I’ve always loved history, especially military history (I blame Asterix), and pretty much grew up with Osprey books. So having pursued my interest through a degree in History and French and come out the other side without a cast-iron employment plan, my application to work at Osprey was highly speculative and based more upon enthusiasm (and a disturbingly good knowledge of the back catalogue) than on experience or relevant qualifications! Somehow that worked and, in July 2007, I started at Osprey as an Editorial Assistant.
The job did mean I had to move down to Oxford from my native Derby. This was no real issue as I’d already spent a few very pleasant years there while at university. In fact, the main problem it threw up was that I couldn’t bring all my stuff, amassed over years of whimsical profligacy. A key component of that collection was a variety of toy soldiers, wargames rules, and related paraphernalia that had stacked up since my discovery of Warhammer at school (this was in the halcyon era between Rogue Trader and “GRIMDARK”).
All that junk would have come in useful within the first couple of months at Osprey, as it happened… Field of Glory – Osprey’s first wargaming project – was in development with Slitherine as I started, and at some point I must have mentioned being a wargamer, as the next thing I knew I was editing the project. After that, my barrow was well and truly set out with me as the editorial go-to nerd. Field of Glory took off, and evolved through numerous supplements, and into a Renaissance and Napoleonic version.
While I was working on these projects, I was also doubling down on duties as a more conventional Osprey editor, commissioning several of the military series and also chipping in on a couple of the larger titles. The gaming went from strength to strength with each project and, eventually, that side of my remit was kicked up a notch, forcing me to bid farewell to the military side of my work (though I hung onto New Vanguard for as long as possible!). With the launch and success of the Osprey Wargames series of smaller rule sets and the Bolt Action collaboration with Warlord Games, there was a surge of enthusiasm for all things game-related, and some of us began to advocate for broadening our focus, and Osprey’s gaming portfolio further broadened with the inclusion of Force on Force and Tomorrow’s War from Ambush Alley.
After a year-and-change of plotting, scheming, and (worst of all) budgeting, we presented a plan for expanding Osprey’s gaming activities from something we included amongst our military series into a division all of its own – Osprey Games. Happily, the idea was well-received, and became a reality. Now, I sit in an office with people who love games. And play games. And talk about games. And get to call it a job…
(Phil is also the co-author of the Osprey Adventures title Steampunk Soldiers: Uniforms & Weapons from the Age of Steam - Ed.)
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