PreparedEx has thousands of hours of preparedness experience in continuity planning, running drills, functional exercises, tabletop exercises, and corporate wargames.


The methods we employ have their genesis in the age-old military wargames. Our techniques are far less expensive, and much more quickly applied, than actually building and testing a new concept or technology.  Over the next few weeks, we’ll bring you wargaming lessons that serve us well in wargaming /exercise preparations, execution, and post-game assessment.

Lesson One – Define the Objectives

Define the client’s (or your own) primary objective(s).  One of the most important, if not the most important step, in the preparation of a wargame/exercise/drill is to determine the objective(s). It is not unusual for a potential client to want to focus a game or exercise on a particular scenario. While the scenario they want to use may work, we have experienced situations where the scenario may not allow them to reach the objective(s) they want to achieve. First determine your objectives, then decide what game mechanics and scenario will allow you to address those stated objective(s).

Related: 10 Benefits of Crisis Simulation Exercises

Lesson Two – Clarification of terms

Clarify the differences between drills, exercises, and wargame. It’s important to clarify the distinction between terms. We define a “drill” as a test of a portion of the organization to a particular contingency. For example, a fire drill tests an organization’s firefighting teams and the individuals in the vicinity of the area for that particular drill. An “exercise” can test many areas of an organization and, in the case of a natural or man-made disaster, often involves close coordination with local public responders (e.g., police, fire department, emergency medical services, etc.). We have used “exercises” or “table-top exercises” to help organizations develop and/or examine their business continuity plans. The term, “wargame” is simply a translation of the German term, “kriegspiel.” One source of confusion is that many are simply uncomfortable with the term “wargame,” feeling perhaps that the term is too militaristic or harsh for their environment. Don’t get hung up on the terms. Use whatever you or your client is comfortable with using. Sometimes our wargames are also called “tabletop exercises” because a client is more comfortable using that term. Others actually relish being able to say they did a “wargame.” By understanding the differences between terms, you can more effectively plan the right course of action for addressing your or your client’s preparedness needs.

Resource: Wargame Business: Wargames in Military and Corporate Settings

Rob Burton

Rob Burton

Rob is a Principal at PreparedEx where he manages a team of crisis preparedness professionals and has over 20 years of experience preparing for and responding to crises. Part of his leadership role includes assisting PreparedEx clients in designing, implementing and evaluating crisis, emergency, security and business continuity management programs. During his career Rob has worked for the US State Department’s Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program, as a crisis management consultant in Pakistan and Afghanistan where he negotiated with the UN and Pashtun tribal warlords and he served with the United Kingdom Special Forces where he operated internationally under hazardous covert and confidential conditions. Rob was also part of a disciplined and prestigious unit The Grenadier Guards where he served Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the Royal Palaces in London. Rob was a highly trained and experienced infantryman serving in Desert Storm and commanded covert operational teams and was a sniper. Rob has keynoted disaster recovery conferences and participated in live debates on FOX News regarding complex security requirements and terrorism. Rob has a Queen’s Commendation for Bravery.