Product reviews

Four new titles from Osprey Publishing


Among Osprey Publishing’s recent releases in the autumn of 2013 are these four new titles of interest not only to wargamers, but also to general military history buffs. All contain Osprey’s usual excellent custom-drawn graphics, as we have become used to seeing over the years, as well as an excellent selection of vintage and period photographs and drawings. Each paperback book is printed on high quality, coated-two-sides enamel paper using fine offset lithography printing.

The two books at the top of the photograph are both part of Osprey’s popular “Combat” series, which examine opposing warriors across a wide variety of periods and armies.

David Greentree has written an interesting account of the opponents in the Mediterranean 1942-43 theater: British Paratrooper Versus Fallschirmjager. His book details three key encounters between the airborne forces in Tunisia and Sicily. The new book contrasts their organization, training, tactics used on the battlefield, experience, and weaponry. Greentree has drawn from first-person accounts, military records, old photographs, and contemporary strategic and tactical maps to give a useful look at the opposing units. Tennessee freelance artist Johnny Shumate nicely drew the modern illustrations. Chapters include The Opposing Sides; Pont du Fahs, Depiene, and Oudna; Green Hill, Primosole Bridge, and an analysis and conclusion. He also includes a useful look at unit organizations and a selected bibliography. $18.95. ISBN:  978170969244.

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Categories: Civil War books, Osprey, Product reviews | Leave a comment

FREE rules for ACW wargaming – Give Them the Cold Steel!

Monday Knight 012

Ed McKie has graciously allowed the Johnny Reb Gaming Society to publish here on our website his new rules for miniature wargames for the American Civil War (ACW) period.  He maintains a support site which has more details on these new rules. It is a Yahoo site where quick play sheets and game counters can be found.

Give Them the Cold Steel is an interesting addition to the pantheon of published rules for ACW wargaming, and are worth a look, especially since Ed has provided them as a FREE service to the wargaming community.

Here are the rules and supporting files:

Please try out these rules when you get a chance, and report your likes and dislikes by adding comments to this blog post. Feel free to suggest any improvements or house rules, or any after-action reports!

Thanks Ed for your generous contribution to the JRGS and our CHARGE! website!

Categories: Civil War wargaming, Product reviews | 1 Comment

Excellent new scenario book for Regimental Fire & Fury ACW gaming!


Author and wargaming expert Rich Hasenauer, a member of the HMGS Legion of Honor, has produced the first in what we at the Johnny Reb Gaming Society hope will be a long series of fantastic, full-color scenario books for his popular rules set, Regimental Fire & Fury.  If the quality of this first offering is a hint of what is to come, we are in for a real treat as this series progresses through the war.

Regimental Fire & Fury Civil War Battles Scenarios, Volume 1: 1861-1862 is a welcome addition to my library of scenario books for regimental-level ACW gaming. Rich presents 11 different battles, some of which have multiple scenarios to depict portions of the larger fighting on a manageable scale. These range in chronological order from Big Bethel in 1861 to Prairie Grove in 1862, and represent both the Eastern and Western Theaters of the war. He also presents some optional rules which the gamer may incorporate into these scenarios, or into any other RFF game. The most interesting of these is his take on deploying and using skirmish lines in an RFF game, as well as the use of extended lines and twilight/night game turns. These are elements which have evolved from the wider usage of RFF and extensive playtesting among a variety of gaming groups.

As with the original Regimental Fire & Fury rules book, this new supplement is printed on glossy coated-two side enamel paper, enabling crisp reproduction of the photographs, maps, and images. The images show several of Rich’s fantastic miniature wargames in progress, and help visualize how to layout the gaming table for each scenario. Having retired in 2011, he now has more time to devote to his hobbies, and with more than 2,000 copies of RFF sold, he has a devoted following who will look forward to his continued efforts in the years to come.

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Categories: Civil War books, Civil War wargaming, Product reviews, Scenarios | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

New owners of Dave’s Baggage Train offering 10% discount for Charge! readers


Phil and Robin Spera have assumed ownership of Dave’s Baggage Train following Dave’s passing away. They are offering all Johnny Reb Gaming Society members and CHARGE! blog readers a special 10% discount for all orders placed between now and Cold Wars 2012! Simply mention the code word “scott mingus discount” when you place your order to receive this special pricing. Visit their website at Dave’s Baggage Train and then decide what you want to order. Talk with either Phil or Robin, and receive your discount when you order. Or, you can e-mail Phil at

I have used this system for several HMGS-East conventions, and have added to my collection of trays and cases. Here are photographs at some of my Civil War miniature wargaming items as stored in the trays that I purchased for use with the carrying cases.


Here is a quick look at the armies in their new home. They are mounted on metal bases for Johnny Reb 3 and the plastic army trays are lined with magnetic sheeting. Figures were painted by Scott Mingus and by Larry Reber of Gettysburg Soldiers.

And now a few more pix…

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Die Fighting! New Gaming Rules Set for the Horse & Musket Period

Long-time wargamer and rules author Bob Jones of Repique Rules is back with a brand new rules set that is sure to excite gamers who like the horse & musket period (roughly 1700-1900). This of course includes the popular wargaming topics such as Napoleonics, the American Civil War, Mexican War, Crimean War, American Revolution, Hundred Years War, French & Indian War, the Franco-Prussian War, Spanish-American War, and what Bob terms the Linear Wars (for example, the Age of Marlborough and the Age of Reason). Refighting the battles of Frederick the Great, Wellington, George Washington, Santa Anna, Stonewall Jackson, Teddy Roosevelt, and von Moltke with a single set of rules is a major hallmark of Die Fighting! Each time period has a few unique and simple rules that help add flavor and playability to that particular war.

The new easy-to-learn rules are designed for 2 players to small groups, and can be used at home or at conventions. It lends itself to tournament play, campaign play (with statistics), and.or single battles. Solo play is also covered in the rules and should be useful for those times when potential opponents cannot be found as they fear your die-rolling ability. Nothing unusual is required to play Die Fighting! – standard D6 dice, tape measures/rulers, and terrain / figs are all you needs, plus the rules books, simple charts, and events cards.

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Categories: Product reviews | 1 Comment

Blue Moon 15mm ACW figures – new line of Civil War soldiers!

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, wargamer and living historian John Mayer sent me three photographs of his freshly painted 15mm Blue Moon Civil War wargaming figures. Blue Moon has made quite a splash lately with their new line of figures, and these photos show the detail of some of the Confederate models.

Click each photo to enlarge it for better viewing of these exciting new figures.

John writes, “I really like these figures, although not as much as the original Old Glory.  They are definitely bigger and I think some people will have a problem with that; but still some of the best sculpted  since Old Glory’s originals and AB or Battle Honors. These new figures have good detail and nice sturdy rifles, although the bayonets seem just a little small and stocky, which I understand the reasoning for that.”

John adds, “Blue Moon’s  new figures are a bit bigger, but I would use them with my Old Glory 15’s. I look forward to the shoulder arms figures and other specialty troops. How about some 1st Bull Run troops for us to celebrate the 150th Anniversary!”

Anyone out there who also has painted some of these new figures? What do you think? Yay or Nay?

Categories: Civil War wargaming, Product reviews | 5 Comments

Back issues of CHARGE! newsletter now on-line for only $2.99 each!

YORK, PA — The Johnny Reb Gaming Society, a non-profit wargaming society based in York,  is pleased to announce a partnership with the Wargame Vault to offer back issues of CHARGE!, our official quarterly newsletter. Each issue features 2-5 regimental-level scenarios to recreate battles of the American Civil War using miniature wargaming rules systems such as Johnny Reb 3, Regimental Fire & Fury, Civil War Commander, Rally Round the Flag, Gettysburg Soldiers, and many others. Back issues #1 – #24 are now available on on-line at the Wargame Vault for only $2.99 per issue. All are downloadable and printable.

For an index of these scenarios and ordering information, please visit the website of the Wargame Vault.

Categories: ACW naval gaming, Buildings and structures, Charge newsletter, Civil War wargaming, Johnny Reb 3, Product reviews, Scenarios, Terrain | 2 Comments

Regimental Fire & Fury: A well done book!

After years of preparation and perhaps the most significant playtesting in wargaming rules history, Rich Hasenauer has published his long awaited Regimental Fire & Fury rule set. I have been a long-time devotee of regimental Civil War gaming, having started in college with home-grown rules and graduating after that to Scott Bowden’s Stars and Bars before getting a hand-typed copy of a set of rules from an early Origins that grew into Johnny Reb. I have played dozens of ACW systems of various scales over the years, with my favorites being Johnny Reb 3, Fire & Fury, and Brother Against Brother.  I was involved in a few playtests of RFF at various conventions, including Historicon and Cold Wars, and came away interested in the system for its simplicity and ease. Hence, I have watched Rich’s progress with interest, and wargamers such as Lowell Hamilton have worked diligently to translate the Johnny Reb scenarios I publish in the hard copy version of CHARGE! into RFF format. I have asked Lowell to write an article for an upcoming issue on how others can make similar conversions, because there are hundreds of JR-type scenarios out there that can be used for the new RFF rules with a little effort.

I got a copy of RFF at Historicon and have had a chance to read through the book a few times. Here are my initial impressions:

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Categories: Civil War wargaming, Product reviews | 7 Comments

New ACW regimental level scenario book now available!

Brad Butkovich is perhaps the most prolific Civil War scenario designer in the hobby today, with a style that is both entertaining for gamers and historically accurate. Well researched for factual history and well balanced for playability and enjoyment, Brad’s efforts in Musketry Like Thunder: The Greatest Civil War Battles Never Fought are superb and well worth downloading for a modest fee to your PC, where you can then print the scenarios you want to play (or the entire book, of course).

His latest effort is a fascinating compilation of eleven hypothetical settings and battles that offer some unique and interesting challenges to the gamer. He has graciously adapted one of them, “Surprise in the Forest,” for re-publication in the November issue of Charge! newsletter exclusively for the Johnny Reb Gaming Society.

Here is some verbiage from the Wargames Vault regarding this new .PDF book.

“This book provides eleven fictional scenarios, from small introductory games to corps level actions.  Each provides a unique tactical problem often encountered by the armies fighting the war.  These range from command and control issues, surmounting difficult terrain, to combating the weather as well as each other.  In addition, each scenario has great replay potential.  Federals and Confederates can switch deployment areas, and you can modify the order of battle to represent different years during the war.  In fact, you can use the maps and deploy entirely different forces on the table!

While the focus is on regimental level games, the order of battle can easily be adapted to systems where the brigade is the basic maneuver element.”

Three huzzahs for Brad! We look forward to many more similar products in the future from Brad!

Keep ‘em coming, soldier!

Categories: Johnny Reb 3, Product reviews, Scenarios | Leave a comment

Bob Jones’ new “Repique: Zouave” Civil War rules set now released!

Veteran gamemaster and rules maestro Bob Jones has long been a mainstay in the hobby of miniature wargaming. His Piquet rules set has been a popular favorite for many years at major conventions around the country, as have many of his other published rules systems. Bob has a major following on the Yahoo Group for his rules. In May 2010, his long awaited Civil War-era rules set,  Repique: Zouave – Wargame Rules for Warfare in the Age of Transition 1861-1871, was released to the public and is now available through leading retailers. It’s a fine piece of work and well worth trying out at your next gaming session. Zouave is the first in a new rule series using the new Repique System.

While Repique: Zouave focuses on the American Civil War combat tactics, it is very usable for other conflicts in that time frame, including the Fenian Wars, the fighting in Mexico against Meximilian, the Franco-Prussia Wars, and other lesser k known engagements.  Bob’s goal was to design an easy-to-play, fun, and fast rules set that covered larger units such as divisions and armies. While based loosely on the Piquet system, Repique: Zouave has its own unique mechanisms and resulting strategies. Bib has more than succeeded in his quest to give the gamer a solid feeling for the command and control nuances of a Civil War army, as well as large unit combat, without getting too bogged down in tactics and endless charts and tables. Zouave is a well-written, interesting rules system which promises to become very popular at major conventions in the years to come once gamemasters become familiar with the new product.

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Categories: Civil War books, Civil War wargaming, Product reviews | Leave a comment

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