Monday, August 12, 2002

Edit: Bloody hell... fifty zillion visitors, and I've horribly screwed up the first entry they see. HTML *FIXED*

As somewhat of an olive branch to Steven, I'll give him this: his latest entry about the importance of logistics in WWII is pretty damned interesting.

Oddly, though, what it reminded me of (and Steven discussed the same thing in his wargaming entry) is those real time strategy games that have been relatively popular for a while now, and which have gained renewed popularity with the release of Warcraft III. The odd thing about those games is that by and large it isn't the different little units and how you use them that win the match- it's how much resources you have streaming in at any given time (the RTS version of logistics) and whether or not you can efficiently turn those resources into soldiers and tanks and acid-spitting aliens and elves and Ogre Mages and what-have-you. Even in combat resources are key- the great Starcraft player Zileas made a point of measuring one's success in combat in enemy resources destroyed (in the form of various units), not in the number of units.

Perhaps the greatest parallel, though, isn't just resources, but the safety of same. The biggest advantage of the United States both then and now is that by and large it's protected from attack; only the greatest powers can even possibly threaten its shores, and not really for very long. In some respects, it actually reminds me of a series of turn-based war games from Koei called "Romance of the Three Kingdoms", where perhaps the most important resource were provinces far behind the enemy lines where you could concentrate their entire resources on productivity rather than defense, confident that there's no way that you could ever get to them. This is true in RTS games as well- I've lost (and won) a few Starcraft games based on not just how well I could gather resources, but protect those resources, and the most valuable deposits were often the most easily defensible ones. Perhaps it's true that the United States' greatest strategic assets are Canada and Mexico- simply because unlike any other country on the planet, they alone can be sure that there is practically no possibility of a land invasion. Even a perfectly united European Union could never boast something like that.

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