The history of wargaming project

John Curry is the “editor” in an effort to document the history of wargaming.  As he puts it on the blog of the project: The Project aims to research and publish key works in the development of professional, hobby and educational use of wargaming. It currently includes work from Donald Featherstone, Fletcher Pratt, Peter Perla, Phil Barker, Fred Jane, Charles Grant, Stuart Asquith and Terry Wise…

I’ve got one of the books he’s published, Tony Bath’s Ancient Wargaming, which of course has some connections to RPGs in that Tony’s “Hyboria” campaign is often cited as an early fantasy wargame with role-playing elements.   A book collecting old editions of DBA (still my favorite non-fantasy wargame) was also put together recently, and the project has been steadily releasing out-of-print classics and previously unpublished materials.  As far as I know no similar project for role-playing games has ever been attempted, and I assume a lot of that has to do with the fact that the rights to the materials are mostly owned by defunct companies rather the original authors or their estates, and perhaps also there is a reluctance to hand over publishing rights.  The original rights holders are probably a lot harder to track down in some cases, too, as wargaming is a more “social” hobby with competitions, tournaments, and conventions while RPGs tend to be played more by isolated groups.  I suppose the typical wargame writer got to know many more players than your typical RPG writer, especially once you get beyond the circle of a few dozen prominent writers working for the biggish companies like TSR, Judges Guild, Flying Buffalo, and such.

Anyway the Wargaming History Project blog is worth checking out.  It has some updates on Curry’s current work, some occasional posts about RPG history (which is inextricably linked with wargaming, at least in the early days), and more.  He really needs to add a search tool, and maybe link the blog more visibly to his publications, but you can tell from the lack of marketing that this is more a labor of love than a commercial venture!

Published in: on August 7, 2013 at 10:20 am  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Oh, man, thanks for pointing this out! I have a lot of the old Don Featherstone books, and was playing Napoleonic minis back in the 1980’s. Great stuff.

  2. It’s a worthy cause for sure–so I hate being a crank–but I really wish he would retain someone who knows how to format books especially charts. Comparing the readability of the original Wargames Campaign book (that I was lucky to pick up affordably many years ago) with the reprint is like night and day.

  3. […] The history of wargaming project ( […]

  4. I agree with the comments on some of the formatting of some of the first books produced by the History of Wargaming Project. Some of the books have errors in that I am slowly correcting. Don and I did not think anyone would be interested in the old books. How little we knew. Hopefully, the later produced books are better. Wargaming is not a sensible area to invest in to make serious money; I am aiming to preserve key material before it is lost.

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