Early 1963 Featherstone rules update

featherstone-3Recently I uploaded a set of early 1963 Donald Featherstone rules  from his 1963 book Tackle Model Soldiers This Way that several WW2 gamers were interested in.


I noticed today a reference to these 1963 simple rules in Stuart Asquith’s interesting article in Lone Warrior’s free download articles. It has the wonderful article title of Comfortable Wargaming (now there’s a book I would buy if it had a title like that!):


It’s his Hook’s Farm / Little Wars style adaptation  of Donald Featherstone’s 1963 Horse and Musket rules, adapted and made freely available with Featherstone’s permission. Well worth downloading and like the article, back to basics, simple stuff. Delightful!

As Asquith concludes, “If you want to shell out around £30 for a set of rules, then feel free, but you know, you really don’t have to – don’t worry about phases or factors, go back to simple enjoyment.”

Posted by Mark, Man of TIN blog, October 2016.



8 thoughts on “Early 1963 Featherstone rules update”

  1. Food for thought, like so much of Stuart’s writing. Having entered the hobby c1970 I initially had many of the same sources for inspiration but almost immediately influenced, tainted some might say, by the more “technical” approach of wrg and various US games and magazines and have never been able to fully shed either influence nor fully synthesize them.

    If I’m around and alert in 20 years it’ll be interesting to hear the nostalgia of those introduced to the hobby during the 1980’s and 90’s.

    Meanwhile, I should really give Don’s approach another go.


    1. Ross
      Glad you enjoyed Stuart Asquith’s Comfortable Wargaming article as much as I did.

      I think everyone, as Donald Featherstone says in his early works, develops their own rules and playing style to suit their temperament, influenced by the times they are in and what’s in the bookshop / modelshop.

      Without cheap Airfix, and Donald Featherstone, maybe many people would never have begun wargaming. Maybe a statue of a large Airfix figure should be erected somewhere – but which figure? That would take ages or be impossible to agree.

      There should in an ideal world also be a large statue of Donald Featherstone (in shirt and tie of course). But not made out of bronze – Made out of lead graveyard scrap melted down toy soldiers? Carved out of sand, coloured with distemper? Or modelled out of a pile of His books? I think to be fair he would rather have his Memorial as the tournament / cup which exists and thousands of happy gamers worldwide.

      I wonder what Don would have made of websites and blogs if they had happened earlier in his career? Compared to the reprograthic slog of printing and posting out Wargamers Newsletter / Digest …

      This huge variety of rules obviously has pitfalls at club and tournament level but “this is our house, this is our rules” as the well known strategist and philosopher Miley Cyrus observes in We Can’t Stop (another good retro cover version on YouTube by Postmodern Jukebox!)

      In some ways I don’t have the choice, my brain is just not “technical” or mathematical enough, so I cannot get my head round modern games systems, card systems, D&D and to be fair could never understand most of the family card games either.

      I think what I really enjoy / understand is the short sharp low level platoon / skirmish slugging match with an interesting background narrative (that could become a campaign if I put in some effort). It suits my available time and attention span. It also suits my “Wargames Butterfly” or “Wargames Flutterby” nature of flitting between periods and scales, between vintage nostalgia metals / plastics versus pound store plastic tat, too much to stick to one system like Bolt Action or the like, even if I understood it.
      If I ever register another blog when I run out of my free 3GB photo space it will probably be called Wargames Butterfly / Flutterby if not already taken.(I checked Mike Hobbs from the Meeples and Miniatures podcast team took thus title ages ago …)

      Each very much to his own …

      Having recently read the online archive scanned copy of Little Wars I am repeatedly impressed by how much H G Wells influenced early Featherstone, FE Perry etc,.

      Stuart Asquith’s short books were /are always interesting and well worth rereading. Good to see him still involved, still enthusiastic and commenting on Bob Cordery’s blog this week.

      Interesting thought – I wonder what the Eighties and Nineties converts and indeed the games system Noughties and the Teenies joiners will reminisce about? Well we can just look back through what survives in the blogosphere if anything.

      I began actively solo gaming as an older child in the late 70s, so am technically a 70s / 80s convert but one whose gaming roots remain stuck in the early 60s with what was available in the library. I keep resetting to my “War Games” Groundhog Day somewhere between 1962 and the early Airfix 1970s.

      I’d be interested to hear what you think /like /miss when you take a trip back to the early Featherstone 1960s rules.

      This reply keeps wanting to turn into a blog article by itself …

      Back to a holiday afternoon of “Flocking and Basing” afresh more of my old Peter Laing figures onto single figure stands. It’s quite Zen really …

      Regards, Mark, Man of TIN blog.


  2. Once again, great minds think alike. I was reading this the other day, and got to thinking that I ought to reacquire some of these classic books. Fortunately some of them have been reprinted. I was interested by the section on favorite scenarios. I had the oddest idea about how many times Hooks Farm has been refought, and also if anyone has played the scenario with different periods? As always, if I can’t find it, I assume I’m the first one to think about it!


    1. Stephen
      I don’t know how often and how many eras and scales Hook’s Farm scenario has been attempted – I should think lots – but I know some people who possibly would!

      Why not post the question on the Little Wars thread on Mike Lewis’ 54mm Little Wars Revisited pro boards forum?

      Best wishes, Mark Man of TIN blog


  3. I can’t remember if I mentioned this before (my memory is defective), but I have realized how close these WW2 rules are to Joseph Morschauser’s modern rules (published now by John Curry). The basing of units and rolls to kill are very familiar. Sadly I am still no closer to trying these rules. Stupid distractions keep cropping up (work, family, elections and Armageddon). Maybe soon?


  4. Hello Stephen
    I think we all get periods when the rest of life gets in the way of hobbies but this is probably what keeps this time fresh. Never make you hobby your job was the wise advice of my late dad. If you do, get a new hobby …

    I haven’t had a chance in the last few weeks to test the tanks bits of these ww2 rules out again, although I have been reading Bob Cordery’s Wargaming Miscellany old blog sections about Morschauser grid wargaming. Fascinating stuff.

    Playing mostly platoon level infantry games, small scale, short range, small board stuff, I don’t usually have any armour AFVs. Peter Laing sadly didn’t make any WW2 15mm armour although plenty of people have since made 15mm vehicles.

    Despite a Heath Robinson interest in the very earliest nineteen thirties and early WWII tanks, the only armour I have is the old Airfix solid plastic tanks Shermans Tigers etc in 00/HO but these should suffice for a test game with the lovely old 1960s vintage airfix 1:72/76 figures.
    Hopefully you’ll get some more gaming time soon!
    Mark, Man of TIN blog.


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