Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Fritz Goes Shopping - Again

Today I received a pleasant surprised when I opened the mail box -- there was a packet of books and magazines from On Military Matters. I subscribe to the French publications "Vae Victus" and "Tradition" as well as "Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy" through OMM. It's an easy way to subscribe to international publications.

The Wargame Companion - A Review
At any rate, the packet also included my copy of "The Wargame Companion" by Charles S. Grant, so my excitement level was running very high. Let me start by saying that the book is even better than I had imagined. The anecdotal stories about CS Grant playing in wargames with his father, Charles Grant, and Peter Young, are worth the price of the book alone. Grant provides a lot of the "back story" to the hows and whys of the rules, the fictional 18th century armies that they all used, and much, much more.

Here is a summary of the table of contents:

Part 1 - The Early Years and the ACW
Providing background on the Grant family's introduction to wargaming and the birth of the rules, for ACW use, that eventual evolved into The Wargame rules.

Part 2- The Wargame Revisited
This chapter covers the personalities, both real and fictional; plus background on the armies of the Grand Duchy of Lorraine, the Vereinigte Frei Stadt, and Teutoburg-Althaufen.

Part 3 - Campaigns
Covers the designing of campaigns, easy record keeping systems, and the designing of armies.

Part 4- Scenarios
Sawmill Village, the Wagon Train, and Lobositz original accounts from The Wargame Digest, followed by CS Grant's recent refight of the same scenarios. He also adds a new Guilford Courthouse scenario for the readers. I'm particularly looking forward to trying out the Lobositz scenario, because it can be played on a 6ft by 9ft table with lots of big battalions, such as those that we use in our BAR rules.

Part 5-Bits and Pieces
This chapter discusses how to construct buildings in the manner of those seen in The Wargame, with the lift-off buildings/ruined buildings underneath, a recounting of rules not included in the original The Wargame rules, how to write Tabletop Teasers, how to use random events, and a section on sieges. Included in this section is a piece by Phil Olley, of Old School Wargaming fame, on how he makes his famous cloth/linen standards for his wargame units.

Other Items - there is set of The Wargame rules in easy to read chart form, done by Henry Hyde, a listing of miniatures suppliers of 18th Century wargame figures. Henry has also taken color pictures of the flags and standard bearers for each unit in the Grant family's Vereingte Freistadt army along with pictures from the collections of John Ray, Phil Olley, Angus Konstamm and others.

Finally, in the endpiece, Mr. Grant laments that time and age have taken a toll on his plastic Spencer Smith figures. As they are damaged and the venerable units are retired, they are in the process of being replaced by new metal armies os Staddens, Surens, Mindens and others. Some tantalizing pictures of some new Minden Miniatures battalions are depicted within the final pages.

This is certainly a must have book for any wargamer. I give it my highest recommendation.

A New Book On Fontenoy is Now Available
One of the Vae Victus issues (No. 83 Nov-Dec 2008) has an advertisement for a new Fontenoy book that has me very excited. It looks like it is done in the same format as the Hourtaille Napoleonic books, i.e. lots of color uniform plates, maps galore and tons of useful information. The book is available in both French and English text versions.

The book is titled, "Fontenoy, La France domine l'Europe". It has 80 pages, numerous color plates, maps in 3-D and much more. The cost is Euro 16.50 plus shipping. Contact the publisher at for more information. They also have a similar book on the battle of Essling in 1809.


  1. Do you know what hurts? My copy of "The Wargame Companion" arrived a little while ago . . . but I didn't get to open it.

    My wife claimed it as a Christmas present for me . . . so I won't be able to enjoy it until after we open our presents.

    -- Jeff

  2. Hi there Jim,

    Wow! The War Game Companion sounds great! I hope Santa Claus might bring me a copy next month. . . I sent my letter to the North Pole some days ago. ;-)

    Best Regards,


  3. Hi Jim,

    Thanks for your book review. I've also enjoyed your revisiting the civil war.

    I'll have to order the War Game Companion soon!


  4. Hi Jim,

    Yes indeed! Mr. Grant has written a worthy successor to his Dad's book. I was particularly pleased with his hints of some other works of his in the pipeline for possible publication in the near future. Is this a great time to be a wargamer or what?!



  5. I tried to buy this at the Reading warfare show on sunday but they had sold out! Whilst frustrating I am more pleased that gamers are buying this and supporting Mr Grant's books. I will track down a copy.


  6. Someone in the know told me that WGC is in its third printing, which indicates that it is doing very well.

    In the UK, contact Ken Trotman Books or Caliver and they should be able to hook you up with a copy. In the US, try On Military Matters.

    Mr. Grant also indicates that he has a couple more books in the pipeline, one being 18th Century Tabletop Teasers.