I am spending part of the summer on temporary assignment at our paper mill in southern Ohio, ironically one that I worked at back before my senior year in college at Miami University. Tonight after work, I drove over to Kettering, Ohio, for my first visit to the Krystal Keep gaming store. Located where the previous Wexford Hill Hobbies was located just off I-275, this store offered spacious and well lit gaming areas, with a ton of shelves of terrain, houses, buildings, trees, and other goodies that gamers may borrow at no cost when playing games on their multitude of gaming tables.
Tuesday nights are historical gaming nights (as are Sunday afternoons). After exploring the well stocked store (mostly Flames of War and fantasy figures, but historicals can be easily ordered for in-store delivery and pick-up), I eagerly walked back into the main gaming area. There were only a few games being played, and tonight only one historical game. However, I was very pleased as I neared the table to discover that it was a 15mm Civil War game!
Four guys were busily rolling dice and moving stands of Rebels and blue-bellies. I stopped to watch, and the quartet warmly greeted me and made me feel welcome to stay and watch them for awhile. One of them turned out to be Jack Shaw, a past president of HMGS-Great Lakes, the gaming organization I belonged to for many years. Jack, MIke, Al, and Bill were busily playing a Civil War game using DBA, and I was interested to watch the game mechanics.
The friendly face of Jack Shaw, current Chairman of HMGS-GL. He and his three buddies exuded the kind of warmth and friendliness that has always been the hallmark of Great Lakes. I had met Jack years ago at Advance the Colors in Moraine, Ohio, at the Holiday Inn, and again once in Springfield, but I did not recognize him at first.
The figures were based four to a stand, with each stand appearing to be 1/2″ x 1″ wide. Artillery was on a larger base. The game is played at a brigade level using rather abstract but easty to grasp rules. It’s basically a move and push back game, with morale level deterioration key to forcing back a defender or killing him (three morale levels – good, shaken, and routed, with kills on a red (routed) unit eliminating the stand. Simialr to Fire & Fury, not a lot of stands were eliminated in the scenario, with the Yankees (Bill and Mike) taking 4-5 stands off versus only 1 for the Rebs by the end of the game (which appeared to be a CSA victory as they opened a gaping hole in the Union right flank).
Determining casualties was rather easy. Each unit is rated by its experience (raw, veteran, crack), and modify a 1d6 die roll by either 1, 2, or 3 depending upon experience level. Both the attacker and defender roll; high modified total wins, taking into account morale, leaders, etc.). The die differential determines the number of levels of morale the defender loses, assuming he/she rolls lower than the attacker. Dropping one level results in a yellow pip (for shaken) and a mandatory fall back of 1″, displacing any units in the second line.
All in all, it was a delightful evening – a pleasant 70 minute drive from Chillicothe to greater Dayton, a fun store to explore, a 15mm ACW game using rules I had not previously been exposed to, and great fellowship and conversation (Bill turned out to be an occasional Johnny Reb 3 gamer who has a copy of my Enduring Valor: Gettysburg in Miniature scenario book!). I will definitely go back to Krystal Keep when I am next in southern Ohio, and would encourage my fellow business travelers to check out this shop if you are in the Dayton area (easy drive from Cincinnati, Columbus, etc.). Thanks Jack and company for welcoming this native Buckeye! It sure beat a lonely night at the Hampton Inn!
Unfortunately, I did not have my digital camera with me. However, there are a few photos of this nice gaming venue on-line.
Also, here is a link to some free rules so you can try DBA for the Civil War yourself!