Review – Lone Warrior 189, January – March 2015


Lone Warrior is the only wargames magazine dedicated entirely to solo gaming. I first came across it many years ago, when it was a small format periodical with cheap production values but stuffed to the gills with ideas. When I “rediscovered” it for myself a few years ago after a break from wargaming, it had migrated to the States and grown in size. But this in itself created a problem, with the cost of an annual subscription being a little bit daunting for someone on a budget, primarily because of the transatlantic postage costs. After subscribing for a couple of years I decided that I could no longer justify the expense, so with some regret I let it go.

It was therefore with absolute delight that I recently found that Lone Warrior is now available as a PDF! The cost is just $15 per annum, and for that you get a beautifully produced PDF journal complete with high quality photos, charts and illustrations. The editor, Rich Barbuto, provides a quick and friendly service, and my copy arrived in my Inbox the same day I signed up for it.

So what do you get in this issue? As usual there is a wide spectrum of articles covering different periods and different areas of interest for the soloist.

Paul Le Long has contributed a thought-provoking piece on a “narrative” wargame set during the American War of Independence, which uses a Fate Chart of his own devising and a novel approach to combat resolution.

The editor has contributed a detailed piece, including rules, for a refight of the first day of Gettysburg, complete with rules tailored to the scenario.

There is a fine article by George Arnold detailing his random set-up techniques for a battle between Siennese and Florentine condottieri; this includes a discussion of substituting hex and square based battlefields in place of the standard plain tabletop, a subject close to my own heart. The author’s randomisation methods cover force selection, terrain, and unit placement.

Kevin White’s The Blue and the Grey provides a simple set of ACW rules, complete with provision for a playing-card activation deck. Interestingly he also uses a grid-covered battlefield, and favours the use of printed cardboard soldiers. Everything needed for his ruleset is included here.

Chris Hahn’s article was inspired by an account of a young Winston Churchill’s exploits in the Afghan war, and sets out a small-action scenario featuring an incursion into the Mohmand Valley by British and Sikh brigades, facing the wrath of the Afghan tribesmen.

Jonathon Aird writes about his “dream project” – researching and collecting the materials to refight the Battle of Lepanto.

Rob Morgan contributes a piece detailing his ideas for a small river campaign set in Mesopotamia during World War One, and for a small raid scenario inspired by Don Featherstone’s classic Naval Wargames – as well as a couple of pieces on science fiction models!

My personal favourite so far is another article by Rich Barbuto, this time setting out his re-fight of a small action during the Texas Revolution – I love the solo mechanisms that Rich has used for this, and they can easily be ported into games from different theatres and periods.

This is all on a first read-through, mind you, and I’m sure that I’ll be going back to the magazine again and again to mine it for solo ideas and mechanisms. This has always been the best bit, for me, about Lone Warrior – there are probably more fresh solo gaming notions within the covers (real or virtual) of a single issue than there are in a whole stack of wargames books or generic wargames magazines.

The whole magazine is well presented, with eye candy and pristine diagrams and charts – a definite improvement on the old print editions! The editor seems to have put in place a considered approach to the switch to electronic format, and has canvassed subscribers for ideas as to what they would like to see in future issues. With the shift from paper to PDF, and under the continued fine editorship of Mr Barbuto, I feel confident that Lone Warrior has a very bright future ahead of it. Put simply, if you’re a solo wargamer you really should subscribe to this magazine!

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