There are probably two men who can claim the title ‘father of science fiction’ (gay dads!): Jules Verne, author of Journey to the Centre of the Earth and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, and H.G. Wells.
I didn’t realise that as well as writing genre-defining classics like The War of the Worlds and The Time Machine, Wells has also been called the father of miniature war gaming.
He wrote two books, Floor Games and Little Wars (what a title), of rules and theory for playing games with children’s toys and toy soldiers. Little Wars includes a description of a game from the point of view of a caracitural general relating it as a battle from his storied past, beginning:
… suddenly your author changes. He changes into what perhaps he might have been—under different circumstances. His inky fingers become large, manly hands, his drooping scholastic back stiffens, his elbows go out, his etiolated complexion corrugates and darkens, his moustaches increase and grow and spread, and curl up horribly; a large, red scar, a sabre cut, grows lurid over one eye. He expands—all over he expands. He clears his throat startlingly, lugs at the still growing ends of his moustache, and says, with just a faint and fading doubt in his voice as to whether he can do it, “Yas, Sir!”
I don’t know anything about war games. (I am a nerd, but not that kind of nerd.) But I like the fact that Wells’ game makes use of spring-loaded cannons firing wooden cylinders. In Little Wars he says, ‘Whenever possible, death should be by actual gun- and rifle-fire and not by computation. Things should happen, and not be decided.’
If you’ve read Infinte Jest, that might make you think of nuclear-annihilation-and-tennis game Eschaton (or it did me, anyway), which similarly operates with real-world actions (tennis ball lobs) impacting on the accepted pretense of a game world (nuclear explosions). Or at least it operates until debate (does real world snow dictate game-world snow?) becomes violence and the end of play.