Wehrschach: Tak-Tik Board Game

Wehrschach, or Military Chess, is a board game created by the German Military in 1938. It was sent to armies on the main fronts and also at home, to motivate them about the war. The purpose behind the game is horrible, and the fact that it contributed to the Nazi Germany mindset is frightening. However, it sheds light on the reality of war. From my perspective, it is the reality that people do not want to kill each other, they don’t want to fight. The leaders led them to the wars, and games like these, it seems, are how they coerced them into staying at war. I relate this type of game to violent video games that exist now, such as “Call of Duty”, “Modern Warfare” or “Halo”. All of these involve shooting, killing and capturing the ‘bad guys’. This is lowering the sensitivity of people towards blood and violence. Furthermore, it gives validity to war.

The game looks like chess in that, it’s a squared board, with white and black blocks 11 by 11. On the board there are also two territories at the end of each side. Also, a river going diagonally across one end, and a main road diagonally on the other side. Also, at two different locations there are lakes. The pieces of the game are: infantry, artillery, armored vehicle, fighter planes, bomber planes and headquarters.

The game is quite complex and I have tried to do some research on it but have hit a wall. There is not much information on it. I am not even sure if it was a success as a game or if people didn’t even enjoy it.

For more information on the game, go here.
For the games instructions you can check them out here.

There are not many copies remaining, you can find a few on Ebay for about $300 or more; there are also a few in museums throughout the world, such as the one in the Berlin Luftwaffe Museum. Lastly, if you are super interested there is an Android App. It allows you to play against the computer, a friend or online. To just discover and check it out it is a great, cheep way to do it, download it here.

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6 thoughts on “Wehrschach: Tak-Tik Board Game

  1. So , I guess Chess is horrible and evil, too? American and British children played games similar to Wehrschach, I think over sensitivity is the issue here.

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    • Hi Patrick, thank you for sharing! I agree that there might be some over sensitivity on this topic.. However, do you think these games that the US and British forces played didn’t affect them?
      Also, I would be very interested to know what games the US and British forces, I wonder how similar they are to Wehrschach! Do you know any games or names specifically that they played? Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts!

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      • Hello. The titles of the American and British games escape me at the moment – there were many! – but a few were Strategy; Ranger Commandoes; and GHQ. There was a book about them called Toys Go To War. All were meant to stir patriotism and war support. Such was the mood at the time. And all harmless, in my humble opinion. As an aside, if you give Wehrschach an open-minded try, it really is an excellent game. And look to today’s Battleship, Risk, and Stratego. Your thoughts?

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        • Thank You I will look up the book. Also, I have given Wehrschach a try I actually have the app/game on my android phone but it is quite complex! Do you have it? I would love to play, because I also think you can’t understand the game until you actually play it. Playing it myself though, I am actually curious if it even succeeded as a board game because it is so complex! Do you know any historical aspects of the game, whether or not people enjoyed playing it? Lastly, about Battleship, Risk and Strategy and other common contemporary war games I think they are fun but I can’t help and wonder how this affects our minds (similar to war video games) because the US is currently involved in a lot of wars overseas!
          And this article was not meant to discredit the validity of the game I just wanted to present the historical context for it, and ways it might have impacted the war.

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          • I do have several copies of Wehrschach, and love playing it. And you are right: it is very complex. But I enjoy a challenge! Wehrschach was just getting off the ground, and I believe the Second World War hurt its growth; that, and the unfortunate association with Nazism. There were Wehrschach problems printed in German newspapers up to the end of the war, like Bridge and Chess problems. Also several books were written about Wehrschach. I have two. As for America’s present wars and politics, well …. Let’s just say I am very disappointed. But American SOCIAL problems are what is killing her! I hope I was able to shed a little light on war games for you. A few others I highly recommend: Gambit (Challenge Games, 1973); Ploy (3M); and Coalitions Chess (Arthur Schonberg; unpublished) to name just a few. Happy gaming! -Patrick Kelley

            Sent from my iPhone

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