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"Professor Gerard de Gre" Topic

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Bob the Temple Builder18 Jan 2009 7:56 a.m. PST

I recently came across an image from an old WARGAMES NEWSLETTER which I put onto my blog ( link ) . I asked if anyone knew who the wargamer was because the setup he was using – a gridded terrain – looked very similar to the terrain used in TABLE TOP BATTLES, a set of rules that I have been using and modifying recently.

Thanks to some excellent detective work by Mike Elliott, I now know that the gentleman in question is Professor Gerarfd de Gre. He was working at Waterloo University, Canada, at the time that the photo was taken.

I have an abiding interest in the work of early wargamers, particulalrly those who used gridded tabletops, and I wondered if any members of TMP could let me know:

1. Is Profeesor de Gre still alive and playing wargamers?

2. If he is, can anyone let me knoe how to contact him?

3. Does anyone have a copy of the rules that he used?

I hope that someone out there can help me find the answers to these questions.

Bob Cordery

Angel Barracks18 Jan 2009 8:01 a.m. PST


aecurtis Fezian18 Jan 2009 8:16 a.m. PST

As he had professional publications dated as early as 1941, I would be rather suprised if he is still awfully active. Still, you never know.

Note that he is credited by George Gush as having developed the idea of move orders:


As he also invented the term "gnosio-sociology", he must have been either terribly interesting to talk to, or frightfully… otherwise.


floating white bear18 Jan 2009 8:20 a.m. PST

Knew of him. He was still at U of W circa 1976 as I was just getting into gaming. I believe a couple of the guys I gamed with over the years had gamed with him. (I am also not sure if any of those guys are here.) I have a Roman cavalryman which I believe came from his collection. Some similar stuff was on sale in a Waterloo antiques store in the late 70's. Sorry I can't help much more. Rob.

mweaver18 Jan 2009 8:24 a.m. PST

You might contact the university. They might have some info as to whether he is still alive.

Bob in Edmonton18 Jan 2009 9:47 a.m. PST

An obituary in the American Sociological Association newsletter from 1987 for a Gerard DeGree is here (page 15):

PDF link

It is partial due to a scanning error and suggests he was born in 1915. If this is the same guy, that date would suggest he would have been 60 or so in 1976; does that jive with the fellow you knew, Imnotanaga?

An uncommon name but there could always be two professors with the same one.

Grizwald18 Jan 2009 9:58 a.m. PST

What a pity that p2 is repeated at the end of that document instead of p16.

Bob the Temple Builder18 Jan 2009 12:36 p.m. PST

Thanks to all of you for this information.

It would appear the Prof de Gre is dead, and that the chance for finding a copy of his rules is likely to be impossible. I will, however, persist in trying to find out more about his gentleman and his wargaming.

Bob Cordery

floating white bear18 Jan 2009 3:21 p.m. PST

I did not know him, but i would have said the age appears to be correct. Aparently his book collection is at the University in Waterloo, and there is a games museum on campus which has some of his collection as well. Rob.

Etranger18 Jan 2009 5:40 p.m. PST

Bob – if the University holds the late professors papers etc it's just possible that they have a copy of his rules. It might be worth dropping the university librarians a line to see what's in their catalogue.

Cheriton19 Jan 2009 10:17 a.m. PST

>>>It would appear the Prof de Gre is dead,<<<

I recall a profile of him in Jack Scuby's "Table Top Talk" sometime in the late 60s. I'll dig it out, probably not much help after 40 years, though.

Bob the Temple Builder19 Jan 2009 11:14 a.m. PST

Again, many thanks for the suggestions.

I certainly hope to contact the University of Waterloo, just in case they can help.

In the meantime, thanks to Allen's 'heads up', I am looking back at my copies of various wargames books (mainly by the 'Don') and have already found several references to both Gerard de Gre and Joseph Morschauser. Once I have more information I will add it to my blog.

Bob Cordery

Cheriton20 Jan 2009 11:08 a.m. PST


Sorry, unexpected business came up yesterday. Following is a text scan from the May, 1965 issue of Jack Scruby's "Table Top Talk" newsletter. There may be a few odd punctuation marks, etc., misinterpreted by the scanning software. I did a quick read and caught a few.

I suspect that you will not find much of immediate help to your project, but may find some interesting bits of information about DeGre none the less.




GERARD DeGRE, Table Top General

By Muriel DeGre

Gerard DeGre, Secretary-General of the International Model General's Club, was born in 1915 and has been engaged in one form of war game or another since he could walk. By the age of 12 he had accumulated close to 1000 Mignots and Britains – but made the mistake of giving his entire collection to his kid brother. For the next 10 years Gerry was interested only in strategic map games, and during this period developed a few board games of his own; some of them remarkably close to Stratego and L'Attaque others were variants on Chess. He still possesses a remarkable collection of chess sets including one in carved ivory representing Romans vs. Egyptians during the Cleopatra period!

During his early twenties, Gerry developed a keen interest in Naval War Games and soon built up a considerable fleet of 1:2400 scale which he always proud to show visitors. His interest in naval war games continued unabated through his military service as a Naval Lieutenant during WWII.

In 1946 Gerry joined the faculty of Bard College, Annandale -on-Hudson, New York, where he is now Professor of Sociology and Social Philosophy and where he met Joseph Morschauser when the latter was a student there. The Bard College collection of rare books included a copy of H. G. Wells' LITTLE WARS and it was the discovery of this book that set Gerry off and back to military miniatures. The fleets were put in drydock and a considerable outlay was made for Authenticast 20mm WWII tanks and figures. Wells' rules were adapted to the mid-twentieth century and for eral years Britains' 4. 7 guns were trained on the guidons of tanks, armoured cars and heavy infantry!

The turning point away from armor (land or naval) came with Jack Scruby's "War Game Digest" and the new phase of painting 19th century regiments began, and with these a whole new set of rules for melee, rifle fire and related probelms with which we are all concerned.

Gerry now has several French armies and can put into the field full divisions for 1815, 1870 or 1914. In addition he has built up Greenwood and Ball-Scruby forces of the 1870-1890 period: British, German, Italian as well as an Imperial Russian Army of 1812 (Scruby, Hinton and Rose figures). He is presently developing a 1900 WWI Imperial Russian force from hand-painted figures imported from Spain. All of Gerry's figures are 20mm which he maintains are the ideal size for war games. The table top countryside consists of sections of two ping pong tables in a "U" shape, the cities made up of 19th century European buildings, most of them converted from Faller HO kits by his wife, Muriel, whose main passions are trees and cafes.

Gerry has a continuing interest in the Theory of Games, and is always experimenting with new approaches to his hobby, often to the dismay of his opponents (like George Scott of Poughkeepsie) who find the rules changing from week to week. This experimentation runs all the way from complex game theory matrices to the use of tiddly-winks for artillery fire (which has become the rage among some english hobbyists). He is perhaps best known to the fraternity as the originator of the "simultaneity principle" (both players writing their moves on paper ahead of time), the "matrix systems" of melee and rifle adjudication which provided the answer to the dice roll as the "king of battles'', and the "unit system'' of mounting 20mm figures in groups of twos and threes was perhaps first developed by him.

A project which he has devoted considerable time and expense ha been the organization of the MODEL GENERALS' CLUB, the international society of wargamers which now includes impressive lists of inernbers from the USA, England, France, Italy and Mexico. The international society is made up of a number of local Model Generals' Clubs and serves as a focus for communication and consultation. Gerry is Secretary-General of this Club, as well as the director of its research activities at International HQ at Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. His hope is to have an organization which will some day include all active model wargarners throughout the world. Both the WARGAMERS' NEWSLETTER and TTT carry reports on MGC's activities, and WN has already published MGC articles on DUEL THEORY and SQUIDGE AND SQUOP (Tiddlywink artillery fire). The old WAR GAME DIGEST included a number of Gerry's research reports for the Model General's Club.

Last year his daughter, Erica, married Guy Ducornet, a member of the French society of collectors and an avid wargamer – ''beginning. says Gerry with a grin, "a dynasty of wargamers." Since Guy is also on the Bard faculty, there is a family "battle" at least once a week when, for some reason or other "Guy's French Cuirassiers always seem to kill at least three times their number. But," says Gerry, "next time – maybe my newly painted Russian Sumski Hussars will send them reeling back to Paris!"

Table Top Talk, May, 1965, pp 2-3.


Glenn Pearce25 Feb 2009 2:35 p.m. PST

Hello Bob!

I call Gerard DeGre the "Godfather" of Canadian wargaming.

He wrote a number of articles in various magazines that I
obtained in the 70's. When I discovered he lived about an
hour's drive from me I paid him a surprise visit on a
Saturday afternoon. He welcomed me into his house and showed me his table in the front room.

I was very curious about his rules (the purpose of my trip)
and he gave me a single sheet of paper. He said that was all I needed. I think it covered movement rates and a combat chart etc., very basic. I kept it for a number of
years but think I tossed it a long time ago. If I'm wrong
and do find it someday I will let you know. I may have used it for a couple of early games but I can't remember. War gaming was moving fast in those days and there was a flood
of new rules. I joined a new group and they were using
Wargamers Research rules. From there we played a number of

I saw Gerard a couple of times after that at MIGS Con, a
local convention in southern Ontario (Hamilton). Sadly I was
never able to talk to him as we were always engaged in other activities. The last time I saw him he did look frail but was still up for a naval game.

He certainly inspired me with his impressive table and figures. The first one that I was able to see and touch. I'm sure his personal contact and articles helped many others in those formative years as well.

Best regards,


cmdr kevin22 Oct 2012 4:22 p.m. PST

I met recently a someone who knew him. He gave me some stuff of the profs that he had and wanted to give to a good home. Two games and number of Strategy and Tactics issues still in their mailing envelopes.

Dano de Mano23 Oct 2012 5:46 a.m. PST

Some of his collection is housed at the University of Waterloo, where he was a professor. The library has a number of volumes, including several inscribed from Donald Featherstone to G de Gre. The University also has a small Museum of Games, that holds his magazines and miniatures. I have not been for years – being a post-modern university they try to hide all that militaristic stuff.

Chazzmak24 Oct 2012 11:35 a.m. PST

Bob, check out WIKI for Rikki De Gre or Erica Decornet (her married name). Believe she is the daughter of the professor and a very interesting and accomplished person in her own right. She is still alive and kicking, and if you do a little detective work, you may be able to get an address for her. Who knows, she may have some pertinent info on her father which you might find useful.

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