Friday 8 September 2023

A Wargamer’s Guide to War of the First Coalition, 1792-1797

This arrived with a massive thump as it hit the doormat on Friday, and what a whopper it is; ‘A Wargamer’s Guide to the War of The First Coalition, 1792-1797’, by Garry Mills. This period is, as I am sure folks know, a subject very close to my heart and I was all a-flutter when I read through it last week.

What does the reader get for his money? In a words, LOTS! After the introduction there is a brief history of the French Revolution followed by a very comprehensive year-by-year and by theatre of war, outline of the war which takes up a third of the entire book. There is a useful chapter covering each nation involved in the war, big players and small, including France, Great Britain, Piedmont, Austria, Prussia, Spain, the United Provinces, Naples and Emigre and other Royalist forces. These sections include a description of each nation’s armed forces, organisational details and more. 
There is even a piece on naval forces employed in the war.

Given that this is a wargaming guide, it is no surprise that  the following chapters cover ‘Wargaming the Period’ and ‘Building the Forces’.  These are thoughtfully presented and will be a big help to anyone new to the period. Also in this section is a how to painting guide.

The next chapter includes 10 ready-made scenarios, including three dedicated to naval battles. The land-based scenarios are full of detail, representing a variety of protagonists and size of engagement, and come with maps, orders of battle, troop qualities and so forth, starting with Lincelles and ending with Castiglione.

The book concludes with sections signposting readers to suppliers of miniatures and terrain and online resources available, together with an extensive bibliography.

As well as the maps there are a number of contemporary illustrations both in colour and black and white, and photographs of troops in action on the tabletop. I am pleased to say that all the photos of 28mm games included in the book are of my own ever-growing collection of miniatures.

From my point of view there is nothing not to like about this book and within the parameters put down by the author he has achieved an impressive feat, and this is not only the best in the Helion Wargames series but also a very good one-stop-shop for gamers, whether already deeply involved in the period or considering it as a new project. I can absolutely recommend this excellent piece of work, especially if it draws more people into wargaming the French Revolution. 

ISBN 978-1-805412-03-6  soft back, A4, 301 pages.


  1. Might you mention the price Colin? I find Helion books grossly overpriced for my taste. Mind, I even think Ospreys are too dear, must be an age thing...👴🏻

  2. Waiting for mine to patiently arrive, it is listed for next Tuesday delivery.

    I really must commence painting my early Austrians and Add to my French.

    French Wargame Holidays

  3. Hi. I got my copy over the weekend too and yes it was much bigger than expecting, based on other titles in the wargaming series. It looks fantastic as a resource. Nice to see some of the games we played in featured too!

    Helion books have regular sales, where you can get up to 25% off the listed price and then there are some other sellers who have it on the market place for less too (and thats avoiding using Amazon).
    In all fairnest to all the specialist book publishers who serve our hobby, they are nt getting rich off the back of a very niche set of topics, so its going to cost bit more. But not as expensive as if you said compared with 40K ranges for example.