Chess to Kriegsspiel

Wargames have origins in ancient strategy empire of games, particularly Chess. It originated as Chaturanga, created in ancient India as a simulation of Indian warfare, with pieces representing infantry, cavalry, chariots and war elephants. In Europe, from the late 18th century to the 19th century, chess variants evolved into modern wargames.

Drawing inspiration from Chess, Hellwig, Master of Pages to the Duke of Brunswick, created a battle emulation game in 1780. According to Max Boot’s book War Made New, sometime between 1803 and 1809, the Prussian General Staff developed war games, with staff officers moving metal pieces around on a game table, using dice rolls to indicate random chance and with a referee scoring the results.

Increasingly realistic variations became part of military training in the 19th century in many nations, and were called Kriegsspiel or “wargame”. Wargames or military exercises remain an important part of military training today.

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