Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Don Featherstone R.I.P.

Just heard from a friend that DonaldFeatherstone passed away yesterday at 95 from complications following a fall at his flat in Southampton, UK. Featherstone was for mini wargamers one of the pioneering hobby giants and great popularizers along with (his close friend) Tony Bath, Charles Grant and (the other) Phil Barker.
Featherstone as a young tanker in WW2.
An oral account of his combat experience can be found here
Though he had a tendency to sometimes lapse into Colonel Blimpness in his historical writings on the small wars of the Victorian Age, he left behind a long legacy of incredibly useful and experimental books on wargaming.

Featherstone was particularly fond of the blackpowder period armies, however his books and other writing exhibited a wide ranging understanding and a creativity many times bordering on the wide-open imaginative play often associated with roleplaying games. His book Solo Wargaming, for instance, has a fascinating chapter on 19th-century solo campaigns on the Northwest Frontier of South Asia including some interesting examples of fake newspaper/campaign journals (see my scan below) spinning stories out of the emergent play at the wargame table.
Click to enlarge. 

Fortunately thanks to John Curry's History of Wargames project you can buy new, affordable reprints of much of his work (why doesn't the rpg hobby have an equivalent). Find a list of those books here.

Don Featherstone, presente.


  1. A sad day for the hobby, I always loved his Solo Wargaming book in particular.
    If immortality is measured by the lives you touch, he will indeed live on for many years to come.

  2. I only recently discovered Featherstone's works, maybe two or three years ago, I've seek them out wherever I can find them (even reading a copy of "Air War Games" from deep in the stacks at the NYC public library main branch). His writing is a pleasure to read and I hope that John Curry (History of Wargaming Project) is able to put the rest of Don's unpublished manuscripts into print.