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Subject: Wargame firsts rss

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Michael Sommers
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The discussion in the Wargaming Eras thread about creating a phylogenetic tree of wargames made me think of an article in S&T 53 (Nov/Dec 1975) on the history of wargaming. The article had a sidebar on wargame firsts. Here is a list of some of those firsts, which I hope might help get the tree started. Of course, the list only goes up to 1975, but since not much new has appeared in wargames in the past 38 years, that doesn't matter much.

I will insert additions into the list as people mention them. Additions in or before 1975 will be underlined to distinguish them from the original list. Those after 1975 will not be underlined, since they obviously were not on the original list.

1954

Tactics (Charles Roberts)

* First sort-of commercial wargame (self-published)

1958

Tactics II (AH)

* First commercial wargame
* Revision of Tactics
* Zones of control
* Weather rules

Gettysburg (AH)

* First historical game
* Unit facing

1959

Diplomacy (Games Research)

* Apparently a self-published version of the 1961 game.

U-Boat (AH)
(This in on the original list for 1961, but the BGG
database shows a 1959 edition with metal ships
instead of counters.)

* First tactical naval game
* Semi-hidden movement

1961

Chancellorsville (AH)

* Hexes
* Secondary ZOCs

D-Day (AH)

* Non-geographic information on map

Diplomacy (Games Research)
(The BGG database gives a date of 1959 for this game.)

* First political/military game
* First multi-player game
* Simultaneous movement
* Area movement
* Unit production

Waterloo (AH)

* Leader counters

1962

Bismarck (AH)

* Fully hidden movement
* Strategic and tactical levels

1963

Stalingrad (AH)

* Weather Actually, Tactics II had weather.
* Railroad movement

1964

Afrika Korps (AH)

* Overrun
* Supply units

Midway (AH)

* Secret deployment
* Separate air units

1965

Guadalcanal (AH)

* Step reduction
* Defensive artillery
* Ranged artillery
* Hidden land movement

Battle of the Bulge (AH)

* Traffic rules

1967

1914 (AH)

* Semi-active ZOCs
* Inverted counters
* Dummy counters
* Reduced strength counters
* Multiple CRTs
* Unit refitting

1968

Battle of Britain (Gamescience)

* First air game
* Brick grid
* Units with variable assigned strength

Trafalgar (Roger Cormier)

* First multi-scenario game
* Point grid

1969

Hannibal (Laurence Rusiecki)

* Fluid combat/movement system
* Land combat in same hex

Blitzkrieg Module System (SPI)

* Multi-phase movement and combat

Deployment (SPI)

* Line and column formations

Crete (SPI)

* First magazine game
* Counter-attacks

Flying Fortress (SPI)

* Campaign game made up of linked games
* Secret/variable victory conditions

Barbarossa (SPI)

* Fluid ZOCs

Anzio (AH)

* Conditional reinforcements
* Stacking points
* Locking ZOCs

1970

Kriegspiel (AH)

* Matrix CRT
* Geomorphic maps

TAC 3/Panzerblitz (SPI/AH)

* Line of sight/fire
* Fire before movement
* Vehicle silhouette conters
* Die roll modifiers

Leipzig (SPI)

* Retreat before combat
* Historically evaluated leaders

Strategy I (SPI)

* Decimal CRT

Renaissance of Infantry (SPI)

* Leaders for command control
* Panic and morale effects

1971

USN (SPI)

* Numbered hexes

1972

Flying Circus (SPI)

* Plane-to-plane combat
* Off-map control displays

American Revolution (SPI)

* Attrition

Soldiers (SPI)

* Interdiction fire

Quebec 1759 (Gamma Two Games)

* Blocks

Winter War (SPI)

* Random events

1973

Battles of Bull Run (SPI)

* Land simultaneous movement

Sniper! (SPI)

* Opportunity fire

Fall of Rome (SPI)

* Solitaire by design

PanzerArmee Afrika (SPI)

* Differential CRT

Drang Nach Osten! (GDW)

* First monster game

1974

Seven Day's Battle (BL)

* Split scale on different fronts

Europa Series (GDW)

* Series of linked games

1975

Frederick the Great (SPI)

* Iintermixed sequence of play
* Prisoner exchange

World War I (SPI)

* Manpower pool

Stellar Conquest (Metagaming)

* First 4X game (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate)


All entries below this line are additions.

1976

Panzergruppe Guderian (SPI)

* Untried units

1977

Ogre (Metagaming)

* First [non-magazine] microgame

1981

Storm over Arnhem (AH)

* Area-impulse system

1994

We the People (AH)

* First card-driven game.



I hope others will bring this list up to date.




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Darrell Hanning
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Quote:
The article had a sidebar on wargame firsts. Here is a list of some of those firsts, which I hope might help get the tree started. Of course, the list only goes up to 1975, but since not much new has appeared in wargames in the past 38 years, that doesn't matter much.


On the contrary, I think there's been quite a lot new to appear in wargames - so much so, that many traditionalists are claiming some of the games using such innovations aren't "really" wargames.
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Jason Albert
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tms2 wrote:
1958

Tactics II (AH)

* First commercial wargame
* Zones of control


Strange.

Why wouldn't the first commercial wargame be listed as Tactics from '54? I'm assuming S&T had a reason -- do any of the wargame historians know? I'm curious.
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Wendell
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1974 Kingmaker - was this the first use of cards to generate events, govern combat outcomes, and allocate forces to the sides?

1994 We the People - first of the "card driven (war)game" family
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Enrico Viglino
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AlbertaClipper wrote:
tms2 wrote:
1958

Tactics II (AH)

* First commercial wargame
* Zones of control


Strange.

Why wouldn't the first commercial wargame be listed as Tactics from '54? I'm assuming S&T had a reason -- do any of the wargame historians know? I'm curious.


Wondering why Diplomacy's date is wrong too.


And it doesn't answer the question which a buddy brought up
which intrigues me - what was the first game to use double sided counters?
 
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Blake Neff
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calandale wrote:
AlbertaClipper wrote:
tms2 wrote:
1958

Tactics II (AH)

* First commercial wargame
* Zones of control


Strange.

Why wouldn't the first commercial wargame be listed as Tactics from '54? I'm assuming S&T had a reason -- do any of the wargame historians know? I'm curious.


Wondering why Diplomacy's date is wrong too.


And it doesn't answer the question which a buddy brought up
which intrigues me - what was the first game to use double sided counters?


I am not an authority in any way, but I've heard the first modern wargame to use them was Trafalgar.
 
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Ted Spencer
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This was fun. Thanks.

Where does the Tank Leader series fit in?
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Iain K
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AlbertaClipper wrote:
tms2 wrote:
1958

Tactics II (AH)

* First commercial wargame
* Zones of control


Strange.

Why wouldn't the first commercial wargame be listed as Tactics from '54? I'm assuming S&T had a reason -- do any of the wargame historians know? I'm curious.


The whole list is biased and rather obsolete.

Where's mention of Chess or kriegspiel for example?
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AlbertaClipper wrote:
tms2 wrote:
1958

Tactics II (AH)

* First commercial wargame
* Zones of control


Strange.

Why wouldn't the first commercial wargame be listed as Tactics from '54? I'm assuming S&T had a reason -- do any of the wargame historians know? I'm curious.


Or L'Attaque from 1909. Though the rethemed/adapted Dover Patrol from 1919 made slightly more sense, with ship combat effectiveness increasing with size, rather than individual officers becoming more combat effective with seniority, and with a bit of additional rock-paper-scissors going on with submarines, MTBs and minesweepers.
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Brian Morris
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1988: Dean Essig designs In their Quiet fields the first of his civil war brigade series. Many other games series follow including the Operational Combat Series, Standard Combat Series and Tactical Combat Series. Eventually the Case Blue running joke is born.

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Jacob Ossar
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1976
Panzergruppe Guderian

* Untried units
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William Ford
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AlbertaClipper wrote:
tms2 wrote:
1958

Tactics II (AH)

* First commercial wargame
* Zones of control


Strange.

Why wouldn't the first commercial wargame be listed as Tactics from '54? I'm assuming S&T had a reason -- do any of the wargame historians know? I'm curious.


I don't know why the list omits Tactics, which I think is fairly described as the start of the commercial board wargaming hobby, but as another candidate for the first board wargame -- one that has the look and feel of the games of interest here -- there's War Tactics (1911).


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I have always been lead to believe that PanzerBlitz 1970 was the first wargame to have different stats for each unit.
 
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calandale wrote:
AlbertaClipper wrote:
tms2 wrote:
1958

Tactics II (AH)

* First commercial wargame
* Zones of control


Strange.

Why wouldn't the first commercial wargame be listed as Tactics from '54? I'm assuming S&T had a reason -- do any of the wargame historians know? I'm curious.


Wondering why Diplomacy's date is wrong too.


And it doesn't answer the question which a buddy brought up
which intrigues me - what was the first game to use double sided counters?



First double sided counters I ever saw were 1914
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Kyle Seely
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What was the first chit-pull game? There are different types of chit-pull - it could be for initiative, random events, turn sequence - but when did the mechanic itself first emerge?

Is it just part of the other innovations in one of the already-listed games? Such as the random events listed under Winter War?
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Michael Sommers
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DarrellKH wrote:
Quote:
The article had a sidebar on wargame firsts. Here is a list of some of those firsts, which I hope might help get the tree started. Of course, the list only goes up to 1975, but since not much new has appeared in wargames in the past 38 years, that doesn't matter much.


On the contrary, I think there's been quite a lot new to appear in wargames - so much so, that many traditionalists are claiming some of the games using such innovations aren't "really" wargames.

I was being ironic.
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Michael Sommers
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AlbertaClipper wrote:
tms2 wrote:
1958

Tactics II (AH)

* First commercial wargame
* Zones of control


Strange.

Why wouldn't the first commercial wargame be listed as Tactics from '54? I'm assuming S&T had a reason -- do any of the wargame historians know? I'm curious.

The article didn't say, but I would guess that it was not commercial enough, in that you couldn't go into a store and buy it. It also had no effect or influence on anything, except through its reincarnation as Tactics II. I'll go ahead and add it, though.
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Michael Sommers
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calandale wrote:
Wondering why Diplomacy's date is wrong too.

Don't know. Are you sure the date in the database is correct?

Quote:
And it doesn't answer the question which a buddy brought up
which intrigues me - what was the first game to use double sided counters?

1914 had back-printed counters, but they just showed the unit's facing.
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Michael Sommers
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citizen k wrote:
The whole list is biased ...

How is it biased?

Quote:
... and rather obsolete.

Of course it isn't up to date, since the list was made in 1975. But how is it obsolete? Later developments can't change the fact that X was the first game to do Y.

Quote:
Where's mention of Chess or kriegspiel for example?

Chess isn't a wargame. Kriegspiel, by which I assume you do not mean the game of that name from AH, was not a commercial hobby game.


I thought it was obvious that the list concerned only commercial hobby wargaming. Some, maybe most, of the things on the list may have first been used in professional (as opposed to hobby) games. For example, Roberts got the idea of using hexes from a photo he saw of a game being played at Rand Corp. And Rand Corp. was not the first to notice that hexagons could tile the plane. That does not mean that Chancellorsville was not the first commercial hobby game to use hexes.
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Bill Lawson
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tms2 wrote:
calandale wrote:
Wondering why Diplomacy's date is wrong too.

Don't know. Are you sure the date in the database is correct?

Quote:
And it doesn't answer the question which a buddy brought up
which intrigues me - what was the first game to use double sided counters?

1914 had back-printed counters, but they just showed the unit's facing.


It doesn't matter what it showed on the back-they were still the first back printed counters I ever saw. It not only showed facing, it was also the first game with hidden strength units (FOW).
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Michael Sommers
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ConG wrote:
Or L'Attaque from 1909. Though the rethemed/adapted Dover Patrol from 1919 made slightly more sense, with ship combat effectiveness increasing with size, rather than individual officers becoming more combat effective with seniority, and with a bit of additional rock-paper-scissors going on with submarines, MTBs and minesweepers.

From their descriptions, these look a lot like Stratego. I would call then war-themed games rather than wargames.
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Michael Sommers
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mrbeankc wrote:
1988: Dean Essig designs In their Quiet fields the first of his civil war brigade series. Many other games series follow including the Operational Combat Series, Standard Combat Series and Tactical Combat Series. Eventually the Case Blue running joke is born.

The list seems to be geared more to design innovations than just to first games in a series; there were series games before the CWBS. Did the CWBS introduce any innovations (I haven't encountered it)?
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Michael Sommers
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Crito wrote:
I don't know why the list omits Tactics, which I think is fairly described as the start of the commercial board wargaming hobby, but as another candidate for the first board wargame -- one that has the look and feel of the games of interest here -- there's War Tactics (1911).



Interesting. I'm not sure it belongs on the list, though. From the description the mechanics sound a lot like chess.

Maybe someone should make a list of pre-Tactics/Tactics II war-themed games.
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Michael Sommers
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whatambush wrote:
I have always been lead to believe that PanzerBlitz 1970 was the first wargame to have different stats for each unit.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "different stats for each unit."
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Michael Sommers
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Sluggonics wrote:
What was the first chit-pull game? There are different types of chit-pull - it could be for initiative, random events, turn sequence - but when did the mechanic itself first emerge?

Is it just part of the other innovations in one of the already-listed games? Such as the random events listed under Winter War?

I would think the first such game should be on the list. I don't know what that game is, though.
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