Over the last few months I’ve been reposting my old Tactical Decision Games (TDGs) from American Partisan. For those who are not familiar, a TDG is a mental wargaming exercise designed to get you practice making tactically sound decisions in a hypothetical scenario. The ability to make sound and timely decisions based off incomplete and imperfect information is a critical skill to have, especially as a team leader.
I started this series because it is a very cost-effective way to practice force-on-force decision making. Anyone can memorize a field manual’s worth of tactics, techniques, and procedures. The mark of a tactician is knowing when and how to use the tactics from those manuals (and sometimes, when NOT to). Ideally, you practice this at in-person training classes with real, live teammates and a real, live opponent. TDGs are excellent supplements to such training, even though they cannot replicate or replace the experience and value of practicing force-on-force in person.
My TDG format, particularly from season 2 when I started doing the Recap and Analysis for each scenario, was inspired by the book “Mastering Tactics” by Maj. John F. Schmitt, USMCR. I studied and played through the TDGs in that book as a young Sergeant of Marines, and they helped develop my own decision making skills. If you haven’t already found this book, here’s a link to the PDF version. The scenarios found therein are written for Marine Corps NCOs and officers, and are thus about conventional military forces and operations. Still, the fundamental principles taught in the scenarios translate universally, and I highly recommend it.
This leads me to the present. I enjoy writing these TDGs, but a few facts must be brought forward for consideration:
- Each TDG takes a couple hours for me to write, edit, and make maps for. Plus a few more hours reading answers and writing the Recap and Analysis.
- I am still on active duty, in addition to running VSTAC training classes and this blog. I also have a kid now. Most days I am up until 1 or 2 in the morning writing articles, class material, or TDGs.
Bottom line, I am having a hard time justifying how much time I spend writing/working instead of with my family. But I really want to continue the TDGs, as I know how valuable they are to you all as training tools.
So here is where that leaves us. I will continue writing TDGs, just not every week. I will post them in the usual format, but I will not publish the Recap and Analysis on the blog. Instead, I will be compiling the TDGs and their recaps into a book and publishing them together in a similar format to Schmitt’s “Mastering Tactics”.
My time and experience is valuable, and I can no longer afford to provide what is essentially free training without being compensated for the time spent not playing with my little boy. I am leaving the first 16 TDGs up along with their recaps, so feel free to revisit them as much as you want. Again, I recommend Schmitt’s book for 15 more TDGs, even though they are written for Marines and conventional military troops/weapons. The principles of warfare and tactics can be universally applied, and Schmitt does an excellent job of teaching them.
Stay dangerous, gentlemen.
6 thoughts on “Tactical Decision Games: Going Forward”
Looking forward to it, Mike. You’ll be even busier in the fall timeframe, so get some sleep while you can 😉 Thanks for all you do.
Jeff aka @va_minuteman
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I feel ya – my own writing has dwindled in comparison to what I was capable of doing not too long ago; they turn 4… then 5… and more time is justified in creating memories as opposed to becoming a memory.
Keep at it when you have time, but time is a precious commodity when it comes to kids and something which should NOT be fettered away carelessly. You will never get that time back, after all, and the warm snuggles first thing in the morning and story time last thing in the evening are the bookends of time well spent.
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Hey buddy, your kids are only little once, definitely take the time for family. You’ve done everyone a service with your TDG’s and there’s enough information in the first ones to definitely keep people busy. I’ve always been dumb founded that more people didn’t take advantage of them, but Gear queers gonna gear queer I guess. I really appreciate what you’ve done and the time you’ve put into them, I’ll definitely be interested in a copy of your book. Also thanks for sharing the PDF too, I’ll be sharing that as well.
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It’s sobering to realize that statistically 95%+ of the time you spend with your kid will be when they are 18 and below. The years go fast. thanks for all you’ve put up here