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Saturday, 7 October 2017

The Second Book of Wargaming by F E Perry

After the recent interest generated by LEIPZIG ON THE LAWN wargame and the BLACK HAT MINIATURES Army Packs offer in wargaming with 54mm figures, I decided to look for my copies of THE FIRST BOOK OF WARGAMING and THE SECOND BOOK OF WARGAMING by F E Perry. Despite an extensive search, I could find neither, and I have come to the conclusion that I must have lent them to someone who has not returned them.

I looked for both on eBay, and found a copy of THE SECOND BOOK OF WARGAMING on sale at a not too ridiculous price ... so I bought it. It was delivered yesterday, and I managed to spend an enjoyable hour or so reading through it.


The book has six chapters entitled:
  1. Crossing a river
  2. Gas Warfare
  3. Night Fighting and Trench Warfare
  4. Support Services
  5. Seaborne Invasion
  6. The Island defences
Reading this book has convinced me that I really must try to get hold of a replacement copy of THE FIRST BOOK OF WARGAMING ... but only once I have found one at a price that I can justify paying!

THE SECOND BOOK OF WARGAMING was written by F E Perry and published by Model and Allied Publications (Argus Books Limited) in 1978 (ISBN 0 85242 601 1) for the princely sum of £1.75!

20 comments:

  1. Bob
    Ooh I've got that one from ages ago! I thought his 'first book of wargaming' was mythical because I've never seen it. From the content of the second I always assumed the first would be better - likely dealing with more core aspects. Having said that, this was twenty or thirty years ago and I presume there's actually relatively little 'new' in it anymore.

    Cheers

    Andrew

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    Replies
    1. Rumblestrip (Andrew),

      I did buy both books when they were originally published, and know that the first book was much more about wargaming whilst the second was more about expanding the rules to include other, wider aspect of wargaming.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. A true classic! I chanced upon the Second Book in around 1980. I didn't like its simplistic approach then but it makes more and more sense with the passage of time. Ebay finally yielded a copy of the First Book a few years ago.

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    Replies
    1. Tim Gow,

      I did find a copy of the first book on sale on the Internet ... but the price was just ridiculously high, so I didn't buy it.

      At about the time the first book was published I remember Stuart Asquith writing an article about wargaming in the garden with Britain's Deetail figures. It had photographs that showed Japanese soldiers (with a Crescent 18pdr Field Gun) fighting US Marines on a rockery.

      As I get older I like my wargames to be simpler so that I can spend time fighting battles and not trying to work out what the rules mean!

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  3. I've heard of both, but never seen either. However, that cover alone is enough to make me want the book!

    A job for John Curry perhaps?

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    1. Ross Mac,

      Now that is a good idea! It would fit in well with his project to re-publish important wargames books, and I think that if they were combined into a single volume they would sell rather well.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  4. I only had volume two from the early 1980s and recently tracked down volume 1 - great photos! Volume 2 did not make much sense without volume 1 but I liked the photos including the ones with figures I had. I felt it put me as a resource strapped youngster on the level with adults! It reminds you a little of being down at floor or garden ground level with 54mm figures as a child. I liked the family joke in the intro to book 2 that his wife could claim by book two that Frank Perry wasn't "playing toy soldiers" in his shed, he was researching and writing his next book.
    Brian Carrick was in correspondence with FE Perry and family around the time of writing Brian's Big Wars article. https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2017/06/30/brian-carricks-big-wars/

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    Replies
    1. MIN ManofTin,

      I have found a copy of the first book on the Internet ... but the price was too high for my taste. I wish I knew what I had done with my original copies ... but wherever they are, I cannot find them!

      I always felt that the first book was the better of the two because it also reminded me so much of the floor and lawn games I played as a child.

      I will have to use the excuse that I am researching for my next book if my wife asks why I am off to fight a wargame; it's a great one!

      I was sorry to read that Frank Perry died before Brian Carrick had a chance to meet him. I'm sure that they would have got on like a house on fire.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. Some of these FE Perry First Book of Wargaming copies are ridiculous prices such as Amazon - currently £40 plus - whereas I bought mine through Amazon dealers last year for around £3!
      Price alone is a good case for John Curry reprinting this classic pair of books.
      When discussing whether it was worth suggesting a reprint of the Battle for Wargamers Wargames Special 'annual' that came out c1982/3 with Brian Carrick's Big Wars article inside, Stuart Asquith said that John Curry is pretty busy with a couple of reprints at present. However I think it is worth putting forward a case for reprint of the two Perry books at some stage.

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    3. MAN ManofTin,

      £40.00 is the price I've seen on several internet websites ... and although I want a copy of the book, I'm not paying that much!

      I'll mention the possibility of republishing Frank Perry's books when I next see John Curry, although I know that he has quite a long list of stuff that will be ahead of such a reprint in the queue. As to reprinting the BATTLE FOR WARGAMERS WARGAMES SPECIAL ... well that might pose copyright problems as John would have to trace and contact each contributor before he could proceed.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  5. ...wonder if Alan and Michael (Perry Miniatures) are related???

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    1. Steve-the-Wargamer,

      It would be great if they were ... but I don’t think that they are.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  6. For some time now the First and Second Books have been eagerly sought after by plastic toy soldier collectors, hence the high price. Before he died FEP started writing the Third Book of Wargameing and I have a copy of what's left of the manuscript, also there was an article on FEP in the Midland Bank house magazine (he was a senior manager at the Bank) which included quite a few pics, so there is some additional material if John Curry ever did decide to reprint these books.

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    1. Brian Carrick,

      That is very interesting to know, and makes publishing a single volume reprint that includes all the material even more attractive.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. I'd love to see what he wrote in the manuscript for the third book - any way of sharing it? I have both of his wargaming books and a couple of his game based novels. I also red some related articles in old issues of Plastic Warrior. The pictures in his books are worth getting the books for alone. The use of wooden blocks to make temples, for example in reminiscent of Wells. The whole impression is wonderfully whimsical. His ideas for the second book are very interesting. The first book builds on Wells ideas with addition of rules for sub machine guns and other modern weapons. One of the PW articles was written by his wargaming pal and I think one by his son; I'd have to look them up. i liked the concept of having a fictional land of Caspia (not the same as in Narnia) and various nations at different stages of development allowing for use of any of his collection from cowboys and Indians to WW1 troops.

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    3. James James,

      I suspect that the manuscript of the third book is long gone ... although it might turn up one day!

      I actually bought a set of wooden bricks to use with my 54mm figures, but have yet to do so. It is one of the things on my 'to do' list.

      The idea of various nations being at different stages of development is very Wellsian, as a look at the illustrations in his FLOOR GAMES book bears out.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  7. Frank Perry also wrote two novels based on his wargames. one was called the 'Caspross Experiment' and the other was 'Mission to Kill'.

    He wargamed with imaginary countries that had different historical levels of development.

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    1. James James,

      Now that is very, very interesting, and I’ll certainly try to get hold of copies of his novels if I can. Clearly he was much more than just a wargamer who wrote books about his hobby.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  8. There are plenty of gems in the "old stuff"

    Working my way through Charles Grant's Wargame Tactics

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    1. Geordie an Exiled FoG,

      Too right, old chap! Some of the older wargames books still have a lot to offer the modern wargamers.

      All the best,

      Bob

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