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Post  hammurabi70 Mon Aug 17, 2009 11:21 am

Nothing But My Sword: The Life of James Keith

I am currently reading this and it contains a reference to a Kriegsspiel-type of activity being used by Friedrich II (the Great) in the 1750s. Shocked Has anybody heard about this and can comment on it?

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Post  Guy Thu Sep 24, 2009 11:03 pm

It rings a bell but I can't think where from.
I thought it might be in Andrew Wilson's 'War Gaming' Penguin 1970, but it isn't although there are fleeting references to other 18th Century (and even 17th Century) forerunners of the Prussian experience.
Charles Grant in his introduction to 'The War Game' A&C Black 1971 mentions the fact that Louis XIII and XIV had model soldiers as did Frederick the Great and various Czars but omits to mention whether they used them for gaming.
Any luck in tracking it down anybody?

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Post  Martin Mon Sep 28, 2009 4:59 pm

This isn't much help I know, but I recall a reference (somewhere) that there had been several military games produced in the 18th C, but they had all been two-player games, based on styalised maps with a square grid.



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pre-Kriegsspiel Empty JC Hellwig's Kriegsspiel of 1780

Post  King_Rufus Sat Feb 21, 2015 1:01 pm

Do we know about Hellwig's Kriegsspiel HERE?

Wikipedia records that "Johann Christian Ludwig Hellwig (8 November 1743 in Garz/Rügen – 10 October 1831 in Braunschweig) was a German entomologist and wargame designer. After studies of mathematics and natural history at the university of Frankfurt, he became, in 1766, adviser to prince Wilhelm Adolf von Braunschweig at the time of his voyage in the south of Russia. In 1771, he taught in two colleges of Brunswick then he became professor of philosophy of the university of Helmstadt. In 1790, he taught mathematics and natural science at the military academy of Braunschweig, where famously he was the "Master of Pages" (Pagenhofmeister). His attempts to instruct the young in military sciences inspired his work on wargames. He was the tutor and the father-in-law of the German entomologist Johann Karl Wilhelm Illiger (1775-1813), who became director of the zoological garden of Berlin, of the mineralogist Gottlieb Peter Sillem (who succeeded him at the school of Braunschweig) and the count Johann Centurius Hoffmannsegg (1766-1849). His work in the taxonomy of the insects in collaboration with Illiger and Hoffmannsegg is famous and was the entomological origin of the collections of the University of Berlin.

He was also the inventor of kriegsspiel (literally war game), a sophisticated variant of chess which had much success in its time. Hellwig published the first edition of his Kriegsspiel in 1780 as Versuch eines aufs Schachspiel gebaueten taktischen Spiels von zwey und mehreren Personen zu spielen, or "Attempt to build upon chess a tactical game which two or more persons might play."[1] His objective was to try to create a chess-like game that better reflected the military science of the day, especially the behavior of infantry, cavalry and artillery. His initial kriegsspiel vastly expanded the chess board (he usually employed a board of 49 ranks by 33 files, for 1617 squares) and radically changed the behavior of pieces, as well as introducing several new pieces. Rather than depicting only the abstract space of chess, his board had varying terrain types, including mountains, swamps and water squares. Rather than capturing the king to win, one had to occupy an enemy fortress. Hellwig further refined his game over the next twenty years, publishing in 1803 his revised Das Kriegsspiel, which dispensed with the trappings of chess entirely and substituted for chess pieces new units representing the military branches of his era. His game spawned numerous contemporary imitators, and its fundamental innovations formed the basis of the hobby board wargames pioneered by Avalon Hill in the twentieth century.

Followers of the current Peninsula campaign may find it interesting that he was a zoologist as well as a wargamer!

There is a picture on the net which seemingly purports to be of Hellwigs Kriegsspiel set:
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Last edited by King_Rufus on Sun Feb 22, 2015 11:34 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post  Mr. Digby Sat Feb 21, 2015 2:51 pm

Very interesting. The name is misleading though. We've come to understand "Kriegspiel" to be a double blind game played with an umpire. This game is literally a war game and hence in German it gets given the same name, but it's not a Kriegspiel as we understand it since it has no umpire.

As the Wiki article concludes, the modern board war game devolved into the hex-map system championed by companies like Avalon Hill in the 1970s. These too are not Kriegspiel as we understand it.
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pre-Kriegsspiel Empty Some more history

Post  Tim Carne Mon Feb 23, 2015 5:55 pm

See this earlier post if you are interested.

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