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kriegspiel (KREEG-speel) noun

1. A game in which miniature characters and blocks represent armies, ships, etc. as they move around on a drawing of a battlefield, used to simulate war and teach military tactics.

2. A form of chess where players see only their own pieces and an umpire keeps track of all the pieces on a third board.

[From German Kriegsspiel, from Krieg (war) + Spiel (game).]

"`(Prof Richard) Holmes and his chums spent six months recreating the battle of Waterloo on an enormous sand table,' I am told. `Thousands of soldiers, cannons, and horses were painstakingly painted and placed ready for battle.' Alas, one day school rebels broke into the Kriegspiel room and bounced footballs on his battleground. When he discovered the carnage Holmes collapsed, sobbing: "I want the culprits found, court martialed and shot!" The Scurra, The Mirror (London), Mar 4, 2002.

"`So my father, my two brothers and I used to go for long walks and one brother would be way out in front, my father would be in the middle and the other brother would be way at the back and they'd be playing the game Kriegspiel in their head and my father would keep both positions in his mind. And my role was to carry the moves backwards and forwards, so I was the runner.'" John Schwartz, At the Heart of the Mind, Roger Penrose Thinks Computers Have a Lot to Learn, The Washington Post, Dec 1, 1994.

This week's theme: words related to the military.


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