Wargames on film and TV: Game of War

Categories // Syndicated Blogs, Figures & Toy Soldiers, Wargaming Miscellany

This was Channel 4€™s attempt to make Kriegsspiel into a spectator sport. Unfortunately it did not work very well and only lasted for a single, short series of three programmes.

Details from the programme's opening credits.
The programme was hosted by Angela Rippon, assisted by Iain Dickie (who gave general advice about tactics), Arthur Harman (who acted as combat umpire), and Paddy Griffith (who acted as the player liaison umpire).

From left to right: Arthur Harman, Iain Dickie, Angela Rippon, and Dr Paddy Griffith.
Three battles were re-fought by eminent modern-day British generals (both active and retired) who were in turn assisted by professional military historians.

The umpires' map was a three dimensional representation of the battlefield, and the position of forces deployed by both sides were indicated by differently coloured and shaped plastic playing pieces.
A close-up of the plastic playing pieces.
The two opposing commanders and their staffs had a two dimensional representation of the battlefield to work with. Differently shaped and coloured plastic plaques indicated the positions of their own troops and those of the enemy that they could see.
The battles were:
  • Naseby
  • Balaklava
  • Waterloo
It was a valiant effort to make wargaming interesting to the general public, and the interaction between the commanders and their €˜staffs€™ was very interesting €“ for example towards the end of the Battle of Naseby both sides thought that they were about to lose €“ but there was insufficient spectacle for the average viewer. It was also unhelpful that the programmes were transmitted quite late at night.

The random thoughts of an ancient wargamer (Robert Cordery is the ancient wargamer!)
This was Channel 4€™s attempt to make Kriegsspiel into a spectator sport. Unfortunately it did not work very well and only lasted for a single, short series of three programmes.

Details from the programme's opening credits.
The programme was hosted by Angela Rippon, assisted by Iain Dickie (who gave general advice about tactics), Arthur Harman (who acted as combat umpire), and Paddy Griffith (who acted as the player liaison umpire).

From left to right: Arthur Harman, Iain Dickie, Angela Rippon, and Dr Paddy Griffith.
Three battles were re-fought by eminent modern-day British generals (both active and retired) who were in turn assisted by professional military historians.

The umpires' map was a three dimensional representation of the battlefield, and the position of forces deployed by both sides were indicated by differently coloured and shaped plastic playing pieces.
A close-up of the plastic playing pieces.
The two opposing commanders and their staffs had a two dimensional representation of the battlefield to work with. Differently shaped and coloured plastic plaques indicated the positions of their own troops and those of the enemy that they could see.
The battles were:
  • Naseby
  • Balaklava
  • Waterloo
It was a valiant effort to make wargaming interesting to the general public, and the interaction between the commanders and their €˜staffs€™ was very interesting €“ for example towards the end of the Battle of Naseby both sides thought that they were about to lose €“ but there was insufficient spectacle for the average viewer. It was also unhelpful that the programmes were transmitted quite late at night.

Posted originally: 2009-12-22 23:57:00