A long time ago, in the early 80’s my wargaming life changed completely. At the time, I, along with most other gamers it seemed, was locked into WRG style rules. We were all masochists back then. We knew they were crap and badly written, the cause of arguments that could spoil a Sunday afternoon and they created an arms race every bit as financially draining as the Cold War.
Moreover, we could not stop inflicting these horrors on ourselves week after week.
Then at Sheffield Triples 1981, our poor sinner’s lives were illuminated by the golden rays of ‘Empire’ by Bowden and Getz.
I hadn’t taken too much notice of Napoleonic’s until that point. I had always been bowled over by the sight of Richard Lawrence’s immense Napoleonic collection, but trying to ‘game’ those wars didn’t work for me at all.
Suddenly I was in a gaming heaven. Stuff I had read about in Chandler or Petre or Lachouque could actually be reproduced with toy soldiers. Richard and I sold our souls, and our ancients and renaissance figures, and poured gold into 15mm Napoleonics.
Alongside of this was the requirement for more knowledge and at the forefront of this was a strange little magazine from the U.S. – Empires Eagles and Lions, written by the New Jersey Association of War gamers. Guys just like us!
These fellows didn’t use Empire, and perhaps didn’t even like it, but their little magazine was chock full of inspiration and information. Every other month or so we waited eagerly for EEL to come from the States (via Caliver Books?). It always had a good mix of information that we couldn’t just get hold of: – and these people were in New Jersey for Pete’s sake! It was full of humour, uniform information and genuinely entertaining battle game reports.
I think we were quite jealous that this small crew could produce so much. Our gaming group at the time consisted of three people who actually bought books on the period and half a dozen that were happy simply to turn up on a Sunday to have a laugh and a good game.
I used to daydream that one day everyone at our group would develop a deep interest in the period and contribute to our knowledge. Alas, this was not to be.
So why this little essay?
Well some generous soul has pdf’fed Empires Eagles and Lions and put them on line. I don’t know if it is Jean Lochet the old editor of EEL or what.
Whoever it is; thank you, thank you, thank you!
I have downloaded them all just in case.
If you haven’t seen it before, a treat awaits you!