Monday, December 13, 2010

Wargaming in History - Volume 2 - First Impressions

I received a copy of Wargaming in History Volume 2 last week, though I have had very little chance to read it properly. It seems very much in the vein of the previous volume, a beautifully produced hard back studying three battles, in this case Dettingen, Fontenoy and Lauffeld, and discussing how they were refought as wargames. Despite having no previous interest in the War of Austrian Succession, beyond knowing of course that Doctor Livesy was a veteran of Fontenoy, I find this approach very useful. The Brigadier has written God knows how many wargames scenarios and a window into his thought processes is rewarding, particularly when you're such a duffer at the business as I am.

The book itself is not cheap. I got mind from Caliver for thirty pounds. It is a beautifully produced hardback with a good dust jacket that will give good service for many years to come. Illustrated throughout by well lit, sharp photographs of the Grant and Olley collections and illustrations by Bob Marrion all on crisp high quality paper stock, this is a piece of work that gives me pleasure on three levels. As a history buff, I enjoy the potted history of the War of Austrian Succession; as a Wargamer, it's a very forthright book on the hobby and as a book lover, it is a very satisfying artifact and one that makes the act of reading even more pleasureable than usual.

Each battle is preceded by a little history to give context to the material to follow. There follows a brief description of the physical mechanics of putting the wargame together with some interesting musings on the size of table required, troops, etc and this is finished off with maps and a refight.

The last two sections of the book discuss Irish and Scottish troops in French service and a wargames miscellany, covering the use of written orders in wargames, the effect of having a reigning monarch on the battlefield and some interesting (and I suspect controversial in some quarters) musing on the qualities of Guard units.

While I haven't had the leisure to spend as much time with this book as I would like, if first impressions are anything to go by, it shall be an enjoyable companion for many years to come.

Which begs the question - when are we going to see a volume on the Egyptian Campaign of 1798-1801?


  1. Dear Joy,
    Split my sides if you ain't smart as paint mentioning the good Doctor. My admiration of you has increased twofold !

  2. Thanks for your very favourable review Conrad. Glad you like the book.