Rules for Miniature Wargames

He who does not fight, truely wins -- Sunzi (Sun Tzu)

The Age of Eagles – Napoleonic Fire and Fury.

Kriegsspiel, the War Game, is a tactical exercise without troops, using maps or realistically modelled terrain, and simple playing pieces or miniatures representing actual units in the given ground scale. Wargames are designed to realistically recreate the character of a military engagement, to facilitate the training, study, rehearsal, and evolution of military leadership, strategy, and tactics. Wargames are not games, they are military manœuvres on maps, also known as simulations. Wargames are cheaper, easier to implement and evaluate, less dangerous, and much less damaging to the environment than real manœuvres involving thousands of soldiers and their vehicles.

Wargaming advances the Art of War as postulated by Sunzi (Sun Tzu), who strove to avoid war whenever possible, because it would invariable destroy a nation and its people. "Sunzi’s Martial Art" (The Art of War) is considered the earliest book on strategy and tactics, and to this day it is among the most important treatises on the Art of War.

Seizing the enemy without fighting
is the most skillful. -- Sunzi (Sun Tzu)

Strategic wargames are conducted on 1:100000 scale general staff maps, whereas grand tactical and tactical wargames cover much less ground at 1:8000 and 1:6250 scale. Fortress wargames explore the significantly more complex matters of the attack and defence of fortifications. In 1876, German Secretary of the Navy Albrecht v. Stosch called for naval wargames, and when military aircraft became available, the existing ground and naval wargame rules were upgraded to include them.

H.G. Wells, the author of the wargame classic "Little Wars" of 1913, is considered the father of the civilian wargame hobby. Little Wars were typically played in the garden, because H.G. Wells favored 54 mm toy soldiers in 1:32 model railroad scale (I gauge), which required a large battlefield. In the late 1950s, Jack Scruby introduced smaller and cheaper 30 mm figures which made wargaming a table-top game. Sophisticated and easily understood wargame rules published by Tony Bath (The Hyborian Campaign, 1956), Donald Featherstone (The Wargamers’ Newsletter, 1962), Charles Grant (The Wargame, 1971), Gary Gygax und Dave Arneson (Dungeon&Dragons, 1974) turned wargaming into a popular hobby around the world. Dungeon&Dragons was the most popular fantasy role-playing game 2006, with an estimated 20 million players world-wide, according to a BBC news report.

Today, there are over 2500 companies world-wide involved in the design and production of wargames and wargame accessories. Even highly unusual wargame subjects involving armed teddybears or snowmen, man-eating plants, and supernatural killer rodents are covered by one or several of the popular manufacturers.

Opponent Finder

Solo-wargaming is feasible, but the really interesting wargames are multi-player affairs involving two to 20 friends, each of whom commands a tactical formation or sub-unit of it. Wargame clubs and regional wargame groups welcome beginning and experienced wargamers alike. University wargaming clubs are especially popular, because they can be a valuable source of talented wargamers, modellers, and military historians fascinated by the miniatures hobby.

Popular Wargame Rules


  • Altrock, Constantin von, Das Kriegsspiel (1908)
  • Anon., Försök till handbok i krigsspel (Sweden 1878)
  • Bancroft, W. C. Introduction to the Employment of the Kriegsspiel Apparatus (USA 1872)
  • Baring, E., Captain RA. Rules for the Conduct of the War Game (Great Britain 1872)
  • Berghaus, Das Kriegsspiel für Reserve- und Landwehroffiziere (Berlin 1885)
  • Berliner Kriegsspiel Verein, Supplement zu den bisherigen Kriegsspiel Regeln (Berlin 1828)
  • Berliner Kriegsspiel Verein, Anleitung zur Darstellung militärischer Manöver mit dem Apparat des Kriegsspiels (Hannover 1846)
  • Bilimek-Waissolm, Oberst Hugo von, Die Leitung des Kriegsspieles und die Grenzen seiner Mittel (Vienna 1883)
  • Braun, v., Das Kriegsspiel der Kavallerie (Frankfurt an der Oder 1880)
  • Brewer, Gary D. and Shubik, Martin, The War Game. A Critique of Military Problem Solving (Harvard University Press 1979)
  • Chamberlaine, Major William, The Coast Artillery War Game (War Department Doc. № 540, Washington 1916)
  • Cochenhausen, Friedrich von, Anleitung für Planaufgaben und Kriegsspiel kleiner Verbände (Berlin 1926)
  • Cochenhausen, Friedrich von, Kriegsspiel-Fibel. Anleitung für Planaufgaben und Kriegsspiele im Rahmen des Zuges und der Kompanie (Berlin 1936)
  • Colomb, Rear-Admiral Phillip Howard, "The Duel", A Naval War Game (1879)
  • Delambre, Capitaine du Génie, Le Jeu de la Guerre (France 1872)
  • Dommers, J. H. H., Handleiding tot de taktische oefeningen op de kaart (Netherlands 1872)
  • Grant, Charles, The War Game (London 1971)
  • Hörauf, Generalmajor A.D. von, Das Kriegsspiel (1935)
  • Horvath, Lt. Guido von, The War Game (Scientific American 1916)
  • Jane, Fred T., The Naval War Game (1898)
  • Jane, Fred T., How to play the Naval War Game (1912)
  • Kunde, Rudolph Anton, Grundsätze für die Leitung des Festungskriegsspieles (Berlin 1899)
  • Leitner, T. I., Über Kriegsspiele und deren Nutzen (Vienna 1847)
  • Livermore, William R., The American Kriegsspiel – A game for practising the art of war upon a topographical map (USA 1882)
  • Meckel, Klemens Wilhelm Jacob, Studien uber das Kriegsspiel (Berlin 1873)
  • Meckel, Klemens Wilhelm Jacob, Anleitung zum Kriegsspiel (Berlin 1875, neubearbeitet durch v. Eynatten, Berlin 1903)
  • Meckel, Klemens Wilhelm Jacob, Der Kriegsspielapparat (2. Aufl., Berlin 1900)
  • Naumann, Das Regiments Kriegsspiel – Versuch einer neueb Methode des Detachments-Kriegsspiels mit 4 Tafeln in Steindruck (1877)
  • Oberlindober, Anlage und Leitung von Kriegsspielen (Oldenburg 1904)
  • Petrie, A., Kriegsspiel – Jeu de la Guerre (Belgium 1872)
  • Pratt, Fletcher, Fletcher Pratt’s Naval Wargame (Great Britain 1940)
  • Ramos, D. Maximos, El Juego de la Guerra (1881)
  • Reichenau, von, Über Handhabung und Erweiterung des Kriegsspiels (1879)
  • Reiswitz, George Baron v., Anleitung zur Darstellung militärischer Manöver mit dem Apparat des Kriegsspiels (Berlin 1824)
  • Rohne, Heinrich Wilhelm, Das Artillerie-Schießspiel (2. Aufl., Berlin 1893)
  • Schmidt, Hauptmann A., Das Preussische Kriegsspiel (Berlin 1873)
  • Sonderegger, Emil, Anlage und Leitung von Kriegsspielübungen (Frauenfeld 1897)
  • Strohl, A., Cavalleristisches Kriegsspiel auf Kriegsgeschichtlicher Grundlage (Austria 1897)
  • Totten, Charles A., "Strategoes", An American game of war based upon military principles (USA 1880)
  • Trotha, Thilo v., Anleitung zur Darstellung von Gefechtsbildern mittelt des Kriegsspielapparatus (Berlin 1870)
  • Tschischwitz, W. v., Anleitung zum Kriegsspiel (Neiße 1862)
  • Verdy du Vernois, Julius v., Beitrag zum Kriegsspiel (Berlin 1876)
  • Verdy du Vernois, Julius v., The Tactical Game (1884)
  • Wells, H. G., Little Wars (Edinburgh 1913)
  • Wilkinson, Spencer, Essays on the War Game (Great Britain 1887)
  • Zimmermann, Carl v., Winke und Ratschläge für die Leitung des Regimentskriegsspiels (Berlin 1901)

Military Miniatures Magazin regularly reviews new wargame rules, and covers interesting developments in wargaming.

Miniature Wargaming