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War Games and Teaching

By using war games, students at the Swedish Defence University learn how to plan and conduct military operations on land, in the air, and at sea.

Games are mainly conducted in our military programs, the Officer Programme and the Advance Command Programme, but also in our civilian programs at the Swedish Defence University. Using war games is a method that supports education and training in many different military areas, such as tactics, leadership, and capability development. The games used are often different types of map games, both analog and digital, where units are placed on a map to illustrate a military scenario.

Military decision-making

Learning and practicing military decision-making is the focus of war games. Playing war games offers a dynamic scenario that can be played out, or ‘gamed’, against a thinking opponent where each decision has a direct effect on the players’ ability to achieve their objectives over time.

There are many advantages to using war games, in combination with other teaching methods. A game can provide the opportunity to apply military knowledge and skills in a controlled environment in a safe and effective way. This can be done without incurring the significantly higher costs that many other methods of applying military knowledge would entail. Through experiential learning in game settings, players can practice and improve their understanding of how different capabilities can interact to achieve military objectives.

Debriefing and coaching

A common feature of game-based education is the importance of placing the game in a wider context. The game is a central part of teaching and should be accompanied by experienced war gamers and military teachers. They can coach the students during the game and ensure that the decision-making is based on military theory and proven experience. Debriefing is also a key element of the game, where reviewing what happened during the game and lessons learned is an important part of the learning process.

Many types of games

Our gaming activities include a variety of games, both analog and digital. Game-based exercises vary in scope, and we organize games that span over a few hours to a few weeks. Games are used for practicing warfare skills at tactical, operational, and strategic levels, and include political decision-making, total defense aspects, and information, cyber and space warfare.

More about wargames

Development of wargames