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U.S. Naval Postgraduate School

The Zefra Scenario


Use Free Kriegsspiel Rules

One definition says that 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..." So, it may seem simple: seminar war games are much like Free Kriegsspiel: no rules!

Putting it another way, there are three rules:

Well, actually, it is a bit more complicated! It may look like there are no rules, but there have to be some rules. Indeed, the rules are so complicated that they can hardly be written down. It comes down to the facilitator or umpire (or a control staff if the activity is large enough to require that) using their judgement to determine outcomes.

General War-Gaming Rules

(from US Army Field Manual 5-0, p. B-112)

Rules of the Facilitator, Umpire, or Referee and the Control Staff

Areas Where Rules May Be Appropriate

While many aspects of seminar war games rely upon the facilitator's judgement, this may be augmented in various ways. The objective is to ensure that outcomes are more credible, and judgements less arbitrary.

Time, Distance, and Speed

For simple problems arithmetic formulas can be applied to relate time, distance, and speed. For more complex problems there may be packages like combat simulations or geographic information systems that can be applied.

Combat Results

Combat models and simulations have been developed over many decades to determine the results of combat. Most military operations research teams have access to these. Simulations like Janus, OneSAF, JCATS, and VBS2 can be used to predict the results of combat engagements.

Use of Planning Formulas

Logistics, speed of advance, convoy planning, flight planning, and casualties and medical treatment are just some areas where there may be planning formulas that can be used to predict outcomes.

Use of Lookup Tables
Use of Models, including Computer-based Models