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Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Thought Experiment

 I've commented previously on the relastive narrowness of the current crop of Glossies compared to formerly  and Robbie Roddiss opined that he thought every battle had been cobered at least one by one or another of the mags. Me I'm not sure, there are buckets of battles never covered for one reason or another so withoput resorting to books or any kind of technology other than my brain here is a list of battles and fights  that I can't recall ever being in opne of the mainstream Glossies.Though some- especially the Medieval ones may have appeared in specialist journals such as Hobilar.
Some of my Wars of the Roses looking for a battle they haven't yet fought

Battle of Gelt beck 1571- in Cumbria Leannard Dacres Rising.
 Wagon Box Fight- Plains wars - can't recall the date,
 Battle of Dranesville- ACW- I've done this as a demo way way back
 Big Bethel- another small ACW action
 Lincelles- 1792 Flanders Campaign - Its on the Grenadier Guards Colours 
Battle of Muret- Albignsian Crusade 1215 ish
 Battle of Shrewsbury 1402- Not sure about this one- I know I've refought it at least once and I seem to recal it may have appeared in PW .
Cravant- later Hundred years War.  Though I have seen it as a demo By the Land L soc I think 
Agincourt- has this ever appeared I don't know I can't recall  it ever doing so .
 Nicopolis- 1396 ish
 Crossbarry and Kilmichael- 2 actions of the Irish War of Independence
Piltown- Ireland Wars of the Roses
 Knockdoe- also Ireland 1502 ish
 Ancrum Moor 1547- surely a must for Scottish gamers -  ya beat the Basta' English !
Most of the battles of Tyrones  rebellion- or Nine years War- Elizebethan Ireland though the last battle Kinsale may have appeared..
 Palo Alto - Mex- Am War
 San Jacinto  Tex- Mex
Goliad  Tex Mex
Megray Hill - 1639 Bishops War - well ECW in Scotland then
 There are also buckets of small ECW battles- eminently fightable- how about the Battle of Surbiton for one.  or Wigan lane or Corbridge or Tadcaster- which I've seen done as a demo game.
 Battle of Mentana 186- something Palpal forces and French troops defeat Garabaldi
 There was a lot of fighting in 1848-9 in Northen Italy and Hungary  between the Austrians and everyone else- and unusally for the 19th century the Austrians won

 I'm not altogether convinced that any of the major  HYW set pieces have appeared though doubtless some have. I'm deliberaterly NOT referring to any books or journals the whole point of this is to do it from memeory. I suspect that with the current primacy of Idiot books  and Gamin' Innit  then actual battles are of less interest than they used to be.After all these days it has to be a "good Game"- whatever that means- but surely thats the job of the Umpire/Gamesmaster or whoever organises it.
 What surprises me these days is the narrowness of historical span . There really does seem to  have been a narrowing of interest in some respects as regards magazine articles and books . I have no idea why this should be as . I still sell  stuff in all sorts of periods  I'm beginning seriously to think that there really is a diversion between the Grass roots who buy the stuff and the "names"  who publish the  showing off books . I wonder if "Been there, Done that" is having an effect-can't see why or there wouldn't be the endless  stream WW2  stuff out there.
 Perhaps other chaps can add to this list.
40mm Zulu War Brits- but equally they could fight the Xhosa  a year or two earlier  but would anyone notice...
 Later .... the following day  I wonder if its a combination of accessability  and laziness. There has been a narrowing of periods at some shows too  Demo games seem to be  often a bit on the strange side now. Lots of assorted WW2 often very pretty but a bit samey. I'm not sure if this is just but  more games do seem to be "xorporate"  games than used to be.


  1. I can't really comment on most of the battles you mention as they're mostly pre-musket, but I do think you're probably right.
    The problem is that most battles that are "well known" are because of what I would call coffee-table book histories.
    There are many engagements of the late18th Century that are rarely (if ever) covered too. Most of course have to be researched, which seems to be too much of a chore for many.
    Balls Bluff (an ACW battle as you will no doubt well know) was covered by many magazines regularly, probably because it was a small brigade sized action (as per Dranesville) the had a brief (but adequate) description of it in "Battles and Generals" accompanied by one of the few mapsthe volumes contain of battles.
    I suspect that those battles that aren't written up demand a little more research than folk are prepared to do. (I think you could make a similar argument with uniforms, flags and other wargame related research.)

  2. Joe - Exactly - another ACW came to mind- Big Bethel again its in battles and leader and has been in Military Iluustrated but not one of "our" mags.
    I'd also add the battle of Lincelles in Flanders- 1792 or thereabouts. Its a Grenadier Guards Battle Honour on their colours
    It seem that the days of the "Battle articles are long gone- I'm sure you remeber those articles with OBs and perhaps a uniform pic or two that were almost de- rigeur in the 80s and early 90s .
    I'm going to add battles to the list as I think of em but again without looking at any books.

    1. As always happens, I immediately thought of two from the ECW period as soon as I poste - The battle of the Dunes and there's a battle in the Caribean too if I'm not mistaken?

    2. Yes so there is - I think the Dunes has been done( but I might be wrong) but not the fighting on Hispaniola and Jamaica. Also what about all the fighting in the Fronde- Vae Victis did it as a game but I've never seen it in English

  3. Andy,
    I never had chance to reply to your post, but I will now. I was really talking about the well known to the general public battles,ie Waterloo, Crecy, Cannae etc.
    There are many battles in the true sense of the word that havent really been covered. One that springs to mind was a game John and I did many years ago, the battle of Gniew which was a Polish affair against the Swedes.Luckily for that battle I had obtained the research by letter from a really helpful polish chap. The trouble with most of the battles you mention is the need for research, ie reading. In this age of being spoonfed the majority of people dont want to waste time! on researching they want to game.
    I know a lot of wargamers still take pride in researching their games, but like in many things now younger people have been brought up with a superficial knowledge of matters. God I sound like an old fart. One of my favourite series of articles in the wargaming press was Stuart Asquiths battles of the English Civil War, they were well written and covered some quite obscure affairs.
    Why dont you write a series about the 100 years war, you know you want to.
    Good post.
    Thanks Robbie.

  4. Robbie- good points but I'm starting to think that even the "general wargaming public" has less interest in battles than it used to have or perhaps its just those who write for magazines.

  5. I'm pretty sure Robbie is being modest in that I seem to remember him having an article in MW a few years ago refighting either Agincourt or Crecy in 6mm using Irregular Miniatures. Iain Kay made some figures especially for it?
    I would point the finger at the effect Warhammer Historical had on the scene back in the day. People who had only ever played with Lizards and Orcs were now collecting Romans and Normans. They didn't let history get in the way of things though. It was all about maximising the potential of 2000pts with whatever nastiness the competitive players could come up with in order to win.

    But then again, was that any different to those playing the more 'cerebral' WRG offerings?

    Damned if I know.


    1. Sean- Good points- and yes Dammned if I knwo- but in the WRG days we did both. As a general rule points games were head to head affiairs and the everyday change of wargames life then. Refights and larger multi-player games were something a bit special (we re-fought the Hasting campaign in the late 70s and the Arnhem campaign as a map Kriegspiel ) but I didn't get the true taste for them until the 80s when the mags started to appear with the now supposedly unpopular history in them.
      Your point re WHAB is however well made- the same accuation could be levelled at FOW.