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Author Topic: ATTN Wargamers: Training MBX  (Read 15708 times)
Rattler
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« on: 2 November 2009, 16:52:09 »
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This is for all wargamers, whatever actual game or setup you are playing.

As I am fairly free with my time now for the next three month and as I can (for technical reasons) not run CPXes (Command Post Exercises) but have some nice scenarios for them set up (and as additionally Henk is pestering me for an old style CPX from andcient TacOps times) I have made up my mind and will offer an MBX (Mail Based Command post Exercise) over a training scenario developed for this purpose to everyone interested.

If yu are not familiar with CPXes, here a quick run-through:

From globlsecurity:

Quote
A Command Post Exercise (CPX) is a medium-cost, medium-overhead training exercise that may be conducted in garrison or in the field. It is the most common exercise used for training the battalion staff, subordinate, and supporting leaders in order to successfully plan, coordinate, synchronize, and exercise C2 over operations during mission execution. In garrison, a CPX is an expanded MAPEX, using tactical communications, both digital and analog, systems and personnel in a CP environment. Normal battlefield distances between the CPs are usually reduced, and CPs do not need to exercise all tactical communications.


For wargaming purposes James Sterret defined and honed the concept as follows (http://www.tacopshq.com/HQ/text/CPX/cpxfaq.txt), here the main excerpts:

Quote
CPX stands for Command Post eXercise - the term comes from a type
of wargame that militaries do for training.

A CPX is a system of umpired, double-blind wargaming which
borrows very heavily from Kriegspiel, which was invented in the early 1800s
by the Prussian General Staff for officer training.  The special thing about the
Kriegspiel concept of wargaming is its emphasis on decision making in near-
real-time with limited information - exactly, according to the Prussian
General Staff, what officers need training in for combat.  The modern CPX -
both military and on IRC - is a direct descendant of the Prussian Kriegspiel.

Put all of these together, and you have a CPX in the style of Kriegspiel - in near-real-time, with limited information,
involving teams on each side.  An "Umpire" runs a scenario.  The
Umpire reports on the action to the players, puts the player's orders into the
sim game engine, runs the next turn (or several turns), and repeats the process.

What makes a wargamin CPX different?  Two things.  First, players are
part of a team - you have to try to work together with the other people on
your side to win.  Second, fog of war in a wargamed CPX is very, very thick. 
In comparison, normal wargames with full fog of war on is a bright and sunny
day.  In a CPX, you will often have only a hazy idea of where your own
forces are, let alone where the enemy is.  Furthermore, the team-work and
extensive fog-of-war in a wargame CPX make it a unique experience and
challenge.  One player, Capt. Jake Rose, U.S. Army, commented that it feels
"like sitting in a TOC [Tactical Operations Center] listening to radio reports"
trying to figure things out and keep a handle on the situation.


Now, take this concept and drag it out over various days, excchanging the SITREPS, orders and sim reuslts via email instead of in real-time, and you have your MBX.

How it works:

1. Players form teams and choose a commander (and assign the sub commanders: My MBXes usually have BN format, i.e. an overall CINC and 3-4 coy commanders will be sufficient to run it, but any team can easily accomodate more players)

2. Once this is done Umpire (me) will brief commanders to what they know and supplies them with the necessary material for planning (OPORD; maps, OOB).

3. Teams have some planning time, then it is STARTEX

4. Once under way the MBX follows a daily routine:

- Umpire runs and resolves the player input by whatever means he deems useful (for me this will be mostly TacOps on the tac level) and returns the results in a (virtually) realistical time frame to the players, usually in the form of SITREPS.

- Playsers digest the input, (ideally) coordinate, and then publish new orders to their units.

- Umpire digests and implements the orders of the players and teams and then resolves the next turn(s) via his sim.

It sounds more difficult than it is: All you need is a computer and working email, and about 10 minutes per day to devote to the MBX. Teams will have seperate mailing lists for comms, so everybody reading his email daily will always be up-to-date.

I am offereing a fairly simple training MBX first (I would like STARTEX to be not later than NOV 15) to evaluate the system and to make players become aquainted with it, the tactical challenges will be rather simple at this stage.

Anybody interested? Questions?

Rattler
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« Reply #1 on: 2 November 2009, 20:22:06 »
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LOl Matt Smiley

Good job,

Now all others join up this is a very rare opportunity to learn tactical skills and also to act as a real soldier  Knipoog
We spent entire weekends behind the pc to fight eachother in the 90's Smiley
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« Reply #2 on: 2 November 2009, 20:55:32 »
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haven't got a clue what you're talking about  Huh?
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Rattler
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« Reply #3 on: 2 November 2009, 21:37:19 »
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LOl Matt Smiley

Good job,

Now all others join up this is a very rare opportunity to learn tactical skills and also to act as a real soldier  Knipoog
We spent entire weekends behind the pc to fight eachother in the 90's Smiley

haven't got a clue what you're talking about  Huh?



@ Henk (Stoffel): You are on, then?

@ Koen: So sign up to have some fun and find out (actually, it is all laid out - except the scenario, of cause, as this goes double blind). You don´t need any skilll more than understand milspeak roughly, be able to read a map (UTC coordinates) and to be desiring to manage a company force that goes for a clash (the scen will be cold war - abstract, as it is a training enviornment, the OOB will be a Cold War OOB)

If you do not find the above post entertaining or enlightening enough, here more stuff for research (btw, Henk Stoffers = stoffel, Matt Ohlmer and Matteo Olmero
 = Rattler in those AARs, there are more guys you gamers know like Larry Bond, etc...):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kriegsspiel_%28wargame%29 (explains the "Kriegsspiel" concept very well)
http://www.tacopshq.com/HQ/text/CPX/cpxaars/rtmbx.txt (this one is the best ever AAR I could find on a *MB*X !!)
http://www.tacopshq.com/HQ/text/CPX/cpxaars.html (for a full list of available - more than 10 yrs old by now! -) AARs in the old TacOps style (which is what I am offering for training)

The best  (and most rare one) one cannot be found, but I will try to retrieve it, here some special ones (that nicely show the problems of the internet 10+ yrs ago... Smiley EDIT: Found a backup!!! Smiley http://forums.gamesquad.com/showthread.php?t=31784):

http://www.tacopshq.com/HQ/text/CPX/cpxaars/tlr.txt

http://docs.google.com/gview?a=v&q=cache:3q7ZBuqokaAJ:www.pichocki.de/download/ValdezClan/Letter%2520to%2520Victor%2520Valdez.pdf+cpx+aar+james+sterrett&hl=es&gl=es&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESgrvIWwILUy1WFri-waz-PriJAx40GU0s7s3zqvfQFkxCQOAmXV7vOQ5v0hPRHGeOtP05S4v6fOzbWbuzN8hRZNplpEroLMr-6h2318StGTfgNWXJVLanEotkA-qY1p1ze7M1jU&sig=AFQjCNFqa_yzG_rx-oU2SMUN-2WPxO-RNw

http://www.strategypage.com/tt/Aarb19.htm

a nice one about going nuclear between Panta and myself: http://www.battlefront.com/community/showpost.php?p=17143&postcount=7

Rattler
« Last Edit: 2 November 2009, 22:09:54 by Rattler » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: 2 November 2009, 21:55:16 »
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LOl Matt Smiley

Good job,

Now all others join up this is a very rare opportunity to learn tactical skills and also to act as a real soldier  Knipoog
We spent entire weekends behind the pc to fight eachother in the 90's Smiley

haven't got a clue what you're talking about  Huh?


@ Henk (Stoffel): You are on, then?

@ Koen: So sign up to have some fun and find out (actually, it is all laid out - except the scenario, of cause, as this goes double blind). You don´t need any skilll more than understand milspeak roughly, be able to read a map (UTC coordinates) and to be desiring to manage a company force that goes for a clash (the scen will be cold war - abstract, as it is a training enviornment, the OOB will be a Cold War OOB)

Rattler


but I haven't got a clue....is it on paper...does it need software...does it work with hexes...what is it?
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« Reply #5 on: 2 November 2009, 22:13:40 »
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Koen, *read* above first post *again*:

Quote
It sounds more difficult than it is: All you need is a computer and working email, and about 10 minutes per day to devote to the MBX.


In a CPX or MBX you do not have to worry about any game *mechanics*, just about making tactically sound decisions.

Does this (together with the post that croseed yours) help?

Rattler

LOl Matt Smiley

Good job,

Now all others join up this is a very rare opportunity to learn tactical skills and also to act as a real soldier  Knipoog
We spent entire weekends behind the pc to fight eachother in the 90's Smiley

haven't got a clue what you're talking about  Huh?


@ Henk (Stoffel): You are on, then?

@ Koen: So sign up to have some fun and find out (actually, it is all laid out - except the scenario, of cause, as this goes double blind). You don´t need any skilll more than understand milspeak roughly, be able to read a map (UTC coordinates) and to be desiring to manage a company force that goes for a clash (the scen will be cold war - abstract, as it is a training enviornment, the OOB will be a Cold War OOB)

Rattler


but I haven't got a clue....is it on paper...does it need software...does it work with hexes...what is it?

« Last Edit: 2 November 2009, 22:19:07 by Rattler » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: 2 November 2009, 22:18:10 »
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no, never heard of it before so I don't have a clue!

is it graphical?
does it have a map?
what do you play with?

etc etc....
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« Reply #7 on: 2 November 2009, 22:20:00 »
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no, never heard of it before so I don't have a clue!

is it graphical?
does it have a map?
what do you play with?

etc etc....

plz check out the links, read the opening post (but *read* it, might take more than one second overfly..., your stance shows you haven´t *read* it as you are asking stuff that has been covered expressively - I will repeat for you below), than complain, I have said all that there is to be said.

As already stated in the opeing post, you have a map, an OPORD (which means Situation, Mission, Exectution, Logistics etc. orders), an OOB.

You play with your brain, giving orders to your units.

Rattler
« Last Edit: 2 November 2009, 22:30:45 by Rattler » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: 2 November 2009, 22:38:32 »
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no, never heard of it before so I don't have a clue!

is it graphical?
does it have a map?
what do you play with?

etc etc....

plz check out the links, read the opening post (but *read* it, might take more than one second overfly..., your stance shows you haven´t *read* it as you are asking stuff that has been covered expressively - I will repeat for you below), than complain, I have said all that there is to be said.

As already stated in the opeing post, you have a map, an OPORD (which means Situation, Mission, Exectution, Logistics etc. orders), an OOB.

You play with your brain, giving orders to your units.

Rattler


when you think I'm complaining I'll shut up, I was trying to give myself and other people a short intro.
then I/we could decide if we're interested or not, if so I'll / we'll read the long descriptions.
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« Reply #9 on: 2 November 2009, 22:59:43 »
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Really, Koen, how much shorter and more to the point can I be?

Of cause, there is an effort necessary that calls for reading short paragraphs as the one that I will *repeat* below... !?

Quote
How it works:

1. Players form teams and choose a commander (and assign the sub commanders: My MBXes usually have BN format, i.e. an overall CINC and 3-4 coy commanders will be sufficient to run it, but any team can easily accomodate more players)

2. Once this is done Umpire (me) will brief commanders to what they know and supplies them with the necessary material for planning (OPORD; maps, OOB).

3. Teams have some planning time, then it is STARTEX

4. Once under way the MBX follows a daily routine:

- Umpire runs and resolves the player input by whatever means he deems useful (for me this will be mostly TacOps on the tac level) and returns the results in a (virtually) realistical time frame to the players, usually in the form of SITREPS.

- Playsers digest the input, (ideally) coordinate, and then publish new orders to their units.

- Umpire digests and implements the orders of the players and teams and then resolves the next turn(s) via his sim.

....and so on until ENDEX...

It sounds more difficult than it is: All you need is a computer and working email, and about 10 minutes per day to devote to the MBX. Teams will have seperate mailing lists for comms, so everybody reading his email daily will always be up-to-date.


Rattler
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« Reply #10 on: 2 November 2009, 23:53:44 »
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LOl Matt Smiley

Good job,

Now all others join up this is a very rare opportunity to learn tactical skills and also to act as a real soldier  Knipoog
We spent entire weekends behind the pc to fight eachother in the 90's Smiley



Yeah, how I am missing those times!

Were you not the guy running for the Argies (and ruining for the Brits) the 2nd Falkland offensive in 2010 vs. the Chinese gentleman (who´s name I have forgotten) in Rikis "Global Thunder" MBX http://www.tacopshq.com/MBX/Globalthunder/index.html ? A battle I will never forget! IIRC it went on for a whole weekend w/o sleep for both contestants...

I ran (as the "Indian General") the Buthan vs. the Chinese in this MBX (in a seperate - team - CPX), and we missed getting the video tapes out (that documented the atrocities) by bad luck (journos got toasted by a helo in the very end) but managed to keep our only tank alive and out of Chinese reach... Smiley The result for the MBX: http://www.tacopshq.com/MBX/Globalthunder/ENN/enn1a.html, the last paragraph sums up our effort...

@ Koen: Check out the Global Thunder link to get the idea of a (very complex) MBX better...!

Rattler
« Last Edit: 3 November 2009, 01:05:26 by Rattler » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: 3 November 2009, 00:21:55 »
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If you're quite serious about the "10 minutes per day" part to have a crack at this, then I'll have a go.  I do have other committments (Master's Tournament being one), but should be able to squeeze 10 - 30 mins each day for something like this. Especially if I really do learn something about descision making along the way Knipoog. Even if the lesson is what happens  when (and why) one makes a bad descision.

Basically - I want to try this out for size, please.
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« Reply #12 on: 3 November 2009, 01:00:37 »
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If you're quite serious about the "10 minutes per day" part to have a crack at this, then I'll have a go.  I do have other committments (Master's Tournament being one), but should be able to squeeze 10 - 30 mins each day for something like this. Especially if I really do learn something about descision making along the way Knipoog. Even if the lesson is what happens  when (and why) one makes a bad descision.

Basically - I want to try this out for size, please.


The 10 min depend on your speed of decision making, only thing I can guarantee is that (*after* STARTEX, i.e. when the MBX is under way: Before STARTEX it is a bit more complex probably as you will have to digest map, OPORD and OOB, hence the planning phase - 1 week - for teams) I wont´t hit you with more input and stuff than a coy commander would have to digest in 5 minutes RL... Should you after that then neeed hours to decide, well, that´s then out of my hands....  Grijns Just FTR: I myself can only deovte 20 min per day for the run...

I have you noted down as player, standby for email request once we have 4 players.

Rattler
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« Reply #13 on: 3 November 2009, 01:08:28 »
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BTW, just found a nice MBX FAQ: http://www.tacopshq.com/MBX/mbxfaq.html

EDIT: Re-Reading it, it is a *perfect* FAQ: Anything you would want to know is answered, I will stick more or less to those descriptions/explanations.

Ignore the tech restrictions (4.1 and 4.2 in the FAQ), this FAQ is 13 yrs old and things have changed since then... a lot! (And still true in it´s basics, after such a time!) GJ, Rikki !!!!

Rattler
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« Reply #14 on: 3 November 2009, 03:41:28 »
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I used to be a Battalion and Divisional staff officer, and I have participated in several MAPEX's and STAFFEX's...this is great!...Sign me up..... salute
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« Reply #15 on: 3 November 2009, 05:58:11 »
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This is somewhat beyond the scope of what I had to do.
I'm interested but I think I'll have to sit this one out.  I won't be available for 6 weeks straight every day.  Maybe next time. Bedroefd  Is there a way I can watch this one?
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« Reply #16 on: 3 November 2009, 07:23:44 »
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I was heavily involved at Bn/Bde/Div level. While, for the most part, being involved with a Combat Engineer Battalion, which is unique for a battalion with the commitments and support to all the elements of the Division.

I spent many a day in TOC's. Updating map locations, tracking units, both lost and known, observing the coordination of the divisions maneuver elements being supported by the battalion and seeing them support our positions as well. And many an hour in the field actually LOOKING to see what the situation on the ground actually was.

I'd be interested to see how this works PBEM as well.

Good Hunting.

MR
« Last Edit: 3 November 2009, 07:29:14 by Mad Russian » Logged
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« Reply #17 on: 3 November 2009, 09:57:08 »
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Okay, so it looks this thingy can fly.

So far we have for players:

- Stoffel
- EricR4b
- KG AirborneBob
- Mad Russian

Possibly (pending confirmation) also Koen. As FACman is probably interested I will keep recruiting open until the weekend.

The scenario will paint a late´80s US force versus a Russian OPFOR, both more or less BN sized.

ATTN: Players let me know your side preferences if any.

-snip- Is there a way I can watch this one?


Lurking *is* possible, with two options:

- One Side Lurker: The one side lurker just follows one team and is under fog-of-war as any other team member, i.e. shares all (and only) the information of the side he is lurking on. He may discuss with the team and factually acts as a kind of reserve for the team he is lurking for.

- Two Side Lurker: Two side lurker will be having the information of both teams and be out of the fog-of-war. This of cause means that he may not participate actively with any side nor make comments, he can just lurk.

@ 13th_redneck: Let me kow what type of lurking you are interested in, and,  in case of one-side lurking, your side preference.

Rattler
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« Reply #18 on: 3 November 2009, 14:54:01 »
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Lol,

My force suffered huge from unexpected drawbacks, that compared with ..indeed..no sleep in 3 days( friday evening till sunday afternoon) was too much for me.
I did the entire battle on my own where as yiour Chinese friend started with a team of 3 Smiley

I lost the battle at see, I have not much knowledge about naval warfare accept that shipsd are large targets that sink fast after a hit Knipoog
I also fought the bhutan battle.
My highlights were the Israeli actions( I ended third on the president scale in fase 1), the battles in yougoslavia where I saved Nato , and of course Norway Smiley

Overall a very nice experience which lasted..4 years?
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« Reply #19 on: 3 November 2009, 19:21:30 »
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Quote
Possibly (pending confirmation) also Koen


I won't participate, you guys have the experience...I still don't know if I need a pencil and paper or if I'll get an excel map or something....sorry
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