Another RAND note, this time from 1985. William Jones wrote On Free-Form Gaming based on his decades of experience working on gaming at RAND.
This is a 55 page document, but it is so dense with practical insights into gaming procedures that it is almost impossible to summarize adequately. Anyone looking for a better understanding of gaming techniques is well advised to find a copy somehow. It is not available for free online at this time, but it is available through interlibrary loan for those with access. The price at RAND is steep for 55 pages ($20.70), but quite possibly worth it.
Jones focused mainly on two-team games, like the classic crisis games (mentioned previously here and here, but his suggestions and insights pertain to any team structure, and he discussed several alternative structures in the course of the note. One interesting detail is that his vision of free-form gaming involved set move periods, requiring each team to produce a comprehensive set of instructions by the end of the move period. There was no opportunity to take action on the part of the teams (besides making specific requests for information to the control team) during the move period, meaning that "game time" effectively did not advance during the teams' deliberations. After the move period, the control team would assess what the timeframe and situation would be at the start of the next move period. That required them to assemble all of the teams' move papers, decide what the results of the requested actions would be, decide on when to advance the game time until (based on their view of the next interesting point for study), and produce new scenario papers for the next move period.
In contrast, using computer systems (like the ICONS project's web-based software, but more on this another time), exercises today can more easily allow teams the option for action during moves, implicitly or explicitly advancing "game time" during the move period. That probably creates a very different atmosphere within the teams. It also opens the door to diplomatic interaction between teams, something very difficult to manage if move orders are only processed at the end of each move period.
This is an excellent paper. Rather than try to go into further detail now, I'll refer to it when discussing things in the future, since there is something related to almost every aspect of pol/mil gaming.
UPDATE: Alert reader persis notes in the comments that this paper is now available for free download at RAND. Go get it!