Titles that are related to wargaming (not necessarily design) and often with a focus on the history of the profession/hobby.
Antal, John F., Armor Attacks: An Interactive Exercise in Small-Unit Tactics & Leadership, Novato: Presidio, 1991. A “choose your own adventure” approach to wargaming.
Appleget, Col. Jeff, USA (Ret.), Col. Robert Burks, USA (Ret.), and Fred Cameron, The Craft of Wargaming: A Detailed Planning Guide for Defense Planners and Analysts, Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2020. Focuses on wargaming as part of the military planning process.
Curry, John, United States Naval War College Manual Wargaming (1969): Wargames at the Start of the Missile Era, The History of Wargaming Project http://www.wargaming.co, 2019. These were the rules used in wargames at the Naval War College in the late 1960’s; provides a “professional” set of rules to compare other games to.
Curry, John and Chris Carlson (ed), The United States Naval War College 1936 Wargame Rules: USN Wargaming Before WWII, Volume 1, The History of Wargaming Project http://www.wargaming.co, 2019. Another set of historical Naval War College rules; these are very similar to those used by the U.S. Navy before World War II that trained so many of the senior officers that fought that war.
Curry, John and Paddy Griffith, Paddy Griffith’s Wargaming Operation Sealion: The Game that Launched Academic Wargaming, The History of Wargame Project www. wargame.co, 2021.Explores Paddy Griffith’s 1974 Operation Sealion wargame for the British Army Staff College that attempted to use a wargame to seriously explore military history.
Friedman, Hal M., Blue Versus Orange: The U.S. Naval War College, Japan and the Old Enemy in the Pacific, 1945-1946, Newport: Naval War College Press, 2013. Focuses on wargaming at the Naval War College in the 1945-1946 academic year and the role it played in planning for a post-war Navy.
Harris, Christopher and Patricia Harris with Brian Mayer, Teaching the American Revolution Through Play, A middle-school teacher’s guide for using Academy Games’ 1775: Rebellion in the classroom (or homeschool).
Lockwood, Jonathan S., PhD and LtCol Donald J. Hanle (USAF), Wargaming and Intelligence Education: Joint Military Intelligence College Discussion Paper Number Six, Washington, D.C.: Joint Military Intelligence College, 1998. Short essays on the use of wargames in professional military education (PME).
Nofi, Albert A., To Train the Fleet for War: The U.S. Navy Fleet Problems, 1923-1940, Newport: Naval War College Press, 2010. Recounting of the Fleet Problems that leveraged wargaming at the Naval War College and how they prepared the U.S. Navy for war against Japan.
Parkin, Simon, A Game of Birds and Wolves: The Ingenious Young Women Whose Secret Board Game Helped Win World War II, New York: Little Brown & Co., 2020. Actually a book describing early Operations Research, it still is close enough for wargaming to be part of the family.
Peterson, Jon, The Elusive Shift: How Role-Playing Games Forged Their Identity, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2020. Although focused on role-playing games, there is some good history here about how skirmish miniatures wargamers and role-playing games diverged.
Peterson, Jon, Game Wizards: The Epic Battle for Dungeons & Dragons, Cambridge: MIT Press, 2021. Another entry in MIT Press’ Game Histories series. Chronicles the story of Dungeons & Dragons without the hyperbole of the major characters, Gygax and Arneson. Fans of Chainmail and other skirmish miniatures games that helped birth D&D will find more morsels of interest here.
Prados, John, Pentagon Games: Wargames and the American Military (Includes three playable wargames), New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1987. Another “advocate” text for professional defense wargaming; of great interest is the three games included.
- Pentagon: Monopoly in the Military—”Create your own defense budget and then protect it from bureaucratic politics inside the Pentagon”
- The R&D Game: Congressional Chutes & Ladders—”Design new weapons systems and guide your project through to Congressional Approval”
- Last Days of Saigon: Playing to Break Even—”Match wits with the joint chiefs as you plan the evacuation of U.S. troops from South Vietnam”
Only the last game is hex & counter, showing even in the 1980’s professional wargaming was looking at “serious” gaming using different gaming mechanisms.
Feature image courtesy Imperial War Museum