I have been away from the wargaming scene all spring and summer as I focus on an expanded role within the company I work for, as well as getting a couple of Civil War book manuscripts ready for the publishers. Here are few photographs of some past games I hosted, starting with a couple of shots of the award-winning South Mountain game I presented at the HMGS-East 2002 Fall-In convention in Gettysburg, Pa.
My interest in miniature wargaming stems from several factors, including a childhood love for toy soldiers, growing up near a railroad, and having a grandfather who worked for the New York Central his entire career. I have always enjoyed miniatures, whether it be a wargaming layout or a model railroad. Here are some photos of a temporary set up I presented a few weeks ago.
I have recently completed a small vignette for my wargaming table, as well as to use to attract attention to my table when I am selling and signing my Civil War books I have written. This scene shows a Pennsylvania German farmer, let’s call him Jacob, nervously guarding his barn as he spots a distant dust cloud which indicates the arrival of Confederate foraging parties in his neighborhood. “Here come the Rebels!” has been the cry for weeks, and they have not come.
Until now, that is.
Jacob has failed to take his horses to safety (they are in the stable in back of the barn). He will attempt to negotiate with the raiders. He has a yellow membership card to the Knights of the Golden Circle, knows their secret password and identifying hand signals. For this information he has paid $1 to a couple of men from New York City who have visited his farm. They sold him the ticket and secret signs and told him the Rebels would leave his personal property, livestock, and horses alone if he showed them he was a member of the Southern-sympathizing K.G.C.
Click on the photos for better views of old Jacob and his farmstead.
Here are some links sent to me by Bob Glorioso of the Stillmeadow Crossing Model Railroad group here in historic York, Pennsylvania. Some of these websites are useful for getting ideas for modeling trees for miniature wargaming layouts.
Wood dowel, wire branches (mass production)
Bottle brush pine
“Wispy” pines (see the second half of the article)
Fern-branch pines from dowels
Fern-branch pines from balsa
Autumn trees (dried flowers and melted plastic straw)
A thread with really inspiring pictures of model trees, but you have to do a lot of clicking and reading to find the secrets (link to middle of thread)
I wandered around the main gaming hall of the Valley Forge, PA. Convention Center on Saturday night of the annual Historicon miniature wargaming convention sponsored by HMGS (Historical Miniature Gaming Society). I took a few photos of some of the theme games (American Civil War).
The convention appeared crowded, with most tables filled with impressive looking wargames in progress. Crowds seemed thick, and most looked like they were having a good time on this the final night of gaming action for this year’s Historicon.
Chicago-area businessman and talented graphic designer Ivor Janci is a long-time friend of mine who has collaborated with me on four popular (and sold out) scenario books for Gettysburg and Antietam. He recently ran a wargame using Larry Reber’s EZ-play Gettysburg Soldiers rules system. Gamer Tim O’Leary took a series of photographs of the game, which he and Ivor graciously gave me permission to reproduce on the Johnny Reb Gaming Society’s Charge! blog.
The above photograph shows an overall view of the 8′ x 6′ table with the Union initial positions denoted by the camps with tents. Three of the four Confederate brigades will be coming onto the table at the far end (the south end). Each of the 4 camps represents one brigade of Yankees going about their morning chores. Barely perceptible in the distance are emplacements with Union cannon facing east where the Union command thought that the Rebels would have attacked. The battle is on!
On Friday night at the annual Cold Wars wargaming convention in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, I helped my old friend Jim Kopchak run a 15mm game based on the second day of the 1862 Battle of Shiloh during the American Civil War. Jim’s visually stunning terrain and well painted figures and battlefield accessories always attract attention from passersby. Jim and I used to game together when I lived in NE Ohio east of Cleveland, and we have in the succeeding years at times tramped battlefields and Civil War sites together.
He has published his own rules set entitled Civil War Commander, but at Cold Wars the game he presented used Johnny Reb III as the rules, modified to make it usable for a brigade / demi-brigade basis. The modifications worked, and the game was fun. The Yankees took 2 of their 3 objectives by the game’s end and were declared to have won a minor victory (versus the historical timetable for Grant’s actual success at Shiloh day 2).
Here are more photos of Jim’s game. Click each one to enlarge it for better viewing of this very nice Shiloh presentation.
In the hard copy Charge! newsletter, long-time contributor Larry Reber of West Virginia gives some ideas on constructing portable sunken roads for the Civil War gaming table. I had previously made my own sunken roads by carving roads into pieces of foam insulation board from the local Lowe’s hardware superstore.
The 15mm wagon shown above was painted by Larry, and shows the depth to which I typically carve my sunken road sections. I string them together for larger scenarios such as Antietam’s Bloody Lane. Larry operates a very nice painting and custom figure conversation business, http://www.gettysburgsoldiers.com, and I have a few hundred of his skillfully painted figures as part of my collection of Civil War gaming figures.
(Click on each photo to enlarge it for better viewing of the details)
I purchased a few 1:600 scale model Civil War buildings from Bay Area Yards a couple of weeks ago. After painting these tiny structures (that was a painstaking task!) I decided to mount them as modular mini-vignettes that I could adjust and expand for various future ACW naval wargaming scenarios. These buildings were a buck or two apiece and are useful for detailing and modification.
The docks and piers are busy places as the riverfront bustles with activity. No one suspects that the next day will bring the specter of war to Johnson’s Bend, Mississippi. A Yankee fleet under Admiral David Dixon Porter is steaming downriver to capture the supplies being stored in the town’s many warehouses.