Sunday 26 April 2015

Future Directions for the History of Wargaming Project (Part II)

After many people taking the time to give me online (and offline) feedback I have sketched out the next 12 months for the future of the project.

There is clearly more to do about the development of the hobby, so I will start work with Stuart Asquith to produce some of the very best of his work. At the time I will include some of his great friends work, that of Terry Wise. I will aim to produce two books of their work and next year, perhaps produce two more. Stuart Asquith was another of the key figures whose tireless writing helped the hobby grow.

I have some done further wargaming archeology from the Cold War and I will produce one, perhaps two, more professional wargames over the next 12 months. Some key wargames have been already lost and I am aware that the Project is a golden opportunity to preserve more of the key wargames from an era when the world faced nuclear Armageddon.

Professionally I use wargames for analysis and education. I would like to document some of my ideas and work in an area where almost no-one publishes their methods for fear of others taking up their ideas. There are going to be two books in the professional wargaming space.

I have decided that next year I must seize the opportunity to start the massive Paddy Griffith archive.

Having made a plan, I may need to be flexible. I am in touch with many of the early key wargamers and if they are inspired with a project, I will seize the day and help them get it ready for market.

I have three books about to go to print. Donald Featherstone's Battles with Model Soldiers (a nostalgia book rather than anything ground breaking), Your World War by Phil Dunn (his lifelong WWII campaign game) and an American Cold War wargame from 1989.

Monday 6 April 2015

Future Directions for the History of Wargaming Project

The Impact of the Project (2008 to March 2015)
The project to date has made available 4.5 million words about wargaming, through 60 publications, 23 of the books are new wargaming books, 37 are second editions.

Five books contain sets of professional wargaming rules from the Cold War that have not been previously published before. (British Army Tactical Wargame (1956), British Army Desert Wargame (1978), Canadian Army Tactical Training Wargame (1980), Dunn Kempf, the American Army Tactical Wargame (1977-1997) and Tacspiel: American Army's Vietnam War Game (1966)).
While all the books in the series contain supplementary material that has not been previously published e.g. new chapters, rules and commentary, it is worth highlighting 3 works in particular that have added to the history of wargaming.
·         Fletcher Pratt’s Naval Wargame: Wargaming with Model Ships 1900-1945- Contains extensive previously unpublished material by Fletcher Pratt and material from an interview of the last surviving Fletcher Pratt player, Commander Bothwell.

·         The Wargaming Pioneers Including Little Wars by HG Wells, The War Game for Boy Scouts, The War Game by Captain Satchs Early Wargames Vol. 1 placed the innovations of HG Wells in a sequence of early wargames.

·         Over Open Sights: Early Naval Wargaming Rules 1873-1898 Early Wargames Vol. 6 placed the innovation of the Fred Jane Naval Wargame in a sequence of early Royal Navy Professional Wargames.
The annual plan for the Project is largely based on an annual 3 hour discussion with a professional and hobby wargaming veteran, during the car journey to the Conference of Wargamers in July. The journey involves a battlefield tour or a military museum and (a pub lunch), but lays out the priorities for the Project for the next 12 months. The project also receives regular editorial input from Major Mouat (Defence Academy) and the veteran wargamer Arthur Harman (friend of Paddy Griffith, author of staggering numbers of wargaming articles). There are many others such as Peter Perla, Tim Gow, Michael Curry, Charlie Wesencraft, Phil Dunn and others who kindly offer advice.

     The question is what should the Project prioritise for the next 60 book?

Hobby Wargames:  There are a number of books/ articles that need to include in the project. There is also substantial new material to bring into the public domain, largely from the archives of key wargamers who have helped turn the obscure hobby of wargaming into a major hobby. In the last 12 months the Project has published a new book by Charlie Wesencraft, Phil Dunn and Sue Laflin-Barker.

Early Wargame History: The project has already doubled the number of words in print about wargaming pre- 1960, but there is still some major (and minor) publications to get into print.

Wargaming History of the Cold War: Reading the work of Peter Perla (and others) highlights the importance of wargaming in the Cold War, but almost none of the wargames mentioned have reached the public domain. In some ways it is a race to find them before they are lost and no-one who played in these games is left to help.  

Innovations in current professional wargaming: There are some very interesting developments in the military application of wargaming, but the problem is almost none of this is captured, recorded and disseminated. The new book on Matrix Wargames was an example of a hobby technique that leapt into the professional arena and is being used for training and analysis.

Serious Games- Wargaming in education: Wargaming techniques can be applied to transform education. The Project produced a new book on gaming Cyber Warfare and will soon publish one on how games are used for emergency planning in the health service, but there is scope for producing a whole series of books that illustrate how wargames can be used as part of a wider curriculum.

The Paddy Griffith Archive: The Project holds key material, sufficient for many books of unpublished serious games created by one of the key figures in wargaming in UK, the late Paddy Griffith. This is going to take perhaps a year’s work to sort the material into a structured format before producing the first book.

Toy Soldiers: Last, but not least, is the history of Toy Soldiers. These have been an integral part of the development of the hobby, but their history needs to be documented.

So the question I am currently considering is, “What proportion of editorial effort should be directed against each of the key themes above?”