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Subject: Machiavelli wrote a game! rss

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Chris Engle
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I'm rereading "The Prince" for a seminar I'm doing at Origins ("The
Anatomy of Defeat") when I came across a section where Niccolo perfectly
describes a "Tactical Exercise Without Troops". I quote...

Philopoemen, Prince of the Acheans...though of nothing...(but) war...when out in the country...he often stopped and reasoned..."If the enemy were on that hilltop and we were here with out army, which of the two of use would have the advantage? How could we attack them without breaking formation? If we wanted to retreat, how could we do this? If they were to retreat, how could we pursue them?" And he proposed to them (his companions), as they rode along, all the contingencies that can occur in any army; he heard their opinions, expressed his own, and backed it up with arguments; so that, because of these continuous deliberations, when leading his troops no unforseen incident could arise for which he did not have a remedy.

[Philopoemen (250 to 182 BCE) was a Greek General in the Achean League. These were the cities of the Peleposian penensula (except Sparta - who had to be difficult). He was active during the Roman Macedonian wars and was cited along with Scipio and Hamibal as being one of the great generals of the age. See Plutarch and Polybus.]

I didn't notice that when I read The Prince twenty-five years ago. He was
proposing wargaming five hundred years ago and attributing the idea back
two thousand years!


[Tactical Exercises without troops have been done for a long time but I first heard about them in Wargame Developments when Paddy Griffith ran them. The way Dr. Griffith described them is just like what Machiavelli did in "The Prince".]

Chris Engle
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