This article's home page is http://www.kirit.com/Strategy%2C%20Tactics%20%26%20Logistics, but discussion should happen on this forum rather than mine. The original is slightly better laid out if you wish to print it though (and includes some extra links and footnotes). CC by-nc-sa This article isn't on its own going to make you a better player, but it will allow you to talk to other players and not have them laugh at you. If you don't care about communicating then read something else. Strategy, Tactics & Logistics There is always much confusion about the terms strategy and tactics. In addition, much of what is called strategy is often really logistics, so how does it all work? What do these words mean? In exploring these terms well also have to consider a new term: Grand strategy. In many situations there is a lot of overlap between the meanings of these four terms, but that doesn't mean that you can use them willy-nilly and not be laughed at. This article is going to explore these terms and dip into episodes in history that I hope help to clarify the points. Although well occasionally dip into the world of Civilization the distinctions are just as applicable to any other war-game or even to real-world international politics, warmongering, troop movements or business. Grand strategy is political. It sets the long term and short term goals both in and out of war. It decides who to attack when and what the goals of a war are to be. Operational strategy or just strategy is the planning and the execution that leads to the fulfilment of the goals set in grand strategy. If the goal of a war is to capture an island with three cities on it then the strategy decides which order to take the cities in and what sort of force will be required. Tactics is deployment of troops to execute the strategy. Tactics often includes small set pieces of troop movements and deployments that are known to be effective. Logistics is all about making sure that the troops are where theyre meant to be before the fighting starts and that they have all the support (normally supplies, but can include other things) that are required. Grand Strategy In the real world the highest level of control is known as Grand strategy. Grand strategy has to do with the political motivations for a given course of action. Grand strategy these days is called politics and is carried out by national leaders. In game terms and at the highest level this is how we want to win the game, but it also goes down to directing a particular warwhat are our objectives in this war? Grand strategy is maybe the hardest part of the game to master as there is so little help that you can get about various situations. As a consequence there is very little written about it in strategy guides for Civilization. Because every game is different, every game demands a different Grand strategy. We all know that sometimes it is best to attack our weakest neighbour and sometimes it is best to team up with other nations to attack the strongest. Which is best in a given situation depends on many factors: comparative technology; the locations of borders and troops; the location of potential allies and enemies; how the nations feel about us and each other; what sort of victory we are trying for and so on. Grand strategy involves weighing all of these factors and more to make a final decision. Do we attack the weak Romans or the strong Greeks or do we have to wait for a new technology before we can actually do either? Iraq In August 1990 Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. As in all things of a grand strategic nature there were both simple and complex reasons for his choice. What were going to look at here is the direct consequences on this in terms of the difference between Grand Strategy and Strategy. The first action was the passing of United Nations Resolution 660. This demanded that Iraq withdraw from Kuwait. The following Resolution 661 imposed economic sanctions on Iraq. During the rest of 1990 a large coalition of nations put together first of all a defence of Saudi Arabia which was also being threatened by Iraq (Operation Desert Shield) and then in January 1991 an invasion to retake Kuwait (Operation Desert Storm). The United Nations directed the Grand strategy in this war. In considering what courses of actions were open to it the UN Security Council had to weigh factors such as what tools it could use (sanctions, use of military force); how any actions would affect other countries (what was the position of the Arab League and Yemen in particular); what might Iraq do next (it still owed Saudi Arabia money from the Iraq-Iran war during the preceding decade); and not least important what might the post-war effects be if military action was taken. In looking at that list youll see that many of these are factors have direct game analogues and they are also the sorts of questions you should be asking yourself when planning your courses of action. Deep as these issues are when playing the computer they are even harder to weigh when humans. Humans are both more capricious and honorable than the AI. As Clausewitz said: At some point political machinations will spill over into bloodshed, but never forget that there must be a solid reason for going to war and just as importantly, know before you start when you will end.