Monday, 5 May 2014

Don't follow leaders...

Apart from these ones!

I have spent time this week looking at the combat mechanisms for Venture Fair. In doing this I have taken inspiration from a range of sources and, almost by accident, have come up with a list of people that I have found to be instrumental in developing the way that I look at and experience wargames. So, in no particular order, here they are and why they are important:

Mr W at the helm

Charles Wesencraft: I missed out on Charles' two books early in my wargames career, they arrived too late for me, but what did inspire me was an article he wrote for Practical Wargaming on refighting the battle of Borodino using battalions mounted on bases that could be manipulated to show formation. I have never found out anything more about the rules to be used or how the game played out. A great pity because I always wanted to do something similar. However, there were some great little drawings in PW which i still treasure.

KISS my Panzer Division!
Norman Mackenzie: Norman wrote a set of rules called KISS Rommel. Play the whole campaign in North Africa on a 4" by 4" table with a handful of 6mm toys. Published in an old edition of WI but still available from here. The Free Wargames Rules site has a number of different versions of this for different theatres by an Italian wargames group under the "High Command" banner.

Stephen Simpson: I am a big fan. His 18C rules appeared in in WI 75 and his Three Battles of the '45 in WI 134. The latter can be found here.

Prior Aelred Glidden: The good prior found a review of the Stephen Simpson rules in an edition of PW Review by Wally Simon. He adapted these rules and later wrote them up in MWAN. I have number 98 in front of me which includes his "Rules for the 18C". His "Monk's Corner' in MWAN was great but they ceased around issue 100 which was a real shame.

Pz8 sci-fi rules in action somewhere in the US
Panzer 8: I don't know this guy's name but he is a great producer of very simple games. Check out his website. At last count, his downloadable rules booklet contained 11 different sets, all two pagers, with more being developed. Well worth watching.

Neil Thomas: Nuff said, can't wait for his next book!

Mr Greening: This chap lived in Knoll Cottage, Dorking. He sold card models in 1/150 scale of most British, German and American vehicles of WW11. They were very cheap and the card went together well with polystyrene cement. Gun barrels were made of wire and if you were clever you could make the turrets rotate. He sold these vehicles through Airfix Magazine and I have happy memories of sitting through Wimbledon one year as a teenager and making up pretty much a whole Panzer Division and a whole British Armoured division. The only pity was the lack of 10/12mm figures to use alongside the models. I wonder whatever happened to the masters for these, I'd love to have another go.

Clive Lane: This gent had an article published in WI about using hex terrain. He had also written a comprehensive set of rules to use with the terrain with a number of scenarios from the Napoleonic Wars. What impressed me was the ability to play a large scale battle with relatively few Airfix plastics. I sent off for a copy of this (20 odd years ago). Clive sent me the rules, plus a scenario booklet with reduced scale battles as well as some very nice photos of his troops. These, unfortunately, are in the garage but I have it on my list to dig out the photos to post here. Inspirational, especially the use of bog standard Airfix types.

Right, back to work. I think these combat rules need a d8 (oh yes they do!).


drusty said...


A bit late in the day, but did you ever dig out Clive Lane's photographs? The ones I've seen by him always had a certain charm.

And, off hand, could you tell me the title of his wargaming book?

Many thanks

drusty said...
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drusty said...
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Old Trousers said...

Hi drusty,

Thanks for reminding me. I know exactly where they are (in the garage) and will hunt them out shortly.



drusty said...

Hi Jay,

Just as a matter of interest, were Clive Lane's rules self-published? I ask because in the photograph of him holding them, on the front cover of Practical Wargamer, Winter 1989, the rules 'cover' looks suspiciously like a spruced-up A4 ring binder.

Take care,


Old Trousers said...

Hi George,

Yes, they were self published. The copy that I bought was in a nicely printed A4 black and white booklet.

I hadn't forgotten about the photos, I just need good enough weather to spend time mucking about in the garage which isn't so appealing in the wet! Hopefully next weekend.