Some recent acquisitions

Yesterday’s post included two packages addressed to me. One contained a free commemorative medallion that has been struck for the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo (all I had to pay was £2.50 postage and packing) and two books from the ‘History of Wargaming‘ Project.

The 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo commemorative medallionI saw a TV advert for this free medallion, and bearing in mind my current Waterloo/Napoleonic project I decided to order one.

The medallion arrived sealed in a folder that includes a brief description of the main events of the battle and space for additional medallions that one can buy.

Tony Bath’s Ancient WargamingI bought Tony Bath’s SETTING UP A WARGAMES CAMPAIGN when it was published in 1973, but I sold it a few years ago … and immediately regretted doing so.

This new book contains the text of SETTING UP A WARGAMES CAMPAIGN but also includes a whole lot more. The book is split into five sections:

  • Tony Bath – In Memoriam by Phil Barker (with additional notes by Paul Szuscikiewicz)
  • Peltast and Pila Ancient Wargames Rules by Tony Bath
  • Setting up a wargames campaign by Tony Bath
  • The Legend of Hyboria
  • Tony Bath & The Society of Ancients by Phil Steele

The book has been assembled by John Curry with the assistance of the Society of Ancients and was published in 2009 by the ‘History of Wargaming‘ Project (ISBN 978 0 557 11180 0).

Matrix Games for Modern WargamingThis book is a very different kettle of fish as it is aimed at the ‘professional’ end of the wargames spectrum rather than the ‘hobby’ end. (It is subtitled DEVELOPMENTS IN PROFESSIONAL AND EDUCATIONAL WARGAMES.) It was written by John Curry and Tim Price MBE, and was published in 2014 (ISBN 978 1 291 97965 7) by the ‘History of Wargaming‘ Project.

The book’s contents include:

  • A foreword by Dr Peter Perla
  • An introduction to Matrix Games
  • A description of S.C.R.U.D. (the Simple Combat Resolution Using Dice)
  • The scenarios and other materials for four Matrix Games:
    • The Falklands War (1982)
    • Chaoslavia (1993)
    • Crisis in Crimea: Counter Revolution (March 2014)
    • The Red Line: Civil War in Syria (August 2013)
    • Lasgah Pol – Afghanistan (2008)
  • A further reading list
  • A number of appendices including:
    • A Brief History of the Matrix Game
    • Counter Sheets and Fail Chits for the Matrix Games

I was involved in helping Tim Price to develop the Matrix Game concept into a working games system (I even get a mention in one of the appendices of this book!) and ran demonstration games at several wargames shows. At the time quite a few people within wargaming were rather anti Matrix Games, and were very vocal about it. We persisted, and eventually Tim Price took the concept even further forward and turned it into a respected and useful tool for professional wargamers.


2 Comments on “Some recent acquisitions”

  1. Brian Train says:

    Glad you and others stuck with it, Bob. And thanks to Chris Engle, Peter Perla, and perhaps to the linkages between Connections-US and Connections-UK, matrix gaming is starting to get a bit more professional respect over here too.

  2. Brian Train,

    Thanks for your kind comments regarding the small part I have played in the development of the Matrix Game concept.

    Chris Engle's original concept was – in my opinion – one of the few really original design ideas wargaming has had in a long time. In its original form it was clunky and did not work particularly well, but Tom Mouat and I realised that it could be made to work … and once we had a working game, it took off. Our feedback to Chris encouraged him to continue to develop his ideas, and he eventually came up with a set of battle game rules called POLITICS BY OTHER MEANS.

    Tom and I once designed a Matrix Game in 30 minutes. We were supposed to be helping to run a session at the biggest wargames show in the UK – SALUTE – and the chap who was bringing the game did not arrive. Tom had a map, I had a pad of paper and a pen … and in 30 minutes we had a working Matrix Game that kept people entertained for the rest of the day.

    (As an aside, Matrix Games are the only form of wargaming that is a spectator sport. I don't think that many people would stand and watch most wargames for two hours … but I have seen spectators watch a complete Matrix Game from start to finish … and then clap in appreciation at the end of the game.)

    I think that the Connections conferences have given professional wargaming a much-needed boost. My only concern is that the professional wargaming community doesn't reinvent the wheel. I have found the work done by John Curry as part of his 'History of Wargaming' Project both inspiring and educational … and it has made it apparent that there has been a developmental continuum of wargaming design that goes back nearly two centuries.

    All the best,


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