Fantasy Wargaming, cover-to-cover (II)

Another small difference between editions of this book is that the acknowledgments (“Gramercy!”) and foreword (“Revelation”) are in different orders. I’ll just cover both here.

Revelation, (or, “in which all is revealed”)

This is signed by all the copyright holders, further emphasizing that this was a group effort and the product of a real gaming club playing its own game. It is dated 1981, and since these things are typically the last part of a book to be written, often at the publisher’s request, I’m going to guess we should really date the whole game to at least a couple years before the publication date. The only particular games mentioned by name in the book are Dungeons and Dragons (not Advanced) and Tunnels & Trolls, so this may well place the writing in the mid-late 1970s, say 1977-1979. It also begins with the claim that fantasy wargaming began in America “a few years ago.” Considering D&D was published in 1974, we again should think 1970s, not 1980s, when reading this book. Before the days of computerized layouts and all that, books often took several years between submission and print.

Anyway there is then a short comparison/contrast between fantasy and historical wargaming (and they say that the big advantage of fantasy is that all that is required is imagination, as opposed to the research and painting of masses of armies for historical!), and it is evident that the term “role playing game” has not really caught on, at least among the authors. All RPGs, apparently, will be generically referred to as “fantasy wargaming” with lowercase letters; the game presented here is variously refered to as FW or Fantasy Wargaming with capitals. They add, “It is probably safe to say that if you enjoyed reading The Lord of the Rings, you will also enjoy fantasy wargaming.”

They also note that of the possible RPG worlds, the most popular kind is simply what we might nowadays call the “megadungeon.” Much of the remainder of the foreword deals with why the authors were dissatisfied with megadungeons (lack of logic and motive, mainly) and how they developed their own rules.

They say they actually started out with Tunnels & Trolls, which was indeed very popular in England (from what I’ve seen in White Dwarf), and they mention their own adventure “Leigh Cliffs” which they promise to publish next. Evidently it was as a scenario involving mysterious goings-on in a village and the PCs all had secret motivations… it sounds a bit like a Braunstein or even a How to how a murder type game, but there are no details and I do not think it was ever really published. It would be fascinating to see.

They outright reject the “law vs. chaos” worldview of Moorcock that informs D&D, and instead tout their “unified field theory” (they in fact use this terminology!) that eliminates the need for spell lists. (Modern reviewers frequently complain that such a list is lacking!)

They also mention their wargame rules for mass battles, which are included herein, and which accommodate small miniatures collections by allowing the man:figure scale to be variable. This, they claim, is a major innovation. It is interesting that with all the interest nowadays in finding a mass battle system to lay on top of an RPG campaign, this was so central to their ideas. Of course, being a group of wargamers to begin with, this is hardly surprising.

Gramercy!

Thank-yous to: Adrian Palmer, Pete Tamlyn, Andy Strangeways, Gail Smith, Kevin “Igor” Piror, Ian & Lawrence Heath, Bob Whittaker, “Teddy”, Maggie, Margaret, Verity, and David Stein.

Lawrence Heath, as mentioned earlier, did the chapter frontspieces.

Ian Heath is another relatively famous grognard who wrote and illustrated many, many wargaming books, including several WRG “Armies & Enemies” books, a lot of Osprey books, and also an excellent series of army books for The Foundry, a miniatures company.  The wargaming roots are clearly deep, and here is another big name in the hobby who contributed.  Perhaps he did some of the unsigned illustrations, or helped with the army and weapons lists?

Pete Tamlyn wrote A green & pleasant land, a Call of Cthulhu sourcebook, and also contributed to or wrote several “Fighting fantasy” gamebooks.

Kevin Prior was another Cambridge student at that time.

Advertisements
Published in: on July 28, 2010 at 5:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://mikemonaco.wordpress.com/2010/07/28/fantasy-wargaming-cover-to-cover-ii/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

This Stuff is REALLY Cool

Young scholars enthusiastic to tell you about COOL RESEARCH STUFF

Fail Squad Games

Fail Squad Games

Cigar Box Battle

An online resource blog for gamers and geeks focused on wargames miniatures and board games and role playing games

terribleminds: chuck wendig

Chuck Wendig: Freelance Penmonkey

Save Vs. Dragon

"We are here on Earth to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different."--Kurt Vonnegut

POWER WORD KILL

Old School Roleplaying and related musings

Hobgoblin Orange

My return to the world of miniature figure painting and RPGs

booksandopinions.com

The Book Reviews You Can Trust!

Dawn of the Lead

Miniature wargaming and the occasional zombie

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

hosercanadian

Miniature Motivation

Take On Rules

Jeremy Friesen - a poor soul consumed by gaming.

Age of Dusk

Roleplaying, reviews and associated paraphernalia.

Roll to Disbelieve

"We are here on Earth to fart around. Don't let anybody tell you any different."--Kurt Vonnegut

A Book of Creatures

A Complete Guide to Entities of Myth, Legend, and Folklore

Making the Past

Diary of an apprentice swordsmith

Ancient & Medieval Wargaming

Using De Bellis Antiquitatis, with the odd diversion...

Riffing Religion

Prophets should be mocked. I'm doing my part.

Cirsova

An encyclopedia of the Cirsovan empire, thoughts on Gaming, Music and more.

2 Warps to Neptune

Surveying the Gen X landscape and the origins of geek

Inside the Shadowbox

Rolling the dice. Writing the words. Pushing the buttons. Eating the bacon. Smiling and waving.

Dagger and Brush, Daggerandbrush, dagger brush

Miniature painting, wargaming terrain tutorials, reviews, interviews and painting guides

Fractalbat

A lair for gaming, sci-fi, comics, and other geekish pursuits.

tenfootpole.org

I bought this stuff and read it so you don't have to.

Role Play Craft

Crafting ideas, options, and modules for your role playing campaign.

The Rambling Roleplayer

A collection of advice, essays, and rambling rants about tabletop gaming and other geekiness. Often updated Monday-ishly.

Sheppard's Crook

The occasional blog of a closet would -be wargamer and modeller

10 Bad Habits

Probably not the Justin Howe you were looking for

The Weekly Sift

making sense of the news one week at a time

inthecitiesdotcom

Just another WordPress.com site

Lost in Time

"What happened to Claw Carver?"

chieflyill

gaming, graphics, and genrefication

Stuffed Crocodile

Mazes, Martians, Mead

Metropollywog

Role-Playing Games, Medieval History, Assorted Legends and Myths, and My Stupid Life.

%d bloggers like this: