Kriegsspiel Example: 2

Kriegsspeil is a game of Decisions.  This is a great example of the types of things you run into from a real game.  These are the types of things you don’t see in regular wargames but you see them all the time Kriegsspiel, as well as in real life!


You are J Grant.  The officer in charge of the last Brigade in this column.  Your orders this morning from the Army commander were to march north to the objective (marked by the flag to the right) in an attempt to flank the enemy before a pending battle.  The baggage train is following on behind you.

When you reach the junction at Nice Town, you notice that Grant’s Brigade is marching north!  NOT to the objective, not on the route described in your orders.  You notice that the rest of the column does indeed appear to be marching in the way you were ordered. 

What do you do?

I see a few basic options here.  First, you could just follow Grant’s Brigade.  The problem with this is that you don’t have orders to go that direction.

Second, you could just ignore Grant, turn right and continue on to the objective as ordered but why is he doing this?  Has the mission changed? 

What else could you do? 

Kriegsspiel Example: 1

Kriegsspeil is a game of Decisions.  This is a great example of the types of things you run into from a real game.  These are the types of things you don’t see in regular wargames but you see them all the time Kriegsspiel, as well as in real life!

Situation:  The enemy is somewhere on the lower / southern half of the map.  They trace supply off the southern edge of the map along the main road that runs down the center. 

Your side is on the offensive.  The main effort will be to march down this main road, entering from the north to attack the enemy.  Your side’s overall goal is to defeat the enemy army and drive them south and off the map.

Your command is small wing.  It is made up of militia brigade and couple of light detachments.  You’ve been marching south, down this road on the east side of the map since 7:00am.   As you arrived at this crossing, a heavy fog settled into the area.

These are your orders:  General, you will take your Pennsylvanians and two detachments down Rowan Hill Road and continue to where the Wissahickon empties into the Schuylkill river, and cross the Wissahickon there, to the mill, follow back up the East side of the Wissahickon and attack the British from the rear while we occupy their front. Use the detachments to expand your frontage when entering battle.

Decision: You continue to march north east along the Wissahickon as ordered. The fog has gotten very bad now.  Visibility is down to only 10 paces.  You have arrived at this point on the map.  Suddenly, you hear the sounds of combat.  It seems to be coming from the area circled on the map.  There is a large volley of cannon fire in this area that seems to be firing north.  After that a moderate exchange of musket fire.

What do you do now?

You’ve been ordered to attack the enemy’s rear.  Where is that? South of the combat just heard?  Arguably but you’ve also been ordered to “follow back up the east side of the river”.

With the dense fog, can you even successfully navigate further south to find the enemy’s rear before it’s too late?  Sounds like the battle is already starting.  If you continue north east along this road as ordered, you could reunite with your main army and commander.  However, with the dense fog, will your approach be mistaken as the enemy!  Will you cause a friendly fire incident? 

Maybe they won’t fire on you but will divert troops away from the attack at the critical moment to investigate your approach.  That could easily cause the attack to fail. 

Should you sit and wait?  Waste time at a critical moment while you send a messenger ahead to get confirmation from your commander?   What if the enemy army is ahead along this road?  What if your messenger gets captured and then the enemy is tipped off that you are there on their flank?

This is quite the conundrum.  Whatever you do, you better do it quick.  This battle is happening in real time.  You have about 2 minutes to make your decision!

THIS is Kriegsspiel.  

Reading Contour Lines

There is some confusion out there on what the slope lines mean and how to read them.  Here are a few examples to clear things up. 

It may look a little messy at first but I actually like these old style slope lines much better than modern day contour lines.  It is easier for me to visualize up and down. 

In this example, Red is up on top the hill.  They can see down to Blue at the lowest elevation, sitting behind the stream.  Effect:  Red will have cover here if attacked by Blue.   

Red has dropped back here behind the ridge now.  They are on the Reverse Slope.  There is no line of sight between these units.  Effect:  Red will have cover if attacked by Blue.   

In this example, Blue is at the highest elevation.  They are up on top of the hill.  Red is still on the hill but further down the slope.  White is down at the base elevation at the lowest point.  Effect:  Blue will have cover here if attacked by Red.  Red will have cover if attacked by White.

Here, Red and Blue are both on the hill.  The issue is that they are both on the same slope.  There is no cover here for either side.  I would treat combat between these two units, the same as if they were on clear terrain. 

Kriegsspiel Puzzle

This is a fun little puzzle to sort out.  It reminds me of Kriegsspiel.

Both sides play Kriegsspiel blind via an umpire.  It is a lot like poker in some ways.  What does the enemy know?  What do they not know?  What do we know about the enemy?  What does their known action reveal about their motive and intent? 

These are all the types of questions you constantly puzzle over while playing Kriegsspiel.  It is exactly the type of thinking you need to solve this problem:

There is a secret prize hidden under one of these five objects.  The teacher privately tells the girl what the correct shape is.  The teacher privately tells the boy what the correct color is.

Next the teacher brings them both together.  The first one to pick the correct object gets the prize.    

Teacher:  Do either of you know where the prize is?


Teacher:  Do you know now?


Teacher:  Do you know now?

Boy and Girl:  Yes!

Where is the prize?