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"Favorite Old School Game Designer?" Topic

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian02 Aug 2017 11:43 a.m. PST

Do you have a favorite?

jefritrout Supporting Member of TMP02 Aug 2017 11:46 a.m. PST

Wally Simon

Dynaman878902 Aug 2017 11:57 a.m. PST

Frank Chadwick – of course he is new school too.

Personal logo aegiscg47 Supporting Member of TMP02 Aug 2017 12:05 p.m. PST

Frank Chadwick for all of the GDW 120 series games and The Third World War system,, which is brilliant.

Richard Hamblen-Magic Realm and Victory in the Pacific

And of course, Bill Armintrout for one of my favorite microgrames; Hotspot

skipper John Supporting Member of TMP02 Aug 2017 12:18 p.m. PST

Fred Vietmeyer!

Mick the Metalsmith Inactive Member02 Aug 2017 12:23 p.m. PST


rustymusket Supporting Member of TMP02 Aug 2017 12:29 p.m. PST

Max Carr

Marianas Gamer02 Aug 2017 12:29 p.m. PST

Second on Featherstone!

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP02 Aug 2017 12:33 p.m. PST

Larry Brom!


Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP02 Aug 2017 12:54 p.m. PST

Steve Jackson is the oldest of my favorites.

Ogre is the only game from the '70's that I'm still actively playing today.

rmaker02 Aug 2017 1:01 p.m. PST

A second for Larry Brom.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP02 Aug 2017 1:23 p.m. PST

and a third for Larry…

MajorB02 Aug 2017 1:30 p.m. PST

If there is only one, it has to be Featherstone.

But I'd also include:
Bgdr. Peter Young
J.P. Lawford
Charlie Wesencraft
Charles Grant
Fred Jane
Fletcher Pratt

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP02 Aug 2017 1:31 p.m. PST

Larry Brom and Fletcher Pratt

DisasterWargamer Supporting Member of TMP02 Aug 2017 1:38 p.m. PST

HG Wells

Personal logo COL Scott ret Supporting Member of TMP02 Aug 2017 1:44 p.m. PST

It must be Charles Grant, his was entitled "The Wargame" therefore it must be so. Of course many of them were chums so I understand.

Personal logo COL Scott ret Supporting Member of TMP02 Aug 2017 1:44 p.m. PST

Hey Bill this would make a pretty good poll.

Blutarski02 Aug 2017 2:46 p.m. PST

Gygax? Isn't that the name of a slimy avaricious subterranean creature in Jim Arneson's D&D world?

Favorite old school game designer? For me, Vietmeyer.

If this were a thread regarding "important" old school game designers, I'd feel obligated to toss in the name of that crusty, disagreeable Deleted by Moderator Phil Barker.


MajorB02 Aug 2017 2:51 p.m. PST

crusty, disagreeable Deleted by Moderator Phil Barker.

Have you ever met him?

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP02 Aug 2017 2:54 p.m. PST

@Blutarski, you forgot to put your [correctly] pointed commentary in the form of a nomination:

Jim Arneson!

DisasterWargamer Supporting Member of TMP02 Aug 2017 2:54 p.m. PST

Blutarski – Before he did D&D he was involved in with Wargames rules with Chainmail, Dont Give, up the Ship, Cavaliers and Roundheads and others

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP02 Aug 2017 3:31 p.m. PST

Define "Old School". evil grin
It all depends on when you got into The Hobby what you consider Old School.
I got into Miniatures from SPI boardgames, some of which could be fiendishly complicated. So I missed out on the earlier Old School games that were a lot simpler. So even though I'm a card carrying Old Fart, my perception is different.

My first Miniatures rules were WRG Ancients by Phil Barker. I expected that as my complexity level. Then on to 1776 by Joe Micelli. Think of it as from the WRG school. Then I tried The Sword and the Flame by Larry Brom, whose simplicity was refreshing.
To me, Old School = Hard Work. I don't want to go back to that. I prefer TSATF.

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP02 Aug 2017 4:51 p.m. PST

Charles Grant was the first one that popped into my mind.

Heisler02 Aug 2017 5:10 p.m. PST

Frank Chadwick I still play rules and games he designed.

Onomarchos Supporting Member of TMP02 Aug 2017 8:07 p.m. PST

How about John Hill.I really loved Johnny Reb in its day. And the original squad leader provided lots of enjoyment for me

Northern Monkey02 Aug 2017 9:15 p.m. PST

TSATF is definitely old school.

Chuckaroobob02 Aug 2017 9:21 p.m. PST

Larry Brom and Frank Chadwick

Oberlindes Sol LIC03 Aug 2017 2:10 a.m. PST

Frank Chadwick: decades of great games (and I've been gaming for those same decades).

Personal logo Shaun Travers Supporting Member of TMP03 Aug 2017 5:12 a.m. PST

Tony Bath. i have a soft spot for his ancient rules, although I have never them but really want to. And he did start the Society of Ancients.

Legends In Time Skip Sponsoring Member of TMP03 Aug 2017 7:26 a.m. PST

John Hill was a friend of mine and he introduced me to Johnny Reb & Squad Leader when I studied at Purdue University. A very good Game Designer.
I'm also a huge fan of Brigadier General Peter Young and his rules "Charge", or how to play Wargames!
I enjoy just reading the book and the story book feel it brings to the hobby.

parrskool03 Aug 2017 8:31 a.m. PST

D Featherstone
C Grant
T Bath
D Rotor
T Wise

Blutarski03 Aug 2017 9:12 a.m. PST

MajorB wrote "Have you ever met him (Phil Barker)?

Yes. Twice. I consider him an important game designer in the history of the hobby. I suspect that few nowadays recall the near total dominance his WRG Ancients rules exercised over ancient gaming. His armor/infantry rules were also widely played here in the states. His DBA/DBM/DBR series capstoned a very distinguished career as a game designer.

Interpersonally, however, he could well have been IMO the inspiration for Doc Martin. YMMV.


Blutarski03 Aug 2017 9:52 a.m. PST

Winston wrote -
"Define "Old School". evil grin
It all depends on when you got into The Hobby what you consider Old School."

>>>>> I reside in the US. We were well behind the UK curve in terms of historical miniature gaming. Got into wargaming in the early 60s courtesy of AH (Tactics, pre-hex Gettysburg); discovered miniature wargaming around 1969-70 (Tractics, Vietmeyer's CLS, Arnold Hendricks' "1944")

Winston wrote -
"I got into Miniatures from SPI boardgames, some of which could be fiendishly complicated. So I missed out on the earlier Old School games that were a lot simpler. So even though I'm a card carrying Old Fart, my perception is different."

>>>>> I agree that, compared to the present day, many of the old miniature rules were comparatively simple. But some were teeth-gnashingly complicated (Tractics, NavWar's Napoleonic Naval rules, Lou Zocchi's air combat rules for example). My opinion FWIW.

Winston wrote -
"My first Miniatures rules were WRG Ancients by Phil Barker. I expected that as my complexity level."

I used to scrupulously avoid any WRG Ancients game played at our club. The running joke back then was: move for turn one; argue for four hours; shut the lights and go home. It is no surprise to me that WRG Ancients ran through SEVEN editions trying to get troop-type distinctions and game mechanics sorted … none of which was helped by Barker's often cryptic and opaque writing style.

Winston wrote -
"Then on to 1776 by Joe Micelli."

>>>>> Joe Miceli(? fm NYC) was a great guy!

Winston wrote -
"Then I tried The Sword and the Flame by Larry Brom, whose simplicity was refreshing. To me, Old School = Hard Work. I don't want to go back to that. I prefer TSATF."

>>>>> Simplicity of rule mechanics is an indisputable virtue. IMO, Vietmeyer's CLS showed that: 90pct of the game could be played without ever cracking open the rule book. Some authors come by it naturally; others must rely upon hard experience to appreciate its value; some just never seem to get it.

From one Old Fart to another … ;-)


Bismarck03 Aug 2017 11:46 a.m. PST

Larry Brom with nobody a close second.

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP03 Aug 2017 12:05 p.m. PST

Another vote for Steve Jackson!

Personal logo x42brown Supporting Member of TMP03 Aug 2017 12:07 p.m. PST

I have a liking for Ed Smith's rules.


FusilierDan Supporting Member of TMP03 Aug 2017 4:42 p.m. PST

John Grossman gets my vote.

The Complete Brigadier link

Field Regulations link

Lou Zocchi
Hardtack link

Khusrau Inactive Member04 Aug 2017 6:03 a.m. PST

Featherstone, though the rules themselves have dated badly. Charles Grant, and Phil Barker. My own view is that for the UK at least, these were the Holy Trinity.

Honourable mentions to the Brigadier, Wells, Wise, and Tony Bath.

Personal logo Toy Soldier Green Supporting Member of TMP04 Aug 2017 8:15 p.m. PST

Donald Featherstone
Tony Bath
Neil Thomas

CATenWolde Inactive Member05 Aug 2017 1:29 a.m. PST

Of the ones that I actually play, Larry Brom.

Has Rich Hasenauer's F&F been around long enough now to be considered "old school"? Seems strange for what was such an innovative set of rules at the time.

Neil Thomas' new rules seem very old school to me, despite being recently published. Ancient and Medieval Wargaming is a real gem, and would rank second after TSATF.

Does old school mean "old authors/games" or just style of play?

Ottoathome Inactive Member05 Aug 2017 12:30 p.m. PST

Moreschauser hands down. He made the modern war game. movement trays, roster systems, morale checks, force pools organizations, naval games, campaigns, ship to shore firing. Als0 complete rule systems, the same system of mechanics for all three periods. Featherstone is just a collection of suggestions. Moreschauser is the father of the modern war game.

UshCha06 Aug 2017 1:28 a.m. PST

Phil Barker, some of his rules were head and shoulders above the rest.

Featherstone as he got me into the game but he wrote poor rules that would not stand up now.

HG Wells 'cos he was old, well written but not my sort of game.

23rdFusilier06 Aug 2017 6:00 a.m. PST

Joe Moreschauser : my first war game book, and still captures what I look for in a game and rules.

Larry Brom: his systems of fun game for many period capture the joy of playing.

Fred Vietmeyer: first games i played and will always remember fondly.

Dick Bryant: not rules but his (old) Courier newsletter/magazine was my start into this glorious hobby. Thank you sir!

Rick Don Burnette07 Aug 2017 5:24 p.m. PST

Paddy Griffith
Michael Korns
Ned Zuparko

and as we included Chadwick. Hill and others
James F Dunnigan

Blutarski07 Aug 2017 9:10 p.m. PST

If we are going to mention Paddy Griffith, it is only right to honor George Jeffreys, whom I consider to have been a seminal thinker for a new approach to Horse & Musket gaming and a creative gaming intellect who left us too soon. I often wonder where he might have taken his concept of
"the variable length bound" had he lived longer.

+1 on Zuparko.


thehawk08 Aug 2017 3:17 a.m. PST

I'm not sure that I have a single favorite as many designers have had great ideas, most of which are still relevant today.

The ones that interest me the most are Featherstone, Grant, Young/Lawford, Hendrick, Wesely, Griffith, Jeffreys, Tarr, whoever designed A Crown Of Paper …….

Great War Ace Inactive Member08 Aug 2017 8:01 a.m. PST

Milton Bradley. There can be only one. Everything followed Milton creating miniature centered boardgames.

Great War Ace Inactive Member08 Aug 2017 8:02 a.m. PST

Before that, you'd have to let "Grok" take credit: line 'em up and knock 'em down with rocks. Every boy in the world knows that game!

Deucey Supporting Member of TMP11 Aug 2017 11:06 a.m. PST

This is just a list of obscure names unless you put what games they are known for!

Asterix Supporting Member of TMP25 Oct 2017 8:58 a.m. PST

Tony Bath
Lionel Tarr
Neil Thomas

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