BBC Radio 4 has a long running programme called "Desert Island Discs" - It was first broadcast on January 29, 1942 and is said by the Guinness Book of Records to be the longest-running music programme in the history of radio.
The idea of the programme is that invited guests pick 8 pieces of music, plus one book, that they would choose to have if they were to be shipwrecked on a desert island.
So what has this to do with www.madaxeman.com I hear you ask? Well, as a consequence of reading Harry Pearson's Achtung Schweinehund: A Boy's Own Story of Imaginary Combat I realised that many of us wargamers will know each other through playing, collecting - or even by reading email lists and looking out for each others posts - for years, even decades, without ever knowing ANYTHING else about each other apart from "oh, he is the bloke with the nice Myceneans" and "remember that time we got so drunk in (insert location of competition) that we (insert story involving barmaid of your choice and a handful of ice cold D20's )". So, we know what figures each other collect, how we put together an early War German Mechanized platoon, but we have no idea what each other life stories, interests, marital status, jobs are - in fact other than gaming, we are all virtual strangers. Sound familiar so far....?
However, we are after all wargamers - and lets face it, all this "personal life" stuff is mostly irrelevant, and often knowing it adds very little other than to serve as a reminder that there is a real world out there (Nooooooooo!). So, what would be useful to know? What might you not know about a fellow gamer currently, but which might add a little value to your life?
I thought about this and came up with an extensive list of, well, 2 things. Both of which are quite similar.
- What military & wargame-themed books can they recommend?
- Are there any other non historical books they like (which probably means Sci-Fi & Fantasy, lets face it) so when you next meet them you can at least spend 5 minutes not talking about toy soldiers and thus pretend to yourself that you have just had a conversation about something a bit less, well, "Geeky"?
This is the origin of "Wargamers Island Books".
A hand picked list of around 10 - no need to be precise - books (fiction and non-fiction) from well known wargamers, of renown and (sometimes) ill repute, together with answers to the BIG questions of life:
- How did you get into wargaming ? (not "when" as that might scare a few potential Desert Island Wargamers away!!)
- What was your first army, and where are they now ?
- What's your favorite army and/or set of figures in your possession, and why?
That's it really - very simple, but hopefully useful and informative. I've even provided - wherever possible - links to Amazon so you can learn more about the books, or buy any that take your fancy!
If you wish to submit a book list and answer the Big Three Questions please feel free to submit them to me to be considered for inclusion via this link Maroon Me Now Please Mr Madaxeman! and I will try and publish as many as I can (although I do have a real job to do as well, so it may take some time!).
So, many thanks to all the contributors, and I hope you enjoy this feature!
Wargamers Island Maroonees:
- Doug Melville, DBx wargaming's one man answer answer to the all-male Las Vegas Revue, "The Thunder from Down Under" chooses some inspiring reading material to peruse between posting to the DBx lists on Yahoo
- Alan Hume, a gamer from Edinburgh - also going by the name of McGurk on the BKC list - shows a surprisingly caring side of his personality as he reveals a selection of books about tanks, more tanks, and finally vampires riding tanks
- Geoff from the 15mm figure & armour manufacturer QRF takes a small break from casting figures, licking postage stamps, and replying to threads on TMP to share with us a varied set of books covering tanks (what a surprise!), cold war and all-action thrillers worth buying even when you aren't at an airport, and cheesy film tie in's (OK - well, what else could I say about the Narnia series and Harry Potter that you didn't already know !)
- Rick Priestley, author of the increasingly popular Warmaster Ancients rules and co-architect of Warhammer Historicals shares his perhaps surprisingly 20th century and definitely wizard-free selection of favourite books in one of this sites many increasingly non-DBx compliant ventures!
- James "Hammy" Hamilton, the only person to seriously contest Mr Gaukroger's online presence, current President of the IWF, part time "under-the-counter" board game supplier and expert in more rule-sets than you can shake a D20 at gives us his selection of History, Alt-History and, erm, Cricket!
- Dave Madigan, Expat Kiwi Extrordinaire (if only for the fact he appears to have a proper job rather than work in a bar, and also he doesn't have a VW Camper van) and wielder of both Maori's and New Kingdom Egyptians gives us some thoughtful and notable history in his selection - also making 30% of our first 10 "Dave's" - rather proving Harry Pearson's Achtung Schweinehund: A Boy's Own Story of Imaginary Combat has a point I feel....
- Martin van Tol - British Wargaming's most Cunning Linguist and the West Country's least likely alcohol fuelled opportunistic thief, Mr van Tol picks an intellectual selection of books, although one does sound like its is written by a man called "Bottom".
- Don "The Don" McHugh, one thought to be destined to become the answer to the pub quiz question of "who was the last ever UK DBM Champion?", and living proof the 25mm game is just as hard as the 15mm one, goes all "Cher" on us as he turns back time with his reminiscences, and then takes fictional and factual jumps between Saxon times and the Second World Wars in his book collection.
- Dave "Not the Razor" Ruddock, part time professional Northerner, and one of Mr Gaukroger's rivals for the "Most Posts on a DBx list in 24 hours" crown batters us into submission with his battle-orientated Epic Fantasy, then rounds it off with a "leave in the bog for guests" double-header.
- Nik Gaukroger, Current Slingshot Editor and Wargaming's undisputed Online Discussion Group Champion, Nik give a list of 10 "must have" accessible yet erudite books for the Pre-gunpowder wargamer.
- Dave Roberts - a fabulous selection of intellectual and populist history, big picture sci-fi and enough others no doubt carefully chosen to allow Dave to pretend he is not just a sad old gamer like the rest of us
- Tim Myall - Renaissance Buff and ex-president of the Pike & Shot Society Tim shares a distinctly Swedish flavoured selection.... plus a couple of good gaming drinkers books for good measure!
- Joey Miller - the first ever American to be marooned, Joey's furry selections prove in graphic detail that US sci-fi books have much groovier covers than British ones
- Jez Evans - World Loudest Shirt Wearer (excluding Americans) and Originator of DBM's legendary "Wall-o-Spears" tactic, and 2007 UK DBM champion no less!
- John Graham-Leigh - Dapper man-about-town, Majordomo of the UK's "South West DBM League", and ex Editor of Slingshot:
If I haven't got a link to a book you want (or a link at price you want to pay!) on your local Amazon, try searching Abe Books - worldwide
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