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James F. Dunnigan (born 8 August 1943) is an author, military-political analyst, Defense and State Department consultant, and wargame designer currently living in New York City.


He was born in Rockland County, New York. After high school, he volunteered for the military instead of waiting to be drafted. From 1961 to 1964, he worked as a repair technician for the Sergeant ballistic missile, which included a tour in Korea. Afterwards, he attended Pace University studying accounting, then transferred to Columbia University, graduating with a degree in history in 1970.

While still in college, he became involved in wargaming. He designed Jutland, which Avalon Hill published in 1967, following it up with 1914 the next year, and PanzerBlitz in 1970, which eventually sold most than 300,000 copies.[1] Meanwhile, Dunnigan had founded his own company, initially known as Poultron Press, and which soon became Simulations Publications Inc. (SPI).[2]:98 Dunnigan created SPI in order to save the magazine Strategy & Tactics, which was published by Chris Wagner.[2]:98 Dunnigan had been a contributor to the magazine since Strategy & Tactics #2 (February 1967), and when Wagner was having financial difficulties with the magazine he sold Dunningan the rights for $1.[2]:98 Dunnigan set up shop in a windowless basement in New York City's Lower East Side, and published his first issue from there, Strategy & Tactics #18 (September 1969); starting with that issue, every issue included a new wargame.[2]:98 Dunnigan also designed the game Sniper! (1973) .[2]:98–99 Dunnigan later designed Dallas: The Television Role-Playing Game (1980), the first ever licensed role-playing game.[2]:99 In 1980, Dunnigan was forced out of SPI due to the company's worsening financial situation.[2]:100

Between 1966 and 1992, he designed over 100 wargames and other conflict simulations, ranging from 1969's Up Against the Wall, Motherfucker about the student takeover at Columbia (which he witnessed as a bystander[Note 1]), to the gigantic War in Europe, to the online Hundred Years' War, which has been running since 1992.

In 1979, he wrote The Complete Wargames Handbook, and in 1980 How to Make War.

In addition to writing, Dunnigan is a principal in StrategyWorld.Com and the chief editor of StrategyPage.Com. Podcasts of his commentaries on history, military affairs, and the contemporary world are regularly posted on StrategyPage.Com and as at

Dunnigan regularly lectures at military and academic institutions, such as the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group, in Newport, Rhode Island.[3]


In 1975, Dunnigan was inducted into the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design Hall of Fame.[4] In 1999 Pyramid magazine named him as one of the millennium's most influential persons "at least in the realm of adventure gaming".[5]


  • (contributor) Wargame Design: The History, Production and Use of Conflict Simulations, Simulations Publications, 1977. ISBN 0-917852-01-X.
  • (as editor and co-author) The Russian Front: Germany's War in the East, 1941-45 (also published as The Russian Campaign), Arms and Armour, 1978. ISBN 0-85368-152-X.
  • (with William Martel) How to Stop a War: The Lessons of Two Hundred Years of War and Peace, Doubleday, 1987. ISBN 0-385-24009-0.
  • (with Austin Bay) From Shield to Storm: High-Tech Weapons, Military Strategy and Coalition Warfare in the Persian Gulf, William Morrow, 1991. ISBN 0-688-11034-7.
  • (with Albert Nofi) Shooting Blanks: War Making That Doesn't Work, 1991. ISBN 0-688-08947-X.
  • The Complete Wargames Handbook: How to Play, Design and Find Them, Revised edition, William Morrow, 1992. ISBN 0-688-10368-5. (online version)
  • How to Make War: A Comprehensive Guide to Modern Warfare for the Post-Cold War Era, 3rd edition, William Morrow, 1993. ISBN 0-688-12157-8.
  • (with Albert Nofi) Medieval Life and the Hundred Years War (200,000 word online book, 1994)
  • (with Albert Nofi) Dirty Little Secrets of World War II: Military Information No One Told You About the Greatest, Most Terrible War in History, William Morrow, 1994. ISBN 0-688-12235-3.
  • (with Albert Nofi) Victory at Sea: World War II in the Pacific, William Morrow, 1995. ISBN 0-688-14947-2.
  • Digital Soldiers, St. Martin's, 1996. ISBN 0-312-14588-8.
  • (with Daniel Masterson) The Way of the Warrior: Business Tactics and Techniques from History's Twelve Greatest Generals, St. Martin's Griffin, 1998. ISBN 0-312-19535-4.
  • (with Albert Nofi) The Pacific War Encyclopedia, Facts on File, 1998. ISBN 0-8160-3439-7.
  • (with Albert Nofi) Dirty Little Secrets: American Military Information You're Not Supposed to Know, St. Martins Press, 1999. ISBN 0-312-19857-4.
  • Dirty Little Secrets of the 20th Century: Myths, Misinformation, and Unknown Truths About the 20th Century, William Morrow, 1999. ISBN 0-688-17068-4.
  • (with Albert Nofi) Victory and Deceit: Deception and Trickery at War, 2nd edition, Writers Club, 2001. ISBN 0-595-18405-7.
  • (with Albert Nofi) Dirty Little Secrets of the Vietnam War: Military Information You're Not Supposed to Know, St. Martins Griffin, 2001. ISBN 0-312-25282-X.
  • (with Raymond M. Macedonia) Getting It Right: American Military Reforms After Vietnam to the Gulf War and Beyond, 2nd edition, Writers Club, 2001. ISBN 0-595-18446-4.
  • The Perfect Soldier. Citadel, 2004. ISBN 0-8065-2416-2.
  • Foreword to H.G. Wells's Floor Games (Skirmisher, 2006)
  • (with Austin Bay) A Quick & Dirty Guide to War: Briefings on Present and Potential Wars, 4th edition, Paladin, 2008. ISBN 978-1-58160-683-6.



  1. According to Dunnigan he was a student at Columbia University this season and, although he has not participated in the action, several of his friends did. Some of these worked in the school newspaper and asked Dunnigan to make a game for the first anniversary of The Spectator. Quoted in Dunnigan, James F (2000). "Appendix". Wargames Handbook (3rd ed.). New York: Writers Club Press. p. 405. ISBN 0-595-15546-4. 


  1. Dunnigan, James F (2000). "Appendix". Wargames Handbook (3rd ed.). New York: Writers Club Press. p. 398. ISBN 0-595-15546-4. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7. 
  3. [1]
  4. "Charles S. Roberts Award Winners (1975)". Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design. Archived from the original on 2008-05-07. Retrieved 2008-08-15. 
  5. Haring, Scott D. (1999-12-24). "Second Sight: The Millennium's Best "Other" Game and The Millennium's Most Influential Person". Retrieved 2008-02-15. 

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