I think that many of the noted command structure failures often relate to game organizing problems. Not in a free for all drop in skirmish perhaps but anything with a hint of multiple objectives.
The last strategy based game I was at had a command structure and the game fell to pieces after the first objectives were reached. As has been said no plan survives contact with the enemy. So instead of the 3 sided battle with booby traps and other various surprises it became “ you guys go on the top of the hill, you other guys charge the hill again and again”.
It appears that some people build these scenarios like they were writing a book, each character has a role to play and things they must do as the day passes by. The problem is that the script is not flexible and as soon as real people plug in they utterly diverge from it.
If you build and play a scenario repeatedly you can rub the rough spots off but you can also wind up boring the players as it becomes stale. Also if a script tilts towards one side with a detailed scenario and the other side just gets told to wait in the woods till they see someone you know the guys with no objective are going to wander off and start making mischief.
I have a plan this spring for a day’s game. Once again, it’ll be a game with particular objectives and a back story. I am going to only hand out one objective at a time.
So instead of “Go to the woods, set up and secure a base, send out patrols, find the down aircraft and rescue the pilot, engage the rebel patrols, capture the rebel leader, find the dirty suitcase bomb, kill the bomb maker, recover the intel, rescue the princess, escort her to your base, call for an extraction, fight your way to your alternate, and so on” they will be told to got setup a secure base and that’s all. Once they do that they learn the next objective, and so on.
That way no one jumps the line, and also if things get offside you can jump to page six and not leave anyone wondering why they didn’t have to defuse the dirty bomb or whatever key objective you mentioned at the start that just vanishes in game. The teams just shift to an objective that suits the current gameplay. It will play out like a series of small skirmishes vs. a complex scenario. Then at the end of the day when you look back the entire picture will develop.
Airsoft, where nothing is hurt but feelings.