Saturday, November 21, 2015

Classic Wargame Rules Free

Here is a page with downloadable copies of old Wargames Research Group rules. These are on the WRG website and are offered by the publishers free. There is also the history of the Wargames research group. Includes the older Ancients rules, World War II, and Horse and Musket eras. The re are also downloads of their popular DBA ancients rules. Find them here:
Some of these rule sets are long out of print.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Review: Fighting Techniques of the Ancient World

I just finished reading Fighting Techniques of the Ancient World. 3000 BC - 500 ad Equipment, Combat Skills and Tactics. It was very informative and a pleasure to read. I did not have to flip back and forth to other references and such, which is often a problem with this type of book. The material was presented with the reader in mind. The excellent text was supported with copious illustrations.
Good examples were chosen to reflect the different types of warfare in this era. The reader can easily follow the evolution of warfare from the most ancient times to the end of the Roman Empire. The book took on this vast subject in sections: Infantry, Cavalry, Command and Control, Siege Warfare and Naval Warfare. The various types of troops and maneuvers were discussed, as were advances and changes in battle techniques. Readers get more than an overview, yet are spared mind-numbing minutiae.
Fighting Techniques of the Ancient World covers the tactical and strategic levels of combat. If you want to get a feel for warfare in the Ancient era from start to finish, this book will do it for you. You may also find it a good starting point from which to look more deeply into specific conflicts and nations.
There is very little on individual fighting techniques.
I have a few of these books, but only had time to read one other in this series. Fighting Techniques of the Colonial Era covered warfare from the time of the American Revolution into the early 20th Century. It was also very readable, dealing with everything from Colonial revolutions to warfare in exotic places. The places included North and South America, Asia and Africa. A great variety, indeed, but fascinating.
I recommend both books, if only for their readability. I still have two to read: Fighting Techniques of the Oriental World and Fighting Techniques of the Medieval World.
Next book in the slot: Warfare in the Classical World by John Warry. This book has been waiting on the shelf for a while. I hope to get a different viewpoint of Ancient Warfare.
My first uniform book for the Ancient times is Weapons and Warriors 3000Bc to 1500 AD by Niels Saxtorph. I bought it almost 40 years ago. Like many of the old Blandford uniform books, it gives a pretty good look at the various armies of the era. Granted, there are a few small errors, such as the Viking chief in horned helmet. However, it is overall a very interesting work with great illustrations. (The Dark Ages 600 to 1066 by Ian Heath is another good one, though it covers the end of the Roman Empire to the Battle of Hastings. I bought it about the same time.)
Another good overview of uniforms is Arms and Uniforms vol I - Ancient Egypt to the 18th Century by L & F Funcken. In fact, many of its drawings look to have been improved and used in Saxtorph’s work. The coverage of the Ancient era is excellent. (They goofed on the Vikings, by the way. Obviously, I have a lot of books on Vikings.)
One that arrived recently is An Illustrated Encyclopedia of The Uniforms of the Roman World. It is one of several of the Encyclopedia of Uniforms series. The series itself is a mixed bag, and the "Encyclopedia" part is not quite accurate. The Roman book covers from the time of Horatio at the Gates to the later years of the Byzantine Empire. The illustrations are beautiful, though purists claim that there are a few inaccuracies. For those interested in the appearances of troops, armies and enemies of the Roman era, this is a good resource.