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"Donald Featherstone: 5!" Topic

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian14 Jun 2022 2:41 p.m. PST

You were asked – TMP link

On a scale from 0 (no influence) to 10 (he was my mentor), how much were you influenced in miniature wargaming by Donald Featherstone?

Average result: 4.963

Michael May14 Jun 2022 6:58 p.m. PST

I'll give him a 5.
I came to wargaming rather late in life, in my 30's, so Mr. Featherstone was a bit before my time. I did find a couple of his books in 1/2 Price Books and it piqued my interest, so I have to say he had some influence.
But I had been playing with Airfix 1/72's since I was a kid and I'm pretty sure he had a lot of influence in the development of miniatures overall, so there's that also. Took me a while to realize you could actually play games with them.

Tomsurbiton15 Jun 2022 10:45 a.m. PST

I'd give him 8 – as a schoolboy in the 1970s, I had plenty of Airfix figures, but it was DF who gave me a path to organise them into tabletop wargames. I see him as a pioneer.

Personal logo aegiscg47 Supporting Member of TMP15 Jun 2022 10:52 a.m. PST

I would probably give it a 5 or 6 as well. While I got started with gaming in the 70s and was aware of him through some hobby magazines, his style of gaming didn't really appeal to me.

Andrew Walters15 Jun 2022 11:11 a.m. PST

You may not have read Featherstone, or read him and didn't think much of it, but his influence is almost immeasurable. Remember that once upon a time there was no such thing as a morale roll, and then there was. Even people who did not follow his ideas responded to them, and were thus influenced. If you think his influence on miniatures gaming is less than 7, you're kidding yourself. And it's at least 8 if you're playing terrestrial games. It's 7 only if you play exclusively naval and spaceship games.

martin goddard Sponsoring Member of TMP16 Jun 2022 2:44 a.m. PST

I think that UK gaming and US gaming developed mostly in parallel rather than in conjunction. Of course there was link over the wargame newsletter thing; for a while.

US originators are almost unheard of in the UK and the other way around.

I suspect that averaging the UK votes would give higher than 5 for Don. Thus, the Us vote for Don would be lower than 5.
US to UK contributors here is probably 2 :1? (Just a guess).

I would rate Donald Featherstone as 9.2.
Charles Grant as 8.9.

That is subjective of course.

It also depends on your age.
If you are 55+ then Don and Charles et al were the only UK acknowledged forefathers.

If you are 30, then later wargames publishers will have overshadowed those early founders and not even be heard about. Folk often look back 10 years to see how things were.

A motorcycle analogy.
UK motorcyclists in the 1960s looked back to BSA, Triumph, Norton, Matchless, side valves, separate gear boxes etc.
UK motorcycles in the 1980s looked back to Yamaha, Suzuki, Morini, Honda et al.

US motorcyclists might change the early grouping to Indian, Harley et al.


But now we have the internet which does break down many barriers.
Although it is guilty of introducing some silliness such as "faction" to describe world powers.


Regicide164916 Jun 2022 10:24 a.m. PST

An honoured pioneer for certain. I am sure it's an age thing but Charles Grant was the initial inspiration (in Napoleonics) for me, along with Peter Young and a number of old gents at my local club who had the time for precocious 7 or 8 year olds just getting started. I detest Frothers for the simple reason they have forgotten that all of us are just part of a tradition beginning with H.G. Wells which continues through Lawford, Young, Grant, Featherstone, Guilder and very many others… to the present day, when, via sock-puppet or sheer ill-manners, one manufacturer of big-titted Amazon space zombies can harangue another manufactuer of big-titted Amazon space zombies on internet forums in order to drive sales. Which is not what the pioneer-generation were about at all.

arthur181517 Jun 2022 6:15 a.m. PST

I think Martin's analysis is correct: British and American hobby wargaming with figures developed more or less simultaneously, with neither country having much effect upon the other. I remember reading about Joseph Morschauser in one of Featherstone's early books, but could never find an actual copy here in UK until the internet enabled easy searching for OOP titles.

In more recent times, Games Workshop has been a significant influence on figure gaming; the Warhammer Fantasy Battle rules were in a style that Featherstone, Young and Grant would have recognised.

UshCha18 Jun 2022 12:11 p.m. PST

Featherstone was inspirational (say a 4) as a kid when I started, but soon realized his rules were dire (at best a 1) even as a kid. Moved on to Phil Barker who was a giant in UK rules. Like has been said never heard of US rules till much later. Still Featherstone was a great for inspiration, Grant was too much in the vein of Featherstons so never impressed by him as he came,to me, after Feathersone.

No time for G** Work S***, exploitative and poor rules (surprised they were never used for Napolionics as that what there games look like).

HistoryWargaming03 Jul 2022 6:56 a.m. PST

Featherstone also placed great emphasis on the importance of rules reflecting historical experience. His work, such as tank battles volume 1, was an accessible example of military operational analysis.In addition to his books helping launch a generation of wargamers, his work was also important in the resurgence of modern professional wargames, but that is another story.

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