NATO’s Allied Rapid Reaction Corps needed the capability to support operational planning for high intensity warfighting with Course of Action and analytical wargaming. The requirement included collecting or developing all the data to support the software and support for the management of NATO and adversary orders of battle.
As a combat model, the wargame is more than just the software, it includes the combat algorithms and the supporting data. The wargame design was therefore undertaken in parallel with and supported by the data collection. Where appropriate data were unavailable, bespoke feeder models were developed to aggregate from system level information.
The design drew extensively on historical analysis to ensure the combat algorithms represented the key factors affecting combat outcome. To support validation of the combat algorithms a database of over 100 historical combat engagements was developed and analysed.
The software development used an agile development approach with the customer involved throughout to ensure the game met their requirements.
The wargame represents all aspects of operational level land operations, including ISTAR, manoeuvre, fires and close combat engagements. It is played using a flexible turn-length, allowing complex interactions to be played in detail while speeding over operational pauses. This is achieved by an innovative visualisation of the phasing of activities in a synchronisation matrix. It also supports a sophisticated representation of target acquisition and intelligence; players give orders on the basis of the intelligence available to them from their sensors, rather than having a ‘god’s eye view’ of the battlefield.
User experience is a key component of a wargame. The core graphical user interface is map based with conventional icons reflecting the position of units. Supporting the game are a series of user selectable overlays and dialogue boxes, allowing players to rapidly process game information. Course of Action wargaming involves senior military commanders whose time is limited. To facilitate rapid play, complex sequences of manoeuvres and engagements can be pre-planned to be executed when required.
The wargame is supported by comprehensive documentation, including a data dictionary reflecting the present day capabilities of NATO forces and potential adversaries.