Sunday, 4 March 2018

Duke Seifried

I bought another of the more recent additions to John Curry's 'History of Wargaming' Project last week, and have just finished reading it. It is entitled DUKE SEIFRIED AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF AMERICAN MINIATURE WARGAMING, and it has been edited by John Curry and Jim Getz.

I had been aware of Duke Seifried for many years, mainly thanks to the occasional mention of the games he has put on at US wargame conventions. These have all seemed to be magnificent examples of large wargames fought with beautifully painted figures on custom-built terrain. Furthermore, they had a reputation for being fun to take part in as well as using well-designed rules.

What I was not aware of until I read this book was how influential Duke Seifried has been to the development of miniature wargaming in the US. One only has to read the citation for the 1995 Jack Scruby Award and Hal Thinglum's tribute from a 1980s issue of the alas-now-defunct MWAN to begin to get some idea of the impact he has had, and this book has certainly ensured that his role in developing the hobby of miniature wargaming will be recorded for posterity.

The book contains:
  • The Jack Scruby Award (1995) to Duke Seifried;
  • MWAN tribute to Duke Seifried by Hal Thinglum (1989);
  • Early American Wargaming by Jim Getz;
  • Remembrances 'Uncle Duke' – Many years Later (2017);
  • Reflections on the Melee Rules by 'Uncle Duke' (2017);
  • "Melee" A Game of War (by Duke Seifried);
  • Napoleonique: A Miniature Wargame Strategic-Tactical Manoeuvre in the Napoleonic Era (by Jim Getz with Duke Seifried);
  • Appendix: Key Personalities in the Development of Modern American Wargaming.
The book is illustrated with a number of previously unpublished black and white photographs of early American wargames.

I would recommend this book to anyone who – like me – has an interest in the history and development of wargaming. It certainly filled a hole in my knowledge, and now occupies a space on my shelf of important wargaming books.

The book is published by the 'History of Wargaming' Project, and costs £14.95 plus postage and packing (ISBN 978 0 244 64137 5).


  1. "The Duke" was a character and a showman for sure! For over 10 years, our house Napoleonic rules were based upon Frappe, which he wrote in the early 1970's, with Ray Johnson, as part of a typically ambitious Duke project, "The Wargamer's Library", which included, in separate volumes, then very hard to get detailed information on the organization of the many and varied Napoleonic armies, including the obscure ones like Sweden and Denmark.

    1. Gonsalvo,

      The more I read, the more I realised that Duke's impact on the development of wargaming in the USA was seriously underestimated in the UK. Hopefully this book will go some way to remedying this.

      All the best,


  2. I cut my wargaming teeth on Duke's "Napoleoniques". Many an enjoyable hour spent in my parent's basement, moving a few hundred Airfix figures around, as I tried to learn the rules on my on.

    1. Steven Page,

      Having never read them before, I found them very interesting ... but I suspect that for the novice, they took some time to understand.

      All the best,