Friday 17 August 2018
Granting a Wargames Wish....
Part of the Eric Knowles book collection passed over to me by Bill, his son.
Way back in May of this year I was surprised and delighted to receive a number of wargames books from Bill Knowles from the collection of his father, Eric. Aside from cleaning them up a little and glancing through them I must confess that they have sat on the bookshelf patiently waiting for me to do something with them. A couple of weeks ago I moved Grant's The Wargame down from the loft onto the single shelf I am allowed in the lounge for books (Laurel has very minimalistic tastes in decor and does not really like seeing lots of books lying around....) where it sits in pride of place next to Charge! and Battle: Practical Wargaming - a holy trinity if you like.
I should point out that my copy of Charge is not the one you see above but another softback version produced by (I believe) Ken Trotman (I stand to be corrected on this) that features coloured covers rather than black and white. I want to get a hardback version at some point but that is another story.
Anyway, to cut a long story short I decided to revisit The Wargame as although I have had a copy of Charge! in the collection for years (and have frequently 'dipped into' it for light relief, nostalgia and inspiration) The Wargame has always eluded me. It has been nigh on thirty years since I read this and so I figured it was high time I did so once again.
Needless to say I was very pleased that I did.
I had forgotten how logical Grant was in how he drew up his rules. They seem to be in marked contrast to the efforts of Messrs. Young and Lawford and I found myself wondering how they managed to game together so successfully for so long! I have said before that Grant's rules and approach provide a more, dare I say it, scientific game than Young and Lawfords. Both are enormous fun and I have used both on occasion and they complement each other very nicely indeed.
I was quite taken by a comment in the foreword by Brigadier Peter Young in that he says that "They (Charge! and The Wargame) differ also in a more important aspect. The latter are based on Napoleonic warfare while the Grant rules rest on a study of the wars of Frederick the Great. In fact either set will, with slight modification, serve for any period from the Thirty Years war to the American Civil War." I always thought that charge was firmly rooted in the third quarter of the 18th century.
I have fought actions using both Charge! and The Wargame sized units which is again a lot of fun albeit an expensive proposition these days.
It suddenly occurred to me though that there is a mad but viable alternative to huge armies of 28mm figures to game a la Grant/Young/Lawford.
Yup, you've guessed it - 1/600th!
Another chance to look at Scott MacPhee's quite delightful 1/600th scale French Napoleonics.
Now I know on the face of it this would seem slightly north of bonkers but it is not such a mad idea. Taking the infantry formation seen above one could readily deploy an infantry regiment with the command in its proper place on a single base. Movement distances, ranges, measuring devices could be scaled down accordingly and the only real issue would be the removal of casualties - this could be readily handled via a roster sheet. I am sure there are a few other rules wrinkles that would ned to be ironed out but as a concept I think it has some mileage.
I shall give this some further thought and who knows? The Electorate of Kronenbourg and the Grand Duchy of Artois may yet see the light of day....