Saturday, 23 May 2015

Wargames Communication and Discussion

First, thanks very much to those of you who commented on last week’s blog.   I have never had so many comments, and I almost blush that some of them were so complimentary.

Each comment has caused me to consider the lack of response to bloggers, and to consider the wealth of information available today compared with my early days in wargaming.

I was introduced to wargaming by “Charge, or how to play Wargames”, an excellent and very readable book which I borrowed from my local public library in 1969.   At the back of the book was a reference to Donald Featherstone’s “Wargamers Newsletter”.   This was a very amateur monthly publication which looked like he had printed it himself at home and stapled the pages together.   But I remember well the anticipation of the arrival of each issue, and reading it cover to cover.     And I remember an article called “At the Colonel’s Table” particularly well.  This was a fictional story about a newcomer to wargaming invited to take part in a game by a retired army colonel, who kept his glass full during dinner and then cheated during the game which followed.  

I also bought most of the many wargaming books written by Don, though I must confess that they were very heavy reading.   Not nearly as entertaining as “Charge”.  But the Newsletter was far more influential, and even now brings back fond memories.

However it was the fact that I never wrote to Don throughout the whole time that I received the Newsletter, not even in response to the “At the Colonel’s Table” article.   I did meet him quite a few times many years later when I moved to Salisbury, and joined his monthly meetings in nearby Southampton.

I am sure that in later life he must have been well aware how much he had influenced wargaming, but I wonder whether that was the case in those early years of the 1960s and 1970s?

I was also influenced by Peter Guilder, and particularly those wonderful photographs of his Wargames Holiday Centre which used to grace Wargames Illustrated.   Again I never wrote to him.  Though I did tell him how much he had influenced me when I visited his Wargames Centre in the late 1980s.

How different things are today.   The web is full of advice, information and endless photographs of the most fantastic wargames tables – and all for free.   And all of us can produce the modern version of “Wargames Newsletter”, our very own Blog.   We can publish our own rules, show countless photographs of our own collections and even publish a daily update of our own campaign.   We can take exchange views with people from all over the world, and even take part in their wargame campaigns.

The only downside to this New World is the lack of communication between fellow wargamers.   It is really sad that such great communication vehicles as TMP only seem to thrive on disagreement and exchanging insults.   Many of those who dominate the forum seem to be more interested in attacking anyone who offers a point of view not in aggreement with their own, than in entering a genuine exchange of views.

I would love to have been able to discuss aspects of running a campaign, but have found a distinct lack of response to my many posts on the subject.   The usual response to such a post has been no comment at all.  Yet the following post resulted in 302 comments:

lie 1
this topic is about both ,like just eble saved the grande armee at the berezina.
My info states a dutch general benthiem died in hamburg 1814 by scicknes,
helped him acording to the story the pontoons left there to be distroyed on napoleons order but he refused! This info i have got from the bridge building compagnies today.
the bridges were made by two contries. not just frogs myth 1one lakes at austerlitz alone!
there must be more grts serg joe”

Anyway, enough of this pondering and reflection. 

Next week will be back to what is happening in my own little wargaming world.


  1. First, on blogs many if not most readers do not have the registration to write or do not care. Most of the time I don't. Too cumbersome. Actually
    I just realized I registered myself for google so without too,much fuss can write. Most will not bother.

    TMP is still a wonderful place to get hobby news and from time to time specific info, sometimes very sharp one on games and historical stuff.
    There is a lot of so and so stuff but no one forces us to read it.

    That there would be not too much response might be because of the way the question is put or that it is mostly irrelevant to a majority.
    As for campaigns, as with other wargames or others subjects, ready made ideas staunchly bar many from even looking in. So they won't bother as something out of reach.

  2. Hi JcDanville

    Thanks for your comments

    I agree that TMP is a great source of hobby news. I usually visit at least once each day. It's just a pity that actual wargame subjects seem to get very little response.


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