Fifth anniversary of Paddy Griffith’s death

Today is the fifth anniversary of the death of Paddy Griffith.

Paddy Griffith was the ‘father’ of Wargame Developments, and in just over two weeks time we will be holding the 35th COW (Conference of Wargamers) at Knuston Hall, Northamptonshire. COW came about as a direct result of Paddy organising the NEW DIRECTIONS IN WAR GAMING conference that took place at Moor Park College from 23rd to 25th May, 1980. At the end of that conference those present decided to set up an organisation that would ‘spread the philosophy of realistic wargaming through the hobby (“better realism and better game structures”) and … put like-minded ‘realistic’ wargamers in touch with each other, so that they can more easily exchange ideas and rules. … We will hold a conference similar to Moor Park, every year.

At the time quite a few people within the wargaming fraternity expected that Wargame Developments would last a few years before it fell apart or ceased to exist. The view was also expressed that the idea of having an annual Conference of Wargamers would never take off. They were wrong … and Wargame Developments and COW seem to be going from strength to strength.

Thank you Paddy, because without you it would never have happened!


6 Comments on “Fifth anniversary of Paddy Griffith’s death”

  1. arthur1815 says:

    I was fortunate to meet Paddy when he ran a WEA class on wargaming in Woking, and thus became involved with WD. Later I was privileged to work with him on Channel Four's 'Game of War'.

    I can't help but regret that he decided to abandon toy soldiers completely, as it would have been fascinating to see how he might have radically changed the classic face to face wargame, although I appreciate his argument that the toy soldiers so restricted the game structure that they prevented it achieving any worthwhile degree of realism as simulations of warfare.

    Best wishes,

  2. Arthur1815 (Arthur),

    I first met Paddy when he invited me to attend the famous Moor Park Conference. I had written a couple of articles for the WARGAMER'S NEWSLETTER, and as a result my name was on the list that Donald Featherstone passed over to Paddy, hence the invitation.

    Paddy and I had very different approaches to wargaming, and as a result our relationship was not always an easy one. I saw figures as one means (but not the only means) by which units could be represented on the tabletop, but Paddy seemed to think that they restricted the way that participants perceived what was happening. Unfortunately whilst I was happy to agree to disagree, Paddy was not. This – and Paddy's general feeling that WD was not developing in the way that he thought it should go (I think he expressed it by saying that we were just trying to develop a better mousetrap) – eventually led to him cutting his ties with WD. Ironically, in the years before his death he seemed to be becoming less iconoclastic, and mutual and cordial relationships were re-established. I think the WD has now become more like Paddy envisaged it should be; it just took the rest of us a lot longer to catch up with Paddy's ideas and concepts than he expected.

    All the best,


  3. I never had chance to meet Paddy Griffths but I am in awe at the wealth of material he created for wargamers. In particular his book 'American Civil War Battle Tactics' remains one of the best-written and accessible books on military operations of any era, and was invaluable when I started writing an ACW wargame last year.

    A very interesting post to read, and a window into the era when wargames was growing up into the popular hobby it is today. I think younger players (including myself) take for granted the efforts of people like Paddy Griffiths in laying the groundwork in the games we play today.

  4. Colonel Scipio,

    Thank you for your comment. It was nice to have a view of Paddy from someone who knows his work but who did not know him.

    Paddy was first and foremost a military historian who saw wargames as a way to impart a greater knowledge and understanding of the realities of warfare. I own copies of many of the books Paddy wrote, and every single one of them was well researched and thought-provoking.

    All the best,


  5. I am working on his unpublished material and in due course more of his writings will get to print.

  6. John Curry,

    That is excellent news. I look forward to reading the material when it is published.

    All the best,


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