Russian T-14 Armata battle tanks overturn cement in the streets as they stream into the Latvian capital of Riga. Red army helicopters buzz overhead, their machine guns clacking out rounds into any resistance they face. The few helicopters that NATO can muster are plowed out of the air by world-class surface-to-air missiles (SAMs). Maneuverable and reinforced Russian battalions tear through the city. Only the screams of fleeing civilians can offset the gunshots of the lingering NATO forces, cornered, and about to be destroyed.

Then a whistle screeches and the session is concluded. Veterans climb out of their parked tanks, helicopter pilots head off to land, and infantry members share some drinks. Russia wins the simulation again.


Welcome to the Modern Wargame

Yes, the Pentagon has an elite team of role-players. Instead of attending medieval sword fighting festivals on a Saturday, some of the most brilliant minds that the U.S. has to offer dream up and meticulously plan this performance.

The modern general is a far cry from the cigar-smoking, command-barking, cold-hard veteran of the past. The modern general is familiar with video games, studied Political Science at UCLA, and is an excellent game theorist.

The wargaming industry’s entire purpose relies on a single question.

What if?

What if Russia invaded the Baltic States?