226: Wargaming Through the Ages

Wargaming Through the Ages

First-person shooters and RTSs may be modern inventions, but they're really only the latest in a long line of games that attempt to simulate the experience of combat. Greg Tito offers an overview of the history of wargames, from Ancient Egypt's Senet to Prussia's Kriegsspiel.

Read Full Article

A fascinating look at the history & evolutions of wargames.

They continue to evolve both on the battlefield and the tabletop. Modern warfare involves unmanned combat drones, guns that can shoot around corners & through walls and naval railguns with the kind of firepower that'd make the guns of Navarone look like water pistols.

On the tabletop, consider StarCraft the Board Game, which replicates the RTS experience without needing a LAN or Internet connection to play with your friends. The board is set up differently every time the game is played, players generate resources and research new technologies rather than having the exact same types of units throughout the game and battles are as much about strategic planning & tactical advantage as they are random chance.

Just as an example.

I really enjoyed this artice. It's surprising how similar the older games are to things that exist now.

Speaking as a tabletop wargamer I have to make the point that people play wargames for different reasons. The more realistic wargames played by actual soldiers were obviously played to help them in real combat situations, however most wargamers today, myself included, play wargames for fun. We treat them more like a game, wheras the soldiers treat them more like a war.

Thank you for this most interesting read.

Excellent article! Educated as an Historian this is fascinating stuff. Also it's remarkable that the computer has made it possible for practically anyone to play wargames. In the past it was only possible for a chosen few.

This article was awesome!

A very interesting look at the history of wargames.

Now I have yet another argument as to why RTS/TBS's are the best genre of them all :P

A very interesting article, even to one such as myself, who cares little for the movement of neither meticulously painted pieces nor painfully well rendered polygons on hexagonal grids. It's interesting to notice how games have been serious business for most of history (and sports, naturally, remain so).

I'm trying to remember when the first fantasy wargame came out, which later spawned the RPG. It's amusing when you think of how old some things seem, only to find out that they are a lot newer than originally expected. I was unaware of just how much wargaming was in history, because it's not really common knowledge.

I understand that the topic is very clearly limited to chess-like games, but I still think that Go (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_(game)) should have been mentioned at some point. Even as a sidenote. I still use the basic mentality and tactics of Go in many other strategy games: on tabletop or computer.

Otherwise it was a very nice reading.

Very interesting indeed.

The genre I find most similar to "Krigspiel", which by and large realisticly covers the elements of a battlefield, IE the fog of war, artillery cover etc, is the RTS. It seems as a logical connection to the board games which are mentioned in this article.

Again, a very interesting read. Well done.

Presenting: the 2000 year old d20 (game die): http://vikingkittens.com/ancient_die.html

image

Interesting read. By the way, how did you manage to join in 1969?

zagzag:
I really enjoyed this artice. It's surprising how similar the older games are to things that exist now.

Speaking as a tabletop wargamer I have to make the point that people play wargames for different reasons. The more realistic wargames played by actual soldiers were obviously played to help them in real combat situations, however most wargamers today, myself included, play wargames for fun. We treat them more like a game, wheras the soldiers treat them more like a war.

It's kind of funny how the road goes both ways. After a few years in the U.S. Army, my usage of cover, 3-5 second rushes, etc. have helped my tabletop and keyboard-based wargaming skills.

I feel compelled to pick a nit. Warhammer doesn't fall into the category of boardgame like Risk but it's definitely a war game.

Great article none-the-less. Keep up the great work, guys!

Absolutely fascinating. I've never really wondered about the origin of wargames, but this interested me no end.

Nice to learn more about the history of some of these enduring wargames. I had a rousing 12 hour battle of Axis and Allies not long ago that I was thoroughly winning until I got "zergling rushed" as it were and all my glorious bombers were destroyed on the ground. Le sigh.

For further information on the History of Table top wargaming, see the History of Wargaming Project, at www.johncurryevents.co.uk

Having read this, I want a go at the wargame that the prussian invented!

Interesting article.

Interesting article. Very enjoyable read.

Great article! Brought back memories of playing Stratego with my dad. He's still around but we're both older and don't play many board games anymore. That was definitely my first experience with the 'fog of war' now prevalent in RTS computer games and hard to convey on a board without a ref, umpire, or dungeon master.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here