Joe Morschauser, War Game General

The following article is re-printed from the original Table Top Talk, Volume 2 Number 4 – April-May 1963.
Joe Morschauser

The hobby of playing war games owes much to Joe Morschauser of Scarsdale, New York. For Joe’s book “How to Play War Games in Miniature” has been a tremendous contribution to our hobby, and along with Don Featherstone’s book entitled “War Games” is the first of the “modern” classics on war gaming. Not since H.G. Wells published his “Little Wars” has anything been printed for the general public to read concerning the war game – as played with lead soldiers. There is no doubt but that Joe’s book will for a long time be the “beginner’s handbook” of this hobby.

Joe is an editor with LOOK Magazine, and in 1960 was instrumental in getting them to accept his now famous article, “Little Tin Soldiers” that gave national recognition to the hobby of war gaming and collecting lead soldiers. He also gave the hobby a big boost in 1962 when an article in NEWSWEEK Magazine appeared at his instigation. All in all, Joe’s work in publicizing war games on a national basis, has been outstanding, and we all owe him a debt of thanks for helping to “legalize” the fact that people do play with “little tin soldiers”, and that there is no disgrace in it!

In the photo above, Joe is at his 17ft by 6ft war game table, looking over a part of a battle. You will note that the troops are mounted on moving trays – an integral part of the Morschauser Roster System. It is interesting to know too, that just after leaving the armed services after World War II, Joe finished his studies at Bard College in New York, and there came under the wing of Gerry DeGre, a professor there. Gerry is the founder of an organized war game club, and Joe Morschauser was one of its charter members. That Gerry DeGre had a great influence on Joe can be seen, for he has long used the “moving tray” system (or Unit War Game) in the Club’s war games that have taken place for many years at Bard College.