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Thursday, 31 December 2015

Kriegspiel, Avalon Hill Designed by Tom Shaw 1970


I bought Kriegspiel off eBay with the intention of using it for my wargaming campaigns, I chose Kriegspiel as I could use it with all my wargaming periods. I was wondering if anybody else has used this for their wargaming campaigns and could maybe offer some tips.

"Kriegspiel is a full-scale wargame between two nations." In the advanced book it says "Of all the games in the Avalon Hill line this game is best suited for introducing novices to the growing science of game strategy." A basic traditional hex and counter turn based wargame, units having combat and movement factors. Combat results are done by computing odds (1-1, 1-2, 3-1, etc) and using a CRT by cross-referencing one of 4 defending strategies and 3 attacking strategies (no dice). Victory is by reducing the opponent to 20 combat factors or occupying all of the opposing cities. Advanced game adds reinforcements, weather, air power, supply, etc.

This article was originally published in issue 15 of Simulacrum, April 2002.

Players: 2 or more
Playing Time: 1-2 hours
Period: Modern (hypothetical)
Scale: Strategic
Turn: 1 month
Map: not specified
Unit: corps

Box: AH slipcase Bookcase Box.

Components: Two 16x8" mounted map sheets, double-sided instructions card, 16 page Battle Manual booklet, 45 die-cut counters, 2 identical sets of 4 defence cards, 2 identical double-sided Battle Table cards, 2 blue plastic map board clips, blue plastic parts tray (with shelf for map boards), yellow business reply postcard, magenta "Do A Friend A Favour" postcard, AH catalogue folder with prices valid through December 31, 1970.

Counter Manifest: 20 black (2 spares), 25 red (4 spares).

Card Manifest: Each set lettered A through D.


Avalon Hill says: "If you think you have what it takes to run a war . . . we present Kriegspiel . . . an extension of chess . . . the Knights, the Bishops, the Castles, the Pawns become units of infantry, armour, special forces, and mechanised troops. Here YOU command actual military forces in a modern setting. YOUR decisions alone determine each game's outcome. Kriegspiel contains no chance elements whatever (no dice, no chance cards, no spinners) -- it employs logic - tactics - strategy - the science of human behaviour."

The Avalon Hill Company History (1983) says: "Setting the state of the art back 5 years."

The reviewer says: "Resoundingly relegated to bottom position by both [SPI and AH] polls, the game is far too simple for experienced wargamers. Unfortunately, it is also of doubtful value to beginners. There are plenty of interesting rules: invasions, weather, prisoners, supply, and an intriguing diplomacy rule . . . The trouble is that the game's scale is too small, with the result coming after a few brisk firefights before any plan can really get underway." Nicholas Palmer in The Comprehensive Guide to Board Wargaming (1977.)


Comments: Kriegspiel came close to being a great little introductory wargame. Sales figures aside, it left a lot to be desired. For one thing, the rock-paper-scissors CRT mechanism felt forced here, unlike the period feel it added to 1776. Also, as pointed out by Palmer, the small size of the game made for limited game play value even though this was probably intended to make it more accessible to new gamers.

Kriegspiel may be the only AH game with colour coordinated map board backs one is black and the other is red, thus corresponding with the nations they depict. Kriegspiel was the first AH game released in 1970 and their first wargame to appear in the Bookcase Box. According to Strategy and Tactics #53, it was also the first wargame to utilise a matrix CRT and geomorphic maps. 

The game's origin may have constituted a "first" as well -- reportedly James Dunnigan could not deliver another freelance design which was scheduled to be released at the March 1970 American Toy Fair, so Shaw put Kriegspiel together at the last minute. Despite these inauspicious origins, AH still managed to sell 86,000 copies of the game in several years.


Kriegspiel rules folder and Battle Manual

The GENERAL Vol.6,No.6 “COVER STORY: Kriegspiel - The Stock Market Game” (Commentary)

Now in various stages of delivery to retail stores all over the country are Avalon Hill's two new games: Kriegspiel and The Stock Market Game. Subscribers will soon receive complete descriptive literature on both titles in our annual Spring mailing. Direct orders will be honoured starting April 1 - not before. However, most stores will have these titles in stock during most of March.

The GENERAL Vol.7,No.2 The Question Box - Kriegspiel, The Battle of the Bulge

Q. You state in Game I instruction that "No square may hold more than one unit - stacking of units on the same square is not allowed." My question is can a supply wagon be placed on a unit for protection as is the case in Afrika Korps?"
A. Yes. In this case, the supply wagon retreats with the combat unit and can be captured only if (1) the combat unit is elim AND (2) attacker advances into sq containing the supply wagon.

Q. In game I1 under the heading of Advances and Retreats - "Ignore all terrain movement restriction. Instead, consider all terrain as clear terrain when ordered to advance or retreat." Therefore, can an armoured infantry go through a forest square or a mountain square?
A. No. Advances that were prohibited before are still prohibited. Advances are not slowed down,
however.

Q. To capture a nuclear launch area must I remain in that square (example JJ-1 I) until the end of the turn or can I simply pass right through the square to capture it?
A. Remain until end of turn.

Q. If I just captured his rocket launch area (on let's say turn 4) may I fire the rockets that I captured on turn 4, or must I wait until turn 5? If after I leave his rocket launch area which I just captured, and he now recaptures his rocket launch area by placing a unit there are the remaining rockets which were not destroyed or shot off by me - his or mine?
A. Wait until turn 5. Yours - you move them immediately to your launching site.

Q. I have just captured H4 and released my prisoners. My question is what if my capital city
is in enemy hands - can I reactivate my prisoners at another city or what?
A. You must wait until your capital is back in your hands.

Q. Under air power in Game two - air power factors may only fly once, attack and then are
destroyed. Is this true? Or can they be used again?
A. They may be used only once.

Q. If my opponent controls my prisoner square H-4 does this mean that whenever I am forced to take prisoners that they are automatically reactivated in my opponents capital city?
A. No. Keep them in your dead pile until your opponent moves off H-4. On a following turn he can move back on and release his prisoners.

Q. Can Replacement factors and air power factors combine to form replacement factors?
A. No.

Q. I have a unit on GG8. Can my opponent travel by sea from DD8 through GG8 and land on beach square IIIO?
A. Yes.

Q. Under "Fortifications" you state that a fortified unit does not have to retreat. My question is if the attacker call Blitzkrieg can he advance 4 squares (or go in some other direction) when the fortified unit doesn't retreat?
A. Yes.

Q. Can a paratroop move into a city in one turn and still fly that turn?
A. No.

Q. Does this apply to sea movement too?
A. Yes.

Q. Can a supply wagon fly with a paratroop or can they travel long distances by sea with a special forces units?
A. No. They cannot fly, but they can move 10 squares over any terrain (including seas).

Q. May a surrounded unit use the abandon position or fighting withdrawal cards?
A. Yes.

Q. Under Game 2 Rules, may paratroops be used to free prisoners (even though it would be behind enemy lines); where would they start?
A. Yes. Start at normal place.

Q. May paratroops be used to capture missile centers (behind enemy lines); and where would the missiles be placed?
A. Yes. Home missile center.

Q. If Special Forces Units are on a coastal city square, can they invade any beach square. even if the beach squares are not connected to the city by water squares?
A. Yes.

Q. When troops are on mountains during snow, do they have a zone of control?
A. Yes.

Q. May Mountain Units retreat or advance from these squares during snow after battle?
A. No.

Q. Are troops in general allowed to advance or retreat after combat through often otherwise illegal squares because of weather and, or terrain?
A. No.

Q. If the inferior side wanted to call his opponent to a round-table, why would the opponent ever choose other than Option D? 
A. Situation at hand often dictates a better deal with options A, B and particularly D.

Q. May rockets be fired when no attacks are allowed?
A. No.

Q. What is to prevent someone from refusing to leave the enemy country if he is negotiated to do so, but he is behind and knows that the other person will eventually wish to forfeit 8 units to continue the game?
A. He is required by rules to abide by the ruling for at least two turns as stated bottom page 12.

Q. If you currently hold the enemy's prisoner of war camp and some of your forces surrender, do you just get them right back the next turn on your capital city?
A. No. The enemy must recapture the prisoner of war camp and then you recapture it to free prisoners.

The GENERAL Vol.7,No.3 Kriegspiel – “Game Theory, Attrition, & the Kriegspiel Battle Tables” (Discussion) T.A. Brown

Many appealing features of Kriegspiel is the new Battle Table, which resolves combat with a matrix game in place of the roll of a die. Th: theory cf matrix games is explained very simply in J. D. Williams'. "The Complete Strategyst." (McGrew·1·1il1, 1954), and in more depth in M. Dresher‘s, "Games of Strategy. Theory and Application" (Prentice-Hall, 1961). In this article we shall apply this theory to analyse battles in which both sides are primarily interested in the difference between their losses and those of the enemy; in the relative attrition. of' course, in actual plays of Kriegspiel there are many other factors which affect the players’ decisions in a particular combat: Capturing a city,

annihilating special forces and airborne units, cutting a line of communication, capturing a key position, and speeding up or retarding the pace of combat may all affect a player's decision in ¤ particular combat. Indeed, the game would quickly lose interest if optimal play could he reduced to a mathematical formula Nevertheless, serious players should be interested in what constitutes optimal play in single battles from the standpoint of attrition only. Let's suppose that an armoured division (corn  but factor 8) attacks an infantry division (combat factor 4) in the open. If "D-Elim" results then the attacker loses nothing and the defender loses 4 factors, so the net gain to the attacker is +4. If "A-Elim, D-Elim" results, the net gain to the attacker is -4; and so on. The net gains may be tabulated as follows:

there could be any number of outstanding, usable new concepts floating around lust waiting to be "discovered" under happenstances similar to the matrix story.

Putting to use such "discoveries" has been one of the major benefits of organisations such as the IFW of which Gary Gygax is a long-standing member, Spartan International, St. John's UMSC, and Poultron Press. These organisations are well equipped and geared to consolidate bits and pieces of design ideas into amateur wargames of their own. Among the many respected games developed within the ranks of the IFW is "Fight in the Skys" which has been displayed annually at the Lake Geneva Conventions becoming an integral part of their tournament programs. Other amateur designs are so numerous that it would be difficult to name an historical area around which no one has designed a passable game. There is certainly no shortage of qualified wargame designers. Many such games, of course, follow traditional patterns of design. A few don'!. And it is these designs that have formed the basis of Poultron Press' (publisher of S&T Magazine) Test Series Games. Resident designers James F. Dunnigan and Redmond Simonsen, along with a host of qualified staff editors, are quite adopt at molding fragments of outstanding design ideas into games that are fresh and original. Not all of their games make it. But those that do are often germinated by amateurs who submit their own ideas at random.

As Gygax recently pointed out, "the next time you and your friends are discussing wargame ideas, make a note of the novel ones; who knows what will develop. Your notion about improving wargaming may be just the innovation a game Publisher is looking for." The Matrix matrimony has certainly proved this point for Avalon Hill . ..

It is clear that the defender in such a battle should never "Hold-at-all-costs" - since "Stand- fast" is as good or better regardless of what the attacker does. If the defender "Abandons Position" 1/4 of the time, "Withdraws" 1/2 of the time, and "Stands Fast" 1/4 of the time, then the expected net gain to the attacker will be -1, regardless of what he does, That ls. in a series of one hundred such battles, the attacker will, on the average, lose one hundred more combat factors than does the defender. On the other hand, if the attacker "Engages“ with probability 1/4, "Assaults” with probability 1/2, and "Blitzes" with probability 1/4, then the expected net gain to the attacker will be -1, regardless of what the defender does. Thus -1 is called the "value of the game“ to the attacker. If both players follow the optimal strategies (which are unique, by the way) then the attacker will, on the average, lose one more combat factor than the defender for each such battle fought.

The calculation of values and optimal strategies depends on the forces engaged and whether or not the defence factors are doubled. Such calculations are not always easy. Therefore Kriegspielers who wish to use the concepts of game theory in formulating their war-plans should End the accompanying table of values and optimal strategics fur various typical encounters quite useful. The optimal strategies are, in most cases. not unique. For example, if two infantry divisions attack a single infantry division in the open, any strategy which gives equal probabilities to "Ass:iu1t“ and “l31itz" is optimal.

Readers who detect errors in the table, or who have specific questions about the application of game theory to Kriegspiel. should write: me C/O Operations Research Branch, Land Combat Division, Fleet Air Arm, 4359 Camello Road, Woodland Hills, California 91364.

The GENERAL Vol.7,No.4 Kriegspiel – “Kriegspiel PBM” (Variant Discussion) L. Mitchell Wein

The last couple of months I've been using a PBM method that may interest Kriegspiel fans. This method eliminates the use of stocks and allows the defender almost the same strategic freedom as FTF. Attacker would fill in columns (a), (b), (c), (i), and (k) only. He would then record (d) for each attack No. on scrap paper and mail map sheet to defender. Defender would record actual defence A, B, C or D on map sheet in (e) for each attack No. The morning of the closing transaction date, simultaneously attacker would mail copy of (d) to defender and defender would mail map sheet to attacker. Attacker would then fill in (d), (g) and (h) and mail new map sheet (attacker's new positions filled in) to defender with the old map sheet. Units would be eliminated by attacker in attack No. l (defender units eliminated should match CRT results exactly if possible, otherwise units with lowest factors - but at least factors stated). Then attacker would execute movement for attack No. I. After resolving attack No. 1 completely, attack No. 2 would be started. Thus, even though attacker would know CRT results for all attacks before resolving any of them, each individual attack would be resolved in a manner similar to FTF. Required penalty - any letter postmarked one day later than the closing transaction date forfeits the game. Military mail should be mailed one day early due to late pickup.

The GENERAL Vol.9,No.2 The Question Box - Kriegspiel,

Q. Does the defender surrender his units before or after the result of combat is known if he wants them to become prisoners rather than risk their elimination?
A. Before.

Q. When battle odds are 2:l or greater and the unit is surrounded with no escape route, can the defender still select any defence card?
A. Yes, but if he chooses A or B, he is naturally eliminated after the combat. However, the attacker is still subject to losses sustained in the attack.

The GENERAL Vol.10,No.2 Kriegspiel – “Advanced Kriegspiel Theory” (Variant Discussion) Mike Shefler

Were forced to retreat two squares, or if it were already in its second step, then of course it would be eliminated anyway. B. Fortifications - Units flipped over to make a fort are not reduced in step (they may be turned right side up again if you decide to destroy the fort). For convenience in keeping track of which units have been reduced and which haven't, I suggest that units which have been reduced in strength not be permitted to make forts. Any unit may occupy a fort. C. Replacements - Replacements must be brought in at full strength. Thus, an 8-6 which had been reduced to a 4-5 and then eliminated must be brought in as an 8-6 at a cost of 8 replacement factors.

PRISONERS - The POW camp may be located anywhere in your home country on a non city square. If you capture your enemy's POW facility then your prisoners re-enter the game from that square, at their second step. Prisoners can escape from an un-garrisoned POW camp without outside help using the prisoner escape chart. However, if you roll the die for a prison break and it is unsuccessful, you must remove one of the prisoners to the dead pile. If there is an enemy unit on his POW camp, then your units cannot escape by themselves. Otherwise, use the following table. Prisoners which escape do so at the beginning of their turn and enter the game at their second step.


NUCLEAR WEAPONS - When you capture one of your opponent's launching sites, the capturing unit takes custody of the nuclear weapons stored there. You do NOT immediately transfer them to your launching site, the capturing unit must do so. It can transfer the captured rockets to another unit by moving adjacent to it. To avoid unnecessary bookkeeping, no partial transfer of nuclear weapons between units is allowed. If the unit which is holding the captured nuclear weapons is itself destroyed, the weapons.
it was carrying are also destroyed. If the unit surrenders in battle, then it must also surrender the weapons to one of the attacking units, which may next turn carry these nuclear weapons back to their launching site. Captured nuclear weapons cannot be fired until the turn after they have been moved to their launching site.

Here are some optional rules which may be of interest to the wargamer who goes all-out for complexity.

Tactical Nuclear Weapons
Black 3-4's and Red 4-4's which are not special forces carry one short range tactical nuclear weapon (TNW) apiece. These TNW's have a range of three squares but may not be fired at a target which is in the zone of control of one of your units. They are fired after the movement portion of the turn. A die roll of 5 or 6 means that all units in the target square are eliminated and if it is a city square, it may not be used for supply or replacement purposes for one turn. A roll of 3 or 4 means all snits in the target lose one step and no movement is allowed through that square for one turn. A roll of 1 or 2 means the attack has no effect. Fortifications are protected enough from TNW's so that a roll of 1, 2, 5, or 6 has no effect, while a roll of 3 or 4 has the same effects as above. Each unit carrying TNW's may fire only once during the entire game, and if eliminated before they can fire, they lose the ability to do so, even if brought in again later in the game. To make up for the advantage that Red has under this rule (9 TNW's to 3 for Black), try starting both Red and Black with 14 units and/or giving Black one additional ICBM and two additional rockets in his initial nuclear inventory.

ABM system
Each side accumulates, beginning with the first turn and provided his capital city is unoccupied by enemy units, four ABM's per turn. When a nuclear attack is launched by your opponent, he specifies only one target square. You may try to intercept his missiles before they reach their target(s) by using as many ABM's per nuclear attack as you wish, up to the number you have accumulated. ABM's may not be used against TNW's. Use the following chart to determine if the missile is intercepted (if not, then the attack was successful).

Kriegspiel Downloads

My Kriegspiel Downloads

My Kriegspiel Adaptations

Sources

The GENERAL Vol.6,No.6 “COVER STORY: Kriegspiel - The Stock Market Game” (Commentary)
The GENERAL Vol.7,No.2 The Question Box - Kriegspiel, The Battle of the Bulge
The GENERAL Vol.7,No.3 Game Theory, Attrition, & the Kriegspiel Battle Tables” (Discussion) T.A. Brown
The GENERAL Vol.7,No.4 Kriegspiel PBM(Variant Discussion) L. Mitchell Wein
The GENERAL Vol.9,No.2 The Question Box - Kriegspiel,
The GENERAL Vol.10,No.2 Advanced Kriegspiel Theory (Variant Discussion) Mike Shefler
The GENERAL Vol.11,No.4 Kriegspiel – “Reader Buyer's Guide Submission Form” (Insert)
The GENERAL Vol.11,No.5 Reader Buyer's Guide - Kriegspiel