Thursday, 18 September 2008

Donald Featherstone's War Games - a classic wargames book is available again

Thanks to some tireless work by John Curry, Donald Featherstone’s classic wargames book – War Games – has been republished. It is one of series of publications that are being reprinted as part of John’s ‘History of Wargaming Project’ (see for more details).

As will be obvious from my profile, this was one of the books that turned me from a boy who pushed toy soldiers around in mock battles with no rules into a young man who fought wargames … with proper rules.

For the benefit of anyone who has never read Donald Featherstone’s book, it contains four sets of wargames rule. These are: Tony Bath’s Ancient wargame rules (plus a description of the wargame ‘Battle of Trimos’); Donald Featherstone’s American Civil War wargames rules (plus a description of the wargame ‘Battle of Plattville’); Donald Featherstone’s simple Modern wargames rules (plus a description of the wargame ‘Battle of the St James Road’); and Lionel Tarr’s World War II wargames rules

The book also contains chapters on laying out a battlefield, refighting campaigns, and solo wargaming (something that I have done quite a lot of myself).

I still have an original copy of this book on my bookshelves, and although it is a bit dog-eared and well thumbed, it is a book that still inspires me. Like all wargamers I sometimes ‘go off the boil’; a quick look at War Games soon revives my flagging spirits.

This new edition does have a couple of advantages over the original, including some details from Lionel Tarr’s rules that were inadvertently left out and some explanatory notes that clarify some of the more opaque rules.

This book can be bought from Amazon or direct from the publisher,

PS. I recently overheard a comment from an equally ancient wargamer about the rules in this book that went something along the lines that 'they were very old-fashioned and not worth even looking at’; an interesting point-of-view, but one that I disagree with, especially as I realised that my current re-write of my own World War II rules – Red Flags and Iron Crosses – would benefit from using some of the simple mechanisms laid down in this boom.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.


  1. Wargaming was a hobby I wanted to get into as a kid, but couldn't afford the polished expensive modern rules whose price was greater than my entire army of cheap plastic figures! Without this one volume I might have given it up altogether. Instead it lit a passion and I never tire of reading it! It's chatty, but concise, and easy to read. If I was stranded on an island and only had one book, this would be it.

  2. Brianne,

    I think that this was true for a lot of us ... and even now I still dip into Donald Featherstone's book every so often to re-kindle my enthusiasm.

    All the best,


  3. I remember picking up this book in Aberdeen Library .. wargaming resources were scare then (for me at least)

    1. Geordie an Exiled FoG,

      I used to borrow a copy from the library all the time … and still have the original (and now rather tatty) copy I ought all those years ago.

      All the best,



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