A few of you have asked to see photos of my wargaming room in our basement, adjacent to the mecca of the Johnny Reb Gaming Society (a.k.a. Debi’s office and library, and our grandson’s playroom). I particularly like the Lincoln print, which is actually a montage of 1,000 individual black-and-white photographs from the Civil War that have been arranged so that the patterns form an image of Honest Abe when seen from a distance. The two old steel chairs are from the 1920s; they graced my grandparents’ front porch in East Fultonham, Ohio, when I was a kid. I have lots of memories of playing 54mm toy army men on that old porch and munching ice cream bars while talking with my grandpa and grandma. Very nostalgic! Ah, the pleasant memories…
As a family, we have always been hooked on board games, which provided hours of fellowship and entertainment on those cold winter evenings along the shores of Lake Erie for the nearly 25 years we lived in the “Snow Belt” east of Cleveland. The black bookcase houses a small portion of my collection of Civil War books, which has been amassed over the years primarily through gifts from family and friends, as well as haunting flea markets for years back when I was a baseball card collector. I have more than fifty books on Gettysburg alone (including the ones I wrote, of course).
A shot of my 15mm Civil War layout for the Battle of Mingus Mills, which I hope to play sometime over the holidays. In the background is another bookcase of Civil War books, these ones primarily from the Western Theater. I bought this very nice collection for $2 a book from a local man. Also note my Union infantryman’s reenactor uniform, which Debi has placed on display. She painted the walls of the room sky blue, intermingled with a grayish tinge to represent clouds of smoke from the swirling battle action. The effect does not come through in the pictures, however. The drawing is a sketch of me in a Cincinnati Reds uniform done by an artist at a trade fair years ago. I grew up watching Pete Rose, Tony Perez, and what became celebrated as the Big Red Machine.
The western wall: The two wooden boxes in the bottom center are actual World War I ammunition crates that my Mom and Dad gave me as a birthday present years ago. While serving as a “doughboy,” my great-uncle Sanford Mingus was injured in the Great War by a chlorine or mustard gas attack. He survived, and, as a little boy, I used to enjoy seeing his memorabilia including his gas mask. The blue ribbons are some of the various HMGS-East PELA and other awards my sons and I have won at various wargaming conventions over the years. The Civil War officer’s sword is a reenactor replica. The hand-colorized art print of the Union zouave and the adjacent print of Culp’s Hill were gifts from my friend and publisher, Ivor Janci, and were from our Enduring Valor: Gettysburg in Miniature wargaming scenario book series.
A quick peek at some of my book collection in my gameroom: I have three main focal areas — Gettysburg and the Civil War, professional sports (especially the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Reds), and G. A. Custer and the Little Big Horn.
Under the stairsteps, I have a small finished closet in my gameroom where I can store figures, etc. Immediately south of the game room is a partially finished utility room where I store terrain boards, larger gaming pieces, several spare tables, old toys, and assorted junk that I really should sort through. I was privileged when I was a youth to do a lot of odd jobs around town for several elderly residents, and used the money I earned to buy toy soldiers, comics, and ball cards. I don’t have the collectibles any more, but I do have some of the army men, plus all the stuff my kids received growing up.
And finally, below is a look at the upcoming Johnny Reb 3 Battle of Mingus Mills, which is a family holiday tradition with my sons that we have not played in several years because of schedules and conflicts. I rarely win, as I am a horrible die roller. Somehow statistical distribution and normal probability / bell-shaped curves do not apply to my dice. The boys, I believe, were undefeated throughout their childhood in this annual event. This year, it’s time to allow my 3-year-old grandson to do all my die-rolling!!! Victory at last???
Young Brig. Gen. George Armstrong Custer, like me a native of east central Ohio and my boyhood idol, brings on the Michigan Brigade as the veteran Wolverine horsemen trot past the old Menges (original German spelling) farmstead, where Moses Mingus, a veteran of the Revolutionary War, is buried in the family plot. His sons William and Calvin fought in the War of 1812.
Do you have any photographs of your own game room?
Care to share them with the Charge! readership?