by H. G. Wells


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For his work on novels like War of the Worlds and The Island of Doctor Moreau, British author H.G. Wells is rightly lauded as a visionary. What often gets lost amongst the applause for his ideas on science fiction though is another area in which he was a pioneer: the field of tabletop wargaming. Which, at least as far as we know it today, was basically invented by Wells while he and a friend were playing with toy soldiers.

Wells did not invent the idea of using abstract rules to simulate the events of a battle. Prussian officers in the 19th century were trained on complex military board games called Kriegsspiel (literally “War Games”), while there are many other examples throughout history of using the basic ideas of war either as a primitive simulation tool or, in the case of chess, a game.

But what Wells did was invent the concept of the recreational wargame, the kind of experience you find today in things like Warhammer, games which are bought and enjoyed by the wider population, not just military professionals.

Sitting around after dinner one night with his friend Jerome K. Jerome, the pair began firing a toy cannon at toy soldiers, eventually making an impromptu competitive game out of it. Convinced that with some rules and a little more variety he could make a structured experience of it, Wells - an admirer of Kriegsspiel as a concept - decided to write what would become known as Little Wars.

The game was based around two concepts: that units and terrain would be represented by miniaturised models (or at least something lying around that resembled a hill or horse), and that the movement and interaction between the game’s units would be determined by a relatively simple set of rules.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781783315154
Publisher: Naval & Military Press
Publication date: 09/04/2019
Pages: 132
Product dimensions: 7.99(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.36(d)

About the Author

H.G. Wells was a writer of science-fiction works-including The Time Machine and War of the Worlds-who had a great influence on our vision of the future.
Born in England in 1866, H.G. Wells's parents were shopkeepers in Kent, England. His first novel, The Time Machine was an instant success and Wells produced a series of science fiction novels which pioneered our ideas of the future. His later work focused on satire and social criticism. Wells laid out his socialist views of human history in his Outline of History. He died in 1946.

Date of Birth:

September 21, 1866

Date of Death:

August 13, 1946

Place of Birth:

Bromley, Kent, England

Place of Death:

London, England


Normal School of Science, London, England

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Little Wars 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
very early war gaming rule book. fun!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
cool little book to read to learn about some of the early wargaming rules