Saturday, 3 February 2018

Second hand book purchases

A couple of second hand books have arrived from www.paulmeekins.co.uk. "Practical Wargaming" by C.F.Wesencraft was a book I used to borrow on a regular basis from the local library. I remember copying out by hand the rules from the chapter "The army corps in action" into an old school exercise book. These rules had 3 based figures representing a battalion and allowed for larger battles to be played. Up until then my plastic Airfix napoleonic figures all represented the traditional 1:30 ratio of the time where one figure represented 20 actual men.

I bought the book for two reasons. First was for a bit of nostalgia, and second was the high praise the book gets in further reading appendixes of Neil Thomas's books. Having read a number of the chapters you can see some of the influences. Here are a couple if quotes about rules that stood out for me in the early part of the book:

 "Very few dice are required for the games described in this book. I have seen the day when I have fought battles in which I have had to throw thirty of forty dice in what were called saving throws, having already thrown seven or eight dice to see if any hits were scored. What a waste of time when the result probably boiled down to a mere handful of kills in the end. Obviously it was the rules that were at fault. Time is everything to a wargamer. Rule 1 of any game should be: if it wastes time, throw it out!"

"Often unnecessary details are added in the name of accuracy, resulting in time being spent on trivialities that only delay the eventual outcome of the battle."

"The effect of weather on a battle can be crucial and yet in the main is ignored by the average wargamer."


The second book "Napoleon's Campaigns in Miniature" by Bruce Quarrie was purchased to help me with settling up a napoleonic campaign. Having quickly flicked through the book, it is jammed packed with details on organisation, lines of communication, medical services and prisoner of war, attrition and desertion, etc... All looking very useful to shape some simple rules to govern a small campaign, and also to provide a background narrative to the campaign games.

13 comments:

  1. Two very good additions to your Old School Wargaming library. Both are in my library as well.

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    1. It is always a joy adding to the wargaming library.

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  2. I have both these books, Practical Wargaming I also used to borrow from my local library. Also have Wesencrafts With Pike and Shot

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    1. I to will be getting the With Pike and Shot soon to help as part of my planned ECW project for 2018.

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  3. A nostalgic blast form the past, just looking at the book covers brings a smile. Good buy.

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    1. Practical Wargaming does have a very memorable cover.

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  4. Ahhh. Savings throws. Some days you just ignore them, some days you need them depending on your size of game.
    I remember copying out Featherstone rules onto paper or a spare second hand reused scrounged hard back notebook in the days before photocopies.

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    1. Short rules were always preferred when copying them out by hand.

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  5. When I first started wargaming, Practical Wargaming was one of my first books. While I never played the rules, it certainly fueled my interest. I have both books; any time I came find older books like this I will buy them, even if I don't use the rules.

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    1. It will be interesting after reading Practical Wargaming whether it has an influence on my approach to rules. Adding weather effects are the most likely.

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  6. Great finds! I very nearly bought the Bruce Quarrie one myself recently.

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    1. Yes, I was very happy the day they arrived in the post.

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