Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Pure Inspiration

I don't imagine that anyone reading this blog will be unaware of the Wargame Companion, indeed most of you will have had a copy for some time. I hoarded mine till Christmas and spent the holiday with it at my elbow.

I have been wargaming for 43 years now so you will not think me blase if I say that I very rarely see or read anything that really stops me in my tracks. However this book did just that. It was the way that the sheer enjoyment of the hobby leapt from every single page. Of course it made me want to jump up and start painting Spencer Smiths like mad, but fortunately my painting table was packed away for Christmas guests so I was forced to just sit and think.

And what I thought was, why am still not doing the things that are most important to me. If I am run over next week I doubt I will lie under the bus wheels regretting that I never got around to finishing that 3rd regt of Napoleonic French Dragoons so that I could field an independent cavalry corps of dragoons in 1813. I might however whisper, (Citizen Kane like) 'Stadden, Royal Welch Fuzileers' when I think of the hopelessly expensive unit I coveted for so many years and never ever got.

Well you get the point anyway! So my New Year resolution is that I will paint and model only those things that I really want to do, and the best structure for this will be 18c fictional armies. Those who read the book will remember that these differ from imaginary armies in that they are a mix of real and imaginary units brought together solely at the whim of their creator. In Brigadier Youngs case he mixed his old regt, the Bedfords, alongside imaginary 18c German states and if he liked the figures then he brought in Napoleonic reinforcements as needed.

Then a few days ago I got a copy of Brigadier Grant's brand new wargames book and what a splendid read it is. It is like a gale of fresh air blowing away the dust and revealing the Grant rules and army in all their shiny splendour. I urge you all to buy this one it is a perfect compliment to the Wargames Companion in that it displays the rules and armies in all their relevance to what we do today.

Raid on St Michel describes a mini campaign fought by the author and Phil Olley is a joy from cover to cover and is just published by Caliver Press. I regret that I cannot tell you the price as my copy was a gift from the author, but it is worth every penny.

(Note to self: must try to avoid this constant and repulsive name dropping in 2009.)


Bluebear Jeff said...


In North America, ON MILITARY MATTERS lists the "Raid on St Michel" for $22 US . . . and CALIVER BOOKS in the UK has it for just under 13 pounds.

And I think that your resolution is a very good one. Like most of us I have too wide a range of periods that interest me.

I'm trying to winnow them down to just a few that have extra interest for me.

And, while my budget limits me, it is really Time that is the more critical factor.

-- Jeff

WSTKS-FM Worldwide said...

Imaginary 18th century armies? Go, John, go! Yes, the War Game Companion is every bit as good as Charge and The War Game. I haven't been able to put it down since my copy arrived a few days after January 1st (a late Christmas gift from my wife). Well, I'm now waiting with baited breath to see what comes from your painting table first. Infantry? Cavalry? Artillery? Staff? In any case, I can't wait.

Best Regards,


Fitz-Badger said...

I'll look forward to seeing pictures of your fictional 18th century armies as they develop (hopefully).
I just got the Companion and Charge. I'm sure I'll be adding Raid soon.

Bluebear Jeff said...


Thanks for the ECW comment on my blog (Saxe-Bearstein). I'm currently in the early stages of research on the history of the period.

Not being from the UK, I never did have any background on it . . . and certainly no osmosis from the land itself . . . so I'm starting from scratch . . . thus the research.

You said to email you . . . but I don't have your email address. Mine is -- bluebear@uniserve.com -- and (switching subjects) should you wish to join the "Emperor vs Elector" group blog for fictional 18th century diplomacy, let me know since I'm the owner of that blog too.

-- Jeff

airhead said...

Great read, if you have the names, by all means please keep dropping them, makes it all the more interesting for those of us with only indirect contact with the gliterate of the war gaming world. All the best for 2009.



Martin said...

Hi John,

Thanks for your great reviews of our favorite Brigadier's books. I was wondering if "Raid" would be worth the effort, and your opinion has pushed it into the Yes column.



Jeff's EvE group is a real hoot. If you decide to join up, you won't regret it!

Hugh Walter said...

A lovely blog, I shall give more time to over the next few days, and link to if you don't mind?

My first love was Terry Wise's 'Introduction to Battle Gamming' which I still peruse from time to time despite the fact I know every word from jacketless cover-to-cover! It takes me back in an instant to a very different and more innocent time, when one only had to worry about the liklyhood of pink custard for school diner!