Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Donald Featherstone (1918-2013)

Although I've yet to get a confirmation outside of message boards, it appears that Donald Featherstone passed away on Tuesday.

Mr Featherstone was of the godfathers, if not THE godfather of modern wargaming.  Thousands of players, young and old, played out battles using his rules when the only available figures were essesntially model kits from your local hobby shop. 

Why is he so important?  Plenty of men wrote a pile of books on our obscure little hobby, except his were actually in libraries, opening up a world to whatever person happened upon it... and they are still there today.  We may see a few random D&D books or classic graphic novels on the shelves, but essentially his War Games is as complete a set of rules as the average person needs (notwithstanding the Advanced War Games, War Games Campaigns, etc that he also wrote).

It can be said, without stretching the details, that if H.G. Wells Little Wars allowed Featherstone's War Games, allowing for the proliferation of wargaming, and creating a much larger and hospitable environment for D&D. *

Wikipedia Page

*Gary Gygax had been playing historical boardgames and miniatures during this time period as well, but without the growth and exposure of the hobby, those first 1,000 copies of the D&D boxed set may have gathered, or even worse, still been a pipe dream.

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