'Schild en Vriend' is an old Flemish battlecry, used in the rebellion of the city of Brugge against the French, May 18, 1302. Legend tells that it was used to differentiate between the French-speaking (who could not pronounce 'schild') and Flemish-speaking citizens. Nowadays, historians tell us that it was probably 'Des Gilden Vriend'.
Little Wars, written by H.G.Wells, and first published in 1913, is the original hobby wargame. In this charming little book, the author explains how one can play military battles using toy soldiers and spring-loaded cannon. However, Little Wars was preceded by Floor Games, in which H.G.Wells explains how to organize games with all sorts of toys, figurines, and buildings blocks to be found in the children's room.
Contrary to what most people think, it is still relatively easy to obtain copies of these books. I got my copies through the second-hand book services of Barnes and Noble and Bibliofind. Be prepared to pay, though! During 1999, when I bought these books through these sites, prices started at about 150 US$. The facsimile edition (pictured below) from 1970 can be bought for around 30.00 US$. Of course, as with all second-hand books, much depends on the condition of the copy in question.
The November 2000 issue of Wargames Illustrated has a nice report on
how to use Little Wars as a convention game, written by Philip Gray. For
cannon, he used corks that were 'flicked' towards the enemy troops. He used
figures from Irregular Miniatures. They have a 42mm range, mimicking 'toy
soldier style'. A picture of this game is shown here:
Picture from MAKING & COLLECTING MILITARY MINIATURES by Bob
The full caption reads: H.G.WELLS, THE ENGLISH NOVELIST PLAYING AN INDOOR WARGAME
(From a Drawing by S. Begg in the Illustrated London News)
The full caption reads:
Mr. Wells has developed his game so that the country over which the campaign is to be fought is laid out in any desired manner, with the aid of branches of shrubs as trees, with cardboard bridges, rocks, chalked-out rivers, streams and fords, cardboard forts, barracks, houses, and what not; there are employed leaden infantrymen and cavalrymen, and guns firing wooden cylinders about an inch long, capable of hitting a toy soldiers nine times out of ten at a distance of nine yards, and having a screw adjustment for elevation and depression. There are strict rules governing the combat. Before the battle begins, the country is divided by the drawing of a curtain across it for a short time, so that the general of each opposing army may dispose of his forces without the enemy's being aware of that disposition. Then the curtains are drawn back and the campaign begins. All moves of men and guns are timed. An infantryman moves not more than a foot at a time, a cavalryman not more than two feet, and a gun, according to whether cavalry or infantry are with it, from one to two feet. Mr. Wells is seen on the left of the drawing, taking a measurement with a length of string, to determine the distance some of his forces may move. On the right and left are seen the curtains for dividing the country before beginning the game.
page was written by
Schild en Vriend Miniature Wargaming Club Leuven