How Did War Become a Game? -

How Did War Become a Game?

Views: 765779
Like: 30946
Get your first audiobook and two Audible originals when you try Audible for 30 days. Visit or text “Invicta” to 500 500!

In this video we continue to take a look at the history of Kriegsspiel and explore the early days of wargaming that eventually gave rise to modern table top games such as Warhammer and Dungeons & Dragons.

Research: Jon Peterson
Script: Invicta
Narration: Invicta
Artwork: Gabriel Cassata
Editing: Invicta

Playing at the World by Jon Peterson
Debugging Game History: A Critical Lexicon by Henry Lowood
War Games: A History of War on Paper by Philipp von Hilgers
Pluie de Balles – Complex Wargames In the Classroom by Jorit Wintjes and, Steffen Pielstrom



  1. >Be me kid in 19th century prussia
    >Forever umpire
    >Go to friends house after working in the mines to continue month long prussia vs france campaign
    >prussia has been getting pounded
    >prussia friend after assessing situation writes note to me
    “I want to perform a full on attack”
    >french forces put him at a 1:2 disadvantage
    >goes through anyway
    >I tell him to roll
    Mfw prussia friend doesn’t roll shit on any roll
    Mfw prussia friend obliterates french friends forces
    Mfw I die in a coal mine a few days later

  2. Now I understamd why "Battletech a game of armored combat" is so simulationist. It even requires to track i ternal damage to components of your giant combat robots. It can use land an aerial vehicles, infantry and even ships. All that with a lore that has more than 80 novels. If you hear about Battletech or Mechwarrior you are talking about Battletech universe that has this 1980s scifi taste.

  3. Battletech played with Alpha Strike rules look very much like this game you describe.

  4. I once fucked over an alliance for 5 bucks irl in our dnd game which is was three games where you choose an alliance and make a country

  5. War is a game. And the U.S. got so good that nobody wants to play anymore.

  6. Recently, I started designing some of my own war games, assembling the parts, maps, boards, rules, etc from various games. After I get an idea and the parts, I then work out the rules and then play test, and tweak them. Its really interesting to write out the idea, and then play test, because so many things can happen that you don"t anticipate! Then its back to working out the details. It is in a way, a creative endeavor, and very cerebral. So, having no one to discuss the process with, I am so glad I found this video, as I really connected with it. Thanks!

  7. Real war: strategy as hec

    Most war in games: attack, no strategy

  8. War is the ultimate game and man its ultimate practitioner.

  9. It became a game when we get Generals and Admirals more interested in perpetuating themselves than in actual fighting. Our supposed war colleges spend their time studying wars they are afraid to fight, planning wars they have no intention of winning, reading Clausewitz which they really don:t understand, conducting seminars on why other folks hate us???????, being social workers which is not their job, and the rest of their waking moments cultivating post retirement consultancy prospects so that they can become "K" Street commandos. one ists which is ni

  10. Chess will always be the OG strategy war game

  11. When Napoleonic officers were choosing teams, instead of shirts and skins they had 'high pants' and 'even higher pants'.

  12. Dueling was actually invented by the Prussian Army as a way of resolving arguments about which edition was better.

  13. War has always and will always be a game. If you don’t play you die

  14. alternate title:
    How was the thing that inspired D&D boards?

  15. maybe you can convert it to an online game?

  16. When you are wealthy enough, anything can become a game.

  17. The bit for von reiswitz where they couldn’t afford the pieces sounds awfully familiar…

  18. I wonder if they placed bets on the winner of these kriegspiel sessions…Like: Helmut, the king just placed a huge bet on you winning,no pressure.

  19. When Saddam attacked Kuwait one of the first Allied units deployed was a 'Wargame' unit from the USAF. They were in Pakistan conducting training and quickly moved to Saudi and set up ready to game out various outcomes for allied command.

  20. You forgot to add that only a prince would have the time to play such an involved game as Reiswitz's Kreigsspeil

  21. Both games and war are conflict. Seems pretty natural adaptation to me. Recently I've seen cooperative games but they fail because they usually mean everybody loses or wins together. Like playing a sport and not keeping score. All you do is exhaust yourself and receive no reward. After a while you just stop playing these type of games because they leave everyone empty.

  22. That's like asking: "How did amphetamines become a drug?" Probably because quite frankly, it's exciting. In the case of wargames, tho, they're much less potent and deadly as the real thing.

  23. I really wonder what would happen if you went back in time with a full Warhammer 40K set

  24. I want them to play empire tw

  25. i'm no historian, but i would assume that it's because the qualities of war(other than all the human carnage and suffering it brings) are perfect for games. war simulations can(and should) be very intricate involving a lot of aspects like military stragety, logistics, economics, morale, and many other factors.

  26. And at last, Advanced Squad Leader was born, alleluia !

  27. Help me out with this one, gentlemen:

    A while ago I read the story of a student who entered a certain war game competition, using an AI to defeat all other players. The game was about spaceship fleets fighting. This story takes place in the early days of home computing, if I remember correctly… But I cannot remember the name of the game, the AI, or its creator… Greatly reducing my ability to simply Google the damn thing…

    This student created an artificial intelligence, the name of which I don't remember, and trained with all the rules and many possible games so it could eventually come up with its own strategies, which eventually it did.

    The guy, instead of creating a varied fleet, just made hundreds of the most basic ship and sent them against the enemy, overwhelming them and winning quickly with no regards for his own losses.

    The competition organizers banned his tactic because it went against the "spirit of the game" yadda yadda…

    If any of you know what I am talking about, it would be amazing if you could tell me the names. Thanks again, gentlemen!

  28. Kriegsspiel waws truly impressive, they even had fog of war

  29. Please talk about Little Wars by H.G. Wells!

  30. Nicely laid out and informative but the progression is very logical. Everyone commenting who are surprised by this would be easy opponents.

  31. So you are telling me Prussia is a country ruled by gamers

  32. I really think war in antiquity had a lot to do with boredom lol

  33. Reiswitz inventing kriegspill "Now this is what i call a pro gamer move"

  34. I hope you all enjoy this video! I relied quite heavily on the research of Jon Peterson and his book "Playing at the World". For anyone interested in this topic I highly recommend it as he does a fantastic job making the topic detailed yet accessible. Please use this link: for any purchases as I do see a cut of the sale which helps support the channel. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.