The Crazy Breed Known as Wargamers 1979

“I have an interest in war as a hobby as I am one of the crazy breed known as wargamers … more interested in uniforms and tactics than in death.”

Another “crazy” excuses to put in a picture of a Featherstone ACW war game …

Radio 1 Mailbag 1979 – Wargames

Radio 1 Mailbag BBC Radio 1 England, 7 November 1979 19.00
Appears in Radio Times, Issue 2921, 1 November 1979, Page 68
Synopsis: Anne Nightingale features listeners’ letters on almost any subject.

A recent letter expressed the following views:
“I have an interest in war as a hobby as I am one of the crazy breed known as wargamers. (We play with toy soldiers using complex rules to recreate the intricacies of battle.) People may find our hobby morbid but we are more interested in the history of war (a very important part of our heritage) and not in killing.”

“Our style of fighting has the advantage that at the end of the battle the armies are packed away on to shelves, all living to fight another day whilst there are no metal or plastic widows to write to. We treat our hobby responsibly, being more interested in uniforms and tactics than in death.”
Programme Producer SIMON MAJOR. Send your problems, comments, questions and criticisms to: Radio 1 Mailbag BBC …      (November 1979)

BBC Written Archives source:

I found this whilst researching Donald Featherstone’s radio talks. It ends much in the same sentiment as Featherstone that whilst real war is no game,  that war gaming leaves no lead widows or orphans and there is no one braver than a lead  soldier.

“Herein is contained the basic material in the form of rules and advice that will enable very enjoyable games to be carried on, with no bloodshed , widows, orphans or nuclear weapons …”

“The hobby and its players have done much to enrich the life of the author … War games have brought a glimpse of pageantry and colour to the lives of their adherents, and put a merciful glamour over war, thus giving it a quality that it has never deserved and which, in the light of modern events, it is never likely to achieve.”

Preface to War Games (1962/1970) Donald Featherstone

In terms of  its pop style (“crazy breed”) and the choice of Radio 1 as a station it appears to be a letter written by a young person of school or student age, obviously concerned with both proudly promoting and defending the hobby.

I wonder whether there is now an ageing gamer who remembers writing this letter to the Radio 1 Mailbag?

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN 29 March 2018

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