Following the recent death of wargaming legend Donald Featherstone, I almost literally ‘stopped the presses’ to include a substantial tribute to the man we owe so much for our vibrant hobby. Other arrangements are also underway to commemorate this marvellous man, of which more in due course. Meanwhile, here’s what you can expect in this issue:
• Forward Observer. Regular columnist Neil Shuck is in fine voice as ever, this time berating inaccurate TV shows, saying goodbye to Skytrex, drooling over the new Arthurians from Musketeer Miniatures, getting excited about Ninjas, finding a ruleset that really is innovative, wondering just how much we should be paying for miniatures, glancing at new terrain, acknowledging a new range of ancients and finally rejoicing at the re-emergence of a project once thought lost. Phew!
• Are these huts just crepe? Wargames widow Diane Sutherland has been going native (American) and has found mysterious ways to render the dwellings of Woodland Indians. Well, you’ve never seen so much crepe in your life, but your battles will look better for it.
• Fantasy facts. John treadaway is asking pertinent questions about scenery this month, probing the practicality of the accommodation offered by the humble wargame edifice, as well as venturing into the steampunkier regions of old London town. It’s an open and shut case, with a touch of mine camp.
• Stop, thief! Ever the man to provide us with a fast, furious and above all, fun game, Daniel Mersey plans to have us running about on the veld, chasing down a cheeky Zulu boy making off with an officer’s coat. Can’t have that! So, clear your throat and after three, “Men of Harlech…”
• The Wild West (according to Hollywood). New contributor Leslie Tipping has fond memories of Saturday matinees at the cinema, crunching his popcorn to add to the noise of on-screen gunfights, stampeding cattle and the cries of “Hayalp!” from distressed damsels. Here is a complete set of rules to help bring it all to life.
• Command Challenge – encounter at Plattdorf. The Editor recreates a scenario to commemorate the years of happy gaming that Don Featherstone provided to a generation of wargamers, based on the battle of Plattville that appeared in War Games in 1962, with a few challenging tweaks.
• Tealight ironclads. Another new contributor, Rob Young of Garrison Miniatures confesses a love for naval gaming and shows us how to make vessels that look the part, but don’t cost a fortune. So get your toolkit and prepare to launch yourself into the world of late nineteenth century warships.
• Send three and fourpence. This month, regular columnist Conrad Kinch dwells on the subject of battlefield walking for the topographically challenged. Get that dubbin on those boots!
• Suleiman’s ‘Stalingrad’ – the great Siege of Malta 1565. Gary Mitchell makes a welcome return, revealing the exciting wargaming possibilities offered by the heroic defence of Malta by the Knights of St John against the Turks of Suleiman the Great.
• Last post for the toy soldier general – a tribute to Donald Featherstone. This section comprises two parts: a moving obituary by Don’s long-time friend Chris Scott, and a report, in Don’s own words, of the very first wargames convention held in Southampton in 1961, introduced by Charles S Grant who first met Don as a boy. There is also a touching tribute from fellow Southampton gamer and WWII Italian campaign veteran Ron Miles, whose “Siege of Dendermonde” will be remembered by many.
• Wiener Planspielregeln. In the English-speaking world, we’re rather arrogant about our role in developing the modern wargaming hobby. Austrian subscriber Franz Ehart is delighted, therefore, to reveal that other pioneers were breaking new ground in parallel with our ‘old school’ heroes like Don Featherstone. Part 1 includes a full background and the basic rules for this extraordinary square-grid game, with the advanced rules and a scenario coming next month.
• At play with Crooked Dice. John Treadaway is furiously stroking a white cat and muttering lines like “I don’t expect you to talk, Mr Bond, I expect you to die…”. Then the director shouts “Cut!” and he shakes himself awake. Here we meet Graeme Dawson and Karl Perrotton, the men responsible for his ravings.
• And of course we have a packed Recce section looking at a library of books and rules, a report of our Combat Stress Appeal, and an exclusive extract from The Wargaming Compendium illustrating horse colours.
Finally, I would also like to thank everyone who came up to me at Colours over the weekend to say how much they are enjoying the magazine and my book – it’s really hugely encouraging to get this kind of feedback.
Roll ’em high!