Monday, 22 November 2010

'Little Wars': The current state of discussions

Having had some lengthy discussions with several interested parties, the conclusions we have come to with regard to the centenary game (or games) we will stage using H G Wells' LITTLE WARS wargames rules are that:
  • We shall use 54mm plastic figures, with basic details painted onto them (e.g. faces, hands, boots, weapons, distinguishing facings).
  • We shall use spring-powered cannons, firing wooden or plastic ‘rounds’, to simulate gun and rifle fire.
  • We shall use simple representative terrain features (e.g. cardboard buildings, possibly weighed down with wooden blocks or bricks).
The rules will be based on the more complex ones featured in the Appendix to LITTLE WARS, which H G Wells proposed should become the basis for a more realistic Kriegsspiel.

We have yet to decide on the size of units that participants will use, but it is likely that artillery batteries will have one gun and at least four gunners, whilst infantry battalions will have twenty to twenty five men, and cavalry twelve to fifteen men.


  1. Makes me wish I lived on the same side of the pond!
    Bob Beattie ran a Little Wars wargame at Historicon in 2003, complete with
    firing Britain's guns and 54mm metal Britain's & recast troops, Alas I had to miss that as well.

  2. Ross Mac,

    I also wish that you were this side of the pond as I suspect that we would both enjoy wargaming with each other!

    If I win the National Lottery (not much chance, but you never know) I will invite you over to take part. I think that every true wargamer hankers to take part in at least one H G Wells-style wargame at some time in their life.

    I understand that there is a group in the UK that does a lot of 54mm 'garden' wargaming using H G Wells' rules (or something very like them), and it would be nice to involve them in this project in some way.

    All the best,


  3. Is that Padre Paul Wright who published Funny Little Wars?
    Their Yahoo group is


  4. Have you investigated the rules Funnylittlewars by Paul Wright? he is a power in the land the world of 54mm gaming:
    Well worth a look and worth considering - excellent rules!
    best wishes
    p.s this is the group I think the previous comment refers to...

  5. Ross Mac and Tradgardmastaer,

    It is exactly the group I was looking for!

    In fact, had I looked at the 'Interbellum' blog, I would have remembered that there is a link to some of the members of the group.

    I have now applied to join the 'Funny Little Wars' group as I suspect that they have already been down this path, and have a great deal of experience from which we can learn.

    All the best,


  6. Hi Bob

    54mm figures and matchstick firing cannon are definitely the way to go to get the real feel of HG Wells' game. I've been playing this way for decades with plastic and metal figures and the amount of damage to paint from projectiles is negligible.

    The unit sizes you've suggested are good for games in the garden or a large floor area say 12'x15' plus but if you are going to be playing on a table of say 8'x8' you might find halving the unit sizes (but having more of them) gives a better game visually and makes for better manouverability.

    Excuse my ignorance but what is the COW event you mention?

    BTW John Ruddle made his battleships out of aluminium sheet not wood, reason being that he dosen't have room to store them indoors and they stay out in the garden all year round.

    Best wishes with your 2013 project.


  7. Brain Carrick,

    Thanks for the very helpful information, especially regarding the size of units if one is playing on a table or small area.

    COW is the Conference of Wargamers. It is an annual event that has been going since 1980. It takes place over a weekend in early July, and its venue is Knuston Hall in Northamptonshire. It is 'run' by Wargame Developments, of which I am a founding member.

    All the best,


    PS. I had not realised the John Ruddle left his models outside over the winter period. No wonder his buildings were made of concrete and his ships of aluminium!


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