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"Thoughts on "The War Game" the book" Topic

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Paint Pig15 Mar 2012 9:01 p.m. PST

updating the figvfig blog..

Like many war gamers of my age (1963) my first exposure to a "real" indeed any set of war games rules was Charles Grants "The War Game" (TWG), and I was hooked. Others speak of Donald Featherstone and Peter Young amongst others with the same affection and having read works by these gentlemen I fully agree….

to read more

Cardinal Hawkwood15 Mar 2012 9:51 p.m. PST

I am a Featherstone man Aunt bought me Wargames Through the Ages.. great stuff, even if he went overboard on Romans and longbows and got his Franks mixed up badly..

Paint Pig15 Mar 2012 10:06 p.m. PST

I have forgotten to mention the "1814 CAMPAIGN" button on the menu bar. The group of chaps I game with are starting an 1814 campaign using Empire for the battles and the board game Napoleon at Bay for the map moves and I will keep a record of the great event posted on the blog. link


Grelber15 Mar 2012 10:08 p.m. PST

My public library had Featherstone's How To Go Model Soldier Collecting (or something like that) which had a chapter on wargaming. Later, I found other Featherstone books, then Young & Lawford's Charge on the mark down table at the bookstore, and bought it. Then our library got Grant's The Wargame. The good old days. . . sigh.

pbishop1215 Mar 2012 10:14 p.m. PST

Years ago I adapted 'The Wargame' to my Napoleonic games. While I typically game General de Brigade, for something quick and fun, I can't beat 'The Wargame.' Bruce Quarrie's Airfix Napoleonic was my first set of rules (1976), followed by The Wargame the same year. Both launched me to 36 years of enjoyment. The Wargame still sits on my shelf, read frequently.


Alan Charlesworth16 Mar 2012 2:34 a.m. PST

The War Game has always been my all time favourite wargaming book. Still frequently re-read and looked at. It is like an old friend.

I still use the rules now and again when I want a fun nostalgic game.

I am pleased to see that Charles Grant's son CS Grant is bringing out an expanded and updated version of these classic rules in a new book that will be published in April this year. I can't wait to get my copy. There will be a lot of new games played to these classic rules later this year.


jameshammyhamilton16 Mar 2012 2:36 a.m. PST

For me it was Charles Grant's "The War Game" from the library then every other book on wargaming in the library then eventually my parents relented on the no war toys rule and bought me Battle! by Charles Grant which had I think only just been published. From there things just progressed ;)

I am now well into my fourth decade of wargaming and can see a fair few more to come in the future (or at least I hope that will be the case).

Martin Rapier16 Mar 2012 2:36 a.m. PST

My first 'proper' rules were Charles Grants 'Battle', which I still have and flick through occasionally.

I also have a signed copy of his Napoleonic rules.

A few years ago I had a go at a sort Battle/AK47 crossover for battalion-ish sized WW2 using a similar figure/weapons ratio (1:3). It sort of worked but wasn't brilliantly successful:)

Paint Pig16 Mar 2012 3:06 a.m. PST

I'm looking forward to the new book, in fact I only heard of it within the last week, I tend to hide my light under a rock instead of that bushel thing or what ever it is. Anyway it has been ordered now thanks to Allen C. As usual I didn't stop at one purchase and ended up buying the reprint of Charge so my old copy can go into retirement.

I'm going to be taking a look at the musketry over the next week, see if I can make a coherent post from the years of notes and tweaks for various games and periods they were created for.


Marc the plastics fan16 Mar 2012 3:47 a.m. PST

I am rather hoping that the new rules book from the CSG stable is a useful summary, with updates and kinks ironed out over their many years of playing it. I would really like to see the "orders" sorted out as well, as there are some inconsistencies between the original book and the recent companion, and then the Wargames in History series.

Princeps16 Mar 2012 4:22 a.m. PST

My first books were the Quarrie and Wise rules from Airfix. I then got Grant, Young, and Featherstone. All great books and I still read them about once a year or so. Grant is, however, my favourite to this day.

Yesthatphil16 Mar 2012 4:47 a.m. PST

'Charge! Or how to play War Games' by Young and Lawford … from the local library.

I now have my own copy of that original edition, found for me by Dave Lanchester ( link ) – Dave is a great source of the OOP classics and usually offers them at a middling sort of price (as opposed to an Ebay 'top bid' sort of price) … but UK Show goers will know Dave's reputation already I suspect.

OSchmidt16 Mar 2012 4:51 a.m. PST

Don't forget Joe Moreschauser's book "How to Play Wargames in Miniature." This came out in the same year as Featherstone and was the one that started me on the hobby. Moreschausers was far more innovative than Featherstone or Grant, and introduced such things as mounting figures on stands, gridded games and the like, but this is not to disparage any. They were all good and all of them added immeasurably to the hobby. Grant was always a little too ponderous for me, but then again, having such a difference of styles and sources I think contributed to the creativity of the game. I have them all, read them all, and consider all of them of value. Likewise with the highly subversive "CHARGE!" of Peter Young.

I must also mention the little known and almost never used work of Elting&Esposito- "Shambattle." For those who have the work it is a bizarre work, completely unlike the path that most wargames have taken, though there are some ideas that have crossed over. Reading Shambattle I get the strong suspicion that they never heard of Wells, but that writing, I believe, in 1929, it was an era that was not very receptive to war and hence war-games was not a big demand. It also is clearly pitched to children, but that should be no bar. There are many interesting concepts and ideas in it (including that of modular terrain, imagi-nations, and the like" and while clearly a product of its time (Britains, Britains everywhere…) still can resonate with us today.

Cardinal Hawkwood16 Mar 2012 5:00 a.m. PST

what do you mean by
"I'm going to be taking a look at the musketry over the next week, see if I can make a coherent post from the years of notes and tweaks for various games and periods they were created for."

Duke of Plaza Toro16 Mar 2012 5:07 a.m. PST

Terry Wise's 'Introduction to Battle Gaming' was my first proper contact (a spontaneous gift from my mum while on a day trip to York). Featherstone's 'War Games' and 'Battles with Model Soldiers' were then discovered in my local library (and subsequently acquired from a bookshop). And then I tracked down Grant's 'The War Game'.

All four (along with a few other classics) sit together on my gaming room bookshelf like sacred holy texts. And indeed they are…

I nostalgically turn their pages on a regular basis, not just to reminisce – but to remind me of the sense of fun wargaming should always have. Charles Grant's The War Game is the one I re-read the most.

Paint Pig16 Mar 2012 5:44 a.m. PST

Damn you 'thatphill', I went to the link provided, I see you have already cleaned out the wargames section.

Thanks for the link.

@ mon Cardinal, what do you mean by what do I mean?


Keraunos16 Mar 2012 6:20 a.m. PST

Paint Pig, you should note the 'news' section, where Dave apologises for failing to get the stock onto the site yet.

Its a pretty new site, and he has been far too busy to get the books he has onto it, as he keeps apologising for this the news section – as Phil says, Dave is a regular on the UK shows circuit, and that takes a lot of anyones time.

email him instead, he's got thousands of books in stock.

Greystreak16 Mar 2012 7:23 a.m. PST

Like Mel Brooks, he must have breast fed for 500 years or so . . . grin

Paint Pig16 Mar 2012 7:32 a.m. PST

Like Mel Brooks, he must have breast fed for 500 years or so . . .

they thought I would never stop…..evil grin

@Keraunos thanks very much for the heads up


21eRegt16 Mar 2012 7:48 a.m. PST

I started with Grant, then found Young in the library. Never was a Featherstone man. I think one of the first sets I picked up for Napoleonics was Quarrie's. That and Tricolor from TSR.

I too pull out my copy of The Wargame when I'm feeling nostolgic or just want to reconnect with an old friend.

Rod MacArthur16 Mar 2012 12:33 p.m. PST

Well I never bought Charles Grant's "The War Game" but I did once visit his house in Dover in the early 1960s. I also have the series of articles he published under that same title in the old Tradition magazine, which mainly existed to publicise Norman Newton and Stadden figures. I presume these articles are pretty much the same as the book.

My introduction to wargaming was as a teenager in the late 1950s following a model soldier display by Don Featherstone and Tony Bath in a Southampton department store. I then became one of a number of people meeting at their houses to play games using their homegrown rules, later published by Don in his book "War Games".


arthur181516 Mar 2012 2:17 p.m. PST

Shambattle was not written by Esposito and Elting, but by Lieutenant Harry G Dowdall and Joseph H Gleason.
It encourages the youngsters to draw and fight on maps of fictitious countries. IIRC, there is no mention of modular terrain.

Battlescale16 Mar 2012 2:59 p.m. PST

Battles With Model Soldiers by Don Featherstone was my first introduction to the hobby in around '74. Stumbled upon it in my local library and that was me hooked!

Gonsalvo16 Mar 2012 3:23 p.m. PST

I also got my start with Morschauser's book from the Public Library, followed by Charge! Oddly enough, never played a game with either rules set (I'll have to fix that some day) as I staretd writing my own ruiles almost immediately, but they got my feet solidly on the path. Have never seen Grant's book, so I'll definitely have to get a copy of the updated version when it comes out!

Grizzlymc16 Mar 2012 6:52 p.m. PST

Absolute classic – and his explanations of why are good for people who think that tweaking is just a twitch of the word processor.

And I would second Battle and the entire Featherstone collection.

And, Cardinal, in those days you were allowed to get your franks mixed up.

OSchmidt20 Mar 2012 4:51 a.m. PST

Apologies. Arthur is Right. I mixed the authors up.

Could have sworn… apologies.

abdul666lw20 Mar 2012 6:09 a.m. PST

'The War Game' is an enthralling book, the one which 'hooked' me to the hobby. Read also 'Charge!' and several Featherstone in those days, but none impressed me as much. 'The War Game' is a complete introduction to the hobby, didactic yet enjoyable. Not only pleasantly explaining battle rules, but setting them in a context: Imagi-Nations, campaigns.

Its only weakness vs 'Charge! (I largely forgot other books) is in the examples of play: 'Action!' is very limited in scale and scope, and Mollwitz, while extremely inspirational, so large that it can be deterring. No 'middle sized' examples of gradually increasing scope a novice gamer can aim at re-fighting. It's probably why you see more mentions of 'Charge!' projects than of 'The War Game' one.

Maxshadow20 Mar 2012 6:20 a.m. PST

Tony Bath's setting up a wargames campaign started me off followed by my much loved Introduction to battle gaming by Terry Wise.

138SquadronRAF22 Mar 2012 9:27 a.m. PST

Featherstone's "Naval Wargames" & Phil Dunn's "Sea Battle Games" got me into naval first.

"The War Game" was the book that got me going seriously in land wargaming.

1815Guy23 Mar 2012 9:58 a.m. PST

Grant from the public library (remember those?) got me started with a group of fellows at school, a little bit of "Advanced War Games" by featherstone, then it was the monthly mags Airfix Magazine always had Charles Grant stuff in WW2, or conversions etc.

Most influential for me was G W Jeffries Napoleonic wargame rules. We played that for what seemed like years at school. I still have them.

At about the same time Charles Grant did a series in Military Modelling, which iirc then moved over to Bsttle magazine when that started up.

Happy days indeed. Cheap airfix 1/72 figures, rules copied from a library book, and cardboard box hills under bedsheet table covers. Bliss.

For naval games we were straight into the garden with 1/600 Airfix ships, engaging at 10 or fifteen feet distances with Lego torpedoes.

With GW in the high street packaging the products, rules, terrain etc, my kids didnt know they were born.

Cardboard boxes under bedsheets?!!….Luxury….!

Grizzlymc23 Mar 2012 12:51 p.m. PST

bloody toffs – CARDBOARD BOXES!

When a wuz a lud, w dint ave no cardboard boxes, nor yer fantsy pants bed sheets, we drew our contours wi piece of chalk on table.

Sculpted our own figures out o our own toes an fingers!
Trees, piece o wire wi pubic airs stuck on that wuz goog enuff fer us.
Used to play for ole long weekend standing up to owr necks in boiling oil.
Photcopied rules! OOOO were you then, lord bloody muck? We ad all owr rules ground into stone wi our noses, distributed them by chanting em from memory.
An GW was a monster wud come and stomp all ower our toys every weekend and burn 'em an us too.

None o yowr fancy pants la di da wargaming fer us!

Le General23 Mar 2012 1:51 p.m. PST

Yes those books must have introduced a lot of us to wargaming.

I loved reading the Wargame by Charles Grant,m those classic Seven years war military characters.

Sadly I was never able to buy one, but read mine from the Library also.

But I do have several of Donald Featherstone's books

Paint Pig24 Mar 2012 6:39 p.m. PST

There is certainly something about all these books of rules from the period, something of a golden age maybe.

I'm a little surprised at how many people, like myself, make re-reading The War Game an annual event. A sign that Charles Grant left a true legacy for 18th century war gamers.

Now back to the chapter on musketry….. grin


peter johnstone Sponsoring Member of TMP02 Apr 2012 12:38 p.m. PST

Enjoyed them all, but noone has mentioned Practical Wargaming by Charles Wessencraft, another classic, in my view

Jefthro3 Supporting Member of TMP23 Jun 2023 2:49 p.m. PST

Far to late to this one , but Glad Wessencraft got a mention, as far as l can see, he originated the "element as a single unit base in Wargamming"way before DBA and others.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP23 Jun 2023 3:49 p.m. PST

Joseph Morchauser's "How to Play Wargames in Miniature" was my introduction to serious wargames. I think I was about 8 years old.

pbishop1225 Jun 2023 7:30 p.m. PST

Surprised to see this old thread resurrected. I recently bought Charles Grant and Phil Olley's Annexation of Chiraz and using my Napoleonics to play it out. While my infantry are in units of 36 (GdBde) vs. Grant's 48, it plays out quite well. I acquired the War Game in 1976 while stationed in Greece and periodically pull it off the shelf. Almost 50 years have gone by, and still a favorite.

bobm195906 Jul 2023 1:54 a.m. PST

I was recently gifted an ex library copy of The War Game. I'm pretty sure it's the same library copy I took out many times as a youth…I seem to recognise some of the tea stains!

pfmodel06 Jul 2023 6:36 p.m. PST

I'm pretty sure it's the same library copy I took out many times as a youth

The Lord works in mysterious ways!

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP05 Oct 2023 12:11 p.m. PST

The first wargame book/rules for my brother and me as well. We used unpainted 1/72 plastics. I still pull it down on a regular basis and flip through it. Fond memories.

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