When I first discovered wargaming, there didn’t seem to be a lot of information available. I was still in high school delivering newspapers. When an indoor shopping mall finally opened nearby it had a book store that sold board wargames. Not a big selection and they kept the games way in the back of store. Eventually I was able to scrape enough money together to buy one and I was hooked. From that point I sought out all I could to learn more about wargaming. It would take a few years, a driver’s license and having a girlfriend whose father was into radio controlled airplanes when I discovered the greatest hobby shop I’ve ever seen. I wish I could remember its name, it’s not around anymore but this place catered to all sorts of hobbies. And that’s where I discovered Wargamers Digest.
Wargamers Digest was a monthly magazine dedicated to various genre of historical wargaming. Many of the articles would include the history of famous battles, equipment specifications, standard uniforms, strategy and tactics, and game mechanics. And this magazine would cover all sorts of historical periods from ancients to modern, sometimes fantasy and hypothetical wars. Every month this magazine would be filled with so much great information.
Wargamers Digest first issue was released October 1973 and ran until May 2000 having changed to Military Digest in 1984. The basic structure of each issue generally include 4 to 6 Main articles generally covering either a historical event, game mechanics and/or gaming concepts. Then there would be shorter articles that would cover topics like unit formations, soldier uniforms and weapons specifications. Also, each issue had a sample scenario quiz that would demonstrate basic tactical doctrines.
What I liked about this magazine was that it was written by Wargamers for Wargamers. Each article, whether it was the historical articles or the sample scenarios, trying to highlight basic concepts that can be transferred over to a typical board or miniature Wargame. The magazine used simple language which made it clear for anyone interested in the topics no matter what education level or knowledge base the reader had. It covered a wide range of historical periods from ancients to modern warfare. It also covered land air and sea combat. So for all sense of purpose this was the one stop magazine any war gamer should’ve had.
It’s quite a shame that this magazine doesn’t exist anymore. The editor and publisher Gene McCoy, created a wonderful, intelligent and concise resource for Wargamers, historians and hobbyists. People like myself who had the honor and good fortune to experience this magazine when it first came out or discovered it while it was still in print had the opportunity to learn and improve their knowledge of history, historical battles and the importance of this history had the world that we know.