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Recreational Wargaming...Early Wargames

Verdy cover Verdy's Free Kriegspiel including the Victorian Army’s 1896 War Game 03 March 2008
by John Curry and Verdy Du Vernois
Note: These were previously published as the Victorian Army's Kriegspiel Rules and the War Office 1896 Rules for the Conduct of the Wargame

There were two books that were very influential in the start of British military wargaming in the 19th Century, J.R. MacDowell' book in 1886 was the second of them. This is a books includes his translation of the classic German Kriegsspiel text, the Prussian General J. von Verdy du Vernois 'Beitrag Zum Kriegsspeil'.

This challenged the evergrowing complexity of the orignal Kriegsspiel rules by suggesting that no rules were necessary. This idea later became known as 'Free Kriegsspiel' and as such was the basis of the development of the strategic wargames used from 1900 onwards.

This book includes the classic translation of the 1896 Prussian 'Free Kriegspiel', describes why and how to run the war game with a minimum of rules

  • A historical introduction
  • Guidance on how to play a Kriegspiel
  • The Victorian Army's 1896 Kriegspiel Rules
  • Appendices on:
  • Rates of advance
  • Daily march rates
  • Identification distances
  • military use of railways
  • Battle planning times 1940- present day
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Product details:     
163 pages
History of Wargaming    Project
     Dimensions (cm):
15.6 wide x 23.39 tall 

  Comment from Richard Mader "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.

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