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"Kriegsspiel – How a 19th Century Table-Top War Game" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP09 Oct 2019 11:58 a.m. PST

…. Changed History.

"STRATEGY GAMES have a long and storied history. Ancient kings and generals in the Far East honed their war-fighting skills with xiangqi and shogi. Seventh-century India gave the world chaturanga, a forerunner of chess. In the Roman Empire, it was latrunculi.

The first modern military simulation was Kriegsspiel. A table-top war game, it was pioneered in 19th Century Prussia and used to transform that nation into most powerful fighting force in Europe. It was the brainchild of Lieutenant Georg Leopold von Reiswitz and his son Georg Heinrich Rudolf von Reiswitz.

Kreigsspiel, which enabled opposing ‘generals' to fight a simulated set-piece battle, established several conventions of war gaming that still hold true to the present day. It used topographical maps, dice and featured gaming elements that simulated the ‘fog of war.' Colour-coded opposing armies in the form of red and blue counters and codified rules for movement and combat were also part of the game. Complex scenarios could see up 10 players divided between two sides, each one assuming the role of regimental commanders and reporting to an overseeing general-in-chief. Umpires could preside over these large games to enforce the rules…"
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Bowman23 Oct 2019 5:43 a.m. PST

I'm a little dubious about claiming that Kriegspiel was the father of modern wargaiming. Yes it was played by German officers and then spread to military officers and royalty of other countries. And most male royalty were military officers anyway.

What you have to show is that this game filtered down and became familiar with civilian players. No one, in my understanding has shown this, not like the acceptance of Wells' Little Wars, for example.

And suggesting that the German Staff's familiarity with Kriespiel caused them to employ new tactics, ensuring their victory in the Franco-Prussian war? Does that sound right? I'd have thought these new tactics developed because of the importance in technical weapon development and differences in the attitudes between the German and French High Commands. That sort of thing.

Be happy to be shown if I'm wrong.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP26 Oct 2019 2:58 p.m. PST



Personal logo McLaddie Supporting Member of TMP28 Oct 2019 4:33 p.m. PST

A great deal of the mechanics filtered out to wargame designers in the 19th Century, and H.G.Wells' approach to wargaming, the rules and combat has antecedents in the wargames inspired by Kriegspiel [apart from shooting corks from toy cannons… You see Wells talking about a number of Kriegspiel mechanics in his efforts to create a wargame for the British military…

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