Introduction to Wargaming

By Andrew Somerville August 26, 2021

Adversarial by nature, a wargame is a representation of conflict activities not involving actual forces – using rules, data and procedures, in which the flow of events shapes, and is shaped, by decisions made by the players during the course of those events.

Wargaming has been utilised by professional military forces since the mid-1800s as a learning tool for commissioned and non-commissioned officers. The following presentation Introduction to Wargaming from the Royal Military College of Australia discusses the use of wargames as a pedagogical (teaching) tool that allows learners to teach themselves, internalise knowledge and enable cognitive engagement. It explains what a wargame is in this context, discusses chance and risk in warfare and its representation through gamification, briefly explores our ABCA partners’ experience with wargaming, and provides some resources for the learner to explore on their own.

This is the first of a number of short presentations concerning wargaming and its utility for learning. The series will explore types of wargames, wargaming techniques, how to select and condcut a wargame for professional military education. I hope this presentation serves as a primer for future learners to explore wargaming as another potential learning opportunity.

Colonel Bede Galvin
Director Military Arts, The Royal Military College of Australia

A note from The Cove Team: If you are interested in wargaming, here are a few great wargaming articles on The Cove.

  1. Reinvigorating Wargaming - Time to establish 'Fight Club'
  2. Is Wargaming a useful tool to train officers?
  3. Playing Board Games for PME?




Andrew Somerville


Major Andrew Somerville has been an Infantry Officer in the Australian Regular Army for more than 35 years. He has been wargaming for over 40 years and is a strong advocate for the use of manual wargaming as part of unit professional military education programs. As the Staff Officer Simulation Policy in Headquarters Forces Command, he was responsible for the development of the Land Simulation System Concept and provision of subject matter advice concerning Army’s future simulation requirements and policy. He is currently the Staff Officer Plans in the Headquarters of the Royal Military College of Australia.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.

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