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Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Donald Featherstone Memorial Weekend at the Wargames Holiday Centre March 2014

Since Don Featherstone, one of the founding fathers of wargaming left the field of play, there have been a lot of memorial events to mark his passing. For example, Christ Scott, Michael Curry and I ran a stand about his books at Warfare in Reading last year.

Don's life long friend, Ron Miles, wanted a trophy to be awarded annually in Don's name. So in collaboration with Henry Hyde (editor of Miniature Wargames), Mark Freeth (the Wargames Holiday Centre), Chris Scott and I, a plan was hatched to run an annual weekend at the Wargames Holiday Centre Basingstoke . It fell to Henry and Mark to organize the detail and make it happen.

The event was run in March 2014. 28mm figures, huge terrain boards, rules pasted onto the walls, the event was run in a friendly style that the early wargamers would have valued.

At the end of the event, the trophy was awarded unanimously to one of the early wargaming legends, Charlie Wesencraft. In his eighties, the spritely Charlie was energetically engaged all weekend (even if his character figure was killed). Don's daughter Jane presented the award, which also included Don's lucky dice, a free subscription to Miniature Wargames and a free return to the holiday centre next year. Two runner's up received copies of Don's last book on Wargaming Commando Operations.

The presentation was captured on video and is On YouTube.

Good one Henry Hyde and Mark Freeth, Don would have been pleased with the event.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Looking for early wargaming rules from 1960's and 1970's- can you help?

During the 1960's, 1970's and early 1980's, there was a large range of short, usually A5 wargaming rule books. Some were produced by Skytrex, Navwar, Minifigs etc.. but others were individual wargamers sharing their creations with the wider world. There was one about roleplaying bunnies, wargaming with dinosaurs, early attempts at ACW, medieval and ancients.

My quest for these old rules suddenly started with  the realization if I do not capture some of these now, within a very short space of time, the majority will be gone for ever. In some ways, the history of wargaming project has been a race against time to find some 'lost material'. I ordered a copy of Tacspiel (an unplayable wargame used by the USA in Vietnam War to devise tactics). After I published this obscure text, the archive contacted me as they had lost their copy. If I had not got it to print, it would probably have been lost. It has since been used by various military historians for the operational analysis data it contained.

Some of the classic lost material the project has published includes:
   Donald Featherstone's Wargaming Commando Operations, the book was never published before my edition.

   The Fletcher Pratt Naval Wargame, we had all been using the 1933 version of the rules, not the 1939-45 previously unpublished version.

   The various professional wargaming rules on my site,

    The story of DBA, the list goes on, with many of my books having various pieces added to them. .

Future classic material will include a lost book by Charlie Wesencraft (ACW) and a lost set of rules by Phil Dunn (world war). I have many more 'lost' sets of professional military rules to produce, some of which I suspect I have the only copy in the world. Some were given to me as they were throwing them out of the archives into the bin and a few vigilant wargamers thought of me in time to intercept them.

So my hunt for the early wargaming rules from the 1960's and 1970's is now on. They will be added to my digital library, but I cannot imagine most to them being posted on the internet for the foreseeable future due to copyright issues. The History of Wargaming Project reproduces old material with consent of the estate or the author. The only exception are short extracts as permitted by UK copyright law (and generally accepted by most countries around the world).

In addition to the published material in the more than 50 books/ rules sets, I have a growing digital archive of huge amounts of wargaming material. This is not for publication, but bona fida researchers (e.g. a wargamer producing new rules) can have access to assist them in their work. One day, a university will have this material in their archive to assist war studies students. Well, it is nice to have a dream.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Table Top Sale and Game 11 May 2014 Bristol

On Sunday 14th May I will be selling books etc at my local wargaming Club's Table Top Sale. This is basically a wargaming carboot sale. After the sale, at around 1.30pm, I will be putting on a participation game. I will have my latest new books for sale and will be happy to chat about the History of Wargaming Project.

The sale details will be posted at Bristol Wargaming Club