A war game in which each participant is provided with only the information that he might reasonably
be expected to get in the real world (e.g., from reports from his own forces, from friends or allies, or
from surveillance systems).
Command Post Exercise is:
"An exercise in which the forces are simulated, involving the commander, the staff, and communications
within and between headquarters. Also called CPX." (Joint Pub 1-02)
In many respects an command post exercise may be seen as a form of seminar war game, particularly
if the players (commanders and their staff) regularly use a "seminar style" discussion of issues and
outcomes, e.g., in an after action review. A CPX that is more focused on training staffs on command post
procedures (and specifically when focused on the mechanics of using automated C2 systems) should not
generally be viewed as a seminar war game (since there is no "seminar" component).
Computer-Assisted Game is:
A war game that is played with the aid of a computer, as opposed to being played entirely on a computer
(e.g., a combat simulation). Note, however that a specific combat simulation (say,
OneSAF) could provide computer assistance for a
seminar war game.
Free Kriegsspiel is:
"A mechanism where two opposing courses of action are explained to an Umpire who decides on which course
will prevail, based on historical precedence, personal experience, reasoned debate and his own judgement. There
are no rules to resolve battles, although there may be movement and deployment tables. So called because it was
the method used in the later (post 1870) examples of the Kriegsspiel." (from
Wargame Developments Handbook)
Model-Assisted Game is:
A war game where some adjudications are made with the assistance of a model (possibly run on a computer, but
not necessarily). Models may include various planning tools that do not require computers, such as planning tables
for consumption of supplies.
Tabletop Exercises is:
"Tabletop exercises are discussion-based exercises where personnel meet in a classroom setting or in breakout
groups to discuss their roles during an emergency and their responses to a particular emergency situation. A
facilitator presents a scenario and asks the exercise participants questions related to the scenario, which initiates
a discussion among the participants of roles, responsibilities, coordination, and decision-making. A tabletop exercise
is discussion-based only and does not involve deploying equipment or other resources."
(from the NIST Guide to Test, Training, and Exercise Programs for IT Plans and Capabilities)
War game is (three slightly different definitions):
"A simulation, by whatever means, of a military operation involving two or more opposing forces using rules, data,
and procedures designed to depict an actual or assumed real life situation".
Joint Publication 1-02 (14 April 2006)
In the current era of wargaming, the use of "rules, data, and procedures" in this definition is usually assumed to
be captured in computer code. So computer software is often seen as the enforcer of the "rules". However, humans can
still apply the rules without computer support. In a seminar war game, the rules are generally assessed by a human
umpire (or facilitator); indeed the rules may not be very precise and may allow considerable latitude for the umpire
to apply common sense to situations that arise.
"A warfare model or simulation whose operation does not involve the activities of actual military forces, and
whose sequence of events affects and is in turn affected by the decisions made by players representing the opposing
sides." Perla (1990, p. 164)
This definition is from Perla's book, and essentially a copy of a definition
that Perla and Barrett offered in 1985 in a paper in the Naval War College
Review. Some limitations in this definition were removed by the time of his presentation to the MORS Special Meeting
in Oct 2007, namely the implication by using "opposing sides" that there would usually be only two players going "head
"A warfare model or simulation that does not involve the operations of actual forces, and in which the flow of events
shapes and is shaped by decisions made by a human player or players."
Perla (MORS Meeting, 15 Oct 2007)
By using "player" in both singular and plural Perla's revised definition allows that a player might go solo (say, with
a computer playing all of the other roles), and that, if there is more than one player, there might be several (say, to
play local factions or tribes or to reflect how components of a coalition may have contradictory objectives).
Note that a command post exercise (with lower forces only in simulation) would fit this definition.
Definitions from Wargame Developments
A group of afficinados in Britain have developed a
Wargame Developments Handbook. The
definitions in this handbook have no "official standing", so using them comes at some peril. Nevertheless the list of words
is extensive and the accompanying definitions provide considerable background for the hobby of wargaming.