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Subject: Military game designers rss

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jumbit
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The troops are creating their own military simulations and wargames, and more of them are becoming official training tools for officers and troops. This was made possible by the dramatic growth in computing power over the last few decades. By the 1990s, there were easy to use programming tools that enabled any bright person (most wargamers fit that category) to create software. An increasing number of active duty, and retired, officers and troops did just that, and produced a growing number of very effective military training simulations.

The troops were, not surprisingly, among the first to adopt the commercial wargames (often called "historical simulations") that first appeared in the 1950s (as board games). By the 1970s, several of these military wargamers made it to the big time, having their designs published. The first of these games was "Grunt", in 1971. Designed by Vietnam veteran John Kramer (an artillery forward observer), it simulated small unit operations in the mid 1960s. By the 1980s, other services joined. The most notable of these was Air Force F-16 pilot Gary Morgan had published Tac Air and Flight Leader, as well as non-air themed games like Borodino (the 1812 battle). Around the same time, army officer Bill Gibbs created Ranger, Main Battle Area, and AirLand Battle. Navy and marine designers were also active, sometimes just for official use.

Gary Morgan's experience was most interesting. His first two published designs (Tac Air and Flight Leader) began as official Air Force wargames called FEBA and Check Six. This was unusual, although many other manual wargames designed by uniformed wargamers for professional use were of commercial quality.

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Gary Selkirk
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Yes, I remember the 'GRUNT' game. We played it from an SPI magazine in 1971 when it first came out. Looking back, it was an excellent simulation for small unit tactics and the problems you would encounter when confronted with hidden enemy soldiers, caches of weapons and food, etc. Haven't seen it for a long time but I highly recommend it as a great beer and pretzels wargame. You would be a lucky gamer to own a copy.
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