Thursday, 17 March 2011

Operation Warboard




One of the early books which seems to get unjustly neglected is Gavin Lyall's Operation Warboard (though it does have a number of strong adherents). Lyall was better known as a thriller writer, and was married to the journalist Katherine Whitehorn.

I wonder if anyone out there remembers making the machine gun grid for this game...

I am fortunate that my copy of the book is the original hardback (though I have a sneaking suspicion I may have a paperback copy somewhere too).

The pictures show the front and back covers of the hardback (published Adam and Charles Black 1976) and an ad for the Pan paberback from Military Modelling incorporating Battle for wargamers from November 1978.

21 comments:

Sgt Steiner said...

Hi

This was my starting set of Wargame rules back in the day (along with Grants Battle!).
I lent the hardback version and never saw it again but still have the 'new' paperback version.
I still have my original MG and Artillery grids :-)

Cheers

BigLee said...

A 'little' before my time (I would have been about 7 when this was published!). But it's interesting to fill the woeful gaps in my knowledge with articles like this.

Tim Gow said...

I picked up a copy of this in about 1980 - it gave a decent game. I have a feeling I did make the MG & Arty grids.

DC said...

Another classic - i must have read it dozens of times as a teenage WW2 fanatic(and it was reassuring to see games pictured that looked worse than mine at the time..8-). I made the templates from Melinex plastic 'liberated' from the local ICI works. I still have the paperback - which features Gilder's WW2 stuff on the cover so is clearly the one to get. Cheers.

Robert (Bob) Cordery said...

I still have my copy, and I do look a from time to time.

In some ways it was very much a product of its era, but in others it was very much ahead of the game. Worth reading, and not just for nostalgia.

Conrad Kinch said...

I'd never heard of it before today - I was given a copy of Grant's Battle about six years ago and was very taken with the avuncular delivery.

Paul said...

This is a nice understated classic. I still have the Wpns grids and last used it 18 months ago.

My version was paperback and still shares the book case shelf with Mr Grants Battle and the Airfix series.

Anonymous said...

Great book and re-read many times. I made the MG grid from clear plastic, scaled down for 6mm troops.

The Wishful Wargamer said...

Yes, a classic and I still have my original hardback copy. D-Day with chalked on terrain, determinedly stepped hills and turning tanks on their sides when knocked out all added to the charm. I think we made our MG grids from acetate sheets - still have them somewhere...

Archduke Piccolo said...

I sold my paperback copy of Op. Warboard many years ago, much to my regret. I recall playing the opening scenario about 30-odd years back, but used a Tiger instead of the the Panther in the original. Now: you are just not going to believe this, but my opponent - a non-wargaming younger brother - got a disabling hit first go - needing a 12 of 2D6 to do so, and then promptly knocked the thing out with a second disabling hit next turn! Fortunately the Tiger had KOed one of the 3 Shermans before its own demise, but the from right there it was obvious the Germans were not going to hold the village.
All the same, the Allies had some exciting street fighting to do before prising the Germans' fingers loose. I think one of the remaining Shermans was knocked out by a panzerfaust as it advanced slowly up the main street.
Three or four years ago I tried the thing with a friend. Very hard to get used to the very short ranges (deployed my 3" mortars much too far to the rear!
Must revisit that rule set. I have a photocopied version kicking around somewhere...
I never did make the MG grid...

Colorado Gamer said...

I have a copy of the hard cover in excellent condition with a publication date of 1976. I bought it at Historicon in the 1990s. The seller had a stack of about 20 or 30 copies, all missing their dust covers but otherwise in mint condition. I thought it was a reprint until I checked the publication date. Is it possible that a large number of uncirculated copies would end up in the U.S. ?

Greg

freecloud said...

I still have Operation Warboard - was my 2nd buy after David Nash's "Wargames"

Anonymous said...

I think the writing style is one of the best ever deployed for a set of wargames rules and the professionalism of the writer shines through. The use of grids ( I recenlty remade mine) makes for a more realistic dispersal of troops and tactics. I dispair of some of the Flames of War write ups that you see on the net with mudgard to mudgard lines of tanks sugging it out at each other and have always preferd WW2 infantry on individual bases so that they can practise proper tactics rather then just being on squad bases that just act like a rather slow poorly armed vehicle.

Stephen K said...

I loved this book and read it to bits as a teenager. My brother and dad made all the grids - the MG one (which I broke) and both the artillery ones (one for accuracy, one for effect). I refought Pont-de-la-Croix a couple of times. If I had a criticism it was that the rules made the gameplay a bit too slow but that was no doubt just teenage impatience. Did I mention that I loved this book?

Monty said...

Interesting article - my first set of rules was the excellent IMHO Crossfire, by Arty Conliffe :)

drusty said...

I still have mine and the various firing templates. What makes me laugh now is that Lyall and son apparently played their games with Airfix figures, unpainted, straight out of the box. I doubt you'd see that in any ruleset book today. And we still had fun then.

mad padre said...

I will look for this book.

I love how Mr. Kinch casually drops the word "avuncular" into the discussion. It's why his legions of fans cherish him.

John Curry Editor History of Wargaming Project said...

This book is now being typed up to be released as part of the History of Wargaming Project. I traced the co-author and so it will be back in print in a few months.

Bill Guiroff said...

I think I have a copy of this one. First read it in the Navy back in 1978, I think.

John Curry Editor History of Wargaming Project said...

Book is now back in print

Andy Duff said...

Cracking book - we played the village scenario on Thursday evening this week - the Allies didn't get any armour over the bridge! No Panther for me though, just a couple of Pumas. Playing it again this week with my opponent in defence this time.
Regards
Andy