Sunday 26 January 2020

Warplan 5/5 Campaign System

I'm afraid I couldn't find a way to reproduce the snazzy double headed arrow in 5/5 in the text so will have to do with this instead.

Warplan 5/5 came out in about 1970 and lasted about five years. It was clearly a labour of love and combined a huge amount of work in developing the system and a very sophisticated (for the time) graphical presentation.

It was published by a company called Hirstle Graphic Services, which was removed from the UK register of Companies at Companies House in around August 1975. The company was based in Eltham, near Canterbury. Elsewhere it is also referred to as FEREF/Hirstle Press Ltd., which was incorporated on 1st January 1970; the date it was dissolved is not recorded.

There was an artist called Cliff Hirstle who designed poster for British movies in the 1960s but so far I have been unable to discover any firm connection with the Hirstle Press/Hirstle Graphic Services.

The designer of the system owned the company and it seems the product was sold in 1975 to Heritage Models in 1975, but not much happened with it thereafter.

The system has been described as being ideal for the computer age and therefore fated to be ahead of its time.

At the heart of the system was a set of 30 double sided 5" by 5" map cards (giving 60 maps in total). There were two different sets - all those in the picture are all set 1 and there are four sets there. Set 1 was intended for horse and musket era campaigns while set 2 added railway systems, airfields, oil refineries,naval installations and industrial complexes.

You used these cards in whatever combination you wanted to provide your campaign map.

 Another major part of the package was the system handbook. This actually states that there are no rules attached to the Warplan system - basically it  helps you to manage and record your campaign, logistics etc.

I have been collecting bits and pieces of the Warplan system over a number of years (mainly maps and the handbook) but now have two complete sets plus example of all the other replacement and expansion items.

I don't think there were separate system handbooks for horse and musket and railway/aircraft eras. Section 2 states that "the Warplan 5/5 system is operated virtually the same for either version, except in a few details, which will be noted in the following text, where applicable."

The two copies of the handbook rare different from each other in presentation but not in content -one is printed on white paper throughout while the other is on white for the first and last eight pages, but the middle 32 pages are printed on various different coloured papers.

All these forms etc form part of the Campaign Log system, provided in the original pack as a series of A4 landscape sheets, including (as an example) transparent grids to overlay your maps. The replacements provided versions of these forms in a smaller format and printed on colour coded paper..

There were also symbols and counters for map movement and record keeping.

Clearly developing the system had involved a lot of work and I suspect using it would have required a similar investment of time by the umpire to get to grips with it.

All the photos here were taken with my phone for speed and convenience and posted on the Vintage Miniature Wargames Rules Facebook Group where some discussion of them has taken place.

I may at some point replace them with scans of the various forms etc. if there is interest and when I have the time to do so.

I am also currently looking for an avert from the early 70s from one of the wargaming magazines, to illustratethis post further.