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.