The War Game

Wargame Rules Review

The War Game, by Charles Grant.

War games existed in ancient China, but the modern version first appeared in a basic form in nineteenth-century Germany. Since then the fascination of the war game has led to the formation of groups in many town in Britain and the United States. An inexpensive pastime, one of the greatest satisfactions it gives is the realistic re-creation of the conditions of the time. The rules are therefore simple to follow but do ensure that a player operates under the same conditions, in miniature, as did his counterpart general of years before.

Brigadier Young, in his Foreword, puts Charles Grant in the front rank of those who have developed the war game in Britain. A meticulous researcher, he is constantly seeking greater realism in his war games, many of the resultant innovations being included in this book. He frequently appears on radio and TV and in the press talking about war games on which, in the words of the Daily Express, he is Britain’s foremost expert. The reader is taken through the use of the basic troops to more sophisticated war-gaming techniques, and valuable chapters on buildings, terrain etc are also included. There is a list of the major suppliers of equipment, a bibliography and an index.


  • Title: The War Game
  • Period: 18th Century
  • Type: Tactical Wargame
  • Time Scale: 1 turn = 1 minute
  • Ground Scale: 1:360 (1 inch = 10 yards)
  • Troop Scale: 1 figure = 12 men
  • Firing Ranges
    • Cannon: 60 inches = 600 yards / 549 m
    • Howitzer: 50 inches = 500 yards / 457 m
    • Canister: 12 inches = 120 yards / 110 m
    • Musket: 18 inches = 180 yards / 165 m
  • Author: Charles Grant
  • Format: 191-page rule book
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Adam & Charles Black, London
  • Published: 1971


  1. Introduction
  2. The Basic Requirements
  3. Infantry, both Line and Light
  4. Cavalry
  5. Musketry
  6. The Mêlée
  7. More about the Mêlée
  8. Artillery: the Roundshot
  9. Artillery: the Shell
  10. Artillery: Canister
  11. Morale
  12. Action!
  13. Something about Troops
  14. More about Artillery
  15. Buildings in Attack and Defence
  16. Final Points Concerning Artillery
  17. The Battle of Mollwitz
  18. Mollwitz: the Narrative
  19. The Construction of Terrain
  20. The Effect of Terrain
  21. The Use of Maps
  22. More about Maps
  23. Pioneers and their Duties
  24. River Transport
  25. Campaign Casualties
  26. Campaign Recruiting and Replacement
  27. The Battle of Bunker Hill
  28. Marlburian Warfare
  29. War Game Figures and Equipment

Introduction to Wargaming

The War Game is an in-depth introduction to wargaming, providing the reader a unique behind-the-scenes look of wargame design. In every well-written chapter of the book, Charles Grant explains the mathematics, historical research, and elements of human nature on which his compelling wargame rules are based. The chapters are fun and easy to read, and there are 65 illustrations to inspire the reader. The photos of Charles Grant’s well-painted regiments of the Vereinigte Freie Städte and the Grand Duchy of Lorraine are particularly impressive. Infantry, cavalry, and artillery rules, firing and melee procedures are briefly summarized at the end of every chapter, and they are so easy to memorize, that little reference to the book will be required during a game.

Big Battalions

In The War Game the size of a miniature infantry battalion or cavalry regiment is based on the actual frontage covered by the historical counterpart of the unit in question. According to the Prussian Reglement of 1743, infantry battalions had 570 musketeers formed in three ranks of 190 men each. Charles Grant calculates the battalion frontage of 190 men standing shoulder to shoulder as 125 yards, or 12.5 inches on the wargame table, and he deploys 48 figures in two ranks of 24 men to occupy this space. The resulting figure scale of approximately 1:12 can be used to scale down other formations for the wargame table. Charles Grant calls the 48-figure infantry battalion a regiment, presumably because battalion-sized units of the British army were designated Regiment of Foot during this period of warfare. In addition to the 48 musketeers, every infantry regiment has a mounted colonel and four subaltern officers to lead it in battle. Cavalry regiments, and light infantry battalions have a strength of 24 figures, with four and three officers, respectively. Artillery batteries are represented by two guns, served by three officers and eight gunners.

Old School Wargaming

The War Game by Charles Grant, now well nearly 40 years old, has become a classic over time. While there are more sophisticated and detailed wargame rules on the market today, thousands of experienced wargamers have returned to The War Game for the fun and the visual appeal of this game.

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