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Interested in Kriegspiel

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Post  turnerco on Wed Feb 04, 2015 5:54 pm

I have wargamed for over 30 years and am interested in Kriegspiel for something different.

Now, my vision is doing a battle like Waterloo or a ACW battle.

So how many blocks to do you need and at what scale to do that using the 1824 rules?

What would the blocks cost? One manufacturer that I contacted did not send any data on that.




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Post  kg little mac on Wed Feb 04, 2015 8:53 pm

Check out that thread, some useful links there. I hope.
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Post  turnerco on Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:09 pm

I had seen those sources but no one seems to be able to say "how many blocks" you need for "battle X" or at what unit scale - does usually Kriegspiel work at a regiment or battalion level in most cases?? Half-battalion?

Hence if you wanted to game Ligny or Gettysburg how many of what types do you need?

That is the general question, I have plenty of room for maps!!! I just need to know what to buy........




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Post  Mr. Digby on Wed Feb 04, 2015 10:53 pm

I haven't played the 1824 rules, most of the KS games I've been involved in used the Prussian system of 2 sides and an umpire team but the rules used were simpler and usually homemade.

I assume the original Reisswitz rules were flexible and what each block represented depended on the scale of the map being used and the 'level' of the tactical problem being set for the officers under training. If the officers were company commanders the blocks most likely represented platoons. If the training was at division level the blocks would represent battalions. I think the artillery blocks represented a half-battery (4 guns in the Prussian army).

I suppose how many blocks do I need? Is the same question as how long a piece of string do I need? You get as many as you want! A battle the size of Waterloo should, I think not go below battalion side manouver units and might even work at brigade level units. Much will depend on what map you use. A highly detailed map showing every window of Hougoumont and every rock in the sandpit will need battalion sized blocks.

Ultimately you need a good OOB of the two sides in the battle (fairly easily found) and start counting batteries, squadrons and battalions. A few extra blocks may be needed for detached skirmish companies if you really want to go to that level of detail but in a battle with 170,000 odd-men involved I would say that level of detail isn't needed, unless you have a month of spare time to play this in!

Is this thinking any help?

The other Martin - Charles Reille, le dernier Maréchal de France.

"Any hussar who has not got himself killed by the age of 30 is a jackass." - Antoine Charles Louis Lasalle, commander of Napoleon's light cavalry, killed in battle at Wagram 6 July 1809, aged 34.

"I had forgotten there was an objective." - Generallieutenant Mikhail Borozdin I
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Post  Martin on Thu Feb 05, 2015 2:00 pm

Hi Turneco

The 1824 rules used 2 blocks per battalion, 2 per battery, and 1 per squadron.  There were also smaller blocks for skirmish platoons, cavalry patrols etc

However the battalions were 900 strong, and not many battalions at Waterloo were anything like that.  When our group has fought larger Napoleonic engagements, we have used 1 block per battalion and 1 per battery, without any problem.  You still need a lot of blocks however.  The French fielded 103 battalions, 113 squadrons, and 34 batteries.  So that’s c250 blocks for just one side.

In the Prussian game the infantry and cavalry were organised as regiments (often of 3 battalions or 4 squadrons) rather than brigades, although these appear to have operated something like the latter.  

The original Prussian KS sets, which were distributed to each regiment were focused on smaller scale engagements.  The idea was to train junior officers in command of larger bodies of troops.  So Lieutenants and captains might be in command of regiments or divisional-sized forces, and the umpire team might be led by a major.

Various rule-sets were subsequently published during the 19th C in many languages but, like the Prussian originals, were not really designed for very large battles.  There are some indications that these were occasionally staged however, at least in the early days of the game in Prussia.  If so, my guess is that they used more practical streamlined rules for these, but I have never seen any.  Perhaps there is still something in the German archives?

As Digby suggests, you have to avoid too much detail in order to run a large battle, or it will never finish.  When we have run very large games between several corps a side, we have used our own rules, which I think you can find on the website.  These use the brigade as the lowest unit of manoeuvre.  We sometimes use counters (printed on thick acetate), but you could instead use 1 troop block per brigade.  If you do that, you need to use a smaller scale map (or just reduce the published A3 KS maps to A4).

Hope that helps.

Martin (J)


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Post  midgetmanifesto on Fri Feb 06, 2015 1:21 am

My friend who has mostly developed a convention rule set has a rule of thumb worth considering. He argues that a player shouldn't have more than 12 maneuver elements or things bog down substantially. Consider this is for a table top war game meant to be played to completion within a 4 hour time block by people unfamiliar with the rules.

Since encountering this argument, I'm very much aware of games that break this rule, and how the time to play seems to explode. So consider your playing time allotment & the number of players you have available to help inform the total number of maneuver elements. Use that to inform yourself how big each element should be.


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Post  MJ1 on Fri Feb 06, 2015 5:56 pm

Great rule of thumb!


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Post  Father General on Fri Feb 06, 2015 11:45 pm


Where are you located? If you're in So Cal, I have some excellent news for you. If not, I hope we can still serve as a resource for you.

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