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Subject: Strategic vs tactical talents rss

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J Macc
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I have been out of the wargaming hobby for 20 plus years. I just played a game with a friend called Hannibal. I found this game to be easy to learn due to Bill's excellent tutelage but I found I was making many possible strategic mistakes. In my youth my preferences were mostly tactical games and I was was wondering if there was a difference in the way we all think when it comes to the level of conflict we like to play. In other words do some players comprehend strategic strategies better while some see things from a tactical perspective. I also wonder if this translates to the real world.
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Psychologist and personality theorist David Keirsey certainly thinks so.

In his book Please Understand Me II, he describes four different kinds of intelligence: Strategic, Tactical, Logistical, and Diplomatic. He observes that each of us appears to be pretty much born with a predisposition toward one of these four and away from its opposite (with the other two somewhere in between).

We can develop more of each kind of intelligence, depending on our upbringing and what we practice most. So, each individual ends up being different. But most people practice what they like and like what they practice, so four basic patterns--or temperaments--emerge.

If you know your Myers-Briggs type, you can be reasonably sure of your Keirseyan temperament. They're found to match up pretty well (albeit in a seemingly illogical way). Only two of the four code letters count. So, the dominant type of intelligence for each Myers-Briggs (MBTI) type is as follows:

_NT_: Strategic
_S_P: Tactical
_S_J: Logistical
_NF_: Diplomatic

Keirsey says Strategic is the opposite of Logistical for this purpose, and Diplomatic is the opposite of Tactical. If you're strong in one, you're likely weak in the opposite.

My type is INFP, so my long suit is Diplomatic intelligence. Hence, my biggest weakness is Tactical intelligence. Indeed, I really suck at chess, and I can't say I'm much good at tactical wargames either. Yet, those are the very games I enjoy the most--probably because they tend to tell a good, detailed story, since Diplomatic intelligence has a lot to do with storytelling. Supposedly I'd do best at cooperative games--but I've yet to play one and find out.

If Keirsey is right, I'm betting NTs usually shine at strategy-level wargames; SPs at tactical wargames; and SJs at operational-level wargames with supply-and-logistics systems.
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J Macc
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I never even considered there would be a behavior study on this subject. Nice reply. Tell me where can you find out your MBIT?
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enlightenedknave wrote:
I never even considered there would be a behavior study on this subject. Nice reply. Tell me where can you find out your MBIT?

Well, the official MBTI is administered by trained professionals. You do the questionnaire and then consult with the administrator. There's a cost, and it takes some time. I did that once.

There are many pseudo-MBTI tools available, and you can find them online for free. Most are not very reliable, but they might get you into the ballpark. (See the HumanMetrics link below for one such test.)

For a very quick-and-dirty test, see the header to this GeekList.

The best thing to do, IMO, is read a book like Please Understand Me II (see link in my other post above). That way you get some of the theory behind the type codes.

If you really want to take the free online shortcut (not recommended, except just for amusement), here are a few links to explore:
http://keirsey.com/
http://www.4temperaments.com/
http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp
http://www.personalitypage.com/
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/temperamenttalk/
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Patrick Carroll wrote:
Keirsey says Strategic is the opposite of Logistical for this purpose, and Diplomatic is the opposite of Tactical. If you're strong in one, you're likely weak in the opposite.

I have a hard time accepting this, but I'm open to being convinced otherwise. I do see a correlation between Strategy and Diplomacy, and Tactical and Logistical, though.

I'm strong in strategy, weak in tactics. I've put together brilliant plans for some wargames, only to be outdone by an opponent who understands more of the detailed characteristics of the units involved in the battle. So even if I ultimately win, I'm spending a lot of time executing tactical offensives, only to run away a couple of turns later.
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John,

I actually think you played it very well.

None of your sharpness has dulled.

The primary difference between tactical and strategic wargames is ranged fire.

The goal of any wargame is the control of space and time, as abstracted in the system.

Consider your days of playing Victory in the Pacific - it was all Time and Space, and so too is Hannibal.
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p55carroll
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Hungadunga wrote:
Patrick Carroll wrote:
Keirsey says Strategic is the opposite of Logistical for this purpose, and Diplomatic is the opposite of Tactical. If you're strong in one, you're likely weak in the opposite.

I have a hard time accepting this, but I'm open to being convinced otherwise. I do see a correlation between Strategy and Diplomacy, and Tactical and Logistical, though.

There's that too. If you're interested enough, have a look at Keirsey's book; it explains in more depth.

It's also worth noting that Keirsey probably isn't using the four terms the way wargamers would. He was a fighter pilot in WW2, and he apparently has some kind of interest in things military, but he chose the terms just to label certain psychological observations.

Anyhow, he'd agree that there is definitely a connection between Strategy and Diplomacy (in Jungian terms, that connection is iNtuition; it's the N component of the MBTI code); and between Tactical and Logistical (it's Sensing--the S component of the MBTI code). Indeed, Keirsey says the "first cut" (the main personality distinction) is between S and N; he considers the Sensing preference a world apart from the iNtuiting preference. People with a Sensing preference focus on concrete things--on what actually is; those with an iNtuiting preference focus more often on abstractions--on what might be or what's possible.

The other half of the little chart in the book shows that Strategic and Tactical intelligence also have something in common--a focus on what works (i.e., whatever gets the job done). In contrast, Diplomatic and Logistical intelligence have a focus on what's right--in the sense of what's conventional, proper, acceptable, standardized, or agreed upon. Strategic and Tactical intelligence are both pragmatic; Diplomatic and Logistical intelligence are more cooperative or affiliative (a diplomat, of course, is concerned with what can be agreed on; a logistician is concerned with what belongs where, or on getting the right things to the right place at the right time).

So, if you can put that 2x2 chart together in your head based on what I've said above, you'll see that someone who focuses mainly on what is and on what works (i.e., an SP, whose dominant intelligence is Tactical) is the opposite of someone who focuses mainly on what might be and what's right (i.e., an NF, whose dominant intelligence is Diplomatic).

Similarly, someone who focuses mainly on what is and on what's right (i.e., an SJ, whose dominant intelligence is Logistical) is the opposite of someone who focuses mainly on what might be and what works (i.e., an NT, whose dominant intelligence is Strategic).

But, everybody uses all four kinds of intelligence. It's just that each of us tends to prefer one over the others and ends up being stronger at one than the others.

Quote:
I'm strong in strategy, weak in tactics. I've put together brilliant plans for some wargames, only to be outdone by an opponent who understands more of the detailed characteristics of the units involved in the battle. So even if I ultimately win, I'm spending a lot of time executing tactical offensives, only to run away a couple of turns later.

So, do you know if your personality type is _NT_? That would fit, FWIW.

Over at the Armchair General forums, Eric Weider once took a survey and found that most wargamers (most who replied to the poll, anyway) were NTs.
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http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/582052/myers-briggs-and-...

Sounds quite similar to this thread I posted not too long ago.
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I always seemed to do better in strategic than tactical games. The strange thing is that I prefered to play tactical, and still do. Freedom from supply lines and ZOCs, ah what bliss.
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Moron Tom wrote:
I always seemed to do better in strategic than tactical games. The strange thing is that I prefered to play tactical, and still do. Freedom from supply lines and ZOCs, ah what bliss.


Same here. But if I stop worrying about the details/minutiae of Tactical Games and 'think' strategy, I do quite well.
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I took the test twice, using the two links in the thread above:

1. http://www.personalitypathways.com/type_inventory.html
2. http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes1.htm



Patrick Carroll wrote:


Keirsey says Strategic is the opposite of Logistical for this purpose, and Diplomatic is the opposite of Tactical. If you're strong in one, you're likely weak in the opposite.


This had me confused. When I used the second link, I was an INTJ. But for the first one, I was definitely ISTJ. So I'm (according to Keirsey) both logistical AND strategic.

Anyway, what does being logistical mean in terms of wargames?
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Kris2476 wrote:


This had me confused. When I used the second link, I was an INTJ. But for the first one, I was definitely ISTJ. So I'm (according to Keirsey) both logistical AND strategic.


Probably means you're an edge case.
Each position measures one aspect.
In your case, you're neither terribly
introverted nor sociable.

Quote:
Anyway, what does being logistical mean in terms of wargames?


Coping with supply issues; keeping the back-ends well organized; detail work?

I find that I don't fit well into meyer's brigg tests at all.
The introversion vs. social especially, as I can influence people
socially, although I despise the effort. It probably doesn't
account well for psychopaths though.
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calandale wrote:
I find that I don't fit well into meyer's brigg tests at all. The introversion vs. social especially, as I can influence people socially, although I despise the effort. It probably doesn't account well for psychopaths though.


Just want to note that the I/E aspect is only partly related to interpersonal interactions. It's more a general matter of where and how one's mental energies are focused: inward on ideas and concepts or outwards towards people and objects; thought-oriented or action-oriented; breadth or depth. Also, all aspects are less matters of competency than inclination.
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Kris2476 wrote:
When I used the second link, I was an INTJ. But for the first one, I was definitely ISTJ.

A quick summary of the difference between N and S, as I see it:

-- An S is a person whose attention focuses on the things that are

-- An N is a person whose attention focuses on the things that are not, but could be

I am quite strongly an N; I have run into a wall more than once because I didn't focus on where the door was. (But the door could have been somewhere else...)
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Patrick Carroll wrote:
So, do you know if your personality type is _NT_? That would fit, FWIW.

I did one of these tests 10 years ago, and was ENFJ.
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Kris2476 wrote:
I took the test twice, using the two links in the thread above:
1. http://www.personalitypathways.com/type_inventory.html
2. http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes1.htm
Patrick Carroll wrote:

Keirsey says Strategic is the opposite of Logistical for this purpose, and Diplomatic is the opposite of Tactical. If you're strong in one, you're likely weak in the opposite.

This had me confused. When I used the second link, I was an INTJ. But for the first one, I was definitely ISTJ. So I'm (according to Keirsey) both logistical AND strategic.

Your results are not at all unusual. Most people who do these little questionnaires at various times (or try different similar "tests") come up with different personality types. Even the official MBTI is only estimated to be about 70 percent reliable.

According to theory, you do have a permanent, inborn set of preferences. You're probably either an INTJ or an ISTJ--certainly not both or borderline, because there's no such thing. Unfortunately, none of these questionnaires can do better than give a rough indication of which set of preferences you have (i.e., which type you really are). Beyond that, you have to read books and do a lot of self-reflection until you get to where you've verified your own type for yourself.

Odds are good that you're an ISTJ, based on the info you've shared so far. That's because tallies have been kept over many years, and it turns out that about 85 percent of people have the Sensing preference and only about 15 percent have the iNtuiting preference.

A good next step would be for you to read about the ISTJ and INTJ types and see which description fits you best.

There tends to be some prejudice against the Sensing preference, btw. Maybe it's because 85 percent of people have it, so it seems common--and everybody wants to be unique. Unfortunately, most of the type descriptions you read are written by people with the iNtuiting preference (because they're into abstractions and like to write descriptions like that)--and they sometimes unwittingly paint Sensing types in an unflattering light. So, take all that into consideration.

The point is that many people who go around calling themselves INTJs are really ISTJs (or some other type). Only about 1 or 2 percent of people really are INTJs--but if you ask around online, it sounds like about 20 percent must be. Many people are mistyped for various reasons.

Quote:
Anyway, what does being logistical mean in terms of wargames?

Well, if we take a broader view and think of board games in general, games like Roads & Boats might be great logistical challenges. Logistics has to do with resource management--getting the right stuff to the right places at the right times.

Keirsey believes George Washington was an SJ--with dominant Logistical intelligence. He husbanded his human and material resources brilliantly through several trying years, doggedly holding things together until the victory at Yorktown finally became possible. There's not much evidence that Washington was a brilliant tactician, strategist, or diplomat; his main strength seems to have been in the general area of logistics.

Patton, according to Keirsey, was an SP--with dominant Tactical intelligence. SPs tend to be quick to improvise and seize opportunities, and they won't be held back by protocol or procedures if they feel they need to work around them to get something accomplished.

Lincoln is an example Keirsey gives of an NT leader, with dominant Strategic intelligence. He was far-seeing; he had a vision of keeping the country united, and he saw it through, making mostly rational and pragmatic decisions along the way in order to make it happen.

Examples of NF leaders are harder to find; people with dominant Diplomatic intelligence don't usually show up on the battlefield. But Gandhi is one oft-cited example. His idealism and charisma won him and his followers their freedom mainly via passive resistance. Not all NFs are good guys, though; Osama bin Laden is thought to be an NF too. Some people also type Hitler that way (though it's debatable). NFs tend to be idealistic and can become fanatical.
 
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Patrick Carroll wrote:
Examples of NF leaders are harder to find;


There's a book that tries to identify the types of all the US presidents (a reasonable goal, since there's a lot of information about them.) It claims that Bill Clinton was the first NF US president.
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Wilhammer wrote:
Moron Tom wrote:
I always seemed to do better in strategic than tactical games. The strange thing is that I prefered to play tactical, and still do. Freedom from supply lines and ZOCs, ah what bliss.


Same here. But if I stop worrying about the details/minutiae of Tactical Games and 'think' strategy, I do quite well.


The perfect example for me is chess. When I play a quiet positional game, I am very hard to beat. The problem is to keep myself from engaging in a rockem sockem tactical slugfest where everything hangs by a thread. I almost always lose, but I have a lot of fun.
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Eric Brosius wrote:
Patrick Carroll wrote:
Examples of NF leaders are harder to find;

There's a book that tries to identify the types of all the US presidents (a reasonable goal, since there's a lot of information about them.) It claims that Bill Clinton was the first NF US president.

It's a popular topic of conjecture, but it's tricky ground. Public figures have a persona that sometimes obscures who they really are. Cartoonists caricature them, political opponents exaggerate their faults, supporters exaggerate their finer points, and so on. A good biographer tries to get past all that and uncover the real person--but not always successfully. Biographers can have agendas too.

Anyhow, FWIW, Keirsey maintains that there has never been an NF president of the USA (and he doesn't think there ever will be). There have been few NT presidents, IIRC. Most have been SJs or SPs.

SJs are sometimes called Stabilizers. So if you consider a president's term of office and see that it was a period of stability--or that the president restored or encouraged stability--he was probably an SJ.

SPs are Improvisers. If you note that a president's term was marked by innovation and change--sometimes drastic or abrupt change--it's likely that president was an SP.

Keirsey says Clinton is an SP.

Others have suggested Jimmy Carter may have been an NF, but Keirsey says he's an SJ.

Here's a chart of presidential temperaments according to Keirsey. (To decode the chart, Artisan = SP, Guardian = SJ, Rational = NT, and Idealist would = NF, but there are none.)
 
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Hungadunga wrote:
Patrick Carroll wrote:
So, do you know if your personality type is _NT_? That would fit, FWIW.

I did one of these tests 10 years ago, and was ENFJ.


I've done this test three times over the last 30 years, and each time I came up as an INTP. Everytime it was job related, so no expense to me. laughMy wife is an ENFJ. Maybe that explains my Man-crush on Hunga.shake
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Patrick Carroll wrote:

My type is INFP, so my long suit is Diplomatic intelligence. Hence, my biggest weakness is Tactical intelligence. Indeed, I really suck at chess, and I can't say I'm much good at tactical wargames either. Yet, those are the very games I enjoy the most--probably because they tend to tell a good, detailed story, since Diplomatic intelligence has a lot to do with storytelling. Supposedly I'd do best at cooperative games--but I've yet to play one and find out.


Fascinating. I got ENFJ, which makes me a diplomat, which is definitely true. I can win almost any game which allows one to win on diplomatic ability. I remember a game where 3 of the players had decided to destroy me, and I single-handedly convinced them not to do so after an hour of discussion. I didn't offer them anything. I simply explained to them why they shouldn't do it.

A few years back, I decided to stop coasting and deliberately stopped diplomacizing so I could flex my strategic and tactical muscles. I also started playing more 2-player games as diplomacy is not much of a factor in them (though bluff and intimidation can be.) Every once in a while, my desire to win shines through, though, and I end up donning the top hat and running away with the game.
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I have a hard time with these tests to be honest.

Not that I fear peeling the onion to delve into my subconscious. Rather, I often find myself swaying back and forth between two choices for a given question. As such I end up guessing in some cases and, thus, making me question the validity of my results.

I am.....Average Man!
Faster than a speeding pigeon hole.
Able to leap tall restraining pins.
A fence sitting monstrosity that blends into the crowd....
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Myers-Briggs is all the rage in the world corporate organizational behavior circles. I have to say I'm no fan. These reflect tendancies and people often have capabilities that allow them to act "outside the box".

Regardless of that pecadillo, I suspect that your experience of Hannibal isn't one of strategic versus tactical capability. Todays wargames, especially the card driven games, reward knowledge of the rules and experience with the card deck. Once you have a played a few games you get the sense of what the cards can yield which allows you to make better strategic and tactical decisions with your on map units.
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Capt_S wrote:
I have a hard time with these tests to be honest.

Not that I fear peeling the onion to delve into my subconscious. Rather, I often find myself swaying back and forth between two choices for a given question. As such I end up guessing in some cases and, thus, making me question the validity of my results.

I suppose that's pretty much what everybody does. I've had discussions with leaders in the personality-typing field, and even they don't think much of the so-called "tests." Even so, they're certain that there's a valid theory behind what the "tests" try to uncover.

The bottom line is, there's no substitute for "peeling the onion." And it's something each of us ultimately has to do for himself, as best he can. For some people, a useful step is trying to figure out which of the 16 types best matches their personality. But there are other systems and techniques too. Even astrology has some insights to offer. But nobody outside you can tell you what can only be seen from the inside. It's all about self-discovery.

I'm always drawn to threads like this, because even the question Are you more strategic or tactical? prompts me to take another look inside and see if I can find out something I didn't know before.
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Patrick Carroll wrote:


The bottom line is, there's no substitute for "peeling the onion."


Been through many years of it - I'm not convinced there's
much VALUE to it. Oh, I suppose in some limited quantity,
but introspection is more of a pastime than something
necessary, I think. It's not as though I'm the same person
I'm reflecting on - time changes everything.
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