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"Father of Fantasy Miniature Wargaming?" Topic

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian27 Jun 2016 8:01 p.m. PST

Any nominations?

Gary Gygax for the original Chainmail?

Was it Tony Bath who had the Hyborian campaign, and how 'fantasy' was it?

rmaker27 Jun 2016 8:18 p.m. PST

Chainmail was originally a straight medieval set of rules. The fantasy matrix wasn't added until the 3rd or 4th edition and even then was Jeff Perren's work, not Gygax's. And there were fantasy miniature games being played prior to Chainmail (1971), too.

I will leave it to our British contributors to comment on Tony Bath's campaign.

Hafen von Schlockenberg27 Jun 2016 8:32 p.m. PST

And which came first--rules,or figures?

IanKHemm27 Jun 2016 8:45 p.m. PST

The first fantasy rules I ever had were Chainmail and the first fantasy figures I bought were from Minifigs in about 1976. The (something) of the Petal Throne – If I recall correctly.

Hafen von Schlockenberg27 Jun 2016 9:16 p.m. PST

Empire of the Petal Throne,by M.A.R. Barker. Interesting guy, had been working on the world since the 40s:


And if you bought them in 76, they would have been the original Old Guard figs. I had some of them. There's some history here(most recent first):

witteridderludo27 Jun 2016 9:28 p.m. PST

Donald Featherstone, who else?

While the first set of rules in his "War Games" is for ancient warfare, the accompanying battle report of Hyperboreans vs Hyrkanians would suggest a definite fantasy influence :-)

Hafen von Schlockenberg27 Jun 2016 9:34 p.m. PST

That seems a definitive answer to my question above: rules first. Of course, I suppose historical figures filled in for Howard's armies.

More info in this time line:


goragrad27 Jun 2016 10:38 p.m. PST

Howard's battles and armies were pretty straightforward. Not that much magic as I recall although it has been a few decades since I read the books.

Can't find my first copy of Chainmail (tan cover – first or second edition) but at The Acaeum there is a thread asking for the wording on some Tolkein references in the Fantasy Supplement to the First edition.

Know they were in my copy.

Dark Fable27 Jun 2016 11:48 p.m. PST

I remember reading articles about Tony Bath's Hyborian Wargames campaign in the early 70's. It was a couple years later that I heard about Gary Gygax's D&D RPG and played this. D&D was three separate booklets then. Then in 78 we started playing Steve Jackson's Melee and Wizard from Metagaming. Those were very early days for the hobby of Fantasy gaming . . . and great fun!

Rapier Miniatures28 Jun 2016 2:50 a.m. PST

Tony Bath, the stuff in the Featherstone book is TBs(in)famous campaign.

langobard28 Jun 2016 3:29 a.m. PST

Another vote for Tony Bath.

Mute Bystander28 Jun 2016 3:31 a.m. PST

Again, for me and non-FRPG it was Perren/Gygax Chainamil.

I never saw Hyboria rules until years later.

(Phil Dutre)28 Jun 2016 5:34 a.m. PST

Jon Peterson has some excellent research on the development of fantasy wargaming rules. See his blogpost:


Apparantly, the WRG fantasy rules were a parallel development to the Chainmail rules in the early 70s.

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP28 Jun 2016 5:36 a.m. PST

This one seems fairly easy for UK wargamers – it's Tony Bath. The Society of Ancients (SOA) started in 1965, with Tony Bath the founder member and first editor of Slingshot. This rapidly included articles on his Hyboria campaign – and soon after saw articles on LOTR wargaming. Both fantasy worlds only needed minor levels of magical features added to otherwise historical based rules. It was doubtless the popularity of Hyboria that saw Minifigs produce their Swords & Sorcery figure range.

Phil Barker needs a mention too – WRG Ancients 4th edition had a fantasy appendix, and this developed out of the SOA fantasy discussions related to earlier versions of the rules.

(Phil Dutre)28 Jun 2016 5:41 a.m. PST

One also might want to make a distinction between battles fought in a fantasy world, but otherwise using historical rules for ancients (e.g. early Hyboria, Bath);

and later developments including fantasy elements in the rules such as spells, monsters, and the like, which came a few years later.

Wackmole928 Jun 2016 7:59 a.m. PST


In the Jaunary 1978 issue of Battle Magazine . Tony Bath Started a long series of articles on Hyboria. In the first issue he says he had started the Ancient campaign 15 years earlier. He does state it was ancient campaign and doesn't mention magic.

Winston Smith28 Jun 2016 1:07 p.m. PST

Plenty of LOTR battle reports in the Old Courier from the early 70s.

Dennis28 Jun 2016 3:58 p.m. PST

The ten-page fantasy supplement was in the 2nd edition of Chainmail. My copy has a publication date of 1972.

Malchor27 Mar 2021 10:12 a.m. PST

For the record, the Guidon 1971 edition, 1972 edition and the 1975 TSR edition of Chainmail all included the fantasy supplement.

The 1971 edition left out Giants and the man-to-man missile fire tables which were printed in the IFW after the initial release.

Now, the three versions printed before Chainmail were all historic miniatures rules only, no fantasy:
• Panzerfaust "Geneva Medieval Miniatures" by Jeff Perren and Gay Gygax
• Domesday Book #5 "LGTSA Medieval Miniatures" by Jeff Perren (with Gary Gygax)
• Spartan International Monthly "Gygax on Miniatures: Rules for Medieval Miniatures"

I always assumed when someone said the first edition did not include fantasy rules they meant the three above, principally the Domesday Book #5 version—though both Panzerfaust and Spartan International Monthly almost certainly had wider readership than Domesday Book #5.

Malchor27 Mar 2021 10:16 a.m. PST

One more thing about Gary Gygax and fantasy gaming.

Before he discovered miniatures, Gygax was an avid play-by-mail Diplomacy player. This pushed back Gary's first involvement in fantasy in gaming—though still not earlier than Tony Bath.

Lapsang28 Mar 2021 10:27 a.m. PST

There is also this: link

South East London Wargames Group produced these in 1976 for large scale LOTR Battles at about the same time that Miniature Figurines were selling their new Middle Earth Range (including a highly unconvincing Balrog!).

Albus Malum28 May 2021 9:46 p.m. PST

From the above article "Courier"
- Gary Gygax and Jeff Perren release Chainmail, rules for medieval miniatures, first with rules for a fantasy game. Gary writes in Wargamer's Newsletter that he will write rules fo fantasy games with 20mm hobits and 70mm giants.

- Dick Higgs, MiniFigs designer, produces 5mm figures -- Napoleonics and Modern. He also does the first commercial fantasy range -- Middle Earth

Were there any earlier fantasy miniatures prior to 1972 produced by anyone? even if not commercially available?

If not.. can it truely be said that there was "fantasy miniature wargaming" prior to the first fantasy miniatures being produced? in 1972? Prior to fantasy miniatures, only substitution of historicals would have been possible. and a insteresting question would also be… what color was orc and goblins skin painted on those historical miniatures?

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