[kreeg-speel, -shpeel, kreek-]


(sometimes initial capital letter) a game using small figures and counters that represent troops, ships, etc., played on a map or miniature battlefield, developed for teaching military tactics to officers.
a form of chess in which both players see only their own pieces on a board in front of them and must remember the opponent's moves as told to them by a referee who maintains a third board on which the play of both players is shown.

Origin of kriegspiel

1805–15; < German Kriegsspiel, equivalent to Krieg(e)s, genitive of Krieg war + Spiel game Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for kriegspiel

tryout, maneuver, rehearsal, trial

Examples from the Web for kriegspiel

Historical Examples of kriegspiel

  • We then proceeded to Kriegspiel, according to the mysterious ideas of those in authority over us.

    The World Set Free

    Herbert George Wells

  • Each leader assumed that the moves of the Kriegspiel had been correctly played and that there was nothing more to be done.

    A Handbook of the Boer War

    Gale and Polden, Limited

  • It is said that the Prussian officers play at a game called Kriegspiel, or the war game.

  • The northern third of Natal is as vulnerable a military position as a player of kriegspiel could wish to have submitted to him.

    The Great Boer War

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Nowhere can fiction p. 364give us one to match her, not even the ‘Kriegspiel’ heroine, who touched me to the deeps.

British Dictionary definitions for kriegspiel



(sometimes capital) a form of war game in which symbols representing military formations are moved about on maps
a variation of chess in which each player has his own board and men and does not see his opponent's board and men. The moves are regulated by an umpire on a third board out of sight of both players

Word Origin for kriegspiel

C19: from German Kriegsspiel war game
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for kriegspiel

war games played with pieces on maps, 1811 as a German word in English, from German Kriegsspiel, literally "war game," from Krieg "war," from Middle High German kriec, "combat," mostly "exertion, effort; opposition, enmity, resistance," from Old High German chreg "stubbornness, defiance, obsinancy," perhaps from PIE *gwere- "heavy" (see grave (adj.)) or cognate with Greek hybris "violence" (see hubris; cf. also war (n.)). For second element, see spiel (n.). Introduced 1870s as officer training in British army.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper