A new book from the History of Wargaming Project

Today’s post included a new book from John Curry‘s ‘History of Wargaming’ Project, OVER OPEN SIGHTS: EARLY NAVAL WARGAMING RULES 1873-1904: EARLY WARGAMES VOLUME 4 (ISBN 978 1 326 1893 8).

This book is 162 pages long and is split into the following chapters:

  • Foreword by Larry Bond
  • Reflections on Early and Modern Naval Wargaming by John Curry
  • Lieutenant Castle RN: The Game of Naval Tactics (1873)
  • Captain Colomb RN: The Duel: A Naval Wargame (1879)
  • Lieutenant H Chamberlain RN: Game of Naval Blockade (1888)
  • The Launch of the Fred Jane Naval Wargame at RUSI (1898)
  • The First Edition of the Fred Jane Naval Wargame (1898)
  • Tactics in the Fred Jane Naval Wargame (1900)
  • The Strand Magazine and the Fred Jane Game (1904)
  • Bibliography on Early Naval Wargaming

I have always enjoyed naval wargaming, and was partially responsible for the re-publication of the 1912 edition of the Fred Jane’s Naval War Game Rules by Bill Leeson and the 1905/06 edition by John Curry. I have also reproduced (and demonstrated at SALUTE) Lieutenant Chamberlain’s GAME OF NAVAL BLOCKADE.

I am looking forward to reading this book as I have never seen the text of Fred Jane’s 1898 edition of his Naval War Game rules, particularly as the rules were the reason why he produced his ALL THE WORLD’S FIGHTING SHIPS (1898) in the format that was discarded in later editions.


12 Comments on “A new book from the History of Wargaming Project”

  1. Fantastic, Bob. May have to pick this one up, it looks like the overlap with my existing FT Jane literature will be minimal enough not to preclude a purchase.


  2. Pete. says:

    Looks like a good read. I'd be interested to know how much is of historical interest only and how much is pratical for the average gamer?



  3. Corporal_Trim (Steve),

    It certainly fills a few gaps in my small collection of Fred Jane's work, and I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in early wargame design in general and naval wargames in particular.

    All the best,


  4. Pete,

    I suspect that the book is more of historical interest rather than being a source of rules that wargamers will want to use 'as is'. That said, the blockade game (which I recreated and demonstrated some years ago at SALUTE) is a great little fast-play game that can be set up quickly. I did publish the rules for this game on this blog some years ago, and they can be found here.

    All the best,


  5. Pete. says:

    Thanks Bob- I'll probably pick it up for a read rather than trying to get a game out of it. Might give me some inspiration though….



  6. Pete,

    Glad to have been of help. I think that you will enjoy reading it.

    All the best,


  7. Jennifer says:

    Mr. Cordery,

    I've been experimenting with your Portable Wargame, and would like to know if there is a squared-grid variant of the naval game? I have access to 2-inch chessboards but not 2-inch hexes!

    Jennifer Burdoo

  8. Jennifer says:

    Mr. Cordery,

    Is there a gridded variant of your Portable naval Wargame rules? I have access to two-inch chessboards but not two-inch hexes.

    Jennifer Burdoo
    Miami, FL

  9. Jennifer,

    There isn't a squared grid version of my rules at present, but converting the hex grid rules should not be too difficult. The ranges of guns should be measured orthogonally, and arcs-of-fire would be ninety degree on either bean for broadsides and ninety degrees ahead (or astern) for forward or aft fire.

    Some years ago I did produce a simple diagram showing turning and movement on a squared grid. If I can find it, I'll add a link for you to follow.

    All the best,


  10. Jennifer,

    You might find the following diagram useful: https://4.bp.blogspot.com/_CpAXXISsa5g/SZ8ksuoAXoI/AAAAAAAAAyQ/57J5uXGRHWA/s1600-h/Belfast107.GIF

    You might also find my ITCHY AND SCRATCHY NAVAL WARGAME RULES worth reading. They are here: https://wargamingmiscellany.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/itchy-and-scratchy-naval-wargame-rules.html

    There were several improvements to these rules, and they can be found by following the ITCHY AND SCRATCHY link on the right-hand sidebar.

    All the best,


  11. Jennifer says:


    Thanks! These will definitely come in handy. Of course, on my way home today I stopped at a new game store and when I described this game, the staff said they had some old Heroscape tiles! So I might try the regular rules as well.

  12. Jennifer,

    Thank you for your question.

    My next PW book is likely to include my naval wargame rules, and I will certainly have to redesign them so that they can be used on both square and hexed grids … so your request helped to kick-start my thinking.

    All the best,


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