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The Art of Wargaming: A Guide for Professionals and Hobbyists
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The Art of Wargaming: A Guide for Professionals and Hobbyists

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  69 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Traces the history of war games, looks at how they have been used by the Navy War College, and defines the fundamental principles of designing, playing and evaluating war games.
Hardcover, 364 pages
Published March 1st 1990 by US Naval Institute Press
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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 ·  69 ratings  ·  13 reviews

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Jul 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Peter Perla stands in a fairly unique position. A veteran hobby gamer, he also served in several positions which enabled him to observe and consult upon professional wargaming. A perennial guest speaker at game conventions and various war colleges themselves, he straddles the fence between an intellectual hobby and an analytical approach to military doctrine and policy. I read a portion of this book when it was first published, but largely skipped over the portions describing professional ...more
John Carter McKnight
Sep 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: academic
Two excellent books in one: an exhaustive history of military and hobby wargaming, with deep insights into cyclical pressures on the industry, and a good manual of game design and development. Sometimes an excessive level of detail, but an overlooked and invaluable resource for academic games scholars and developers/designers alike. Absolutely worth tracking down and at least reading the chapters of direct interest.
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
The central theme of the book is how the development of wargaming has traded off realism for competing aspects. Hobby gamers seek playability, often at the cost of historical accuracy. Another trade-off is in simulating battles, HG Wells tried to use toy cannons to move beyond dice rolls.

Validation remains the fundamental challenge. All the talk of realism is misplaced until a wargame is enacted in a real war. Leading figures are inevitably lured by mathematical obscurity in simulating battles
Tremendous; what a great, foundational work covering both hobby and professional gaming (and identifying some overlap between the two). Some of the references are a bit dated - this is a reprint of a 1990 book - and it would be enlightening to see some of the games of the past 30 years referenced in this context. There are also some weird formatting issues/choices in terms of changing fonts and font sizes and the footnote structure, but that's a minor concern.

In short, if you're at all
Michael Burnam-Fink
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: war, 2017, academic, games
The Art of Wargaming is a fascinating book, a compendium of advice and key questions that remains relevant almost 30 years later. Perla is an academic who designs and runs professional wargames for the Naval War College, and an ardent hobbyist gamer who can speak about the difference between Avalon Hill and SPI games and the biases of various trade publications. Perla (likely, I can't say for sure) wrote this book as an academic career building block, to bulwark up a small professional wargaming ...more
Hofstetter Patrick
I use wargaming both professionally and as a hobby, i.e. as an officer and as a private person. But reading Peter Perla's book was a real disappointment for me because it has the reputation of being a standard work on war games, but these expectations were not fulfilled.

The historical part is well edited, but the other chapters seem to me to be little structured, often repetitive and especially too navy-focused. In particular I would have expected more concrete information about how wargames
Shon Chen Felice
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Most Recommended book of The Art of Wargaming, Perla is a Genius.
The Art of Wargaming is an EXCELLENT addition to both the Novice & Professional Wargamer.

And I love my Autographed Copy !!! 1st Edition !!!! Priceless ....
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

This is probably a good book but it was really uninteresting to me.

Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: strategy, history
This book was at the time the omnibus cover the entire realm of wargaming, its history, scene, methodology, purposes and capabilities. In that sense it is very interesting to get an insight why you would spend efforts and time of wargames, as a hobby or as a professional pursuit. The only drawback is that the book has aged a bit since it was written and has therefore missed a lot of contemporary developments in method and technology. But it still is a great book.
Dated now, but outstanding. The author first gives a solid, if a tad dry, history of the development of both professional (i.e., used by governments to train military people or test strategies being considered) and hobby (played for self-education and fun) wargames. This includes those using miniatures, various more abstract maps and unit counters, and computerized versions.
From there he goes on to provide a straightforward guide, a checklist of sorts, describing the processes of planning,
Jul 06, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction, gaming
As a "guide for professionals and hobbyists" I think it's probably of more use to professionals. As a hobbyist I did find the history of wargaming interesting, but the sections on designing and developing wargames seemed much more aimed at the professional.

In this sense professional refers to those who play wargames for a living, not those who make them. In other words, military officers and others who use wargames in their profession.

Admittedly, I last read this book around ten years ago. Since
Bill Bruno
Jul 08, 2013 rated it liked it
An informative book. One caveat, the books talks about being a guide to professionals and hobbyists for a reason. The professionals he talks about are military professionals and much of the book is taken up with wargaming as a military training exercise.
Brian Ridge
Feb 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: military, gaming
It is a bit dated, but good. I enjoyed his remarks on the history of wargaming the most. Lot of nifty info in there...
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