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Simulating War:Studying Conflict through Simulation Games

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  126 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Hardcover, 363 pages
Published February 2012 by Continuum (first published January 19th 2012)
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Jonathan Jeckell
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Argues the value of simulations and wargaming, and outlines many different ways of using them. While I didn’t need a lot of selling on this it had some good arguments and interesting ways of using them, to include using them as a tool to better understand why historical events unfolded the way they did. It also had numerous interesting techniques for making better simulations and wargames, to include using multiple players with diverging interests to simulate factionalism and realistically ...more
Jan 16, 2013 rated it liked it
While the author makes many good points about conflict simulation for historical insight, he often belabors those points unnecessarily. Worse, he undermines his own efforts by using questionable 'internet personalities' to support his contentions; he presents circular arguments; and he self promotes to the point of annoying the reader.

As an example of the author's tendency to both self promote and belabor consider a typical sentence:

"Roma Invicta?, was designed by my student Garrett Mills in
Joe Collins
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gaming
The first section of the book I enjoyed about the theory of wargaming. But the second section of the book, about gaming mechanics, I didn't find very interesting. However, the third section of the book contains six wargames (maps and counters have to be assembled, but they are there) has some interesting topics. By reading the first two sections, you understand the author's intent on the purpose and the reason for the mechanics with the six games.

If you really want to understand how to design
One of the most intriguing books I've read in a long time. The author teaches military history and uses simulation gaming as one of his core teaching tools, having students study specific conflicts and play games designed to model their dynamics and factors, then design their own.
I've been doing this since high school, over forty years now, and can attest that looking at situations through the eyes of the commanders on the spot in this way gives one a much more solid appreciation of what
Bravo! Professor Philip Sabin provides a clear and thorough explanation and demonstration of the hands-on method he uses to teach military theory and history at the university level. His approach involves analyzing the forces and dynamics involved in the conflicts studied, converting the resulting data into simulations that allow users to step into the roles of the people whose decisions drove the outcomes, and thereby gaining a deeper understanding of what was possible, what those people chose ...more
Jesper Donnis
May 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: war
It feels a bit like the author does not believe in himself and feels like he has to justify every single sentence.
Every point is drawn out forever and with numerous references to himself and his students. It feels more like an academic paper than a book.

Interesting concept, a lot of good points, but hard to read.
Feb 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Whereas the author's previous work, Lost Battles, focused on the study of ancient battles using wargames to help test and propose theories regarding the course of those battles, this book is focused on the wargames themselves and how they can be used in a classroom environment.

To that end, the book is divided into three main sections. The first deals with the theory of using wargames as teaching tools, discussing the pros and cons of board wargames vs. other methods of simulation, such as
Nov 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Simulating War is an interesting book. It deals with tabletop wargaming, and specifically how to use such games to learn more about actual conflicts, whether in a classroom setting or through private study. The book consists of three parts. In the first part the author discusses the theory of wargames design and how they can be of use in teaching about historical conflicts. The second part gets into the design of wargames. This includes good summaries of past and current design trends (hex maps ...more
Sep 04, 2012 rated it liked it
I'm of two minds about this book: the first two sections (covering Theories and Mechanics of wargames) read more like a primer (which in fact they are) about what wargames are and how they can be used in the classroom felt more like a bit of a waste since they were large on the theory and rather vague on the execution. On the other hand, the last section (Examples) is where the book really shines, with Mr Sabin applying the vague theories of the first two sections with 7 different simple ...more
Jason Young
Feb 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2016
I didn't really get out of it what I thought I would, or wanted to, but it was definitely worth reading. It's certainly not a manual on how to design a wargame, but it does highlight elements to consider, especially from Sabin's perspective, to boil the simulation down into something easily taught and played in two hours. The modeling aspects and Cyberboard were things I hadn't seen elsewhere, and he includes several games you can print and play, which is a nice bonus to see some of the ...more
Mar 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting, albeit a tad over-focused on his personal experience. I disagree at least partially with his criticisms of computer-based simulation (especially because the most important one, the freedom to operate outside the confines of the designer's imagination, is not really mentioned) but the chapters on design tradeoffs are very good.
Nov 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: strategie
Bonne introduction aux simulations militaires (wargames). L'auteur est néanmoins un partisan farouche des jeux simples et courts, qui ne représentent qu'une petite fraction de cette activité. Mais tout les concepts classiques (échelle, zone de contrôle, grille de mouvements, table de résolution des combats, ravitaillement, etc...) sont bien expliqués.
Brian McDonald
Nov 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
One of better game design books.

Combines Game Studies, Game Theory and War Studies to good effect, this book really does give some practical tips for creating wargames (even other analogue games).

Using the lens of bespoke games to show how complex systems can be simplified & abstracted and still be useful as an active learning tool.
Fresno Bob
Dec 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm enough of a wargaming geek that I found his games too simple. I enjoyed his discussion of using the games in academia though, but was quite surprised to find that he thought most commercial games too complex for a masters level student.
Brian Ridge
Dec 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: gaming, military
Excellent book on the art and science of wargame design. It's especially valuable as it is a recent book (unlike many classics in the genre) that takes into account the internet and recent trends in the field.
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