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Thursday 2 April 2015
Wargaming in South Africa
in the modern sense was effectively launched with the publication by
Paul Stanley in 1962 of Donald Featherstone’s book War
Games: Battles and Manoeuvres with Model Soldiers.
or when wargames began is impossible to say, but it is probable to
say that our early ancestors devised games of strategy played with
stones on areas marked out on the bare ground. Organised wargaming
dates back at least 5,000 years with the traditional tactical games
such as GO (the Chinese game of encirclement), Morabaraba (the
African game of manoeuvre and capture).
first use of miniature figures to depict military battles was in 3000
BC in Ancient Egypt. (11th
history, enlightened military commanders, such as Alexander the
Great, are known to have used relief maps and markers to assist in
planning their operations. The first true wargame dates back to the
century when Helwig, Master of pages to the Duke of Brunswick,
devised a game played on a gridded map with counters representing the
three main arms of the period - infantry, cavalry and artillery. In
1811, a game invented by Count von Reisswitz was introduced to the
Prussian court. Called Kriegspiel,
it used coloured counters to represent military units but was played
on a sculptured relief map and used movement rates based upon the
actual marching rates of the armies at that time. The game rapidly
gained popularity and was soon being used to help train junior
century Count Reisswitz’s game was constantly discussed and
modified by its adherents. This resulted in a cumbersome and unwieldy
set of rules. As Kriegspiel
became increasingly sophisticated, actual statistics from current
battles, were included to bring the rules into line with the weapons
and tactics of the time. As a result, both the German Schlieffen Plan
of 1914 and the initial Allied response to it were largely based upon
strategies which had been pre-played as wargames. All subsequent
military campaigns have used a greater or lesser degree of wargaming
in their planning. Today’s armed forces have at their disposal
large computers and simulators, enabling the participants to
concentrate on decision making rather than rule interpretation.
to this point wargaming had been exclusively a military
preoccupation, but in 1913 novelist H.G.Wells wrote a book called
In this he drew up rules for a game using the popular lead model
soldiers and matchstick firing guns of the period. The horrors of the
Great War however, made wargaming an unpopular hobby and it
languished until its modern revival in 1962.
in South Africa
figure-gaming in South Africa is administered by Mind Sports South
gaming was started in South Africa in the 60’s, when a small group
of enthusiasts started a club at the then show grounds in
1980 the wargaming clubs banded together to found Mind Sports South Africa.
The MSSA was taken into membership of the Confederation of South
African Sport in May 1991and was awarded the ability to award
Springbok Colours. As soon as the NOSC was unbanned, the Union
applied to that body for membership and upon being accepted as a
member remained loyal to it until it was finally wound up as the NSC
to become the Sports Commission and later the SASCOC.
most popular in South Africa are:
gaming: The most popular periods played in South Africa are:
& Musket, and
World War 2
MSSA is committed to developing new clubs.
Sports South Africa is one of the few South African Sports
Federations that earmarks
20% of its income to the development of new clubs.
wishing to start a club is more than welcome to contact the Union.
in International events
Union participated in the World Championships for the first time in
then South African wargamers have been regular participants in
international championships and have earned the respect of all f the
other top players from around the world.