Thursday 17 November 2011

Field Books: Battle in the Civil War/Battle in Africa

Vintage Wargaming seems to have been on a bit of an inadvertent Paddy Griffith kick recently, because of the Battlefields Magazine posts. This should be the last for a while.

Field Books was a collaboration between Paddy Griffith and illustrator Peter Dennis. The result was these two superb books - Battle in the Civil War, subtitled Generalship and Tactics in America 1861-5, by Paddy Griffith himself, and Battle in Africa 1879 - 1914.

I first had the Civil War book, and had been looking for the Battle for Africa book for a while before I came across a stack of them at a show - I think Dave Thomas was carrying them. Up to that point I hadn't made a connection between the two. Very well illustrated and structured almost in a scrapbook style - they strongly remind me of old Look and Learn magazines - they present masses of information in a very accessible way, in an A4 soft back format.

Howard Whitehouse is the author of the innovative Science vs Pluck rules for the Sudan. Battle in Africa is particularly noteworthy in including details of Belgian, German and Italian colonial adventuring, as well as he more usual French and British.

Both books seem to be fairly readily available at reasonable prices from the usual Internet sources. if you have an interest in either of these periods, I would strongly

Sunday 13 November 2011

Battlefields Magazine 1995-2000

The recent news about the likely closure of the printed edition of Battlegames Magazine got me thinking about the traditional trajectory of many wargaming magazines and their seeming inevitable demise.

The two titles usually quoted are Battle Magazine (which died a slower death through first being incorporated in Military Modelling), and Practical Wargamer, which lasted around 12 years, I believe.

The magazine I missed the most is almost never mentioned in this company or elsewhere, so I thought I would try to correct the record a bit.

Coming out a little erratically over a period from March 1995 to around 2000, Battlefields Magazine was published by Partizan Press and edited by Ben Wilkins, joint author of the Forlorn Hope rules with Pete Berry, succeeded by Mike Oliver from issue 7. It ran from a preview edition (Vol 0 Issue 0) to 10 issues in Vol 1 and one issue (I think) in Vol 2.

Contributors included luminaries such as Paddy Griffiths, Ian Knight, Charles Esdaile, Carl Reavley (published posthumously), Paul Stevenson, Mark Bevis and John Barratt, among others.

I particularly liked the magazine for three reasons:

firstly, the emphasis on scenarios, well researched historical analysis, and the impact of this analysis on the wargame;

secondly, the quality of the authors involved;

and thirdly, the quality of its graphic design, benefiting from Partizan's ability to access their own publications for illustrations and resources.

The idea behind the magazine is outlined in the first editorial, from the preview edition of March 1995.

I contacted Dave Ryan at Caliver Books/Partizan Press for permission to post some material from the magazine and check a few facts. he kindly gave permission to post several articles, which appear in posts below.

Some back issues are still available from Caliver/Partizan, and there is also a master index of articles available here. if you haven't come across the magazine before and are interested in checking it out, I would suggest it might be interesting to acquire a copy or two.

Saturday 12 November 2011

Battlefields Magazine 1995-2000: Covers and Contents

Here are scans of all the copies of Battlefields Magazine in my possession. These include the preview issue (Volume 0 Issue 0) but are missing Volume 1 Issues 8 and 10, and Volume 2 Issue 1. The covers list the battles included (although there are some additional features to each issue).

Thre is a master index of articles on an old Battlefields Magazine web site here

Back issues of some numbers of this magazine are still available from Caliver Books/Partizan Press.

Battlefields Magazine: Paddy Griffith 1: The Sport of Kings 1735

This game by Paddy Griffith was published in Battlefields Magazine Volume 1 Issue 1 in July 1995. It recreates national strategic planning for war in the 18th Century and may provide an interesting background to setting up a campaign.

Thanks again to Dave Ryan of Partizan Press/Caliver Books for permission to post the scans.

Battlefields Magazine: Paddy Griffith 2: Peninsular Sieges

This is Paddy Griffith's Peninsular Storming game, based on his work on Sir John T Jones 1813 Sieges of Spain, which appeared in the preview edition of Battlefields Magazine (Volume 0 Issue 0) in March 1995.

Thanks again to Dave Ryan of Partizan Press/Caliver Books for permission to post the scans.

Battlefields Magazine: Inter War Scenario

As an illustration of the type of scenarios published in Battlefields Magazine, here is John Barratt's Restore Hope The prequel 1935, from Battlefields Magazine Volume 1 Issue 3 February 1996.

Thanks again to Dave Ryan of Partizan Press/Caliver Books for permission to post the scans.

Wednesday 9 November 2011

Vintage Wargaming Jackdaw!: Wargaming in Ireland starts fight with Peace and Disarmament Committee, November 1977

Anyone remember Jackdaws? They were folders containing facsimile documents about historical events. There must have been a fair few - I have a copy of the Peninsular War one, which lists 115 titles plus 24 Canadian Jackdaws. Of these, quite a few had military connections - if there is interest I may try to research further for a separate post.

My attempt at a Vintage Wargaming Jackdaw concerns a controversial meeting of the Wargamers Association of Trinity College Dublin in November 1977. My thanks to Conrad Kinch of Joy and Forgetfulness and his wife's uncle, who collected this original material. I should probably point out that the issue was really about NATO and possible Irish membership, rather than wargaming per se.

I think the material represents the views of both sides.