Page 7 - March 2018
P. 7

The rules were complex,
                                             with the playing
                                             pieces carefully made
                                             to match the scale
                                             of the maps used.

                                             military lifestyle. Dejected after failure to
                                             gain the important army promotion he had
                                             sought, the Prussian army captain took his
                                             own life in 1827 with a revolver.
                                              Quite why the Figgins type foundry
                                             should have become involved in the manu-
                                             facture of these tactical military sets is
                                             not known. Of course the company would
                                             have had extensive joinery facilities for
                                             the manufacture of typecases and other
                                             print shop woodwork, so the storage boxes
                                             could easily have been made by Figgins
                                             or their sub-contractors, and many of the
                                             playing pieces appear to be painted type
                                             metal, so perhaps it was their expertise
                                             in casting small, detailed metal compo-
                                             nents which got them the government
       civil administrator called Baron von   contract to produce the game. Standard
       Reisswitz. He had a particular interest in   hand-moulds for spacing material (say Pica
       military history, later becoming a junior   em spaces) might well have been used for
       officer in the Prussian army. The British   some playing pieces, allowing them to be
       version of the game, ironically adapted   cast with relative ease. Painting the pieces
       from the German original, would have   was probably the most challenging part of
       been monitored by three army umpires,   their manufacture.
       with the participating officers writing   The wooden box on Ebay was empty—all
       orders and making moves on two separate   trace of the original playing pieces and
       6-inch-to-the-mile maps.              maps were absent—and the asking price
         The rules were complex, with the play-  was £60. I decided not to buy, but having
       ing pieces carefully made to match the   searched the internet for further details
       scale of the maps used. This meant that the   of this curious game, that price seems to
       movement of troops also had to be made   be a bit of a bargain. A complete Game
       in real time, with calculations relating to   of War, with its maps and playing pieces
       the length of an average soldier’s pace and   will set you back many thousands of
       distance travelled factored into the move-  pounds. That is substantially more than
       ment and advance of each army. Baron von   any of the Figgins foundry’s surviving
       Reisswitz became disillusioned with his   Victorian typefaces.
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