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Author Topic: Free Kriegsspiel Roleplaying  (Read 686 times)

TheShadowSpawn

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Free Kriegsspiel Roleplaying
« on: November 13, 2020, 10:18:21 pm »

I recently came across this new terminology. It seems to identify itself with the OSR, but I'm not so sure about that.

This site seems to cover an overview: https://d66kobolds.blogspot.com/2020/09/free-kriegsspiel-worlds-not-rules-etc.html

Anyone given these games or style a try? I prefer rules lite game, but this approach seems to go a little far in that direction.

TheShadowSpawn

Pat

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Re: Free Kriegsspiel Roleplaying
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2020, 03:53:53 am »
It's not new terminology, it's very old terminology. Free kriegspiel was a set of rules used to train the officers of the Prussian army in the 19th century. If you're interested in the origin of RPGs, from free kriegspiel though Little Wars to OD&D, Playing at the World by Jon Peterson is the best single source.

S'mon

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Re: Free Kriegsspiel Roleplaying
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2020, 07:07:43 am »
Pre-3e D&D (esp pre-2e) used Free Kriegsspiel play as the default mechanic in most cases - GM decides a probability, & rolls. It requires a degree of self confidence; OTOH the GM needs to consider and be able to justify their ruling. That latter bit is why it was so effective as a training aid for officers, and why it works so much better at training new GMs than the 3e style mechanics-for-everything.
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TheShadowSpawn

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Re: Free Kriegsspiel Roleplaying
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2020, 10:32:03 am »
It's not new terminology, it's very old terminology. Free kriegspiel was a set of rules used to train the officers of the Prussian army in the 19th century. If you're interested in the origin of RPGs, from free kriegspiel though Little Wars to OD&D, Playing at the World by Jon Peterson is the best single source.

Yeah, I should have been more clear. I meant that its new in relation to the OSR. I think games like Into the Odd subscribe to this kind of gaming theory.

TheShadowSpawn

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Re: Free Kriegsspiel Roleplaying
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2020, 10:34:19 am »
Pre-3e D&D (esp pre-2e) used Free Kriegsspiel play as the default mechanic in most cases - GM decides a probability, & rolls. It requires a degree of self confidence; OTOH the GM needs to consider and be able to justify their ruling. That latter bit is why it was so effective as a training aid for officers, and why it works so much better at training new GMs than the 3e style mechanics-for-everything.

I would guess this is because Pre 3E games didn't have a defined skill system? ( non-weapon proficiencies not withstanding)

S'mon

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Re: Free Kriegsspiel Roleplaying
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2020, 06:12:20 am »
I would guess this is because Pre 3E games didn't have a defined skill system? ( non-weapon proficiencies not withstanding)

Yes, partly. Lack of a 'universal mechanic' and a general ethos that the primary rule is 'GM decides'. Moldvay Basic D&D has one of the clearest discussions of how this works. AD&D is much less clear, as it was trying to create a more unified game (& failing I'd say).
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GameDaddy

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Re: Free Kriegsspiel Roleplaying
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2020, 07:40:31 am »
It's not new terminology, it's very old terminology. Free kriegspiel was a set of rules used to train the officers of the Prussian army in the 19th century. If you're interested in the origin of RPGs, from free kriegspiel though Little Wars to OD&D, Playing at the World by Jon Peterson is the best single source.

Mmmmmmm. I disagree.  Sitting down to a game of Strategos - S with Dave Wesely and Ross Maker is quite possibly the best single source you'll come across in this lifetime since Strategos is a direct descendant of Kriegspiel.
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hedgehobbit

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Re: Free Kriegsspiel Roleplaying
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2020, 09:41:02 am »
As pointed out, the early kreigspiels were meant to train military officers. When Hans Guderian set out for the invasion of France in 1940, he took the orders that he had created for a wargame a few weeks earlier, changed the dates and issued them to his real troops. That's the level of realism that these games strived for.

Early proto-RPGs such as Wesely's Braunstein, used this method of having everyone write down orders and then have the referee read them and come up with his results. This method takes time, as the Braunstein games only managed to get a few turns done in an entire day of gaming. The genius of Dave Arneson was how he restricted the options that players could come up with by the physical structure of a dungeon, thus enabling the referee to resolve actions in real time and ended up creating the RPGs in the process.

The whole point of numbers on a character sheet is to aid the GM in resolving actions quickly in order to keep that real time resolution going. While you might argue that too many numbers slows down the pace of the game, adding "free Kriegspiel" to an RPG is a step backwards.

 

chirine ba kal

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Re: Free Kriegsspiel Roleplaying
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2020, 02:38:28 pm »

I recently came across this new terminology. It seems to identify itself with the OSR, but I'm not so sure about that.

This site seems to cover an overview: https://d66kobolds.blogspot.com/2020/09/free-kriegsspiel-worlds-not-rules-etc.html

Anyone given these games or style a try? I prefer rules lite game, but this approach seems to go a little far in that direction.

TheShadowSpawn

Why yes, I have been giving this style of gaming a try. Since 1975, when I first started gaming with Dave Arneson and then in 1976 with M. A. R. Barker; I've been running games this way since then. Both of them used the 'stats' that we rolled as advisories when they came up with the probability curves we rolled against during a game.

What I think many folks are missing is that the Prussian game was run the same way - players told the GM what they were going to do, and situational resolution was rolled for against probability tables. Everything else was wide open, and complicated number crunching was kept at an absolute minimum.

Dave and Phil's actual play styles would always disappoint gamers at conventions or other sessions; they did not use their own rules as written in their games, and simply used them as guides to resolve situations as needed. Both of them, as did Gary in the games I had with him, *knew* how their worlds worked and could run them without having piles of rules books to hand.

The tendency in game circles, from my perspective, is for people to write more and more detailed and 'crunchy' game systems; which is fine, if that's what one likes in one's games, but it's very different then what I saw back then.

Greentongue

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Re: Free Kriegsspiel Roleplaying
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2020, 01:16:41 pm »
I think the confrontational vision of the Players "against" the DM requires rules to "make the Game fair". 
When the DM is basically just the narrator, rules are not so critical.  IMHO

Bren

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Re: Free Kriegsspiel Roleplaying
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2020, 02:19:41 pm »
I think the confrontational vision of the Players "against" the DM requires rules to "make the Game fair". 
When the DM is basically just the narrator, rules are not so critical.  IMHO
I don't see how that follows.

Surely the GM is not just reading a fixed and unvarying story. If they are, they don't need players they need an audience. So if the story can vary, people will want to ensure that their input has an impact on how the story changes. Rules will be just as, it not even more, critical. Even comedy club improv has rules.
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Marchand

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Re: Free Kriegsspiel Roleplaying
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2020, 09:54:13 pm »

I recently came across this new terminology. It seems to identify itself with the OSR, but I'm not so sure about that.

This site seems to cover an overview: https://d66kobolds.blogspot.com/2020/09/free-kriegsspiel-worlds-not-rules-etc.html

Anyone given these games or style a try? I prefer rules lite game, but this approach seems to go a little far in that direction.

TheShadowSpawn

As the blog hints at, the "free Kriegsspiel" approach emerged in the 1870s as a reaction to the complexity of the Kriegsspiel rules developed in the 1820s. So if free Kriegsspiel is ancient school, straight Kriegsspiel must be legendary-school. 
"If the English surrender, it'll be a long war!"
- Scottish soldier on the beach at Dunkirk

consolcwby

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Re: Free Kriegsspiel Roleplaying
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2020, 10:24:24 pm »
Early proto-RPGs such as Wesely's Braunstein, used this method of having everyone write down orders and then have the referee read them and come up with his results. This method takes time, as the Braunstein games only managed to get a few turns done in an entire day of gaming. The genius of Dave Arneson was how he restricted the options that players could come up with by the physical structure of a dungeon, thus enabling the referee to resolve actions in real time and ended up creating the RPGs in the process.

The whole point of numbers on a character sheet is to aid the GM in resolving actions quickly in order to keep that real time resolution going. While you might argue that too many numbers slows down the pace of the game, adding "free Kriegspiel" to an RPG is a step backwards.
Krieg Spiel = War Game
I've always been a big fan of wargames, haven't played one for over two decades though... When it comes to 'Proto-RPGs", they are STILL publishing 1975's En Guarde! I bought it last year, a really cool game idea that's TABLE-ICOUS! :D Not PC though... but then again, I love me some 3 Musketeers!
https://grognardia.blogspot.com/2009/11/retrospective-en-garde.html
http://www.engarde.co.uk/

Sometimes, going back is a means to go forward again!
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Greentongue

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Re: Free Kriegsspiel Roleplaying
« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2020, 01:21:29 pm »
I don't see how that follows.

Surely the GM is not just reading a fixed and unvarying story. If they are, they don't need players they need an audience. So if the story can vary, people will want to ensure that their input has an impact on how the story changes. Rules will be just as, it not even more, critical. Even comedy club improv has rules.
I was meaning the willingness and faith that the GM was playing as an impartial moderator between the players and the world.
That the GM didn't have an agenda, a "Story" or a favored player at the table.
Once there is that question, RULES are need to be adhered to.  Fudging the rolls are suspected. 
I personally would rather not be at a table where I felt I was the GMs plaything and not just part of a game.   

Bren

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Re: Free Kriegsspiel Roleplaying
« Reply #14 on: November 18, 2020, 02:14:21 pm »
I don't see how that follows.

Surely the GM is not just reading a fixed and unvarying story. If they are, they don't need players they need an audience. So if the story can vary, people will want to ensure that their input has an impact on how the story changes. Rules will be just as, it not even more, critical. Even comedy club improv has rules.
I was meaning the willingness and faith that the GM was playing as an impartial moderator between the players and the world.
That the GM didn't have an agenda, a "Story" or a favored player at the table.
Once there is that question, RULES are need to be adhered to.  Fudging the rolls are suspected. 
I personally would rather not be at a table where I felt I was the GMs plaything and not just part of a game.
That makes sense. Your calling the GM the "narrator" confused me. I think referee is a better word than narrator for what you described. Back in the 1970s and 1980s GM and Referee were used interchangeably among the folks I gamed with. I don't see that much anymore though.
Currently running: Boot Hill 2E      Currently playing:_D&D 5E and Call of Cthulhu
My Blog: For Honor...and Intrigue
I now have a gold medal from Ravenswing and Gronan now owes me 9 beers and I owe him 2 beers.
And this just in, jeff37923 has jumped on the beer wagon. He now owes me 1 beer.