The late Donald Featherstone’s 102nd Birthday

Today would have been the late Donald Featherstone’s birthday, born 20 March 1918.

Happy Birthday Don! You changed lots of lives (of mostly men of a certain age).

To celebrate this year, I bought reprints through the History of Wargaming Project of two of Donald’s classic books that I had not read for years:

Previously on Donald Featherstone’s birthday last year 2019:

And how to celebrate his centenary or his birthday in 2018:

This is how it all started for me as a boy with Don’s book from the branch library, the very copy that I bought when it was sold off.

Boyhood Airfix, boyhood copy of War Games … still have them. Picture from:

War Games being the source of my favourite rules, Featherstone’s simplest rules in its Appendix ‘Close Wars’:

Happy Birthday, Donald Featherstone.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 20 March 2020.

13 thoughts on “The late Donald Featherstone’s 102nd Birthday”

  1. Happy Birthday indeed! A pioneer of the hobby whose influence can indeed be still found today in the hobby. It is splendid that you were able to buy the copy you enjoyed, so fitting. I have been lucky over the years with local library sales with some children’s books becoming family favourites after being bought in such a sale. I have also got books for me too. I like the piece of paper inside showing when they were taken out.
    You purchases will come in handy very much when distractions become important and the role of blogs to communicate within the hobby is increased. I am a fan of Monty Don ( his books as well as tv) and I see Gardeners World returns to television tonight , a familiar figure at a strange time in our country. I think Don Featherstone’s books will have that important comforting,familiar,inspiring role for us hobby folk too.


    1. I know several older / retired men in the self isolated category whose main hobby or social club was sport and /or the pub; they are now reportedly already seriously bored and listless. I’m not sure even the tiny tin men could help them …

      We have much to thank one Don for, and await the imminent return of another Don.

      Blogging and other hobbies from home will be a great comfort to many over the next few weeks and months (especially knowing that mail order / online shopping to top up hobby supplies still works for now) as will the return of Monty Don.
      I have enjoyed his garden travels around the world, more so than foodie travels of other TV presenters. I like the railway travels programmes as well, good as armchair travel and a glimpse of other cultures (for an armchair general). Some great BBC4 docs or BBC archive on Indian and perilous Indian Mountain Railways.
      As the Don would say, Enjoy your Garden. The alpine trough or bowl looked good, although something small scale people such as the Alpini seemed to be missing?
      I am now imagining a world where Tabletop or Wargamer’s World was on Friday evening with a game Monty Don Featherstone presenter led us through simple tasks like flocking and basing … then we all headed for the hobby centre with its cafe to stock up on the weekend …


  2. Another nice tribute Mark. Alan has summed things up very well – take comfort in the familiar when everything is becoming so strange.


    1. War Games 1962 is my Little Wars my touchstone bask to basics litany that becomes the more special the more familiar it becomes. Shame there is no Donald Featherstone reads his own books audio book.
      Never has Don and his hobby been more important in these restricted confined times.
      Keep well. Mark


    1. Thanks Steve for the pointer to this website – this is a fantastic resource, especially in these self-isolating times.

      I am lucky to have 1969 complete of Wargamers Newsletter but I see you already to have this to scan.


  3. Happy belated birthday to the doyen of wargaming.

    I am presently reading and experimenting with one of his regimental-level rulesets that might even be small and simple enough for you, Mark. It appears in his books on Peninsular War and American Revolution gaming, as well as “Lost Tales.” Natholeon’s blog has a cut-down version of it for the ACW and Napoleonics. Basically each regiment is a few bases, which are not removed during play. Instead, the game focuses on morale, with “hit points” tracked and lost when the unit is defeated or routed. You roll against a single chart denoting chances of, say, a line of regular infantry against cavalry at short range. Add all the units up, and when half your total points are gone, the battle is over.

    It may be a happy medium between workability and gaming crunch for school/library purposes.


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