Thursday, 30 March 2023

Lurking in the Loft

Every now and again, real life impinges on 'hobby life' : this week's real life event is the need for a de-clutter and re-organise at home. That required a bit of a review of what lurks in the loft - which is where real life and hobby life cross each other's paths.  I pulled out some quite interesting stuff, which will be spared from the de-cluttering. Such as this: 

Cry Havoc  from Standard Games, c. 1982.  Skirmishes in the 13th Century. Lovely graphics (I think Peter Dennis was involved), three quite large hex-based terrain maps (which could be used for other games/rules, I'm sure) and pretty simple rules - though I seem to remember the bowmen (firing twice each turn) tended to just shoot up all the other characters?   On BoardgameGeek, user HiTracey comments  Time waster for really bright little boys who have lived in a time warp since 1981.  Hmm, I wouldn't claim to be especially bright..

Of a similar vintage, but slightly more obscure, we have Raiders and Traders from The Chaosium, 1979


Quite unusual in that it is set not in Classical Greece but the Bronze Age. I seem to remember this got a few plays back in the day, and I love the map - again, surely could be used for other purposes, would make a nice campaign map. The rules may not be quite so elegant, though! 

Which is all well and good, but I do need to de-clutter after all, and the biggest challenge may be this: 

magazines sah - thousands of 'em!


I bought Wargames Illustrated from issue 1 in 1987, and managed to keep buying every issue up to early 2004 - I think I have 196 of them! Mostly in binders, as you see. Now they've been in the loft for 10 years, which is not ideal as they are very heavy - I have a slight worry they may come crashing down through the ceiling one day! I need to decide what to do with them - are they actually worth keeping? Nowadays I don't tend to keep hobby magazines, I just keep cuttings of any particularly interesting articles, but in my mind these have been  a sort of totemic 'resource' which I have held on to.  However, they do take a lot of space, and they do weigh a lot - are they worth it? I am going to try to go through them, to see just how much of their contents are still of interest. I am reasonably confident that there will be quite a lot of good stuff - to my mind Duncan MacFarlane did a great job in publishing articles that reflected and encouraged original  thinking about the hobby. (only recently I was describing an AWI game using Loose Files and American Scramble by Andy Callan, which were published in  WI's first issue).  I do suspect that by the early 2000s, things had shifted towards the domination of articles giving 'a scenario for XYZ rules',  but we'll see. This could be my coffee-break reading needs sorted for many months ( or even years!) into the future.  Just for good measure, by the way, I also have nearly all of Duncan's issues of Miniature Wargames - which I think is another 50-odd magazines! 

You may have noticed that considering this is a post about de-cluttering, I haven't actually got rid of anything yet... a good point.  I do really need to reduce the number of books in the house - at some time in recent years  ( probably related to my discovery of the delights of charity shops ) the ratio of books bought to books actually read has increased way beyond where it should be. So, time for a clear-out. I wonder if anyone is interested in any of these : 

Western Desert trio

and 1914-1918

and some 'Horse and Musket'

Specifically they are : 

Campaign Series :  Operation Compass 1940  and Tobruk 1941 by Jon Latimer 

                                Jena 1806  by David G. Chandler 

Battle Orders Series: Desert Rats ( British 8th Army, North Africa 1941-43 )  by Tim Moreman

                                British Expeditionary Force 1914-15 by Bruce Gudmundsson  SOLD 

Elite Series :         World War I Trench Warfare (1) and (2) by Dr. Stephen Bull SOLD

Men at Arms Series:   Louis XIV's Army by Rene Chartrand

How about £5 each including postage  ( £4 for Louis XIV, it's slimmer ) - UK only, I'm afraid, if overseas you are probably better off buying from a proper business. It may be a bit cheaper overall if you want more than one.   Leave a comment on this post with your email address, I won't publish it but will get in touch.  

Or if you are going to be at Salute on April 22nd,  £1 less  for 'cash in hand' and the chance to put a face to the name? 

That's enough for now, coffee time, now where are those old issues of Wargames Illustrated? Keep well, everyone.  



  1. Those old magazines will keep you busy! I cleared out mine prior to a move in 2007. I ruthlessly cut out the articles i wanted to keep and threw the rest away. If I’d had a scanner handy I’d have used that.
    It’ll be interesting what you think of the article on DAIS - Dark Age Infantry Slog System!

    1. Thanks Chris, indeed the magazines are quite a challenge, but I am actually reluctant to part with them as they are a link to happy days years ago. I should probably keep the earlier ones, and maybe get rid of some later ones - indeed a scanner is a very useful tool for this! My plan is go through them and make a list of all the articles, to see what there is and to aid later searching for useful pieces. I have already done that for my 'Miniature Wargames' mags, and have thus been able to quickly find the 'Dark Age Infantry Slog' article in MW issue no.7 (no date, but from the ads it looks to have been published in summer 1983 ) - another interesting one from good ol' Andy Callan!

  2. Ah yes! Magazines the never ending curse of the wargamer! Much easier when we only had one magazine available at any given time!
    I had a clear out back at the end of the 1980s prior to yet another house move; I went through them cutting bits out and saving those that I thought were important. A large amount of Wargamer's Newsletters were left behind; this was long before OSW so no one was interested (of course later they would have fetched a fortune).
    Naturally, I've replaced them with others many times over.....

    1. Thanks Neil, gosh I'd like to have a stack of Wargamer's Newsletters! Having said that, many of them are available on-line, I think..
      Nowadays with no less than three 'mainstream' mags and a different, more 'ooh shiny' style, it doesn't seem worth keeping whole copies, and I have no qualms about taking cuttings. But for now at least, I think I will enjoy keeping and looking through my ( essentially Duncan MacFarlane ) collection of 'old school' publications.

  3. If I had an attic over the years I'd probably have my issues of Wargamers Digest, the Courier,Miniature Wargames, Wargames Illustrated and Practical Wargamer, and be spending too much time revisiting them

    Anyway, if you get to WI e23, you'll find my first published article in a real magazine.

    1. Thanks Ross, I have indeed been fortunate to have enough storage space be able to hang on to a link with my younger days. There's a slight irony in that for a lot of that period I wasn't doing any actual gaming, but I kept buying the magazines as a way of maintaining contact/interest in the hobby, and thinking 'one day I'll pick this up again'. I'm glad to say, that day has now come!
      I most certainly have WI issue 23 and I have seen your article. It obviously means a lot to you! I also acquired electronic copies of about 25 issues of Henry Hyde's 'Battlegames', where I first noted your name on several excellent articles..

    2. Well, not a great article or rules, just my first appearance in an actual magazine.

  4. Well, you’ve had a very productive dig, David!
    I tried your method of clipping interesting articles from my WI collection years ago and put them in themed folders. You know, I hardly ever go back through those folders in search of some treasure but regularly pull out an old issue of MW that did not undergo such mutilation.

    1. Thanks Jon, I think you are right! I probably look at the complete older magazines more than the recent cuttings! I think that may go to show that the more 'wordy' older style had much to offer, with more background history pieces, and discussions of mechanisms and philosophies of wargaming. Nowadays most articles seem to be 'a scenario for [ insert favoured ruleset ] or puffs for newly-published ( or 'new editions' of existing ) games. It all seems much more commercial now, I think. But maybe this is just me saying 'it was better when I was young' !

  5. I disposed of my copies of MW and WI several years ago and replaced them with the CDS that were available at the time. I do still ocasionally go back through the CDS to look for articles.

    I still have my copies of Practical Wargamer and all the Battle for Wargamers and Military Modellers I bought in the 1970s when I was starting out! Ah, Minifigs at 8p each...

    1. Thanks Mike, the CD idea is pretty good, in fact. I think that digital subscribers to 'WI' can access every edition on-line - that is quite interesting. Though I think I am glad to have these physical copies - a direct link with (happy) past days and 'now where was I living when I bought this one'? memories etc.
      I do also have my very dog-eared copies of some 'Battle for Wargamers' and 'MM' , with columns by Charles Grant, Terry Wise's 'Observation Post' , Stuart Asquith on ECW battles and Tony Bath's Hyboria series - I won't be parting with those!

  6. Prior to my last house move I went through the hundreds of magazines I had and cut out the articles that interested me. Some people lifted their hands in horror but it was interesting to see really how little I kept. I have quite a few of WI and MW on CD as well.
    Cry Havoc was a great game I still have it and some add ons and extra maps. Nice to see that derivatives of the game are still available from the Little Corporal… there comes a point in time where being practical really should be considered. It can actually be quite cathartic