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Saturday, 15 March 2014

Looking for early wargaming rules from 1960's and 1970's- can you help?

During the 1960's, 1970's and early 1980's, there was a large range of short, usually A5 wargaming rule books. Some were produced by Skytrex, Navwar, Minifigs etc.. but others were individual wargamers sharing their creations with the wider world. There was one about roleplaying bunnies, wargaming with dinosaurs, early attempts at ACW, medieval and ancients.

My quest for these old rules suddenly started with  the realization if I do not capture some of these now, within a very short space of time, the majority will be gone for ever. In some ways, the history of wargaming project has been a race against time to find some 'lost material'. I ordered a copy of Tacspiel (an unplayable wargame used by the USA in Vietnam War to devise tactics). After I published this obscure text, the archive contacted me as they had lost their copy. If I had not got it to print, it would probably have been lost. It has since been used by various military historians for the operational analysis data it contained.

Some of the classic lost material the project has published includes:
   Donald Featherstone's Wargaming Commando Operations, the book was never published before my edition.

   The Fletcher Pratt Naval Wargame, we had all been using the 1933 version of the rules, not the 1939-45 previously unpublished version.

   The various professional wargaming rules on my site,

    The story of DBA, the list goes on, with many of my books having various pieces added to them. .

Future classic material will include a lost book by Charlie Wesencraft (ACW) and a lost set of rules by Phil Dunn (world war). I have many more 'lost' sets of professional military rules to produce, some of which I suspect I have the only copy in the world. Some were given to me as they were throwing them out of the archives into the bin and a few vigilant wargamers thought of me in time to intercept them.

So my hunt for the early wargaming rules from the 1960's and 1970's is now on. They will be added to my digital library, but I cannot imagine most to them being posted on the internet for the foreseeable future due to copyright issues. The History of Wargaming Project reproduces old material with consent of the estate or the author. The only exception are short extracts as permitted by UK copyright law (and generally accepted by most countries around the world).

In addition to the published material in the more than 50 books/ rules sets, I have a growing digital archive of huge amounts of wargaming material. This is not for publication, but bona fida researchers (e.g. a wargamer producing new rules) can have access to assist them in their work. One day, a university will have this material in their archive to assist war studies students. Well, it is nice to have a dream.


  1. A great idea. I would suggest that a great place for securing copies of these documents would be the British Library or some such national archival instituted. I had a quick search of their catalogue and it is a mixed bag of war game rules and war game books. Most of which I would describe as quite main stream.

    One model you might look at is the German Games archive.Unfortunately it is only for games produced in German and only since 1945.

  2. Good idea. Thanks for the link. I will look at the German stuff and see what I can find.

  3. Tone Hawkins sent me Harold Gerry's rules from 1974, Alan Paul sent me a whole pack of early rules.