Wargaming in Military Education for Army Officers and Officer Cadets

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Wargaming has been part of military curricula for about 200 years since the introduction of Kriegsspiel, but it is still something of an art form. This thesis attempts to theorise the practice of military educational wargaming, and specifically to explore why such wargaming takes the form it does. The thesis is limited to army educational wargaming for officers and officer cadets. Wargaming for analytical purposes, and political and strategic gaming, are excluded. Instead, the focus is on army educational wargaming at the tactical level, which is arguably more comparable between countries. The research method combines an exploratory approach influenced by grounded theory with a comparative case study approach encompassing three successive levels of army officer education in five countries: Sweden, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States and Japan. The research indicates the central importance of individual game directors. This is particularly evident when wargaming forms evolve. The main concern of the individual game director is how to achieve instructor buy-in. This core category encompasses control, credibility and comfort. Three methods, or strategies, were discovered regarding how to achieve instructor buy-in. Those three strategies are: innovative active learning, simple standardising and control & veiling. This discovery contributes to new substantive theory, as it explains how specific army educational wargaming forms commence, evolve and are discontinued.
Date of Award2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorWarren Chin (Supervisor) & Philip Sabin (Supervisor)

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