Home Forums General General Desmond Bagley Wargamer

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  • #113310
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    Earlier today I had one of those senior moments – not the ones where you forget why you are sitting at a computer (or ‘what is this thing I am sat in front of?’) but the slightly odder sensation of half a memory.

    I remembered a book I had read many years ago as light relief from the rigours of doing a law degree. I remembered it had a model railway in it and the railway operation manual ran the trains in certain ways in and out of extensive sidings. (Spoiler alert! – It was massive analogue computer program). But could I remember who wrote it or what it was called?

    Google could.

    It was ‘The Enemy’ by Desmond Bagley.

    I wouldn’t bother reading it if I were you, I don’t have very fond memories – it was just an annoying flashback rather than an urge to relive the experience.

    However on wikipedia it said Bagley had been a wargamer. I presumed this was a cock up and they were confused with Gavin Lyall, a thriller writer from the same era, who definitely was a wargamer.

    And then I found this:

    Library of Desmond Bagley

    Which makes it pretty clear that Bagley owned lots of classic wargaming books, had read Little Wars early in his life and had returned to active wargaming when he was a successful author.

    Anyone battled against him?

    #113311
    Paul
    Participant

    Huh, thats cool. I really like Wyatts Hurricane and The Spoilers, so nice to know he was a wargamer.

    Those are brave men knocking at our door. Let's go kill them!

    #113312
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    I remember going through a phase of reading lots of his books (and Lyall’s and Maclean’s and Innes’) and enjoying most of them. Undemanding good guy/bad guy stuff with some dubious social attitudes in some places – like James Bond et al I suppose, products of their time.

    I’m not sure why it’s nice to know he was a wargamer, but it is.

    #113313
    Russell Phillips
    Participant

    I didn’t realise Gavin Lyall was a wargamer. I enjoyed his Harry Maxim books. I don’t think I’ve read any Desmond Bagley, and probably won’t be, now 😉

    Military history author
    Website : Twitter : Facebook

    #113353
    jeffers
    Participant

    Gavin Lyall wrote Operation Warboard. You must be a youngster, Russell!

    More nonsense on my blog: http://battle77.blogspot.com/

    #113367
    Russell Phillips
    Participant

    It’s been a while since anyone called me a youngster. It was my 49th birthday yesterday.

    I just looked it up, and apparently Operation Warboard was published in 1976, when I was six, so yes, before my time 🙂

    I have read some of the classic wargaming books. Charles Grant’s Battle was my introduction to wargaming, and I borrowed several Donald Featherstone books from the library in the 1980s. This one had passed my by, though.

    Military history author
    Website : Twitter : Facebook

    #113395
    jeffers
    Participant

    Happy Birthday – but you’re still a youngster to me! I was 10 in 1976. Well, for the latter half anyway. I actually read it in the mid eighties, but bought one of John Curry’s reprints last year. Wouldn’t use them myself, but a fascinating read with some good ideas.

    More nonsense on my blog: http://battle77.blogspot.com/

    #113402
    Guy Farrish
    Participant

    I was doing that law degree in 1976 (nearly finished it!).

    See what I mean about ‘senior moment’?

    Don’t let my comments put anyone off reading Bagley – some of his stuff was very good – my comments about the social attitudes apply to most thriller writers ofthe era, and they were nowhere near as offensive as some of the comedians around at the time!

     

    PS Belated Happy Birthday Russell

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by Guy Farrish.
    #113499

    It’s been a while since anyone called me a youngster. It was my 49th birthday yesterday. I just looked it up, and apparently Operation Warboard was published in 1976, when I was six, so yes, before my time 🙂 I have read some of the classic wargaming books. Charles Grant’s Battle was my introduction to wargaming, and I borrowed several Donald Featherstone books from the library in the 1980s. This one had passed my by, though.

    Russ, ‘Operation Warboard’ was our leg up from Charles Grant’s ‘Battle’ when it was first published, we still use ’em today. It’s an entertaining read and has a great set of KISS Principle rules, which were perfect for us as thick young idiots, and even better today… now we’re thick old idiots!

     

    "Wot did you do in the war Grandad?"

    "I was with Harry... At The Bridge!"

    #113511
    Russell Phillips
    Participant

    Operation Warboard sounds intriguing. I’m increasingly a fan of simpler rules, and my kids are starting to show an interest, as long as the rules aren’t too complex.

    Military history author
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    #113531
    jeffers
    Participant

    Lionel Tarr’s rules are worth a look too. Oddly, I actually gamed a few times with his mate, Carl Reavely in about 1984/85.  I find old books & rules more inspirational than modern stuff.

    If you want something for the kids, my daughter had a blast thrashing me with Neil Thomas One Hour Rifle & Sabre rules when she was eight. Nine periods’ worth of rules in the book and 30 scenarios. Armies are four to six units, depending on the scenario. Great for starters (or simple rules for big games…).

    More nonsense on my blog: http://battle77.blogspot.com/

    #113710
    Russell Phillips
    Participant

    I’ve got One Hour Wargames, and have played the WWII rules with my son. I’ve also played Panzer Kids with my son (11) and daughter (7). They’ve both enjoyed it, but we struggle to find the time to play.

    Military history author
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