Thursday, 23 June 2016

Peter Gilder and Me – Part One

                                             Peter Gilder and Me – Part One
                                                       By Paul Leniston


I first became aware of wargaming in 1969, when I discovered a copy of “Charge, or how to play wargames” in my local library.   In the reference section it mentioned Wargamers Newsletter and the address of Don Featherstone.  I subscribed to the newsletter and the rest is, as they say, history.

Through the pages of Wargamers Newsletter I first heard the name Peter Guilder.   I do not have any of my old magazines, so I have to rely on my fragile memory, so forgive me if some of the details are incorrect.    The memories are strong, the details are very weak.   He was mentioned as one of the early English wargamers who formed part of Don’s wargaming circle.  In the early 1960s there were not very many around and the few that were seemed to travel long distances to play a game.

The first magazine article I can remember would be from about 1970.   I believe it was in Miniature Warfare.   This was the first “professional” magazine I had seen.  It was printed on glossy paper and though the photographs were black and white it looked comfortable on the shelfs of my local Smiths in the High Street.   Unlike the Wargamers Newsletter, which looked like it was home printed using a type writer.

The article was “In The Grand Manner” and concerned building wargames terrain.  It used the battle of Waterloo as the example and had black and white photos of the scenery.   It was the first time I had seen this standard used for wargaming.   It looked similar to model railway scenery.  

At that time my own wargames were fought on the table or even the floor.  Whilst impressed with the article I did not for a moment imagine that I could aim for anything similar.

                                                 In the grand manner rules.

Throughout the 1970s I had served outside the UK with the British Army, and what wargames I played was with my wife.   Throughout this period we used WRG rules, and were quite happy with them.  

But in 1980 I was posted to Salisbury in Wiltshire.   I joined the Devizes wargames club and they introduced me to “In the Grand Manner” rules by Peter Guilder.   They were the Napoleonic rules that they used and if I wanted to take part I would have to use them.   I bought a copy and spend the next few months rebasing my army. 

They would remain my wargame rules of choice for the next twenty years.

                                                  Miniature Wargames.

About the same time I saw the first issue of a new magazine called Miniature Wargames in my local Smiths.   The front cover was a photo of Gilder figures in full colour.   I bought the magazine monthly, providing that they had photos of Napoleonic figures.  They usually did, and they always seemed to be from Peter Gilders collection.   They showed a standard of wargaming that seemed impossible to achieve, but which was inspiring to see.  

Even more important was an article about the Wargames Holiday Centre in Scarborough.  

To be continued……….

1 comment:

  1. Your journey in this wonderful hobby is similar to mine. I had the book by Charles Grant, Napoleonic Wargaming, with all the colour and B&W images of Gilder's collection and was totally inspired. Like you, I never thought that I could attain such quality and scale. Alas, a life time has passed and I have textured terrain boards and thousands of figures. Not a War-games Holiday Centre, but not bad. I am still devoted to his Grand Manner approach, and although I no longer use his Napoleonic and Colonial rules and have published my own big battle rules, his style is alive in my thinking. I certainly still buy his Connoisseur figures and am so pleased that Bicorne are doing such a great job of casting them to a high quality. Thanks for doing this blog....Gilder deserves this.