Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Donald Featherstone – Rest in Peace

Another very sad day yesterday, with Donald Featherstone, the father of modern wargaming, passing away. I never met Don, although his personality shone through his books which were a huge influence in my, and no doubt, many other wargamers’ lives.

From the very fine tributes from a number of other wargames bloggers this morning, I know many, many others – NateConrad, Lee, Bob, Mike and Grimsby Mariner – feel the same way.

Like many other wargamers born in the late 1960s, I grew up in the age of school wargaming clubs and the wonderful British public library system. When I think back, it’s hard to separate the two. I used to wargame at the School club on a Friday evening, and cycle down to the local public library before it shut at 7pm to swap last week’s library books around. I was very fortunate – the Hull librarians had the forethought to purchase many of Don’s books for the shelves (located somewhere around 793.3 in the duo-decimal system).   “War Games”, “Solo Wargaming”, “Advanced Wargaming”, “Skirmish Wargaming” – the list went on, and by cycling around the libraries in Hull, or using the inter-library loan exchange, I ended up reading almost them all by the time I left school.

The one which has a special place for me is “War Game Campaigns”. It’s a magnificent book, full of insight and the lure of wonderful campaigns of all sizes in different periods and places – some exotic, some close and familiar. I was simply beside myself when I bought the copy from my local library in 1988 for the princely sum of 25 pence!

I read a chapter or two now and again – sometimes for nostalgia, sometimes for inspiration, and sometimes for the sheer pleasure of reading something so clear and masterful by one of the giants of the hobby.

It’s hard to think of my hobby without Don Featherstone.

Thank you Don for helping me to build a lifetime of wargaming pleasure with my friends.

Rest in Peace.


  1. "and by cycling around the libraries in Hull, or using the inter-library loan exchange"

    Ah. THAT's why I sometimes couldn't find Ferriby's copies :D

    Nice tribute, and I share your love for War Game Campaigns.

    1. Sometimes, not often, I got as far as Ferriby, Mike! I always brought them back on time though:) Thanks, mate - War Game Campaigns is such a fine book.

  2. Nice tribute. Indeed a lifelong friendship for a man I never met.

  3. Indeed a great tribute. My introduction to his books came a bit later in life, after I had been a war-gamer already for several years. But his work helped encourage me to change direction and get into historical wargaming just at the point when I was starting to loose interest in the Fantasy/Sci-fi games I had played until then. His books gave my hobby a new lease of life and have entertained, informed and inspired me ever since.

    He will be sadly missed, but fondly remembered.

  4. Lovely tribute Sid.

    Of all his published works, it was his Wargames Campaigns that captured my imagination. I spent long hours in Birmingham Central Reference library on Saturday afternoons in the 1980s pouring through his and Charles Grants books. I think you are right for wargamers of our generation, wargaming and public libraries were inseparable.



  5. Well said Sidney. Like yourself I never met the man, but saw a few videos of interviews with him. He struck me as a very down to earth, friendly and highly informed. Really the founder of modern wargaming as we know it. Funnily I same experiece as yourself floating between the school wargames club and the public library as another child of the late 60's. RIP Don.

  6. Nice post, great blog, following :)

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  8. Good tribute señor Roundwood, to the father of modern wargaming. Well known also in our little corner here in South Europe, specially for those of us with greing hair... Descanse en paz

  9. Great tribute, Sid. It is a sad day, but his life has made so many people happy.

  10. Great tribute, Sid. I too would get Don's books from the local library, a fitting tribute to the grandfather of wargaming. Sadly missed.

  11. A lovely tribute. I also haunted the local library, keen to get my juvenile hands on copies of the wargaming books, of which Don's were the most sought-after. He'll be sadly missed.

  12. Many thanks to you all for commenting. Yesterday was a sad day, although mixed with great memories of reading Don's books. It has been great to read your own blogs, and the comments of many other wargamers on TMP and various groups and forums, and see that we share so many experiences and that the giants of the hobby (Messrs. Featherstone, Grant, Tarr, Gilder, Griffiths, Bath, Quarrie, Beck and many others) who have passed away have left a fine and strong legacy. May they all rest in peace.

  13. A great writer and a brave soldier has passed.




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