I’ve always thought it’s nice to know the history of where things have come from. Being introduced to gaming in the 1990 through GW, it was only much later I learned of the long list of older gamers who had really paved the way. As such I’ve been trying to build up my own library (mainly through ebay and 2nd hand shops) of the books I missed in my youth.
As I’ve my interest is aviation history has been with me as long as I can remember when I heard this volume was being republished I picked a copy up. Subtitled ‘Wargaming Aerial Warfare 1914- 1975, Revised Edition’ it has been heavily reworked by John Curry. rather than being a single set of rules it is a compendium of ideas that you can slot in as you see fit. It is evident from when it was written that rules didn’t always feature air attacks so there is a fair bit on adding ground attacks to your games. Today it is rare for a game above skirmish level that doesn’t include such rules already built in. Rather than the common aircraft on a stick that you see in practically every game Featherstone here advocated stringing a net or at least a few wires above the table and then suspending the aircraft from them. I don’t know how popular that method was at the time but is certainly hasn’t lasted.
The biggest difference from when the book was first written, 1966, is the number of different scales that model aircraft come in that simply weren’t around those decades ago. The smaller scales allow people to play big air war games on a smallish table rather than having to use a garden or large hall. It is to this end that the heavy revision makes good: expanded notes on the availability of models, and commercial games as well as three mini games added as appendices bring the book up to date. I wouldn’t go as far to say that the book is definitive but the additions certainly make it still relevant. (As something of an aside if the book was reworked to be definitive it would not be Donald Featherstone’s work, as such what revision has been added has been done very sympathetically.) The sections of weather in air games will be making an appearance in my own games and the Fletcher Pratt game certainly requires some more investigating.
Overall a fascinating look back at the history and origins of many sets of rules with enough material in it to be worthwhile today.