Friday 14 September 2018

Practical Wargaming by Charles Wesencraft

A blast from the past - another quality addition to the library of old wargames classics

I am rather embarrassed to admit that my recent outpourings of praise for Charge! The Wargame and Battle: Practical Wargaming were not extended to include the above - which is a major oversight! I remember borrowing the above from our local library and being bedazzled by the contents. The rules were very practical and I always thought quite advanced at the time - an impression reinforced by reading the above again after a gap of some forty years.

This is a good book to read and offers many well thought out and practical ideas on how to fight tabletop battles from the ancient period up to the Franco - Prussian war. I am very pleased to have gotten an original version of this book although it is available from John Curry as a part of the History of Wargaming project.

Charles Wesencraft is right up there with Featherstone, Grant, Young and Lawford in my opinion and I still cannot believe I missed him out.

As an aside many years ago he wrote an article for - and I may be a little hazy on this - the Battle magazine Christmas Special with his thoughts on a set of grand scale Napoleonic rules using a single figure to represent a battalion. As I recall he used the 1812 campaign in Russia as an example as he wanted to fight large battles and so he used the Corps of Marshal Ney to demonstrate how this could work. If any readers have a copy of this in their collections I would love to see it.

I remember writing to him asking about the rules and he sent me a rather nice explanatory reply with the full text of the rules. Again, if any readers have a copy I would be really grateful to see the same.

The shelf devoted to wargame books is certainly filling up!


Jonathan Freitag said...

To me, Wesencraft's works are under-rated. This book is a good one!

David Crook said...

Hi Jonathan,

I still cant believe I had overlooked this! It was just as fresh to read today as it was forty years ago. I rather liked his neat idea to workaround the old Napoleonic 3 rank/2 rank debate.

I really want to revisit his 1 figure 1 battalion idea.

All the best,


Mike Lewis said...

This was the second book I found in the library after H G Wells' LIttle Wars and the first book that shows me I could play a wargame with dice on a table!

We used the Napoleonic rules with plastic 20mm for quite a while... It is still my favourite book to dip back into.

David Crook said...

Hi Mike,

I remember thinking that alongside Charge! and The Wargame how advanced these rules looked by comparison. I liked the Napoleonic rules but at the time was reluctant to rebase my Airfix 1815 Allied army.

I would have no such qualms these days though!

All the best,


Ray Rousell said...

I think I need to start a collection of these old rule books, I haven't any.

David Crook said...

Hi Ray,

Many of the old school wargames books are available from John Curry’s History of Wargames project although these are only in paperback.

There is a lot of value from these old books mainly because of the pioneering nature of what the authors were writing about. They are generally very inspirational!

All the best,


David Crook said...

Hi StuRat,

You will enjoy this title for sure and I maintain it was definitely quite advanced in terms of concepts employed. I had forgotten just how good a book this is but I am delightedly reading it once again - and it is still as vibrant!

All the best,


Jim Duncan Wargamer said...

I've just found a copy of one of Charlies book, 'With Pike and Musket' which I picked up second hand sometime in the past.