Friday, August 30, 2013

RLS and Wargaming

Everyone and their dog who knows anything about wargaming these days knows that one of the fathers of the hobby, was H. G. Wells. His publication Little Wars is of course can still be picked up on Amazon in eBook format, for all to share and enjoy.

What I did not know, and I think I am not alone in this, but that I recently found out, was that famous author and Scotsman Robert Louis Stevenson, he of Treasure Island fame, was also a wargamer. True Story! As is evidenced by this article from Scribner's Magazine, published in December of 1898. True Victorian Wargaming.

I have yet to read the whole article, but I plan to do so this evening. I will however, leave you with this ode to our little men, as was printed at the end of the article. Yes, that's right, a poem by RLS about wargaming. What's more, it seems very little has changed since RLS's day, and he himself suffered from Shinybloodyitis!

A Martial Eligy for Some Lead Soldiers.

For certain soldiers lately dead,
Our reverent dirge shall here be said.
Them, when their martial leader called,
No dread preparative appalled;
But leaden-hearted, leaden-heeled,
I marked them steadfast in the field.
Death grimly sided with the foe,
And smote each leaden hero low.
Proudly they perished, one by one:
The dreaded pea-cannon's work was done!
O not for them the tears we shed,
Consigned to their congenial lead;
But while unmoved their sleep they take,
We mourn for their dear Captain's sake,
For their dear Captain, who shall smart,
Both in his pocket, and his heart,
Who saw his heros shed their gore,
And lacked a shilling to buy more!

 Cheers to Morgue for the link


  1. Well spotted that man, interesting article.

    It's probably a lesser known fact that it was Jerome K. Jerome, author of 'Three Men in a Boat' and 'Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow' and friend of H.G. Wells that first started shooting Wells toy soldiers with a toy cannon which they both went on to develop and resulted in 'Little Wars'.


    1. Thanks for that Matt, it seems there's quite a group of Victorian authors that we owe a debt of gratitude to!

  2. Thanks for that Derek.....and Matt!

    1. Your very welcome. Thank you for the term shinybloodyitis. Very fitting I feel! ;)

  3. I didn't know that, I suppose it makes us feel a little more normal???? Or does it???

  4. Oh well done Sir, more literary ammunition to justify my gaming habit!