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Book Review: "Wargaming: An Introduction"

May 9, 2005 7:52 PM - Posted by Phil - Category: Reviews

I picked up the book”Wargaming: An Introduction” (Amazon UK link) last week, by Thomas Neil. I’m always looking for books on wargaming, owning a sizable collection dating back all the way to original copies of Little Wars and Floor Games, and most of Donald Featherstone’s publications from the ’60s and ’70s.

Anyway, this book starts with a general introduction to wargaming as a hobby, including some historical overview of the hobby, which is an entertaining read. Then, various chapters give a brief overview of different periods, including rules for Ancients etc. The book also contains colour photographs, which apparantly are taken from the magazine Miniature Wargames.

The rulesets described in the book are however not very imaginative. The merely rehash the same concepts that have been used since similars books have been published in the ’60s, and they actually feel very old-fashioned and somewhat outdated. My guess is that the author is a veteran wargamer who wanted to publish a simiar book as Featherstone’s original book, but then in a modern print run.

I feel that this book will not really convince newcomers to pick up wargaming. There is some reference to GW, but mostly it focuses on historicals. Any book that ignores fantasy wargaming (the main driving wargaming force since the 70s, whether you like it or not), cannot really be considered an introduction to the hobby.

The book presents a very traditional view of the hobby, and it is an entertaining read, but I fear it somewhat misses the point. It is neither a good introduction, nor does it contain new ideas or material for the veteran wargamer.

But at least, there is an affordable book on wargaming available now, so the author deserves credit for that!

Comments on this entry

Phil, I agree with you on this one. I bought it to have around for my 10 year old. However, I think I’m better off letting him read my old Bruce Quarrie “Beginner’s Guide to Wargaming” and my Featherstones. The only redeeming feature was the ACW rules. I thought they were short enough that they would be easy for a kid to play. The other sets were dire. David

May 11, 2005 8:44 PM - Posted by David Black