Sunday, 9 September 2012

War Games And Their History

Despite my recent conversion to the Kindle, I still like to buy proper printed books, and this one was recommended to me by two of my friends ... so I bought a copy ... and I am so glad that I did!


Before I even opened the book I was knocked out by the cover illustration! It was a section from the famous image from the 'Illustrated London News' that showed POLEMOS being played at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in 1888, and as regular blog readers will know, I have been trying to gather sufficient information about POLEMOS to recreate it. I was very interested to note that the author has a copy of the 'boys' edition' of POLEMOS (an edition that I was previously unaware of!), and it is featured in several illustrations in the book, one of which is reproduced below.


This serves to indicate the nature of the numerous illustrations in this book, which could easily have been described as being an 'illustrated history'.

In fairness to anyone who expects this book to contain a detailed history of figure or miniature wargames, I should point out that Mr Lewin concentrates almost exclusively on the history of published map and board wargames from the early nineteenth century onwards.

The book contains the following sections:
  • Foreword (by Major General Patrick Cordingley DSO, DSc, FRGS
  • Introduction
  • Chapter 1: Ancient and Medieval Games
  • Chapter 2: Games Played between 1600 and 1800
  • Chapter 3: Games for Military Training
  • Chapter 4: Games for Naval Training
  • Chapter 5: Games for the Public: 1800 – 1900
  • Chapter 6: Games for the Public: 1900 – 25
  • Chapter 7: Games for the Public: 1925 – 50
  • Chapter 8: Modern Games for the Public
  • Chapter 9: Official War Games in the Nuclear Age
  • Appendix 1: List of War Games
  • Appendix 2: Bibliography
  • Endnotes
  • Index
I have only managed to have a quick skim through this book, but I can see that reading it is going to be a very informative, very enjoyable, and very thought-provoking experience. I think that anyone with an interest in the history of wargaming in all its forms will find this book well worth buying, and I suspect that over time it will find a place on the bookshelves of most wargamers.

WAR GAMES AND THEIR HISTORY was written by C G Lewin and published by Fonthill Media (ISBN 978 1 78155 042 7). It is priced at £25.00 but may be available online for less.

12 comments:

  1. Thanks for your recommendation Bob. This was on my radar for possible purchase, but I was uncertain about the exact content, so your comments are very helpful.
    Arthur

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  2. Whenever I see pictures like these I wonder about the games they are illustrating. Is there any info on this?
    cheers,
    Ion

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  3. Hi Bob,

    I wondered if you had seen this and now that you have (and have supplied some extra detail re the coverage) I am thinking that perhas it may be a good choice to run past SWMBO as a birthday present!

    Looks really interesting and I loved the figures being used.

    All the best,

    DC

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  4. Thank you for the good photo of the figures used. They look like German 30mm semi rounds, which over the years I've managed to collect quite a few of. It looks like it could be a fun project in the future.
    John

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  5. Interesting how the Polemos graphic surfaces into a book cover. One of my passions is to see flats and semi rounds make it back into popularity. This book will certainly help ... Jeff

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  6. Thanks for the review.

    I bought a copy for £16 including postage.

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  7. Arthur1815 (Arthur),

    I am glad that my review was of help to you.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  8. Archduke Piccolo (Ion),

    Both images are of the 1880s game POLEMOS being played.

    If you do a search of my blog, you will find quite a few references to it.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  9. David Crook,

    I think that you might enjoy reading the book ... and you never know, you might find some of the games mentioned on sale at a boot fair one day!

    All the best,

    Bob

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  10. Jhnptrqn,

    I suspect that you might be right about the figures ... although they might be 40mm-scale rather than 30mm.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  11. Chasseur (Jeff),

    I would certainly back the production of more semi-round figures ... and would buy them if I could.

    All the best,

    Bob

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  12. Nick Luft,

    I am glad that the review was of help to you.

    It sounds like you got a bargain!

    All the best,

    Bob

    ReplyDelete