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.
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.