Kriegsspiel at King’s College, LondonPosted: November 28, 2014
The session lasted from 1.00pm until 5.00pm and was split into three parts.
- Part 1: A briefing that explained how the game worked (e.g. the placing of the opposing player teams in separate rooms, the sequence of play, and the role of the umpires).
- Part 2: The wargames were fought. (There were sufficient players and umpires for two games to be fought simultaneously.)
- Part 3: A debriefing where the umpires described the course of each wargame. This was followed by feedback from the players and a general discussion about the game’s design.
The wargames dealt with the situation in North Western Europe from 20th August to 18th September 1914, and were a re-run of the game Professor Sabin designed and ran at a conference that was held in Windsor Castle earlier this year.
The wargame had six turns, each turn representing five days. The map was made up of a number of large hexes, each hex containing a large town or city … or a forest. Each of the playing pieces/units represented three corps, and they could move one hex each turn. These units could be either ‘fresh’ (i.e. able to attack) or ‘spent’ (i.e. in need of reinforcement before they could attack again).
The letters shown on the map indicate the starting positions of each of the three-corps blocks at the start of the battle. Uppercase letters indicate fresh units and lowercase letter indicate spent units (i.e. units that need to be reinforced before that can attack again).
I was a member of one of the two Allied teams, and we managed to win our wargame. (We were either lucky or out-generalled our opponents, depending upon your point of view. My personal opinion was that we chose the right basic strategy … and had a few lucky breaks.)
The mapboard at one point during the game. The dark blue units are the French, the red unit is the British BEF, and the green unit is the Belgian Army. The yellow blocks indicate where we thought the fresh German units were, and the slips of paper are the assumed locations of German ‘spent’ units. Our positioning of the German units turned out to be less accurate than we had hoped … but not drastically so.
At the end of the session Professor Sabin gave each of us a copy of the rules, a copy of a simplified version of the game that came be played by two people (entitled SCHLIEFFEN), and a copy of his very short and simple solo wargame, TAKE THAT HILL!
All-in-all it was a great way to spend a Thursday afternoon … and I hope that the opportunity to do something similar will occur again very soon.