OCOKA for Dummies

Doug Miller of Cry Havoc! is in the middle of has completed a fantastic series of posts teaching basic terrain analysis through our wargame of the moment, Flashpoint Campaigns:  Red Storm. These are worth bookmarking:

Also, Doug seems to like drawing his own separate map graphics outside the program as much as I do, which makes him an artiste.  Of, like, destruction.  A Raphael of reconnaissance.  A Warhol of war.  A Frank Lloyd Wright of…er, breaking stuff.  Look upon my map symbols, ye mighty, and despair.

Speaking of despair:  I am a habitually shallow planner, which is why I habitually get punched in the face.  I usually have a plausible plan at the start, although more often than not it’s the first coherent plan to come to mind rather than the result of examining all the alternatives.  I typically spend no time thinking about what to do with reinforcements until after they arrive.  My guesses about enemy plans are usually just that — a series of guesses about the conceivable, with not a lot of cogent thought behind why I think A instead of B.

Admittedly, the Army’s OCOKA thing (or OAKOC, depending on which doctrine geeks you happen to be around…twenty years ago a Marine officer taught it to me as KOCOA) may seem vaguely overbaked.  But its pedantic formality forces you to develop a mental framework for thinking about the battlefield.  This particular battlefield.  From both sides.  Something like that could be quite useful when Team GOOP gets overrun by a Soviet tank battalion, like, totally unexpectedly.  I will try using it to impose some discipline of thought into my future planning.

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5 Responses to OCOKA for Dummies

  1. xbradtc says:

    Do you apply Troop Leading Procedures when you play your scenarios?

  2. Doug Miller says:

    Thanks for the kind words and the link! I’m glad you’re enjoying the series. I do like drawing maps outside of the game. I’m quite impressed with what you’ve done and am looking to steal, er, learn from your ideas.

    • RJL says:

      I find working up the graphics to be therapeutic. It gets me outside the frame of the game interface (which is always insistent upon doing rather than planning), and perhaps equally importantly, outside of the hex grid.

      At some point in the near future I’ll write up the tools that I’m using. Mostly I’m using the Inkspace open-source vector graphics package, which is free and surprisingly powerful.

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