WarGames magazine — The missing issue

By Rob Morgan

In among the many re-reviews, and reconsiderations of the regrettably small number of venerable and historically much cheaper books on our mutual interest, the plethora of magazines have tended to be overlooked. I might well return to the sumptuous wealth of material which in the 1970s filled the pages of Battle! magazine, and cannot, I think, let any more water flow under the much fought over bridges of the hobby, before I pen a note on the subject of John Tunstill’s splendid venture of the late 1960s, Miniature Warfare.

I’d love to, but I can’t, write up a reconsideration of the Jack Scruby wargames publication Table Top Talk of the 1960s, or indeed of Don Featherstone’s  renowned Wargamer’s Newsletter. The first I’ve never seen and the second only exists for me as a single copy in my attic files. They must have been wonderous things to behold in those far off days when once I spent a week of long autumn evenings turning Airfix Robin Hood archers into ancient slingers with small lengths of fuse wire and Bostik glue, but I never saw them. As a teenager they were out of my price range.

JAird Esq. took me to task some months ago over the short-lived WarGames of the 1980s. He tells me that it was published a couple of years after I’d thought, but sadly having unearthed my valuable copies from the archive, there’s no date on either of them! Volume 1, Number 1, was edited by Graham Briggs with the assistance of George Gush and Wally Hearl, as was Volume 1, Number 3. I don’t have Number 2, but hopefully, our brother-in-arms Master Aird can enlighten members as to the contents.  I believe that it contained a paper cut-out “flat” army of  the Late Roman Empire, there was mention of it in Number 3, which had a delightful Sassanid Army, elephants, cataphracts et al to fight the Romans; that would make a decent item for these pages.

Number 1 was good, very good indeed. The reviews are still sound. Can anyone guess or remember the price of a Platoon 20 Vietnam war infantryman in the early 1980s? It was 12p! There was a Greek Campaign scenario c. 460 BC, and a refight of Bonaparte’s victory at Marengo. A wide range of notes and articles was completed by C.S. Grant, Charles Grant’s son, reminiscing on, guess what — the failure of wargames magazines to survive. Plenty of adverts in this issue too.

By issue Number 3, the price had risen by 40 percent, and had an excellent refight of Eylau 1807, and articles on casualties, on the American squabble between the states, and the Jacobite Rebellions. A science fiction wargame too. I suspect it was worth the price just for the three pages ( A5 pages) of Sassanids. If JAird is correct and it was simply three issues, then the words of the Editor Graham Briggs in the third and last editorial, he called it the “Edspiel,” were prophetic:

“As you see WarGames is going from strength to strength,” though from his comments later in the column, it seems that issue 2 was delayed, and “we have now overcome the difficulties that have beset us and intend to improve our standards with every issue.”

A pity. A great pity, for whoever drew the two armies, and yes, I’ve only seen one of them, might have included an army with every issue. Vikings, Saxons, Normans, anything in history. Now that was a loss.

This entry was posted in Wargaming. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to WarGames magazine — The missing issue

  1. JAird says:

    Rob, it will be a pleasure to fill in the gaps for you.

    Issue 2 arrived with an editorial explaining that there had been a delay because the magazine’s parent company FORMOPTION had gone into liquidation. This was on a sticker which had been put over the original editorial and contact details.

    The contents were : cut out Roman army, letters & reviews, Fighting an Ancient Indian Army, Wargaming holidays in Yorkshire, Armaggedon ’81 show report. magazine roundup, Board meetings – Combat Results, The battle of Leuctra, The Shrine of Bal-El-Pezzar (D&D adventure), Ancient Beginners Please, British Armoured Divisions. Phew ! Something for everyone there I think.

    It was the 1981 show report in Issue 2 and the magazine reviews which allowed me to date the issues – Issue 3 has a review of Military Modelling of May 1982. “You see my methods Watson”, as my detective alter-ego might say !

    Issue 3, sadly, was the last issue – somewhere I am sure I still have the letter from the official receivers saying that they will not be able to address the points raisd in my letter concerning Issue 3 ! I didn’t take a carbon-copy of the letter (ah, carbon paper, a thing of the past !) so I have no idea what I had taken them to task on that time.

    If I find the time in the future I will try and wax lyrical about “Battle for Wargamers” – the original and best wargaming glossy, rarely equalled (the better issues of Practical Wargamer and Battlegames are the nearest to my mind) – never bettered.

  2. George Arnold says:

    (From Rob Morgan)

    Among the scattered handsful of wargames journals, newsletters and magazines,
    I have two copies of an American publication, which I received donkeys years
    ago, from a distant relative living in Seattle. The publication, “Little Wars,”
    is described as “The Journal for Historical Battle-Game Enthusiasts,” and next
    to me I have Volume III, No. 2, for June 1978. Alongside the price of $1.50, it
    carries the number 10, which leads me to believe that there were four published
    in a given year. About 25 pages in all, A-4 ish size, and filled with adverts
    for well known manufacturers. Ral Partha may well have been subsidising the
    journal, which was edited by Joe Orlowski. This issue has decent articles on
    the American “Legion of the United States,” on medieval weapons, the two-handed
    sword, and a lead article on the closure of an American Air Museum. The usual
    reviews, but not a lot of colour unfortunately.

    Now this seems to have been a ‘cutting-edge’ magazine, and I’d like to find out more about it.

    Anyone know more? When did it close?


Comments are closed.