I grew up in the 1970s devouring the wargaming books by Donald Featherstone and Charles Grant , My first wargaming rules homemade, based on the Lionel Tarr rules published in Featherstone's Wargames. As 10 or 11 year olds my friend Ian and I hand typed them out and changed them to meet our needs (the book was a library book and we didn't have any access to photocopiers) on his mum's old typewriter. We spent days, and lots of correction tape, single finger typing. When we got to high school the school had a copy of Gavin Lyall's Operation Warboard and so we got out the old type writer and hand typed those additions to "our rules". I guess back then players were encouraged to make rules their own, tweak and adapt as they liked. How different it was from the modern approach where rules are yet another consumer package with everything you need provided for you.
Fast forward 30 odd years and my son has just hit high school. Wargaming hasn't been a bug for him the way it was for me, but he does occasionally show flashes of interest. At school a couple of weekends ago they had an open day and he was asked by one of his history teachers to bring some wargaming stuff along and set up a demo game. I had work to do down at the bach so set him up with some of my 28mm WWII collection- some Perry 8th Army and Germans.
He had arranged to do the demo game with another boy who plays 40k. I gave him the Bolt Action rules in case they wanted to do something structured but what happened next was something that gave me hope for the future of gaming. He and his mates got together and ironed out some rules for the day, divvied up the forces then 6 of them spent about 3 hours gaming their rules and having a blast, so much so that they are now thinking of forming a club at their school!
So what where the rules they used? These:
To me that is the future of the hobby, not the modern rule sets with their attitude of "thou must not tinker with our masterpieces." These kids didn't need any rulebooks, they simply used their imaginations and came up with something that worked for them.
Finn came home absolutely fizzing about the day, and afterwards sat down and typed out his rules, not as Ian and I did on a trusty old typewriter but a slightly more modern way- on my laptop!