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Friday, 6 October 2017

The War Game ... edited by Peter Young

A recent comment that the terrain created by the late Peter Gilder for the film CALLAN was also photographed and used in the book edited by Peter Young and entitled THE WAR GAME made me look out my copy of the book ... and reminded me how much it had inspired me when I first saw a copy.


The book was divided into ten chapters (each of which covered a major battle and was written by a different author) and two appendices:
  • THERMOPYLAE BC480 by Charles Grant
  • AGINCOURT 1415 by Philip Warner
  • EDGEHILL 1642 by Peter Young
  • BLENHEIM 1704 by David Chandler
  • LOBOSITZ 1756 by Charles Grant
  • SARATOGA 1777 by Aram Bakshian Jr
  • AUSTERLITZ 1805 by David Chandler
  • WATERLOO 1815 by James Lawford
  • GETTYSBURG 1863 by Clifford C Johnson

  • EL ALAMEIN 1942 by Donald Featherstone

  • Appendix 1: The Principles of War Gaming
  • Appendix 2: Model Soldier Suppliers

THE WAR GAME was edited by Brigadier Peter Young and illustrated with photographs taken by Philip O Stearns. It was published by Cassell & Company Ltd in 1972 (ISBN 0 304 29074 2).

In the acknowledgements at the back of the book it states that the figures came from the collections of David Chandler, Peter Gilder, Charles Grant, Lieutenant Commander John Sandars, Ed Smith, John Tunstill, and Brigadier Peter Young, and that the terrain was specially made for the book by Hinchliffe Models of Huddersfield.

42 comments:

  1. Wonderful pictures! I don't own this book but it looks amazing.

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    1. Maudlin Jack Tar,

      I think that second-hand copies can still be bought for a reasonable price from specialist booksellers.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. I have found a copy for £1.80 plus postage which seems too good to miss!

      Delete
    3. Maudlin Jack Tar,

      A real bargain! I assume that you are going to buy it and enjoy it!

      All the best,

      Bob

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    4. I ordered it at once and await its arrival!

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    5. Maudlin Jack Tar,

      I am sure that you'll enjoy reading it once it is delivered.

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  2. I've had a copy of this book for over 40 years. The dust cover disintegrated long ago...

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    1. Archduke Piccolo,

      It sounds as if yours has been read quite frequently ... and enjoyed.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. I've spent many hours with this old friend of a book over the decades. I confess that the terrain itself never inspired me but.....

    As an interesting aside, a B&W picture of the Saratoga setup (my favourite pictures), from a different angle, appears in Charge!

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    1. Ross Mac,

      It is a good old wargaming friend. Having terrain like that featured in the book was something I aspired to have, but I found John Sandars' vehicles the most inspiring images in the book.

      Thanks to you, I now know why that photograph from the Saratoga section looked familiar!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  4. I got a copy when it came out but haven't seen it for years and a search of my shelves reveals not trace. I wonder what happened to it? All is not in vain though as the search brought to light half a dozen forgotten books on the AWI and the Napoleonic Wars that I really must re-read.

    If my memory serves - and these days it often does not - the pictures were inspiring but the text less so (more history than wargaming and without the orders of battle, etc. really needed to game the conflicts). Still, there are a couple of pretty cheap 2nd hand copies on Amazon for anyone who wants them.

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    1. Mike Hall,

      I hope that you find your copy of the book, although it sounds as if your search has turned up some interesting items.

      You are right. This was very much a book about battles, illustrated with pictures of wargames rather than a wargaming book, although there was a simple guide to wargaming at the back of the book.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  5. Still one of my favorites! My high school librarian actually surprised me with a copy that she borrowed from her local library back in 1984. My grandparents gave me a new copy for my 22nd birthday in '88, and it still has pride on place on a lower bookshelf where our son can reach it when the mood strikes him. He seems to be as enthralled by it as I was.

    Best Regards,

    Stokes

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    1. Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke (Stokes),

      It is one of my favourite books as well, and it occupies a prominent place on my wargaming bookshelves.

      It sounds as if it is inspiring a new generation of potential wargamers as well!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  6. Great book! Spent many hours with that. Now it's time to get it back off the shelf and revisit.

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    1. Dan Foley,

      It sounds as if a lot of wargamers of a certain age were inspired by this book.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  7. This was the foundational text in my trajectory. I discovered it on the shelf of my local library sometime shortly after it must have been published, and the rest is history. I finally acquired a copy for myself 25 or so years later.

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    1. Ed M,

      What a great introduction to wargaming! I am please to read that you eventually managed to buy a copy for yourself.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  8. I got this book when I was 12 for Christmas. I used to pour over that book endlessly. Very inspirational!

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    1. Chris,

      That must have been a great Christmas present for a young boy to receive!

      All the best,

      Bob

      Delete
  9. A classic book, no doubt! As you mention above, copies on ebay or Abebooks can be found for most reasonable prices.

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    1. Jonathan Freitag,

      I think that people would regard it as classic wargaming book because of its inspiring illustrations, and it is good to know that it can still be bought on the second-hand book market.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  10. My wife bought me a second hand copy in 1985 just after we met. It's probably my favourite ever (the book and the wife that is). Inspirational photos!

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    1. Stryker,

      Your wife sounds as if she is a lady of great judgement ... and that it was good to read that both she and the book are still your favourites!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  11. I bought it in an online auction sight unseen after confusing it with the other The War Game!

    Cheers,
    Aaron

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    Replies
    1. Prufrock (Aaron),

      I do hope that you weren't too disappointed with your purchase. I have both books, and they are bot inspirational, but in very different ways.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  12. It's a delightful book. I came across a copy in the local library at an impressionable age. My own copy was a chance find in a second hand bookshop in Hampstead in about 1990. I think it was £3...

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    1. Tim Gow,

      It seems that quite a few people had a similar experience; seeing the book in a library, and buying a copy at some later time.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    2. You are reminding me of my own experience a little bit earlier (early sixties) when I found a copy of Don Featherstone’s “Naval War Games” in the local library and was soon building galleys out of balsa, card and fuse wire. I was inspired enough to take a trip to Foyle’s and return with Don’s “War Games” and shortly thereafter acquired – I know not where from but it’s priced in dollars– Joe Morschauser’s “War Games in Miniature”. These first books will always be special whatever the apparent superior qualities of later purchases.

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    3. Mike Hall,

      You started with three excellent books ... all of which sit in places of honour on my bookshelves. Of the three, Morschauser's is the one I'd put at the top of the pile.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  13. The picture of the Waterloo war-game is interesting, as I was sure that I had seen that building before. Sure enough, it features several times in the book Napoleonic Wargaming by Charles Grant. I think the link comes in the book's acknowledgements: ".....thanks to Peter Gilder of Hinchliffe Models, who created the terrain.........".

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    1. Bob Kett,

      I suppose that we should not be that surprised that this happened. Back then the world of wargaming in the UK seemed to have been a lot more intimate (and less commercial) than it is now, with stuff passing from one wargamer to another all the time.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  14. Certainly a book that inspired me. I wonder where I've put my copy?

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    1. Sun of York,

      I suspect that you are not alone in being inspired by this book when you first read it ... and wondering where your copy is now!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  15. It was the Blenheim game that inspired me most. The figures seemed to be converted from ACW airfix if memory serves me correctly?

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    1. One of my favourite chapters. There is certainly one very Airfix looking conversion but most appear to be 20mm metals, Les Higgins perhaps?

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    2. Jon Meech,

      I’m not sure what figures were used in the photographs, but some look like Les Higgins figures.

      All the best,

      Bob

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    3. Ross Mac,

      I agree with you. They look like Les Higgins figures with a few Airfix conversions.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  16. I will have to dig this one out its dusty book grave somewhere .. maybe in the garage? Thanks Bob :)

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    1. Geordie an Exiled FoG,

      Good luck with your digging!

      All the best,

      Bob

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