Happy 104th Birthday Donald Featherstone in the 60th Anniversary year of War Games (1962)

Daily Herald March 21 1961article – almost a nice 43rd birthday present for the Don.

Happy Birthday Donald Featherstone!

One of two birthday posts for Donald Featherstone, this one exploring Featherstone’s written views on playing at war in War Games published in May 196, so in its 60th anniversary year (the subject of my other birthday post on my Man of TIN blog). https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2022/03/20/donald-featherstone-war-games-published-60-years-ago-this-may-1962/

This links neatly to why or how I have been pursuing gentler DMZ demilitarised tabletop gaming with some non-lethal games, the events in the Ukraine and Eastern Europe being as they sadly are.

I’m sure Donald Featherstone would understand; being a Tank regiment veteran who had fought in Italy, he would have been all too familiar with the scenes of pointless destruction we see from the Ukraine.

Donald Featherstone was writing in the Cold War period, publishing his first book War Games in a nuclear age and in the year of the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962).

Featherstone shows awareness in War Games of the criticism that some had (and continue to have) of recreating war on the tabletop as a game or hobby.

Appropriately for a young soldier who went off to WW2 with H.G. Wells’ Little Wars in his backpack, Featherstone chose a quote from the end section of Little Wars

Nothing wrong or unethical about playing with “Cowboys and Indians” then, obviously in the late 1940s or 1962.

His preface also features similar sentiments:

And again in his first chapters, he makes his “No Lead Orphans” and “None Braver than a toy soldier” points.

I shall end with another favourite Featherstone quote on the relaxation of a hands-on hobby:

“The pleasure does not begin and end with the actual playing of the war-game. There are many pleasant hours to be spent in making model soldiers, painting them, constructing terrain, carrying out research into battles, tactics and uniforms …”

Donald Featherstone, War Games 1962. Wise words indeed!

A short interview with Don recorded by John Curry https://youtu.be/3GNfOhnQvMI

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 20 March 2022

Previous birthday anniversary posts:





4 thoughts on “Happy 104th Birthday Donald Featherstone in the 60th Anniversary year of War Games (1962)”

  1. This book has had a great influence on my life since I first came across it in the school library 54 years ago .


    1. War Games I found in the branch library, The War Game by Charles Grant in our middle school library a little later aged about 12/13.
      I like the photographs in the Grant volume of these unobtainable figures especially of the buildings built with the damaged ones inside – very clever. The Featherstone one made far more of an impact on me, not least because of the simple rules, the style of writing and the use of Airfix figures.


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