The History of Wargaming Project – A plea for help

John Curry – who is single-handedly running The History of Wargaming Project to republish many of the early (and now out-of-print) wargames books and rules – has been in contact with me in the hope that one of my blog readers can help him track down the following authors:

  • S. Johnson
  • K. White
  • G. Highley
  • K. Minear

They wrote the MIDDLE EARTH WARGAMING RULES published by SELWG in 1976.

John also wants to contact the family of Bruce Quarrie, as he would like to reprint several of Bruce’s books and rules.

If you have the information John Curry needs, please contact me by leaving a comment or sending me an email. Alternately you can contact John Curry via his website John Curry Events.

Having a break from When Empires Clash! – Colonial Wars

I am having few days break from WHEN EMPIRES CLASH! – COLONIAL WARS. I have already received more feedback from readers that will require my attention, and I have also had some thoughts about improving the look of the diagrams by reducing the thickness of the lines.

In the interim I have been re-reading Joseph Morschauser’s book as well as the articles he wrote about wargaming … again! I still cannot seem to a firm grip on how the ‘missing’ one-inch gridded version of his ‘Musket’ period rules should work … so I am thinking about having a go at using his ‘Modern’ period rules to see if fighting a battle with them will help me gain a better understanding.

I will report back on my progress as soon as I make some!

When Empires Clash! – Colonial Wars: Latest draft of the Rules and Army Lists now available

After a few trials and tribulations with my Internet connection, I finally managed to upload the latest drafts of the newly separated WHEN EMPIRES CLASH! – COLONIAL WARS – RULES and WHEN EMPIRES CLASH! – COLONIAL WARS – ARMY LISTS to the Red Hex Wargames website.

To download either or both of these just visit the website and click on the appropriate link. The password to open both documents is the same as before: wec-cw.

Read and enjoy!

When Empires Clash! – Colonial Wars: Latest news

I have finished revising the text of the rules in the light of the feedback I have already received. As part of the revision process I have split the Army Lists away from the Rules and will make them available as a separate entity.

The main reasons why I have done this are:

  • It will reduce the length of the Rules booklet
  • It will make it easier to add extra Army Lists as I develop them if they are separated from the Rules
  • I have had requests just for sets of the Army Lists from people who want to use them with other rules(!)

With a bit of luck both the Rules booklet and the Army Lists booklet should be available as downloads from the Rex Hex Wargames website sometime tomorrow.

PS. I have also designed a cover for both booklets. Here is the cover for the Army Lists:

Sir Charles Warren GCMG, KCB, FRS

I am presenting a lecture tomorrow about Sir Charles Warren, and I have spent the last hour or so going over my notes and making minor changes.

At this point I suspect that some of you are asking yourselves the following questions:

  • Who is Sir Charles Warren?
  • Why does he deserve a lecture to be given about him?

The answers are as follows:

  • He was the soldier who commanded the British troops at the battle of Spion Kop on 24th January 1900
  • He was the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police at the time of the hunt for the infamous serial killer, Jack the Ripper
  • He made the first detailed geological survey of the Rock of Gibraltar
  • He conducted a major archaeological excavation into (quite literally into) the Temple Mount in Jerusalem
  • He helped Robert Baden-Powell set up the Boy Scout movement having previously been involved in the Church Lad’s Brigade.

Sir Charles is one of those Victorians who seemed to be good at a lot of things, and despite his failure as a commander at Spion Kop and the inability of the Metropolitan Police during his time as Commissioner to catch Jack the Ripper, he deserves to be remembered.

PS. Sir Charles and I also share the same birthday … not that such a trifle would make me biased in his favour in any way!

Today’s tribute is to … George Formby!

I spent most of today doing chores around the house, including cleaning all the windows … hence the title of this blog entry!

We have a lot on windows (our house has three floors and a large conservatory on the back) and I have ended the day with aching arms, a stiff back, and a strong desire to exercise my mind … so despite my intention not to look at the feedback I have received about WHEN EMPIRES CLASH – COLONIAL WARS for at least a couple of days, I have succumbed.

The feedback I have had so far has been extremely helpful. Some of the typos that I fail to notice have been spotted (a fresh pair of eyes will always see something obvious that has been missed) and I have had some very, very useful ideas for re-wording some of the rules to make them clearer and more precise (a big thank you to Jim Wright in particular for his suggestions!).

I have begun the process of making the necessary changes to the current draft, and hopefully this should be completed either later today or sometime tomorrow.

Note: For those of you who are too young to have ever heard or heard of George Formby, besides being very lucky (and you don’t know how lucky you are!) you will not know that one of the songs for which he is famous is entitled “When I’m Cleaning Windows“.

The elusive Morschauser rules!

Having read – and re-read – everything I have about Joseph Morschauser’s rules, I keep getting the feeling that I could almost put down on paper something that would be very similar to his elusive gridded ‘Musket’ period rules … and then it all seems to slip from my grasp.

The problem is that although the game mechanisms are fairly similar regardless of the historical period they are used for, the distances stands can move and the ranges weapons can be fired at differ considerably. The rules I am looking to recreate us a one-inch gridded battlefield, but I only have a copy of the equivalent ‘Shock’ period rules. I have a copy of the ‘Musket’ period rules from his book, but they do not use a grid. Finally, I have a copy of the ‘Frontier’ rules; these do use a grid, but the squares are larger than one-inch in size. Trying to meld these three into one seems to produce more confusion rather than clarity.

I will persist, but it is obvious that it going to take much longer than I first surmised.

The hunt for Morschauser’s Gridded ‘Musket’ Period War Games rules!

The onset of my half term holiday gave me a real adrenalin boost last night, with the result that I spent several hours reading and re-reading all the stuff I have about Joseph Morschauser’s wargames rules.

This concentrated effort paid off. I soon realised that Joseph Morschauser used the same basic ‘architecture’ and mechanisms for his rules. In other words, they all seemed to be laid out in the same way, to follow the same logical sequence, and to use a few well-tried and trusted methods of achieving results. This morning I was able to put digital versions of two of his sets of rules alongside each other on my computer screen to compare them (his ‘Frontier’ rules and ‘Shock’ period rules) … and they are very similar.

I am now like a man who is trying to put a jigsaw picture of a landscape back together. I have the corner pieces and some of the sky, a few bits of the foreground, and a couple of pieces that don’t seem to quite fit yet. The box the jigsaw came in is now empty; I can see what the picture should look like (unfortunately there is no guide picture on the box lid!) … but it is still too indistinct to be absolutely sure what I am looking at.

What I need to do is to try to ‘draw in’ the missing bits to see if I can finish the picture … and that is going to be me project for the next few days (or weeks!).

I am all WEC’ed out!

This evening I put the final touches to the latest draft of WHEN EMPIRES CLASH! – COLONIAL WARS … ahead of schedule!

The start of my half term holiday gave me the impetus to get the last few bits done, and once I had the bit between my teeth it did not take as long as I had expected.

A proof copy (i.e. it has not yet been checked for any errors!) is now available as a download from the Red Hex Wargames website. Read and enjoy!

In the meantime I am going to have a short rest from WHEN EMPIRES CLASH! – COLONIAL WARS … now where did I put all that stuff about Joseph Morschauser’s ‘Musket’ period wargames rules?

PS. The password for the download is: wec-cw

Half term is very much on the horizon!

This is the last week on the first half term of the academic year … and boy, is everyone tired!

For some reason this half term has lasted eight weeks rather than the more usual seven … and those few extra days have really taken a toll on both staff and students. The vast majority of the latter seem to have lost all motivation to work and the former are running on empty fuel tanks.

The icing on the cake this week for the staff was an hour-long staff meeting (held yesterday after a full teaching day of six hours!) where we had to listen to the new Principal’s ‘vision for the future’. Needless to say we all came away feeling that all we faced was the prospect of more work, fewer resources, and even more ‘bean counting’.

By the time I got home last night I had little mental energy left but I still managed to do an hour’s work on WHEN EMPIRES CLASH! – COLONIAL WARS. I have now completed the worked examples for the combat mechanisms, and all I have left to do is produce the same for the recoil rules. With a bit of luck I should be able to finish the whole thing on Saturday but …