Monday, 23 November 2020

Books by the Donald. And others.

Yes of course I'm talking about Donald Featherstone. You didn't fall for that did you?

Amongst recent acquisitions are a couple of DF books. First up is this which I finished tonight.

This a 1977 edition

The book contains an overview of the war, tactical methods, accounts of ten actions, plus rules. The battle accounts are accompanied by wargame scenario suggestions along with maps. I have to say, I'm not overwhelmed by it. It contains little errors, like mixing up east and west in some of the battle accounts, or has confusing descriptions of what happened. In the latter case simply showing units on the map would have helped - there are in a few cases, but often it's just the terrain layout. These are also not helped by not even clearly showing breakdown of the opposing forces. The rules look OK - very much old school, single figure removal as you'd expect - let down slightly by a confusing saving throw table. I may be a bit thick these days, but I like to see things clearly tabulated or shown on a map/diagram so you can see them at a glance without trawling back through the text. In historiographical terms it might also be a bit too old school, often referring to the British fighting in rigid formations and in inappropriate uniforms. Nevertheless it does provide some useful insights and is a handy source.

As an old school wargaming author, I don't find Featherstone as engaging as Grant, Young or Wesencraft. I have both Don's and Charlie's Pike and Shot books on my shelf and one of them gets re-read from time to time for the sheer pleasure. Clue, I don't think the author was a physio.

Notwithstanding that I also bought DF's Solo-Wargaming (in the History of Wargaming imprint). I haven't started reading this yet, but I've read lots of positive comments. 


Last but not least was the Mollo book on Uniforms of the American Revolution, recommended by some of you. And very useful it is too, with not only colour illustrations but also descriptions of regimental uniforms including those not shown. I naturally used this when I was painting my troops recently. As with my other periods, I don't intend to identify specific regiments, only types, except for the 10th Foot naturally as they later became the Lincolnshire Regiment and I am a Yellabelly (of a sort).


Now back when I was a lad, I read a book on the American War of Independence that had accounts of half a dozen or so battles, with decent maps and troop breakdowns. I think the battles included Camden, Guildford Courthouse, Monmouth, and Cowpens. It was a Blandford sized book, but that's about all I can remember. We're talking c 1980 so maybe it was published in the 70s. Any ideas?

11 comments:

  1. Great collection of books. Glad you gave them a good and appreciative home, especially the first one. The rules sound interesting. Did you fathom out the saving throw chart in the end? I always liked the Almark book on the awi uniforms with lots of colour pictures and great line drawings. It is still on the shelf albeit falling apart. Worth tracking down I would say.

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    1. I didn’t quite fathom our the saving throw chart but I probably won’t be using the rules as they work on figure removal and I have 10mm figures.

      Does the Almaty book have maps?

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    2. Almark not Almaty! đŸ˜†

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  2. I'm a confirmed Fetherstone'ite but I would agree the AWI book is a little "light"... the Solo Wargaming book however, is an absolute 'must have'.. I have a signed and dedicated first edition hardback that I bought with my hard earned pocket money back in the day.. I wouldn't part with it.. I may ask for it to go in the casket along with Wargames! LOL.. Your book - was it this one?? https://www.amazon.co.uk/Battlefield-Atlas-American-Revolution/dp/1611214424

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    1. Thanks for the book link. I don’t think it was that. Looks a bit too late for what I was thinking of with a publication date of 1983. Is it one you would recommend?

      Started the Solo book before work this morning and it’s looking very promising indeed!

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  3. I have almost all of Featherstone's wargaming books in my wargaming library, and I concur he's not as entertaining to read as some of the other founding fathers.
    But the value of Featherstone's books is in the amount of information that was collected therein. Plenty of his books also simply include rules written by others, in the spirit of the time (sharing is good).
    Although Featherstone's contributions to the popularization of wargaming are undisputed, when it comes down to actual wargaming rules and mechanics and ideas , I would put Grant and Bath before Featherstone.

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    1. Interesting comments Phil. The sheer volume of output from Featherstone plus everything else he found time for (his physio business, role at Southampton FC, Wargamers Newsletter) is amazing.

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  4. Nice looking books,I do like the Mollo and McGregor one!
    Best Iain

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  5. The Featherstone books are of varied quality, but you can't beat the output of the man. I much prefer Wesencraft as a writer and his rules seem more 'modern' compared to Featherstone.

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    1. Yep. I’m with Steve. I prefer Wesencraft and Morschauser to Featherstone. Featherstone was certainly the more prolific.

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    2. I never realised there was such a consensus on this. So it’s not just me who enjoys Wesencraft more. Having said that, I’m enjoying Solo-Wargaming more than other Featherstone books I’ve read.
      It’s been a while since I read Morschauser.

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