Kriegsspiel

Kriegsspiel

Kriegsspiel [kreeg-speel] (German: ‘wargame’) was a system used for training officers in the Prussian army. The first set of rules was created in 1812 and named ‘Instructions for the Representation of Tactical Maneuvers under the Guise of a Wargame.’ It was originally produced and developed further by Lieutenant Georg Leopold von Reiswitz and his son Georg Heinrich Rudolf von Reiswitz of the Prussian Army. Their system for simulating war was initially based around a specially designed table created for King Friedrich Wilhelm III.

The table divided the game field into a grid system, a core element of many later wargame and roleplaying systems, and included different pre-cast terrain types used in modular combinations, as well as making use of special gaming pieces and dice. The system also included a position called ‘confidant,’ an impartial third party calculating and assessing the moves, analogous to the modern gamemaster or dungeon master.

The rules set, which was modified several times, established several conventions for wargaming which hold true to the present day, such as the use of maps, color coding the opposing armies as red and blue, using umpires, and uniform, complex rules for movement and combat Map scale was 1:8000 and the time scale was 2 minutes per one turn. Blocks were used to represent units, which had different movement speeds (measured with the use of special compass) and which could even engage in short sprints. In addition to the confidant, a total of up to 10 players could play (with two sides in the conflict). The rules assumed a hierarchy of command between the different players, and even stipulated that if different units were out of sight of each other, players were not allowed to communicate commands.

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