Anyway, as we were discussing last time, games can best educate when they put you in someone's shoes, and give you a better sense of the decisions they had to make, moreover of what their decision space was. You need to have the freedom to see all of the options available, and to take those paths as best you can. Historical simulation games are, almost by definition, also contrafactual alternate-history generating games. If you want to see figure out what was in Napoleon's head at Waterloo, then set up the table with a couple of friends (Or, the computer alone) and play it out.
|The logo of the|
most famous war game
fail of all time.
But any student of military history, (or indeed any warrior today) could tell you that reality is not necessarily so. You may issue orders that may or may not be interpreted correctly (rivers of ink have been spilled over whether Richard Ewell misinterpreted Robert E. Lee's command to "take the hill, if practicable.") I may be uninformed, but I haven't seen any really good way in games to model unreliable communications and signals intelligence, despite the fact that entire campaigns have turned on such things. And with a few exceptions, there seems to be little emphasis placed on lines of supply and communication, cutting of which is one of the main points of modern war.