Stealth’s Take on Close Little Wars


Following up my post about Jen B’s version of Featherstone’s Close Wars Rules, fellow games blogger Stealth contacted me to say that he had been playing around with his own variant of Donald Featherstone’s simple Close Wars rules.

These were first published in Don’s appendix to War Games (1962) and Stealth had been looking at my variants Close Little Wars.

Here is Stealth’s variant are in detail for you to peruse:

and his classic first wargames minis are first version 1960s tiny Airfix figure conversions, always a charming joy to see

Stealth’s rules have a slight D & D influence or feel (see his other blogs) in that carrying or capturing crates forms part of the victory conditions, scoring and scenarios. Interesting idea for ambushing a supply column etc.

I hope you find something of rules variants interest here. I enjoy seeing how people adapt and tinker, go back to basics and then elaborate a bit more.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on 16 June 2019.


4 thoughts on “Stealth’s Take on Close Little Wars”

  1. Interesting that you see a DnD influence. Something like this might work with fantasy figures or even as an RPG scenario. Since I roleplay at work with kids… and recently read a Blood Bowl novel where the crate-objectives randomly *explode*… (goes off to tinker with scenario, evil laughter)


    1. The ‘crates’ game mechanic thing would work with the Scout Wide Games Project I am working where crates and boxes are given various roles under the “cloak of romance” (loot, bomb, secret equipment, treasure etc)
      As for exploding crates, this would be a great umpire random or card driven chance mechanic.
      There is no stylised glorified violence in Blood Bowl or in American football or roller derby either that many millions of people watch.


      1. Jennifer, there is indeed some D&D influence bleeding into everything I make, as I was involved in that hobby for a decade before expanding my interests to wargaming at large. Exploding crates is not something I had considered… until now. My initial thought with the crates was to give the players another thing to do aside from shoot the other side. An early draft of my variant rules featured score only being gained for crates retrieved. Perhaps when a crate is first touched by a soldier, it explodes a certain percentage of the time.

        I think any of our variant rules for Close Little Wars could be easily adapted for a more fantasy or swords/bows type play. Give melee units a bonus to boost success in close combat, and switch the mentions of “guns” to bows should do the trick as a quick fix. Probably some guidelines as to how many melee and bowman units should be on each side is a good thing to think on as well…

        I had no idea Man of Tin was going to go ahead and feature it on his blog. I’m honored sir! Many thanks.


      2. Stealth
        Pleased to feature your ideas or responses to my past blog posts / games. Sometimes really good ideas or discussions worth blogging about get buried deep away in comments so it’s worth turning some into a post that all can share.
        Regarding the fantasy swords / bows type elements, again it’s easy to source and convert cheap plastic figures. I was pleased to see that Donald Featherstone did feature a space sci-fi scenario and a fantasy scenario in his recent second Edition of Skirmish Wargaming compiled / reprinted with John Curry’s History of Wargaming Project books.
        What else is his ancient war game rules in War Games (1962, same book that Close Wars is the appendix to) working with Tony Bath than a fantasy ancients game linked to Tony’s pioneering Hyborian Campaign. Reprints of War Games and of Tony’s Hyborian campaign material are around at History of Wargaming and elsewhere.
        Using natives and troopers, I add in bows and spears as range weapons reflecting Featherstone’s original colonial or French Indian Wars setting for Close Wars. Maybe some “muskets and tomahawks” Thpe natives were envisaged.
        Presumably once a spear is thrown, that is single use, which is why many spear carriers from Romans onwards carried a second weapon (short spear / bow / sword / club etc)? Partly it depends what figures you have available.


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