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The key Definitions and Distinctions that a professional wargamer must understand ← Back to Blog index

The key basic definitions that the M&S industry should agree on are listed below. Note that these are fundamental to communication within the M&S and professional wargaming fields. They exclude overly technical aspects of the industry. These require full working group action with the requisite Subject Matter Experts in attendance, circulation around the industry for validation and verification, agreement and then publication. This latter should be through the Simulation Interoperability Standards Organization (SISO) and/or as a NATO Standardisation Agreement (STANAG), Five Nations Agreements and ABCA standards etc.

You will find an article on the Resources page and a Case Study that go into more detail and suggest definitions, but the basic terms that require agreement are:

Setting and Scenario
Simulation, Stimulation, Model and Representation

You might be surprised at this list, thinking that the industry is sufficiently mature to have agreed definitions for these basic terms. The point needs reiterating that LBS sees experts constantly miscommunicating even when using these apparently fundamental words. Maybe you’ll read this and think ‘rubbish’. Go and ask 2-3 colleagues to write down what they think ‘scenario’ or ‘wargame’ mean – you will be surprised at the diversity of their answers!

The situation is even worse when it comes to distinctions. The critical terms that anyone involved in professional wargaming must understand the difference between are:

Validation versus Verification versus Accreditation
Training versus Education
‘A War’ versus ‘The War’ (and ‘Future War’)
Training Wargame versus Analytical Wargame

LBS sees these terms being used either interchangeably or downright erroneously all the time; to do so risks designing and delivering a poor wargame (whatever one of those is!).

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