Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Gog and Magog - My Personal Holy Grail Of Wargaming

A long time ago, in a student union not at all too far away...

'Gaming', as I understand it...

Dave suggested that I get this book.
He was right, and I've never looked back.

Gog and Magog; W. Britain's #1264 (left) and #1215 (right).

Quite some time ago,  Dave Arneson advised me to get a copy of H. G. Well's "Little Wars"; I did, and I've never regretted it. Besides being a fun way to play in it's own right, it also has some very good ideas on how to run campaigns - echos of that can be found in my own set of rules, "Qadardalikoi".

Even longer ago, I used to be taken to see my relatives in the Twin Cities for the Thanksgiving holiday. One of the very high points of those trips was a visit to the Dayton's Department Store, where they had an entire city-block-sized floor as the Toy Department. A large portion of this huge space was devoted to Toy Soldiers. Britain's and Elastolin's predominated, and to this historically-minded youngster just to see the siege towers, artillery, soldiers of all times and all places, and some of the most amazing toys that one could imagine was the very best thing that I could ever do.

Decades later, I managed to get a couple of Elastolin items - a siege tower and a catapult, both with working parts - but by then Britain's figures and equipment were out of production. So, while I really enjoyed reading "Little Wars" and hearing about Gary's sand table games, I never expected to see my very own Holy Grain of Wargaming again. Too many years had passed, too many other calls on my time and energy, and I never thought that my fifty-three-year quest would ever end.

That changed, this past week. As I've remarked on occasion, this year will mark our 30th wedding anniversary; I've hired some very good painters, who happen to be friends of mine, to paint Herself's "Dr. Who" and "Elfquest" miniatures - the ones I had bought for her thirty-two years ago, when we were courting. They had never gotten painted, or even based; too many years had passed, too many other calls on our time and resources. This past year has changed all that, and now her miniatures are getting painted by people who are long-time fans of the same things that she is.

Which leads us to two 4.7" Naval Guns, Mounted For Land Service. W. Britian's first started selling these in the first part of the last century, and were a big feature of Wells' "Little Wars". they were made up until the early 1980s or so, and in four different versions. Gog and Magog are the two legendary giants that protect the City of London, and I've borrowed their names for my battery. Gog, catalog #1215, is the second version of the 4.7 and was cast between 1915 and 1930 or so; Magog, catalog #1264, is the third version and looks to have been cast between 1930 and 1939. You can see the fourth version at Gary Cons, where Paul Stormberg puts on a "Little Wars" game to great applause and enjoyment.

To me, this pair of toy cannon evokes a spirit of fun and enjoyment that I experienced with both Dave Arneson and Phil Barker. We had a lot of fun in those far-off games, and I try to keep doing that in my games today. They mean a lot to me, evoking memories of games played and friends gone.

Enter The Missus, Queen Of The Internet. These are her thirtieth anniversary present to me.

Thank you, my love, from me and all my friends.

[Important Safety Warning!!! These two toys fire wooden dowels at very high speeds, and are not to be fired without due caution; they shot the heads off a lot of metal toy soldiers, back in the day, and safety glasses should be issued to anyone at the game table before letting fly with these guns. Seriously. Have fun, but be careful!!!]


  1. What a wonderful 30th anniversary present! Lucky you, Chirine.

    The Missus totally rocks!ūü§ėūüėé

  2. Congrats to both of you! To many more years! :)

  3. Happy anniversary! Lovely memories!

  4. That is completely awesome! True love, on both sides. :-)