Friday, October 05, 2012

The Wargamers' Annual (2009)... a review

It's taken me a while but I got there in the end...

This was published in 2009 and is the first of the still running series of annuals... it's one of those purchase items that I thought about buying every time I saw it on the Caliver stand at one wargame show or another. I never did, usually because there was another call on my dosh that was more pressing at the time...  at the original price (£15) this would have probably remained the case for some time, as to be honest the price is the thing that puts me off them - I see these annuals in the same light as magazines, they're not intrinsic or key to my hobby in the same way that a reference book, or some little metal men, or paints, or brushes, or rules, are.... they are "nice to haves", and for me those purchases are governed by price and situation.... this years is  priced at £17.50 - I'll wait... 

..this one however was reduced at Colours (to £8) so I gave in and took the plunge.....pleased I did...

...the annual is put together by those two stalwarts Charles Grant  & Phil Olley, ably assisted by a few of their equally as well known associates (Stuart Asquith and Harry Pearson) and features a host of articles covering:

  • wargame re-fights of Blenheim (superb) and Minden (also good)
  • Harry Pearson writes on ancient wargaming  (OK)
  • Stuart Asquith has two articles one on wargaming in the "Time of the Other Napoleonic Wars" -  basically all wars in the age of Napoleon III so from 1850 to 1870 (OK) and a second piece on Solo Wargaming  (a little minimalist this one - but then he didn't have a lot of space).
  • Phil Olley does a battlefield walk of Tippermuir (good), and an article on his 30 Years war project (exquisite)
  • there's also a whole load of short "How To" articles on making terrain items and such...  (varied..  one on battlefield redoubts was good)
  • there's also a number of table top teasers including a night attack (small scale action - very good - want to try this one), blocking action (OK - some interesting thoughts on wargaming the firing from higher elevations)
  • an article on using light infantry in your games (a "condensed" history but some exquisite  pictures by Bob Marrion)
Overall - highly recommended - 8/10 (but it would have been a lot less at the original price)


  1. I thoroughly enjoyed it - did you ever play any IFAD the scenarios Steve?

    Its always been a Christmas thing with me.

    1. Me too.... errr.... "IFAD"???

    2. I was puzzled too - I assumed it was a very rude message about ducks. Obviously a well-known catch-phrase with the in-crowd.

  2. It might be one of the older established British languages. Some of those spellings will throw off the unwary. If the I was pronounced like uh, the f like a v, and the a a silent sign understood to keep the d silent, then it would approximate 'of,' and would fit right in.

    I have a couple crates of magazines but never saw that one, and although they do tend to be costly when not from the bargain bin, I do get enjoyment out of them for years afterward, even articles I never read ATAD the time.

    1. Definitely a keeper.... the night attack teaser is high on my list for a game soon... first though I want to do a re-fight of this game ( using Ross McFarlane's "Hearts of Tin"....

      Errrr... silent "AD"???? :o))

    2. It was just a guess, I was thinking of Irish and Welsh spelling rules. The orthography does things like that. But Irish 'of' comes out as de. 'Have you tried the scenarios' comes out in Irish as Ta iarracht deanta agat na casanna, and in Welsh as ydych chi wedi rhoi cynnig ar y senarios. Not sure what to make of it.
      It might just be an English acronym, too.

  3. The night attack sounds good. I have always wanted to do something around the night battle at Stoney Creek in the War of 1812

  4. You do realise the 2013 annual is now ready and available to buy,again at the princely sum of £17.50.
    Thanks Robbie.

    1. Yup... mnetioned that in the blog.... :o)

      I'd like it (one day) if only for the articles by Stokes Schwarz, and Conrad Kinch..!