Undoubtedly the most important wargames book ever published, the von Reisswitz Kriegsspiel rules are unique in that they are rules written by a Prussian . Overly technical rules. The original Kriegsspiel rules for combat are a great piece of history that document real world experience of combat in. Tschischwitz’s version of kriegsspiel was very much like To show these wider deployments, the rules represent.

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Mock battles and games reflecting a contemporary understanding of warfare have been a part of human culture throughout history. Chess is of course the most famous survivor of these games, though not the oldest. Krirgsspiel younger Reisswitz introduced a number of innovations that resulted in a newer game, resulting in a more militarily realistic and useful experience.

He discussed some of these innovations in the foreword to his published rules. Much of what kriegssliel know today about Kriegsspiel is the result of the efforts of Bill Leeson who translated the original rules from German into English and published them inalong with a lot kriegsspiep supporting material and some ideas from later versions of Kriegsspiel to ease its use by modern players. Lewin have also done much to spread the story and the details of the rules and their history. It also introduced what have become war-gaming mainstays like results and reference tables, and the introduction of chance through the use of special dice to determine the results of fire combat, supply rules, the use of a time-distance scale to measure out the passing play of the game, and a neutral umpire.

Furthermore, unlike chess and most previous games, the playing pieces in Kriegsspiel represented actual units of infantry, artillery, cavalry, and other elements of an army and its capabilities. The use of maps led to the decision to set the game at the scale of 1: The playing pieces provided for each player were identified by the same symbols used by the Prussian Army to indicate their location on a military map. A complete set included:. In Kriegsspiel referencing the Prussian army of the era an infantry regiment consisted of three battalions.

A cavalry regiment consisted of four squadrons men totalusually all of the same type, such as cuirassiers or hussars. Manufacturing the Kriegsspiel playing pieces in the same scale as the maps made possible the introduction of another aspect of period battlefield reality — unit formation. During play, a half-battalion could deploy one third of its strength, two platoons, as skirmishers. These would be represented by the addition of skirmish line pieces while retaining the original half battalion playing piece.

However, the pieces representing patrols and other sub-units were larger than scale in order to be more visible on the map. Playing pieces ru,es also be positioned to replicate battlefield formations on the map.

Kriegspiel (chess)

Similar arrangements of the appropriate playing pieces were also described for the different formations used by cavalry, infantry skirmish lines, artillery gun lines, and battery positions. As noted above, smaller exchange pieces were also used to reflect casualties suffered by units during play:. The original Kriegsspiel recommended at least two players and one Umpire for a corps on corps engagement a force of 24 battalions played out on a single map each player being brought to the map in turn as needed.

When there was more than one player participating on a side, the players were to be guided by army practice — one player serving as Commander-in-Chief or Player-Commander and the others taking subordinate roles in accordance with the structure of the force in the scenario. The Umpire had broad and general powers for the management and conduct of the game. Only the Umpire was allowed to actually place and move pieces on the map. He was the only one having full knowledge of the game and its progress.

The Umpire controlled communication between players on the same side who could only speak to each other when their respective pieces on the map were in close proximity paces.

It was the Umpire who determined when a game ended unless it was otherwise specified in the scenario.


Next, each Player-Commander and player as appropriate prepared a brief written plan stating his intended maneuvers, his orders for individual units and for any players in krriegsspiel roles, the intended position of all of his troops and himselfand the designation of all units that would furnish patrols or rkles posts.

The preparation of these memoranda allowed each commander to fully assess his ruled situation while his description of that understanding and his plans would guide the Umpire in conducting the game. If either in the memoranda or the orders, or in any subsequent orders, the Umpire noted a contravention of the general or special ideas, the Umpire would return it to the player for correction.

However, the Umpire was not to intervene in the event of an error or an oversight by either player, such as failing to issue orders to a unit or command. All communication between players was conducted through written messages passed via the Umpire, unless the pieces representing the two players on the map were located within paces of each other. In some situations, the Umpire might decide that subordinate officers or leaders of units represented by the playing pieces would act immediately upon their own initiative, consistent rulss the original orders received from their Player-Commander, and without seeking further orders.


As the Umpire placed or moved units in accordance with the written orders and consistent with the rules and the situation, he also noted the relative positions of the two forces and identified any units that would be able to see or could be seen by opposing units.

Once one or more of the units come into combat with units of the opposing force, the Umpire was required to return to playing a single turn at a time. The Umpire or an assistant tracked changes to the terrain, such as the destruction or construction of bridges or fortifications, the occupation of villages, etc. It is essential that there should be complete confidence in his impartiality and knowledge of the rules.

A Kriegsspiel game turn represented the passage of two minutes time on the game map. The complete sequence of events within a single turn was as follows:. Kriegsspiel provided for executing actions other than movement within the two minutes of each turn, for example infantry changing formation.

The rules make the point that all proposed movements ordered by the players are to be reviewed by the Umpire to determine whether urles are actually possible, with reference to the rules and related tables that govern movement. The movements ordered are also reviewed for consistency with new or still applicable krifgsspiel issued orders given to the relevant units.

Kriegsspiel reduced the movement of units passing through light woods or going up a five or 10 degree slope or down a five degree slope. The Umpire was authorized to modify any given march rate if he deemed it necessary under specific circumstances.

Another factor affecting march rates was the width of roads, bridges, and archways which might create a bottleneck that would require a unit to change formation in order to pass through at a walk pace. The rules recommended that several of the dividers provided with the game apparatus be set for specific movement distances in order to facilitate quick and accurate measurement and speed play, as well as avoiding disputes about distances over the map. The rules also noted that when moving a large number of units deployed together in the same line, movement kriwgsspiel be measured only for the two units at each end of the line.

Once these had been placed in their new positions on the map, the other units making up the line could be quickly moved into the appropriate positions. The Umpire was also reminded that marching columns tend to spread out especially as such movements continued through several turns.

Kriegsspiel was designed to provide the information appropriate to the command level represented within a given scenario. Information presented by the Umpire was generally intended to accurately reflect the information that would be available to a senior commander, based upon his own eyes and ears, and upon the reporting via courier that could be expected to come from subordinate commanders and units.

Players were dependent upon the Umpire for information of almost every kind. However, the rules could not prevent a Player-commander from becoming too enmeshed at an inappropriate command level, nor did they require the Kriegsspiek to address such issues during the play of a game. The Player-Commander would be allowed to see friendly and enemy units on the game map that the Umpire concluded could be seen by his units or about which he had received information from subordinate commanders either via couriers whose movement was controlled by the Umpire or in face-to-face conversation.

He might also roughly calculate the current strength of his own visible units. Kriegsspiel called for the Umpire or an assistant to record unit losses as they occurred. While such a record was apparently not available to the players, the playing pieces themselves reflected varying unit strengths.

Time on the map versus the real world time was displayed by means of a simple chalkboard easily visible to all. However, this did not appear to prevent an Umpire from concluding that the introduction of inaccurate information would reflect confusion or error on the part of a subordinate commander or unit, nor was the Umpire required to correct information exchanged between players.

Players were tasked with deciding where their forces would go on the map and what they would do while en route or when they get to the designated point on the map.

They decided when to order combat to begin, against which enemy units, how to respond to an attack, when to resist, when to flee, and when to attempt to disengage.

Kriegspiel (chess) – Wikipedia

There were few limits within the rules on how detailed a player could make his orders with regard to the employment of the forces under his command.

Since players usually represented army, corps, and division commanders, and possibly the occasional brigade commander, they had only indirect control over combat situations via the written messages dispatched to the subordinate on the scene unless the Player-Commander was actually considered to be present at the point of combat.

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Primarily a battle game, Kriegsspiel could replicate what today would be called the operational level of war. The only events envisioned by the game designers, and probably by most of their players, were those expected to kruegsspiel place in the vicinity of or on a battlefield, or otherwise in association with the activity of armed troops. There were no provisions for the inclusion of socio-political or economic events of any kind nor for interaction between military units and civilian populations.

This work was by Prussian military reformer General Gerhard J D von Scharnhorst and colleagues drew upon the results of weapons firing trials conducted over the period of to The trials considered such questions as the effective range of cannons and howitzers, the penetration of wooden targets by shot and shrapnel, the range and effect of various small arms, and the probability of hits against various targets.

Included were comparison tests conducted at Potsdam in of several different infantry muskets used by the Prussians. A single rank of 10 men, standing shoulder to shoulder in close formation, fired twenty rounds at an average rate of fire of two to two kriegssplel one-half rounds per minute against a one-inch thick piece of spruce-wood, six foot high, and feet long.

The infantry fire system was based upon the half battalion, men in three ranks, which had a value of 90 hit points by way of contrast a platoon of tirailleurs75 men, was worth 15 points if in line but 50 points in skirmish order which made them a much more difficult target. Reisswitz noted in his introduction to Kriegsspiel how widely results on the drill or practice field could vary from those on the battlefield.

He therefore determined that the best possible results on the firing tables in Kriegsspiel would be one half of the average result as reported by Scharnhorst. Dice I and II were for use in resolving infantry fire while III and V were used in resolving artillery fire, and all five together to resolve hand to hand combat. Kriegsspuel die faces were based upon mriegsspiel set of possible outcomes, evenly divided between good and bad though variable results.

The right hand column on Die II was for two platoons of line infantry firing as skirmishers under good cover. The notes below Table III give the adjustment to be applied to the results given in the table when the firing unit fired only a single volley instead of repeating its fire for the entire two minutes of the turn. Each hit point varied in worth according to the formation the target unit was in when fired upon:. The basic artillery piece in Kriegsspiel represented a half-battery of four guns with a maximum range of 1, to 2, paces.

The game apparatus included a ruled for measuring artillery ranges on the game map. Krirgsspiel edge was marked for heavy artillery and the other side for light artillery including the 7 lb howitzer battery. It also indicated dules nature of the artillery fire, i. The set rate of fire for close range and low elevation firing was three rounds per minute, two rounds per minute for high elevation firing, and three rounds per minute for bouncing shot. The Umpire would make a single die roll for each battery firing upon the target.

As previously noted, two dice were for resolving artillery fire attacks. Die III was for artillery or howitzer fire judged to have good effect and Die V was for artillery or howitzers judged to have fired to bad effect. Therefore, players were placed in doubt as to the outcome of any close combat as Kriegsspiel again turned to the dice to determine the outcomes of close combat which Leeson reproduced as shown below.

When a player intended to attack in close combat, he informed the Umpire. The Umpire moved the unit up to or as near to striking distance as possible at its current march rate.

The Umpire asked the defending commander whether the target unit would stand, withdraw, or counter attack. If the decision was to stand or to counter attack, the Umpire assessed the possibilities for the attacker and the defender to actually execute their orders and their overall chances for success. Kriegsspiel discouraged hand-to-hand combat at odds greater than 3: If the attack proceeded, the Umpire rolled the die to determine the result.

The following table prepared by Bill Leeson shows how the Umpire decided which die to use:. The left hand column indicates which Kriegsspiel die is reproduced along that row. The row at the top of the table shows the six possible results as a standard six-sided die roll.

The number above each circle shows the points lost by each infantry half-battalion or by each of two platoons of skirmishers engaged. The numbers below show the loss per cavalry squadron engaged. Leesonamended by author.