Tactical Decision Games
Tactical Decision Games (TDGs) are training methods where a Marine’s tactical decision-making is evaluated against a simulated enemy force.
Most Marines are familiar with TDGs, whether from The Basic School, Advanced Infantryman’s Course, or garrison “whitespace” (free) time. Normally conducted over a rough map on a whiteboard or PowerPoint, Marines are placed in command of notional units and given a fragmentary order that pits them against a fictional enemy force. The participating Marines are evaluated not only what decisions they would take in the situation, but why they would make those decisions. Instructors take care to critically examine each proposed solution and note its pros and cons; however, the only wrong decisions are indecisive decisions, or decisions that can not be explained coherently. Tactical decision games have been utilized throughout warfare to train leaders for challenges that they may face on the battlefield, as well as to test novel tactics and ideas. The Prussian Army of the early 1800’s popularized their use for officer training at their Kriegsacademie, and officers of their General Staff published books of “tactical problems” drawn from history or contemporary conflicts. Doing so allowed both officers and NCO’s to test their tactical knowledge against their peers, and practice making decisive decisions through concise, easily understood orders. The Warfighting Society considers TDGs to be an indispensable tool for the effective training of both leaders and subordinates. Each month, The Warfighting Society will post a Tactical Decision Game (TDG) on its Facebook and Instagram pages for readers to analyze and write their own orders. At the end of the month, we will select several courses of action and publish it for your comments and critiques! Additionally, we will continue to archive past TDGs for your own use for PMEs or unit training! Finally, if you’re look to take decision-making training to the next level, check out our Wargaming page! War games differ from TDGs in that war games actively pit participating Marines against each other in a simulated tactical scenario, whereas TDGs have all Marines solving a single, written scenario.
“What now Lieutenant?”
Click the picture above to view The Warfighting Society's current TDG!
Explore previous TDGs and recommended TDGs from other publishers.
Explore recommended wargames, reviews, and wargaming best practices.