Wednesday, 2 September 2020

New book- A Practical Guide to Medieval Warfare: Exploring History through Wargaming


New book by Richard Brooks and John Curry. 

I started work on this book approximately 30 years ago in a series in the Nugget, the Journal of Wargame Developments. As a result of lockdown, the book is finally published. 

It is available from Amazon and other online book stores, including for the Kindle.

Medieval warfare is part of our culture. However, there are severe limits to our current understanding of the conduct of military campaigns culminating in sieges and pitch battles during the medieval era. This book is an attempt to develop further understanding of some aspects of the medieval military reality, in particular around the operational and tactical scale.

It looks at the medieval operation art of war such as the numbers involved, scouting, logistics, march rates and the length of the campaign season.

Then it looks at the medieval battle; how armies deployed, advanced, fought, won and lost. The many topics include dressing the ranks, the advance to contact, battle cries and pre-battle speeches.

The third section explores sieges and street fighting. such as the lengths of sieges, success rates. and the practical details involved in storming a castle.

The fourth section of the book includes five sets of rules to allow the reader to create interactive models of medieval warfare on the tabletop for them to explore. From pitch battles, to skirmishes, raids and retreats, the games allow the reader to create interactive models of medieval warfare on the tabletop for them to explore.

This book is written from the perspective that there was a medieval art of war. War took time, effort, planning, logistics and skill to initiate, conduct and win. We assume that the medieval warrior largely knew what they were doing and if we do not comprehend the decisions they took when waging war, this reflects our lack of understanding, not theirs. This book aims to fill some of the gaps in our mental models of the medieval warfare.

Game #1: Middle Aged Spread - Battle level rules 1066-1485

Game #2: Sword and Spear: Wargaming Low-Level Battle Tactics

Game #3: Once More unto the Breach: Skirmish Rules

Game #4: Gaming Retreats: Cymerau (1257)ar. It includes a detailed model of Cold War air combat. The game demonstrated that a second Argentine invasion would initially be successful.

Game #5: Gaming Cattle Raids: The Night Belongs to Paddy



  1. Surely game 4 does not include Cold War air combat?!!!

  2. Looks interesting. It’s comforting to know that other suffer from miscutting and mispasting too!

  3. A great addition to the History of Wargaming project. It deserves to sell well!


  4. Those medieval Argentineans and their air power, how could they lose? :)

  5. Brilliant and informative talk at vCoW about teh subject and the book goes immediately on my Xmas list!

  6. I just left a glowing review on Amazon. I am still trying to cipher out the “Medieval Spread Rules”. I know these are over ten years old now, but it would be helpful to have had diagrams of the explanatory battles for us visual people.

  7. Hello John. I did a little more history of wargaming 'research' and namechecked / linked to your Complete Wargaming Featherstone revised when writing about Richard Tennant's collection now in the USA with David Crenshaw of Miniature Minions blog

  8. Any more books coming up soon?

  9. Some very useful parts - especially evidence from re-enactors for siege warfare. But, in honesty, it really needs very careful revision and proof reading before it is re-presented for sale - multiple grammatical and spelling mistakes reduce credibility.

  10. An interesting read.
    Couple of observations
    Historical European Martial Arts has progressed. More broadly some of the sources , such as John Clements ARMA we not accepted widely and have very much become less popular than they were.

    There werena number of typos I spotted which minor in the scope of the work. Broke the flow of reading and ina few occasions were a little confusing.


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  12. I read Seed of World's review ( and am all in. However, I was wondering if the book is available in PDF form anywhere? If not, is that something you're looking into at all?