of Afghanistan is fourteen years ago. Think about how much has changed in terms of technology, how companies are organized, and just society in general in fourteen years. Sure, the military is more conservative about change than Silicon Valley, for example, but today that means things see dramatic change maybe every 18 months in the military versus two to three months on the technology company side.

Its silly to think that the vehicles, weapons, and doctrine employed at 73 Easting are the same as today, or were the same as 1970s era NATO. I like Assault as much as the next guy, but it's a historical wargame as much as Wellington's Victory is.

A really "modern" game would play very, very differently than Assualt, for all the reason you cited. Unfortunately, there don't seem to be too many actual modern board games yet...
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Offline Con

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Re: Thoughts on "Modern" Wargaming
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2015, 07:56:57 PM »
I think its about context and putting them into their respective buckets.

WW@ was a vastly different depending on geography and time.  The German invasion of France was very different from the German Defense of it in 1944 with new equipment etc.  Yet it is all lumped as WW2.  Modern to me is anything that has the elements of todays wars.

Tactics evolve, equipment changes Lethality increases exponentially but at the end of the day it still require command, control and faster decision making than anything that existed pre Korean war.

Con

Offline Nefaro

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Re: Thoughts on "Modern" Wargaming
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2015, 09:03:48 PM »
Sticking to WW2 is modern enough for me.  :D



While I don't share Ubercat's sentiment, I do think it points to a major reason so many still classify the late Cold War era as "modern". 

Those same people have probably focused very heavily on WW2 and don't often wander too far past it (or even before in some cases).  So their use of the designation "modern warfare" is less detailed and made in wider sweeps. 

Offline Capn Darwin

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Re: Thoughts on "Modern" Wargaming
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2015, 09:10:11 PM »
We consider Flashpoint Campaigns to be "Cold War". Sadly, most companies and websites lump post '45 into Modern. Need to get them to change as well or get use to Modern covering a lot of ground.  :coolsmiley:
« Last Edit: June 22, 2015, 04:37:26 AM by Capn Darwin »
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Offline Cyrano

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Re: Thoughts on "Modern" Wargaming
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2015, 09:27:16 PM »
Tentatively, I agree with you.  In fact I can think of little reason not to.

Still, wondering what you were responding to...

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Offline Mr. Bigglesworth

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Re: Thoughts on "Modern" Wargaming
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2015, 09:30:21 PM »
thoughts from the Grognut gallery?

Yeah, modern would be call the good old air force, plan to clean up after just about everything is broken.  ^-^
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Offline BanzaiCat

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Re: Thoughts on "Modern" Wargaming
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2015, 07:36:53 AM »
Brant, can you post a link to the BGG forum you posted that within?

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Offline BanzaiCat

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Re: Thoughts on "Modern" Wargaming
« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2015, 07:46:40 AM »
Thanks, Barth!

Offline mirth

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Re: Thoughts on "Modern" Wargaming
« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2015, 07:48:19 AM »
But since it's BGG, I'm expecting buckets of vitriol, stupidity, ad hominem attacks, and thread derailments.

If you want, we can give you all that here too :P
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