Too Fat Lardies: Wargaming Books in School Project

Recently, Richard Clarke of Too Fat Lardies made an annoucement on his blog about a new project he was launching to promote wargaming in schools.

CompendiumThe project revolves around The Wargaming Compendium, by Henry Hyde.

Over recent years, wargaming has become quite specialised and splintered, and the general wargaming books that were available in the 1970s by authors such as Donald Featherstone are now few and far between.

Henry’s book is a fantastic introduction into the wargaming hobby, and is an ideal starting point for anyone coming to wargaming for the first time.

Richard is proposing to try and get these books into schools, to help promote wargaming clubs.

As a fresh-faced teenager, my school wargaming club was one of the first introductions that I had to the hobby, so I’m very happy to lend my support to this project to help a new generation of school children discover a hobby that has given me a tremendous amount of pleasure over the past 30 years or so.

Take a look at Richard’s blog post for full details – everything you need to do should you wish to help with this project is detailed there.


9 Comments on Too Fat Lardies: Wargaming Books in School Project

  1. this is not the only book in existence .go grab loads of free rules and get kids into it .why should we be forking out cash and adding sales to one persons book ? to be honest im siick hearing about this book ,like it`s the wargamers second coming .we can do it for free just talk to the kids get them rolling dice .
    man it was bad enough when VFTV turned into a ” hello i`m Henry Hyde BUY MY BOOK ” .schools have a hard enough time making ends meet .so hey lets get them to fork out money on wargaming ?
    people having to visit food banks and the like and the best people can do is say “hey buy this book ”
    set up a club and get the rules for free .

    • Dear Martin

      I really don’t know what I’ve done to deserve your tirade, but here are just a few pertinent facts.

      1) If you didn’t like the podcasts, you always had the option of switching it off and going elsewhere.

      2) The podcasts cost you nothing except time, but nothing compared to the time and effort that Neil puts into creating the podcasts. For free.

      3) Do some homework. If you knew how little I make from the sales of my book, you might change your tone. I did it for the love of the hobby, not because I thought it would make me rich — and it never will. I spent FOUR YEARS writing and designing during one of the most difficult periods of my life and I’m proud of it. What have you achieved lately?

      4) Again, you might not like or believe this, but nowadays authors have to do 99% of their own marketing. If I don’t take every opportunity I can to tell people about the book, then it would sink without trace. Publishing companies are stretched to breaking point these days, so their marketing is limited to a listing on their website and sending out a few flyers.

      5) I’m incredibly flattered that Rich Clarke thinks highly enough of my book to want to get it into schools. At no point has he – nor indeed have I – ever claimed that mine is the only book in town. In fact, if you were to read my book, rather than just criticising with no evidence, you would see that it contains an extensive bibliography and reference section, as well as an introductory chapter, listing every important wargaming book, ruleset and magazine I could think of at the time of writing. Indeed, one of the criticisms I’ve heard is that the Compendium is _too much_ of an homage to the work of other people and the hobby greats *amongst whom I do NOT count myself*.

      In short, I don’t believe I’ve ever met you, but it seems to me that you’ve taken umbrage at me for reasons I cannot fathom. Such is life. Perhaps you can’t stand the thought of any individual trying to make a decent living in the hobby, and tar me with the ‘commercialist’ brush? Well, I’m afraid it’s a fact of life and always has been. What would you have thought of Donald Featherstone, who made a small fortune out of writing more than 40 books, and who was never shy about telling the world about his latest project? Or Charles Grant, or Rick Priestley? (I shudder to think – fortunately, Rick is a mate and I happen to know he’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.) Running a wargames magazine and writing about wargaming is how I pay the mortgage – why should I, or anyone else in the industry, be ashamed of that?

      Wargaming is a business as well as a hobby. It always has been and always will be. But to imagine that someone who is involved in that business is not also capable of acting in a charitable manner, or for the good of the hobby as a whole, is simply baffling. Think of the man who plants a sapling. The tree will never reach its full height in his lifetime, and he will never benefit from the fruit and shade it will afford his children and grandchildren. but he plants it, just the same.

      Rather than criticising other people, why not come up with an alternative, additional scheme of your own? Rather than spitting bile, why not support the good things other people are doing? This hobby is so diverse, and such a broad church that there’s room for everyone.

      Sorry to talk about me again – I know how much you hate that – but here’s an example. I was really angry about the lack of care for returning veterans suffering from PTSD and other mental illnesses after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. It just so happens that my dad had also suffered PTSD from his wartime experiences, so it really hit home with me. But rather than simply foaming at the mouth and slagging off the government for not funding mental health care sufficiently, I discovered that a charity existed that was already in the business of helping veterans – Combat Stress.

      So, I launched the Battlegames Combat Stress Appeal and several years on, we have passed the £15,000 raised mark, a tiny drop in the ocean of what the charity needs overall, but all the same, pretty damn impressive for an initiative. And I say “we” because although I took the initiative, it has needed the involvement and support of scores, no, hundreds of other people to make it a success, both by donating and by taking their own initiative to raise more funds.

      So, back where we started, Rich Clarke feels there’s a danger of historical wargaming being under-represented in schools. He sees that unlike in ‘our’ day (I imagine we were both at school in the 60s and 70s) when there were lots of after-school clubs and school libraries that stocked wargaming books, wargaming has largely moved onto the internet and a random beginner might find it hard to know how to get started unless he or she happened to stumble upon a random blog or website or, perhaps at an outside chance, find themselves somewhere where there’s a show going on with participants friendly enough to explain things.

      So, offering copies of my book to schools AT NO COST TO THEM as just one possible solution, he’s taken the initiative with an interesting idea. What’s not to like?

      Oh, and for your information, given that Pen & Sword will be giving Rich the maximum possible discount to support the scheme, my earnings will be in the region of, let’s see, £1 per copy sold, and I’ve already got plans for using whatever comes from this as a charitable donation.

      Clearly, however, that would not have occurred to you, since in your mind I’m some kind of evil, grasping, capitalist monster.

      You know, 99.999% of the time, I never respond to attacks of the kind you have perpetrated. Frankly, I couldn’t give a toss whether you like me or not, but what you wrote is a libellous lie and I will not let that stand.

  2. go here form a club give kids dice it`s free .
    or give kids less chance in life and a few people more money .

  3. but hey who am i to stand in the way of bs and money making ?

  4. Aníbal Invictus // May 16, 2014 at 06:07 // Reply

    I found these comments totally unfair. There’s not any reason to see a business or financial interest in Richard’s iniatiative. In strongly support this idea and I’d wish a total success of it

  5. In the cold light of day I do wonder if you bothered to read the post on the TFLBlog I also wonder if you know what Henry’s book is actually about? your argument just seems to be about this costing schools money and it really isn’t

    Now you may not like Henry and that really doesn’t matter in the cool light of day but you have to concede that the Wargames Compendium is a good introductory book on our hobby, let’s be honest here martin it really does cover the whole hobby and it does have loads of information in that that would be perfect for getting children interested in wargaming.

    All Richard is trying to do is to give copies of that book to schools who either have a wargames club or are thinking of starting one, the important word in that sentence is GIVE, this won’t cost the schools anything, it’s free.

    Rich is kick starting the whole project by donating the first 12 books out of his own pocket, and all he has asked is 2 things:-
    1) if people want to help in the future then please let him know and he’ll contact them when he needs to buy more books
    2) more importantly if people know schools who might like a free book then he asks them to contact him so he can send them a book

    and that martin is the whole idea, so why its caused you to make 3 separate comments attacking the idea and declaring it BS is really beyond me.

    but I will give you one point is a great site and well worth visiting but this project isn’t about giving pupils rules it’s about supporting wargaming in schools by giving them a book that introduces the hobby and as far as I’m concerned that’s a completely different thing

  6. @Martin, I can’t tell if you mainly think the idea is bad overall or bad because it is using the Wargaming Compendium. If the latter, why not e-mail TFL Rich and ask to donate ‘The Wargame’ or something similar instead?



  7. Quite weird comments, Martin, especially the need for three seperate ones.

    I’m pretty sure that nobody in their right mind would think “I want to make a lot of money quickly [first of all they wouldn’t do anything wargaming-related apart from drawing some fantasy figures on a computer and put them on kickstarter or sell overpriced, unnecessary painting accessories to wargamers] – let’s see how I can milk those money machines that are school libraries. Mwahahaha”. This all is aside from the fact of course that the books aren’t actually being sold to libraries.

    I like The Book. It’s got a ton of useful information and comes from a rather unbiased point of view. I’m not sure if such a thing would work around here in Austria due to still lively inhibitions about “playing war” and such but it’s cool to see people who let’s be frank, cater to the …more experienced of the wargaming crowd (willingly or not), looking after getting younger generations into wargaming. GW does a tremendous job at that of course but tend to put a cage on their young’uns. So yeah – sounds like a cool plan the lardies worked out there. Worthy of support. I remember spending a fair amount of time in the school’s library, looking through the weirder books they had lying around and I would have loved to see something like the Compendium lying around there.

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