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Location of the original 1812 kriegsspiel set

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Location of the original 1812 kriegsspiel set

Post  Martin on Tue Apr 07, 2015 8:31 pm

New member Martin Tomczak writes as follows:

I thought you might be interested in the following:

The original Kriegsspiel equipment presented to King Frederick William III in 1812 can be seen on the ground floor of the "Neuer Fluegel" at Scloss Charlottenburg in Berlin. I came across this in a 2009 article on the website of the magazine "Der Spiegel" - you can find it on Google with "Der Spiegel kriegsspiel"

The article describes how the Reisswitz game started the process that has led to role-playing games like "World of Warcraft" today. There are nine photographs with the article, four of the Reisswitz equipment including some of the playing pieces, five of present-day role-playing games.

The historian Philipp von Hilgers who is referred to in the article, has written a book about the 1,000 year-long effort by military men and mathematicians to simulate war - "Kriegsspiele" ISBN 978-3-506-76553-6, published by Ferdinand Schoeningh. He was able to examine the 1812 equipment in detail.

I hope this is of interest to you,

Martin later wrote......

I saw a reference to an English-language version, and find that an English edition was published in 2012 by MIT Press- "War Games. A History of War on Paper" 240pp ISBN 9780262016971 Hardback $30.00/£20.95 Publishers page at


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Re: Location of the original 1812 kriegsspiel set

Post  Leffe7 on Wed Apr 08, 2015 7:13 pm

thanks for pointing to that article.
The Spiegel article is fun and easy stuff. Some links to todays games are a bit stretched off course. But I like the idea that Reisswitz kriegsspiel was also an RPG.
I always like it when in our SOWGB games the players are "in-character". And not only maximizing their score or attacking blindly.

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Re: Location of the original 1812 kriegsspiel set

Post  Mr. Digby on Wed Apr 08, 2015 8:09 pm

I am a little skeptical of Herr Reisswitz intending his games to include role-playing as we know it today. Of course his student officers were given the roles of company or battalion commanders, etc so in that respect they were playing a role different to their real military rank but this is not role-playing as the modern world understands the term. The officers still responded "as themselves" and did not assume a different persona which is the modern understanding. Someone who dared role-play a stubborn officer who hated officer x because said officer had married the woman he loved and therefore refused to obey orders from him would have not lasted 10 minutes in a military training exercise!

I would say that the Reisswitz game is the grand-father of all modern wargames (board, miniature figures and digital) but that today's RPGs (including WoW) stem from far more modern roots - namely the fertile mind of Gary Gygax and the D&D explosion of the 1970s.

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
Mr. Digby

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