05 September 2011

A "History" of Wargaming?

So the guys at Foreign Policy magazine drop this "history"/timeline called War Games: A Short History on unsuspecting readers.

Ever since the first warrior picked up a wooden stick in imitation of a sword, the line between war and entertainment has been decidedly blurry. Military training in ancient Greece and chivalric Europe gave rise to the Olympics and medieval jousting tournaments; paintball guns and video games have become tools for honing the skills of today's soldiers. The realm of strategy, however, is where games have exerted the most remarkable impact on the conduct of war, serving as a tool for, as one U.S. Army general put it, "writing history in advance."

I leave it to you, dear readers... what are the major events in the history of wargaming that he missed?

I'll start with a few:
- 1954: Avalon Hill Founded
- 1969: SPI Founded
- 1990: Gulf Strike board wargame used to play out multiple strategies for the operations that would become Desert Shield/Storm.

Add your own to the comments below.

By: Brant


besilarius said...

A really seminal moment in gaming was in 1824, I think, when Leutnant von Reittwitz of the Prussian Guard Artillery got the Prussian Army's Quartermaster General, von Muffling(?), to try his Kriegspiell. Halfway through the map exercise, von Muffling exclaimed, "This is not a game, it is a training for war!" He was as good as his word, and in a short time each Prussian regiment had its own set of pieces and rules for playing von Reittwitz's Kriegspiel.
One enthusiastic gamer was Helmuth von Moltke who formed a club, Kriegspiel Verein.
Although there was a long period of time between European wars in the nineteenth century, one advantage of the Prussians was they had a game that let them confront the problems of field command.

Brant said...

look in the article under the 1811 bullet heading...

Brian said...

I think the Generation Gap between waves of wargamers is showing here... wargamers are supposed to know so much more history than the average Joe, but it appears this one's forgotten his own.

Anonymous said...

I'd probably add the development and release of the free FPS game America's Army by the US Army as an interesting moment in wargaming history, if only because it reflected a conscious decision by the military to turn to gaming for recruiting purposes.

Jack Nastyface