Little Wars is named in honor of Herbert George Wells, the English novelist, essayist and social critic best known for his turn-of-the-century science fiction novels The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Invisible Man, War of the Worlds, and The First Men in the Moon.
Writing in the glory days of a British empire established as much by muskets as by machines, H.G. Wells intended Little Wars: A Game for Boys, From Twelve Years of Age to One Hundred and Fifty and For That More Intelligent Sort of Girls Who Like Boy’s Games and Books to serve as a simple rules system of enjoyable war-gaming for non-professional soldiers. With terrain a mere jumble of books and blocks borrowed from the library and nursery room, he laid out battlefields on lawns and living rooms where middle-aged Napoleons fired breech-loading toy cannons at armies of brightly painted Britains tin soldiers.
Innocent of moral factors or random die rolls, Little Wars is considered elementary at best by today’s sophisticated gamers and as near criminal by today’s toy soldier collectors. Nevertheless, Little Wars remains the foundation for the modern hobby of miniature war-gaming and many young Napoleons felt their first thrill of command after reading the enthusiastically written and charmingly illustrated Little Wars.
(Bibliographical Notes: Little Wars was first published in London by Frank Palmer in 1913. Small, Maynard and Co. of Boston issued the first American edition that same year. Facsimile editions were published in England by Arms & Armor Press and in America by Macmillan in 1970. For details of the author’s life and literary career see Brian Murray’s H.G. Wells (New York: Continuum, 1990).
Little Wars, Inc.: A History
In 1972, Elliott’s Book Shop, the parent company of Little Wars, Inc., began selling wargames and military miniatures as a profitable sideline at its initial South Baton Rouge location in Southdowns Shopping Center on Perkins Road. Assiduously courted by Samuel B. Katz as an anchor tenant for his recently opened Village Square Shopping Center, Elliott’s moved to a College Drive location in 1976, linking the wargaming sideline to an extensively enhanced science fiction and fantasy book section. Building on the incredible popularity of early Lord of the Rings and Dungeons and Dragons fantasy role-playing, Elliott’s reputedly became the first store nationally to sell individual gaming figures broken out of the standard packs. For the Christmas Season of 1988, Elliott’s spun off an independent full service game shop, “Little Wars” named after H.G. Wells’ classic wargaming book of 1913. Little Wars offered free in-store and late-night gaming in addition to the area’s largest selection of wargaming material.
When Elliott’s closed in 1997 due to intense super-store competition, Little Wars was reconfigured to include the bookstore’s popular military history and science fiction sections as powerful sidelines to their established trade in historical wargames, heroic fantasy games, paints and miniatures.
Down through the years, Little Wars, Inc. has been recognized nationally as a premiere game shop, offering a complete one-stop service in the best of historical, fantasy and board gaming in a bright, clean, pleasant and safe environment. Little Wars’ survival throughout the slow decline (and eventual disappearance) of Village Square Shopping Center proved its place as a destination store. In August of 2003, Little Wars moved to its current location in the Jefferson Plaza Shopping Center, right across from the new and spectacularly successful Whole Foods extravaganza at Cedar Lodge Shopping Center at Jefferson Highway and Corporate Boulevard.
Our customers remains primarily local but with strong regional markets drawn from throughout Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. We attract heavily from LSU and the University War Gaming Society as well as a large and long-time Baton Rouge Society of Ancients which meets and plays tournaments at the store every Friday night. The majority of our gaming customers are predominantly students and professionally employed men who invest considerable time and money in their carefully painted and highly detailed miniature armies that are “fought” by intricate rule books. While our select military history and science fiction book selections compliments our wargames business, they also draw in additional customers in their own right. The customer base at our new location remains prevalently male but our extensive gaming and science fiction selection helps attract the increasing number of female players.
We do enforce specific “rules of engagement” that forbid smoking, swearing and arguing so our customers are (generally) a well-behaved group. Our strict rules of civil behavior also make Little Wars a safe environment for young people and women interested in historical, science fiction and fantasy gaming and miniatures. In the heart of Baton Rouge’s heavily traveled restaurant district, Little Wars provides a small in-store food and beverages market to keep the players playing onsite.
Convenient business hours easily allow gaming on weekdays, weekends and nights. Gaming is heavier on certain scheduled game nights, on the weekends, and for tournament occasions when our in-store gaming tables are filled with intensive players.
We cordially invite you to join our friendly and competitive wargaming community playing at Little Wars!