[Yahoo News] The German board game that changed the face of war

I’m in the process of reading this, but figured I’d share the link because it’s been an interesting (and alarmingly short on citations) read so far.


I‘ve heard about the Nazis using Kriegsspiel(e) before but never read anything as in-depth about it. I never thought it was a single game with one set of rules but just a bunch of simulation rules. Thanks :slight_smile: Also I didn‘t know about Little Wars. Now I guess we need to google up some references of our own.

Here is one:

Here‘s the Kriegsspiel Entry:

According to wikipedia the first prototype had a modular board!

Reisswitz did not want to present the king a table of damp sand, so he set about constructing a more impressive apparatus. In 1812, Reisswitz presented to the king a wooden table-cabinet. The cabinet’s drawers stored all the materials to play the game. The cabinet came with a folding board which, when unfolded and placed on top of the cabinet, provided a gaming surface about six feet by six feet in size. Instead of sculpted sand, the battlefield was made out of porcelain tiles, upon which terrain features were depicted in painted bas-relief. The tiles were modular and could be arranged on the table surface to create a custom battlefield (the scale was 1:2373[1]). Troop formations were represented by little porcelain blocks. The blocks could be moved across the battlefield in a free-form manner; dividers and rulers were used to regulate movement.

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Hmm, every military force was using wargaming to some extent by 1930; if anything using original Kriegsspiel per se would have been a sign that they were out of date. But I suspect every wargaming system used by the German military got called that.

(At my first Essen I was told that I shouldn’t cal OGRE a “Kriegsspiel” but rather a “Strategiespiel”.)


This reminds me of the WarGame room used somewhere in Liverpool by the Royal Navy to work out the U-Boats tactics in the North Atlantic, and where and how to send their convoys, there was a documentary made a few years ago, I will look up the link later.