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The Classic Toy Soldier Game

SHAMBATTLE is a game for toy soldiers.  It was invented by U.S. Army lieutenant Harry Dowdall and play-tested at the military base at Governor's Island.  Harry's test crew were the sons of fellow soldiers.  The game was presented to the world in 1929 by a book entitled SHAMBATTLE : How to Play with Toy Soldiers.  The book went through one printing and was forgotten, except by collectors of rare volumes. We discovered it and saw that it had a lot of potential.  Sure., it was a kid's game, but it also had some innovative ideas that could be applied to more sophisticated games. Even at that, it was a great game for children.

SHAMBATTLE was written at a time when mechanized warfare was new.  The horse cavalry were still considered a vital part of every modern Army. Back then, toy soldiers were made of cast metal and were painted.  The better soldiers came in small sets of six to nine infantry, three to six cavalry, or a field gun.  The most popular uniform colors for these soldiers were red and blue. Most were imported from England. SHAMBATTLE was written with these toys in mind.

Toy soldier games are different from most miniature war games.  There is more play and less realism in toy soldier games.  The most famous toy soldier game was described in H.G, Wells in his book Little Wars, published in 1913. Wells' game remained the basis of war games for many years afterwards. Wells admitted that as good as his rules were, he was unable to find a way to incorporate certain elements of the real military ,such as field hospitals.  Ironically, SHAMBATTLE included the same items in a simple and practical manner.

When we first encountered the original version of SHAMBATTLE, we recognized it as a great game.  Unfortunately, the original text is long and poorly organized.  Our task was to revise it and organize it so people could be up and playing faster.  The new version, entitled SHAMBATTLE: A Game for Old Fashioned Toy Soldiers,  makes the game easier to play and enjoy   Read more about it Click here!

Our other version is a Wild West Shambattle game that is actually two games in one: Six-Gun Shambattle and Tomahawk Shambattle. Cowboys and Indians has never been this much fun!  Click here to see more.

SHAMBATTLE incorporates a great toy soldier game system.  We found that it could be adapted for other types of toy soldier play.  With a few additions to the excellent game, we made Knightly Fightly, a Game for Toy Knights.  By adjusting for Medieval weapons, Knightly Fightly is a game for battles with Toy Knights, Toy Vikings., Robin Hood and even Knights versus Monsters of Medieval legends.  For more information on Knightly Fightly, Click here!

SHAMBATTLE is also an excellent way to introduce young people to Wargaming

To see more Art Deco Soldiers, click here