Charlie Sweet: another pioneer of gridded wargames

A few days ago Jim Duncan – one of my very regular blog readers – sent me a link to a blog that featured an entry about Charlie Sweet. I have just got around to visiting it … and I must thank Jim profusely for pointing me in this particular direction!

I had heard of Charlie Sweet but knew little about him other than that he was an early wargamer and that he knew and had wargamed with Gerard de Gre. As a result of this link, I have discovered that he was also one of the pioneers of gridded wargames.

Of particular interest to me is the reconstruction of Charlie’s Ancient wargames rules, especially as I have had several requests to produce an Ancients version of my own PORTABLE WARGAME rules. I hope to spend some time over the next few days reading this blog entry and the other blog entries that it is linked to … and I suspect that they will give me a few ideas.

Playing cards vs. playing card tiles

The run up to the New Year seems to have been very busy, and I have not yet had a chance to use my new playing card tiles in a wargame … but I have had time to see what they look like on the tabletop when compared with the small playing cards I have previously used.

Small Playing Cards

Playing Card Tiles

It is apparent from the comparison that no only do the tiles have a smaller ‘footprint’ on the tabletop but that they are also easier to read at a glance. Furthermore they were easier to put down (and pick up) and will not require shuffling before each turn; just a quick shake of the bag at the end of each turn … and then they will be ready to be picked out for the next one.

Roger Barnes RIP

Late yesterday I received confirmation of the very sad news that someone I wargamed with on a regular basis – Roger Barnes – had died suddenly on Sunday 23rd December. He was a stalwart member of Wargame Developments, a regular attendee at COW (the annual Conference of Wargamers), and a member of the Jockey’s Field Irregulars.

I did not know Roger well other than as an enthusiastic fellow wargamer and excellent dinner companion, but I do know that he was a highly respected member of the fencing fraternity, and served as chairman of the South East Region and Surrey County Fencing Union as well as being a member of the Streatham Fencing Club.



A sight I never tire of seeing

I was just answering some emails when I heard the familiar ‘clip, clop’ of hooves on the road. I had just enough time to grab my digital camera and open the Velux window in my office before members of the Royal Horse Artillery rode past.

The RHA regularly exercise their horses in and around the area where I live, and the sight of them always makes me feel good. The horses are always immaculately turned out – even in the pouring rain – and the way in which the pairs are matched for colour is amazing.

I suspect that it is a sight I will never tire of seeing.

Bits ‘n pieces

It was with a somewhat heavy heart that I ‘agreed’ to accompany my wife to Bluewater shopping centre this morning … but in the end I came away with what I think was a great bargain!

After I had parked the car my wife announced that she wanted to have a wander around for an hour or so looking for bargains. This meant that I had some time to kill before the drive home, so I set off for my usual haunts in search of some bargains of my own. The branch of Waterstones book shop seemed to be full of people who wanted to stand about and chat to each other, and Modelzone had nothing new to offer.

It was as I walked out of the latter that I saw that the branch of Menkind that was next door was having a sale … so I walked in to have a look around.

I am very pleased that I did.

One of the items that was included in the sale was a boxed game entitled PLAY 5. This was billed as being combining ‘poker and a crossword puzzle‘, neither of which particularly appeal to me … but the bits inside the box certainly did!

The playing pieces consisted of fifty six wooden square playing card tiles, fifty two of which represented one of each of the cards in a standard pack of playing cards plus four Jokers. (The playing card tiles come in a small black cloth bag.)

The box also contained a single D6 die, four tile trays, and forty eight poker chips (twenty four red and twenty four blue).

It was the playing card tiles that were of particular interest to me as I often use playing cards in my solo wargames to determine the order in which units are activated during a turn. (This very simple system was devised by Richard Brooks and Ian Drury, and has been used in almost all of the RED SQUARE game designs they have produced.)

The problem with even the smallest playing cards that I have used is their size … but these playing card tiles are not only smaller but also easier to read and easier to pick up. (The thickness of the wood they are made from makes them much easier to pick up than a thin playing card.)

I was so pleased to have found such a useful supply of parts that I can use in my game designs that I bought two … and then discovered that the sale price (£6.99 down from the original price of £12.99) had a further 25% discount on top. This meant that the two boxes only cost me £10.48!

A real bargain … and one that made my day!

Nugget 257 Colour Supplement

I have now uploaded the PDF version of THE NUGGET COLOUR SUPPLEMENT to the Wargame Developments website, and it is now available for members of Wargame Developments to read online or to download and print.

All members should have received the password that is required to open the PDFs via the Wargame Developments website. If any members have not yet received the password or have lost it, please contact me.

Members of Wargame Developments who have not yet re-subscribed can do so via the link on the Wargame Developments website (click here).

Soldiers of the Queen (SOTQ): Issue 151

The most recent copy of SOTQ (Soldiers of the Queen, the quarterly journal of the Victorian Military Society) was delivered this morning.

The articles included in this issue are:

  • ‘Garibaldi Excursionists’: The British Legion of 1860 by Richard Stevenson
  • M K Ghandi and the Boer War by Hugh Rethman
  • The Diehard Company – a 20 year retrospective by Tim Rose
  • Glimpses of a Cavalry trooper in South Africa: Arthur Rought Brooks by Diana M Rought Hutchcroft OBE (née Brooks) with R K R Thornton
  • Book Reviews
  • About the VMS

This is yet another interesting issue, and I look forward to reading it over the next few days.