Weekly Tangent – A Brief History Of Gaming And The Military


Hello ‘Tangenters!

There’s a surprisingly long history of using games for military applications and, in some instances, these games may have saved lives.

Our favorite hobby is super important to history!


As I’m sure many of you know, chess is based on war. It was an early (as in 7th century, yeah, THAT early) battlefield simulator and even today, researchers are using this ancient game to study how commanders make decisions in war.

I’m interested to see what these scientists do with this research in the future. This little board game may very well affect (or maybe it’s already affected) the world – just read the part about Mao Zedong and his generals!


Now, here’s an interesting twist on using board games in war.

Have you heard the tale of Clayton Hutton and his Monopoly games?

In WWII, Britain shipped specially manufactured versions of Monopoly to POW camps. Hidden inside the games were maps, local currency, files, compasses and all the things a soldier would need to escape.

Getting a game of Monopoly may have helped free Allied POWs.

Here’s a wonderfully detailed account about Clayton Hutton and his involvement in WWII.


This story makes Boardwalk even MORE valuable, doesn’t it?

So, there you go. Games may have started out as war simulators, but they evolved to save POWs. Games have a real effect.

Now, with all this talk about games altering the course of history… it’s back to Word Science for me!

Do you have any stories about how games changed your life?


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6 Responses to “Weekly Tangent – A Brief History Of Gaming And The Military”

  1. Spock January 20, 2014 at 1:57 PM #

    That was truly fascinating reading! Thank you for finding that. :)

    • Mari January 20, 2014 at 1:58 PM #

      I thought it was cool, too. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Spock January 20, 2014 at 2:05 PM #

    I thought it interesting enough that I have created a topic in our forum about it … with links here to your blog. Maybe you will get more traffic now. 😉

    • Mari January 20, 2014 at 2:07 PM #

      Cool! Thanks, Spock! I appreciate it. :)

  3. Spock January 20, 2014 at 2:09 PM #

    Here’s the link. Of course, you will have to join the forum to actually see the post. 😛


    • Mari January 20, 2014 at 2:11 PM #


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