THE EFFECT OF SIMPLE ROLE-PLAYING GAMES ON THE WARGAMING STEP OF THE MILITARY DECISION MAKING PROCESS (MDMP): A MIXED METHODS APPROACH

Richard A. McConnell, Mark Gerges, John Dalbey, Typhanie Dial, George Hodge, Marty Leners, Joel Miller, Jacob Mong, Patrick Schoof

Abstract


Researchers at the Command and General Staff College (CGSC) conducted a mixed methods examination of the effect playing simple role playing board games might have on participants planning skills.  The literature examined for this study established that one of the weaknesses reported over the last twenty years at combat training centers was the ability to conduct an effective wargame to stress test plans.  Therefore, the purpose of this study was to measure participant’s ability to visualize and apply that visualization to the wargaming step of the Military Decision Making Process (MDMP).  The test group consisted of 32 students with a control group of 79 totaling 111 participants.  The Test Group played a simple roleplaying board game called Kriegspeil while the control group did not.  Researchers measured visualization skills using a quiz designed to measure participant recall skills and comfort making choices based on their visualization; the Wargames were observed to establish the number and quality of discovered planning shortfalls.  Findings established to a statistically significant level that the test outperformed the control group at seeing themselves, being comfortable making visualization choices, while seizing opportunities and addressing threats integrating discoveries into plans.  These findings may be applicable not only to the military but to other contexts where leaders endeavor to anticipate the unexpected emerging threats and opportunities that may arise in dynamic environments.

 


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Copyright (c) 2018 Richard A. McConnell, Mark Gerges, John Dalbey, Typhanie Dial, George Hodge, Marty Leners, Joel Miller, Jacob Mong, Patrick Schoof

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