Simulations of military operations ranging from the historic to the hypothetical and fantastic. Game scale can range from man-to-man combat to strategic level operations. Units are most commonly represented by cardboard chits on a hexagonal map though a number of games use miniatures.
Wargaming as we know it came about in 1812 by a Prussian officer and his son, made in the midst of the Napoleonic wars. They designed Kriegsspiel in order to train for actual battle, and Wilhelm III had a specially made board with modular terrain tiles and drawers to store models. It introduces the basics of wargaming, such as rolling dice, but was extremely rules heavy and clunky. Later after German unification, a version known as "free" Kriegsspiel came about that scrapped most of the rules and was played in real time; this version was much more popular. Wargames are in use still in a practical sense by actual, real-world militaries to simulate and plan for different scenarios in the real world. The best example of this was the Western Approaches Tactical Unit, which trained many naval officers of the Allied powers and provided real-time military analysis and useful tactics for the Battle of the Atlantic.
While kids have been playing at war with toy soldiers and other figurines for ages, the first official recreational wargame rules in the modern sense were devised by H.G. Wells, the science fiction author, in 1913. At that time, the neckbeard had not yet come into style, so Mr. Wells had to settle for a rather dapper moustache. So be classy and take a look at the rules for the first ever Wargame, right here.
- Historical: Replicas of specific wars or periods of wars. The most popular are World War 2, the American Civil War, and the Napoleonic wars, though many others are supported.
- Fantasy: Orcs, Dwarves, and dirty peasants fighting alongside half-crazed wizards. Often features large monsters and magic. The most well known is Warhammer Fantasy.
- Science Fiction: Laser guns, space ships fighting among the stars, mechs and more. The most well known is Warhammer 40,000.