Prices for the various boxes of such toys can vary, and some ranges are hard to find, but at their original prices these are a very inexpensive source of decent 54mm toy soldiers - less than 50p a model. They are crisply molded and nicely detailed.
I might even paint some of them up for display at some stage. A fun purchase.
A couple of long-overdue purchases of classic wargaming books have been made. The first was John Sandars' An Introduction To Wargaming, from 1975.
Of course, as an introduction to wargaming the book is rather lacking. The work is really just an introduction to Mr. Sandars' rather idiosyncratic and unique approach to wargaming, and mostly deals with only one particular campaign in one particular period - the Western Desert campaign in WW2. So, not much of a general introduction; but I had fond memories of getting it from the library and reading it many decades ago. In those days it represented an interesting alternative approach to wargaming the Second World War. However, the rules contained in the book were incomplete and lacked the detail to actually play a game, as well as being rather over complex for my tastes at the time - and indeed they still seem rather over-egged. Nevertheless, nice to have a copy on my shelves.
The second classic needs no introduction - Charles Grant's The War Game from 1971.
For a collector of old wargaming books, I have come rather the late to the party in this case. The main reason is that, as with John Sandars, Mr Grant's approach to wargaming differs widely from my own, both at the time of publication and now. Combat rules that are rather over-fussy (not to say clunky), and units that are far too large. And of course, copies of the original edition are getting rather pricey these days. Still and all, not having it on the shelves suddenly became no longer acceptable, and I found a slightly battered but sound copy on eBay for £25, which I thought was pretty lucky. Checking again today, imagine my chagrin to see a 'buy it now' copy for £7.50 plus £3.40 postage. Some people really are a bit dim - the item is right below a copy of the same book priced at £67.63. Ah well. It was still a pleasure to give it shelf space after all this time.
Flames of War? Are You Quite Mad?
Yes, Roy is quite a FoW aficionado, and has more FoW armies than you can shake a stick at. It's been ages since I had a go with these rules, which as readers will know are something of a Marmite phenomena in wargaming. Anyway, the subject of early WW2 gaming came up, and before I knew it I was at Roy's fighting a fictional Italians vs. Vichy French desert game. Tremendous fun, with enormous Italian infantry platoons and the usual collection of useless early war armour. Even more remarkable, I actually won - although of course, I had to be guided through the rules for the duration of the game. A few photos are included below just to get the gist. Thanks Roy!
|Maybe controlling the French was a mistake Roy.|
|Italians swarm into a village.|
|Human Wave 1 - overcoming a couple of unfortunate Renaults.|
|Human Wave 2 - the Italians advance. Lovely terrain mat from Tiny Games.|
I came across an interesting opinion piece recently on the Glorious Little Soldiers blog. Andy's "Mr Angry" writing style is always entertaining, but the point I took away from the piece is that it really is time that some rules appeared that were a pleasure to read. I have sometimes fantasised about writing a wargames book in Old School style that would not only present a set of rules, but might work as a book, rather like some of Charles Grant's original works from the 70s. Of course, actually writing something that someone would consider publishing is another thing entirely. Nevertheless, perhaps this could be the Next Big Thing in wargames literature.
As Andy mentions in the comments section, sets of rules like FoG or the typical WRG sets are lost causes when it comes to being a pleasure to read, but Black Powder made a stab at this goal, although the book was criticised for being too wordy and making the rules hard to look up. So what's needed is a readable book laying out the principles and background to the rules, with a straightforward rules summary to finish off. I'll get word processing immediately...
So, two new projects happening at the moment - resurrecting the Air Assault game, and a new set of basic Horse and Musket rules. More on both soon. Oh, and I've written an article for Slingshot, based on my ancients project. A reasonable chance of publication, if the editor's initial reaction is anything to go by. A problem I find with this kind of thing is how long one has to wait between acceptance and actually seeing the article in print. This is unavoidable, and I remind myself that patience is a virtue!
See you again soon.