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Yehuda: Strategy vs. Tactics

February 9, 2008

Interesting distinction made between the two over on Yehuda Berlinger’s site:

Tactics: the planned actions that you take given a particular situation to advance your strategy used to fulfill the objectives.

Strategy: the general principles guiding your tactical decisions to reach your ultimate objective.

The macro choices vs. the moment-to-moment decision making that is critical to immersion in games. To illustrate, he talks about the strategy and tactics in Puerto Rico and disagrees with a writer who says Puerto Rico has no strategy. It’s a good piece.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 9, 2008 12:07 pm

    Yeah, the whole micro vs. macro decisions. Although there are more relationships then that. Notably, in AI it might be called deliberative vs. reactive. And of course, by gamers, micro and macro as you noted 🙂

  2. February 9, 2008 2:41 pm

    I’m afraid simply by pluralizing Tactic has reverse the meanings of “Tactics” and “Strategy”. In this sense Yehuda has made Strategy the macro, the overall sum of the tactics used in a strategy, and Tactics the micro, the pieces used in a Strategy.

    Maybe I’m reversed though, but at this point it just seems to be arguing semantics.

  3. February 10, 2008 4:11 pm

    Maybe I should clarify myself a bit more.

    It’s not just that tactics was plural, it’s always been my belief that a tactic was something employed in an overall Strategy. A tactic is something like moving back and forth really quickly in and out of view of a sentry gun while you take shots at it.

    I guess this could also be labelled a strategy (non-capital S, and yes it does make a difference) which is why I think this is rather arguing semantics as both defenitions of tactic and strategy are so similar.

    About why capitalizing Strategy is important: In science (astrophysics and such) capitalizing Universe and just having universe does make a difference.

  4. February 10, 2008 11:23 pm

    The definitions are similar, but the distinction is important. I’ve always used the terms this way. Years ago when I was active in a Warhammer gaming community, the terms were common parlance and used in the same way Yehuda uses them. It’s an important distinction to make when analyzing and discussing games, from the perspectives of a gamer and a designer both.

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