"The success or failure of ALL games will be measured ONLY by the lessons learned through post-game analysis (POGANA). In this respect, the object of each game is not victory"
"Notes for Wargamers", studies centre, London. Quoted by Len Deighton in "Spy Story"
The quote above refers to simulation exercises run by the military during the cold war era, rather than the more modern concept of wargaming, where the objective IS victory. In a simulation, the objective is learning, not winning. However if you learn enough, it enables you to win in real life.
I was reminded of this quote last night, watching Bath Rugby play a pre-season friendly game against Ulster. Many times during the match, my wife and I wondered out loud why Bath had chosen to do certain things, like substituting players at strange times. Some of these decisions seemed likely to reduce their chances of winning.
But of course, in a pre-season game such as this, the outcome is not as important as the learning. The substitutions were not tactical, they were experimental.
At work we can play games as well. We can run simulations, we can do role play, we can conduct scenario planning.
In each of these cases, we must remember that the Objective is not winning, it's learning.
(By the way, Bath beat Ulster by 26 points to 14. Hopefully they learned a lot as well, because when the season starts, the objective WILL be Victory)