Originally Posted by Flatlander
Great writeup Brian. The only thing I would disagree with is the "Chain of Command Enhances Emersion". This is because I find the Chain of command to be horrible in any large milsims I have attended, and this includes Irene down in the US (it was one of the worst actually). Reason being is I find we get orders that are very simple and specific (ie. take this building, hill, etc) but never get the full picture as to WHY we are doing what we are told. As you mention the point is to create stress and ask yourself WHY before you do anything (pull the trigger, take a position, retreat, etc). It's tough to make your own decisions and feel like you're using your brain, and not just slinging plastic, if you're not given the "full picture" as to the intel your command is given.
There have been many AAR's for big games, such as Irene, in which I read the AAR and thought "Wow that sounds like one hell of a game! I wish I knew half those game details during the actual game".
Too much information is a bad thing, finding out about other elements of a game that you were not involved in in the AAR is in my opinion one of the best parts of the AAR.
The significance of Why, increases as you go up the chain, a good commander will provide the Why, a poor one won't
For example, in the just past game in Picton, I was a LMG gunner in a section,
I was often directed to do things or go places.. my commander advised me that "command has directed that we defend the lower floor of this building"
That was all the Why I needed, Everyone in the unit does not need to know strategic details if their role is tactical. They need tactical context to their actions.
why did I have to go set up an overwatch position at a woodpile 60 yards form our FLB .. because we needed a buffer to ensure the opposing forces could not infiltrate our position, so we could hold that lower floor.
I had no idea why it was important for us to hold that building until after the game was over.
One thing that should be done , but is often not is the formal issuing of orders. In the orders, the actions of other units and the wider picture can be given.
When I am in a command role, I try to issue formal orders, and make sure sub unit commanders also issue formal orders. If does not always happen but it is something to strive to.
orders don't have to be complex.
The other thing that can be done to provide better context is operate your units in a Mission based way, rather than letting the game all run together into one long operation. Set specific goals, with specific timings.
this avoids units heading out and not being seen again until game end.
Missions take very simple form.
All missions need to be time limited so that the commander can predict the flow of resources and know when available people will ebb and flow, access to resources can define the possible missions.
Reorganization of forces must be done regularly and fully.
Often as game host, and playing the role of overall commander of all forces I know pretty much everything that is going on in a game. Monitoring all radio traffic, and hearing the fight from both sides over the radio is cool.. but it's not useful to a player to know all this stuff if their job is to stand a line, or participate in an attack. it can be a significant distraction to be dealing with information that is not relevant to your task.