Reisswitz the Elder
The Kriegsspiel, or war-game was invented in the first years of the 19th century by Baron von Reisswitz, a civil administrator of some kind with an interest in military history. There were a lot of attempts to produce a war-game at this time but they were all based on either chess or cards. In fact chess had a mesmerising effect on war-game design which it is difficult for us to appreciate today, so that there was chess with more squares, chess with more pieces, chess with squares of many colours and chess with more players, pieces, squares and colours. Then Reisswitz came along and decided that what was needed was a return to first principles.
Every aspect of the game was to be looked at anew, starting with the playing area. He decided that this should be an actual model of realistic looking terrain. No flat squares and triangles. Hills should look like hills, rivers should twist and turn like rivers, forests should be allowed to spread out in irregular shapes. Similarly the pieces that represent troops should fit into the landscape somehow, and most importantly, they should only take up the amount of space on the model that they would do in reality. This probably caused Reisswitz a few headaches, but he finally decided on flat blocks that would have the correct frontage, which of course implies a definite scale for troops and terrain. The scale used in the first version was 1:2373, which works out as about 3cm = 100 paces.