Conflict simulation, peacebuilding, and development

Review: The Craft of Wargaming

Jeff Appleget, Robert Burks, and Fred Cameron, The Craft of Wargaming: A Detailed Planning Guide for Defense Planners and Analysts (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2020). $39.95 hc, $31.92 Kindle.

The Craft of Wargaming is a very useful book that guides the reader through the initiation, design, development, conduct, and analysis of wargames. The focus here is primarily on process—unlike Sabin’s Simulating War (2012), there is not much included on how to model time, space, or combat. Instead, the contribution is more akin to that made by Perla’s Art of Wargaming (1990), the Naval War College’s War Gamer’s Handbook , or Longley-Brown’s Successful Professional Wargaming (2019). The focus is on analytical wargames, although one chapter is devoted to educational and experiential games.

One notable feature of The Craft of Wargaming is the integration of a series of ten practical exercises, built around an included wargaming scenario: a stabilization operation in the fictional country of Zefra. This makes the volume especially useful for teaching purposes (provided, of course, students don’t read ahead to the suggested answers). A suggested “wargaming gateway exam” is included too, based on the material in the book. Finally, eight additional wargaming case studies are appended, ranging from fleet design to hybrid warfare to tactical naval operations. The book’s clarity and structure also make it very suitable for use as a self-learning guide.

All-in-all, the Craft of Wargaming is a valuable contribution to the field.

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