There is often confusion as to what is and what isn't a war game, as there is no universally accepted definition. At the Naval War College, we consider an exercise to be an activity designed to rehearse or practice, with actual forces or assigned staff, specific sets of procedures. Similarly confusing is the term 'seminar': an event with the primary goal of presenting, exchanging, discussing and/or gaining information. 'Seminar' and 'seminar game' are often incorrectly interchanged. A seminar event might use a round table discussion, a panel of experts, a single presenter with Q&A, or a game format. The extent to which the game "play" directly contributes to the seminar's objective tends to determine if you have a seminar using a game format, or a game using a seminar format. Another misused term is 'workshop': an event similar to a seminar, but with a specific product (the 'deliverable') to be developed during the activity by the participants. While these events may use gaming techniques, in and of themselves, they are not strictly games. Likewise, some organizations will refer to war games as "experiments." An experiment is a repeatable scientific method designed to test a hypothesis.
A hypothesis is proposed as an explanation for an observed phenomenon. Independent and dependent variables are defined, controls are established, multiple tests are run, actual outcomes compared to expected outcomes, repeat, etc. In this light, war gaming does not fit this model, though the term "experiment" is often casually used without strict adherence to its scientific definition in reference to games. Finally, a model is generally thought of as a representation of something, often on a smaller scale. It can be rendered in a variety of ways: physically such as with clay or plastic, or virtually such as a computer model of a jet fighter. When that model begins to interact with other models, or when we wish to represent the model's behavior within a complex synthetic environment, we now have a simulation. While they can be used as tools to support games, by themselves, models and simulations (or M&S) are not games.