Author Topic: Tabletop Wargaming's 200th anniversary  (Read 2980 times)

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Offline Scion_of_Terra

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Tabletop Wargaming's 200th anniversary
« on: July 03, 2012, 05:06:25 AM »
This year marks the 200th anniversary of the invention of the tabletop wargame.  In 1812, a Prussian army lieutenant named Georg Leopold von Reiswitz created the simply-titled Kriegsspiel (Wargame, for you non-German-speakers), and promoted it as a way to train young officers.  The game was exceedingly popular amongst the Prussians, and later enjoyed overseas success when it had been translated.  The game was played using blocks painted in traditional military designations for infantry, artillery, cavalry, etc. over a grid created from pre-formed terrain tiles made to look like hills, rivers, forests, and meadows.  It established a number of conventions used in later games, including unique movement rules for each unit type (including the provision that units could 'run'), turn time limits (2 minutes!) and a complex series of rules for determining the outcomes of combats using dice.  The game required a minimum of three participants (two players and a GM), and later expansions, similar to Apocalypse, allowed up to five players on a team.  Reportedly the Kaiser and his generals would spend many long nights 'conducting exercises' with Kriegsspiel.

The game is still published by TooFatLardies, a gaming company based in England, for those of you jonesing for something really retro.

The following links to an article detailing the game.  It's in German, but there are pictures.
http://www.boardgamestudies.info/pdf/issue3/BGS3Hilgers.pdf

(And to forestall any complaints, I consider chess to be a boardgame, an admittedly subtle distinction)
Out ride the sons of Terra
Far drives the thundering jet
Up leaps a race of Earthmen
Out, far, and onwards yet
-RAH