Saturday, 14 December 2019

Out with the New, in with the Old.

                    Anyone recognise this beatnik looking chap playing and ECW game?
                                                                    [answer at the end]


 A few weeks ago I was bemoaning the fact that I had failed to buy a number of Wargamers Newsletters from the USA due to excessive postal charges. I would again like to thank Johnathan Freitag who lives in the USA who offered to find a way to obtain the issues and send them to me. It was a typically kind offer that one expects from fellow wargamers who are in the main generous souls where wargaming is concerned. Anyway the very kind gesture wasnt needed as I luckily managed to obtain a fair number of the back issues I 'needed' to complete my collection of Newsletters. They werent cheap and frankly some were extortionate but I bit the bullet like a true collecting nut.
 I now only need locate 16 issues to have the complete collection of wargaming magazines that promoted the hobby when there was very little else apart from the odd wargaming article in the early Military Modelling magazines circa 1971.
 Donald Feathersone however had kept the wargaming beacon alight  for years before that, and certainly from 1964 when Tony Bath,Jack Scruby from the USA and himself had gone their separate wargaming ways for whatever reasons now lost in the mist of age.
 I normally dont like to boast about what I am privileged to own but being able to read these early magazines is a guilty pleasure.
 Yes some of the 'articles' are very brief, little more than tips and observations but like any history student if one wants to understand where we are, we need to study the past.
 Reading the Newsletters shows how we came to be where we are now, the same arguments that troubled the early wargamers,[ less than 500 internationally in 1965 ] are still argued even now and their solutions are as relevant as the ones produced nowadays.

Amongst my purchases was this gem, a special issue full of  wargaming articles from 1964.
 I particularly mention this magazine because the late great Charles Grant contributed a lengthy article titled 'Experiments with a Battle' which is an account of his different refights of the classic Grant battle, Fontenoy 1745. This account is well before the release of his classic book The Wargame and shows how he was testing various ways to fight the battle.If anyone is interested I will scan the whole article although due to its age some of the printing is very faint.
In the lengthy introduction Featherstone jokingly moans of having embarked on too many wargaming periods [sound familiar] but blames Peter Gilder for at least two of the projects, simply because he was given some beautiful pieces of wargaming terrain made by Gilder.

So whilst desperately attempting to complete my Newsletter collection I was able to obtain the following wargaming gold [well for me anyway]
By accident I was able to lay my hands on a decent number of The War Game Digest, the magazine that Jack Scruby compiled from 1958 for the small number of would be wargamers that existed across the world. I have yet to peruse these magazines and wont until I have obtained some decent protective covers for them but this is the magazine that fired the enthusiasm of Featherstone, Bath and Grant plus several others.In fact it was the start of what we are all involved in, modern? wargaming.
 Serendipitously from a totally different source I was also able to obtain some copies of the digest's successor, the less famous Table Top Talk which I believe started about 1961/1962. Although a smaller magazine than the digest it is a well produced little magazine that contains some still relevant information and is brimming with wargaming enthusiasm.
 In a couple of decade these pioneering wargamers will probably be unknown but whoever is playing the games of the future their pleasure will be because of a few people prepared to take a chance and create a series of magazines that would bring the disparate wargamers together.

Answer; the beatnik was a young Stuart Asquith.

23 comments:

  1. What a find! Yes, please. Should you decide to do so, I'd be very interested in see scans of that early Grant article on refighting Fontenoy. Meanwhile, enjoy reading through these latest acquisitions.

    Best Regards,

    Stokes

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The article was worth the cost simply because I loved the way Charles Grant wrote his battle accounts. Give me a couple of days Stokes, I thought wargamers like yourself would find it of interest.

      Delete
  2. Great news that your collection is nearing completion. If you post the numbers from the issues left to add, we can keep an eye out for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That really is kind Johnathan. Sadly I am a completest when it comes to things. My music collection is very similar. I will post up the details if thats okay.

      Delete
    2. Of course! Post the list of missing issues. Someone may find them for you.

      Delete
  3. The Old Testament of Wargaming , brilliant !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Old being the word, but I still find them priceless and to be very honest still more relevant than the modern offerings. Yes they were amateur productions in some respects but the contents are far better

      Delete
  4. I've got a couple of newsletters somewhere, I'll have to look them up.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I wish you joy of your time travel into our hobby's past, don't understand the attraction myself, but it takes all sorts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But then David you dont like plastic either. Youre right it does take all sorts but thats what makes people more interesting, I hope.

      Delete
  6. Gold dust - and pure nostalgia for the many of us who 'grew' as wargamers purely because of the Newsletter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Norm, I look at it as historical research, well thats at least how Ive justified buying the extra magazines.

      Delete
  7. You're a lucky man and I don't blame you spreading the cash to obtain them... I've got a fairly big run now, and I am scanning copies missing from the stupendous John Haines archive of the entire series... I passed issue #37 across just yesterday (April '65)... I would really recommend a visit to any gamer who wants to be able to read (a scan) of the magazine... http://www.fourcats.co.uk/mags/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Steve, I do have some spares that will be sold next year but if you are looking for the odd newsletter I may be able to help.

      Delete
  8. Lovely bit of wargaming history Robbie, thanks for sharing.

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,
    Willz.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Robbie,
    I have been trying to email you for two days.

    Willz.

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
  11. Robbie - John Haines at the Wargamers Newsletter archive (http://www.fourcats.co.uk/mags/) is just missing issues #1 - #35, #71 - #80 and #88 to be able to have a complete print run online - it's a fantastic resource, do you have any of the missing issues you could scan??

    ReplyDelete


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My 6mm Napoleonic set up.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.
Austria 1809.

Austrian Hussars

Austrian Hussars
Hinchliffe figures

Austrian Grenzer

Austrian Grenzer
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Smoggycon 2013

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My French getting another beating