Miniature Wargaming Club Leuven
Schild & Vriend
'Historical' Chapter

'Schild en Vriend' is an old Flemish battlecry, used in the rebellion of the city of Brugge against the French, May 18, 1302. Legend tells that it was used to differentiate between the French-speaking (who could not pronounce 'schild') and Flemish-speaking citizens. Nowadays, historians tell us that it was probably 'Des Gilden Vriend'.

History of Miniature Wargaming

It is generally accepted that wargaming has its roots in Kriegsspiel, a simulation game to train officers that was used in the Prussian and German army in the 19th century. Kriegsspiel has been published in various editions, and soon it also became used in other military academies of the time. A version of Kriegsspiel is still in print, and is publsihed by Bill Leeson. The Miniatures Page has a section about it. Some groups, such as the Die Freimontatkriegspeilfreundegesellschaft still play a variant in the spirit of original Kriegsspiel, called Free Kriegsspiel.

At the beginning of this century, H.G.Wells published Little Wars, which actually was the start of wargaming as a hobby. Little Wars was a game to be played with Toy Soldiers, at the time mostly 54mm soldiers from Britains. The Garden Wargaming page has a section devoted to Little Wars, including a reproduction of the 20 pages which describe the rules. Out of nostalgic reasons, every wargamer should at least have played Little Wars once, using 54mm toy soldiers, although this may prove to be a bit expensive. Wm Hocker is a modern supplier and manufacturer of toy soldiers.

Since then, and especially since the fifties and sixties, wargaming has taken on many forms, such as board wargaming and computer wargaming. Roleplaying is considered an offspring of fantasy wargaming, and has become a full-grown hobby of its own, significantly larger than the wargaming hobby.

Nowadays, the availability of rulesets and miniatures is huge, and it's not always easy to choose a specific ruleset and a specific range of miniatures to suit your needs.

More Information

  • The Art of Wargaming, written by P. Perla and published in 1990, gives a good overview of the history of wargaming, especially from the point of view of using wargames as a tool to train officers. It's definitely worth reading if your interested in how wargaming grow into its current forms.

  • Wilbur Gray also has written a short history of wargaming.

  • SHAMBATTLE is another illustrious forefather of modern day wargaming.

The old Prussian Wargame. This is the cover of Kriegsspiel 1824 by Von Reisswitz, published by Bill Leeson in 1989.

Little Wars (1913), the first 'hobby wargame'. This cover is from the facsmile edition, published by Arms & Armour Press in 1970.

The Art of Wargaming by Peter Perla gives an excellent history of wargames, but mostly looked at from 'the serious side'. Published by Naval Institute Press, 1990.

This page was written by Phil Dutré and is maintained by Bart Vetters
Schild en Vriend Miniature Wargaming Club Leuven