Product reviews

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

New titles from Osprey Press

Osprey Publishing has just released three new books that might interest the wargamer, military modeler, and dioramist. They kindly sent me review copies of the new titles. Here are my quick takes on each.

Painting and Finishing Techniques: Typical of Osprey’s books for military miniature enthusiasts and wargaming hobbyists, this book offers several full color plates and illustrations, and is chock full of tips, advice, and lessons learned from some of the finest painters of military miniatures, model airplanes & tanks, vehicles, etc. It goes through set-up, tools, work spaces, painting tips, weathering, dry brushing, detailing, highlighting, shading and various other tips that are of great value to the novice painter, and even can help more experienced veteran painters and modelers. Well worth a look if you are into model military machines.

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

New Chickamauga scenario book for regimental-level wargaming

I have recently downloaded a digital copy of a new scenario book by Brad Butkovich in which he breaks down the 1863 battle of Chickamauga into bite-sized pieces similar to my books on Gettysburg and Antietam.  River of Death has more than a dozen original scenarios for Chickamauga that look highly playable. The scenarios should work for nearly all regimental-level ACW rules systems, including of course Johnny Reb 3 and Regimental Fire & Fury, as well as most others.

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Categories: Johnny Reb 3, Product reviews, Scenarios | 6 Comments

Update on Brothers Divided: Skirmishes in the Gettysburg Campaign, Volume 2

This is the tentative cover art for Volume 2 of Brothers Divided: Skirmishes in the Gettysburg Campaign, to be published in 2010 by Marek/Janci Design of Wheaton, Illinois. All the maps are completed, and the next step will be to do the interior graphic design and layout. Ivor Janci, the publisher and graphic artist, works on this wargaming scenario book in his spare time from his regular catalogue and advertising piece business. Hence, there is no set timetable for completing this fifth wargaming book we have collaboarated on in the past ten years. We expect to have it by Fall-In at the latest, but this is subject to change.

I had the privilege of visiting Ivor and Frani earlier this month at their home and see a small portion of Ivor’s wonderful collection of wargaming figures and terrain. He’s very talented. This upcoming scenario book is designed for skirmish wargaming rules sets such as Ivor’s classic Brother Against Brother. The book contains a dozen small-unit actions from the Battle of Gettysburg.


Categories: Civil War wargaming, Product reviews | 3 Comments

A wargamer’s delight: Brad Gottfried’s new series of map books!


The Maps of First Bull Run: An Atlas of the First Bull Run (Manassas) Campaign, including the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, June-October 1861 is a new Civil War book by veteran author Bradley Gottfried.

As a long-time Civil War buff and miniature wargaming enthusiast, I am always looking for well-crafted maps that depict the deployment and movement of troops during various stages of Civil War battles. Often, period maps are lacking in detail or intermix movements from throughout the various stages of the engagement, often “muddying the waters” in terms of gaining an understanding of which regiments were in what position at what time in the battle. This new book is an invaluable resource to help demystify the often fluid situation at First Manassas where positions often changed hands, troops were shifted frequently, and official reports and records unclear in recounting the timeline of what transpired that summer day.

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

15mm Artillery Figures from Scale Creep Miniatures


Mark Severin of Scale Creep Miniatures in the greater Cincinnati, Ohio, area was kind enough to send me a few packs of his new line of 15mm artillery pieces. The figs came well packaged and in a timely manner. Each gun pack has a pair of very nicely sculpted miniature Civil War artillery, which are easy to assemble. Well cast and well molded, the guns fits together nicely with minimal effort. The castings are of high quality pewter alloy, with little flash and no signs of miscasting.

Artillery 003

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

Specialty manufacturers to organize new kind of military history event


New York, NY— On October 19, 1781, British General Charles Cornwallis surrendered to the American Revolutionaries at Yorktown, VA, effectively ending the American War of Independence. To commemorate this event and celebrate America’s rich military heritage, W. Britain has teamed with Osprey Publishing and Casemate Publishing to organize the first-annual Military History Weekend in Williamsburg, Virginia. It will be a two-day affair, October 17-18, at the Hospitality House in downtown Williamsburg.

“We have felt for a long time that fans of military history need an event that bridges the different segments of the hobby, notes W. Britain general manager, Richard Walker. “In the one corner you have ‘metal heads’ like me who paint and collect toy soldiers. In the other you have Ph.D. historians who chase down things like the names of General Washington’s body guard. And in between you have reenactors, wargamers, and armchair historians. There are plenty of shows that serve each of these groups separately. We hope that our event will be the kind of ‘big tent’ under which everyone can come together.”

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

Do you use order dials for Johnny Reb 3 or chits?


One of the most critical parts of the Johnny Reb gaming mechanism is marking orders for individual regiments (or collectively for a brigade). A number of different methods have been used. In the very early days, some gamers made foam cubes, marked on each side with one of the six key orders (Form, Move, First Fire, Charge, Conditional Hold, Hold, and Disengage). The desired order was face up, covered with a piece of paper or a chipboard chit. Later on, GDW included pre-printed order chits, with one order per chit, and these were distributed in the game boxes; additional chits could be ordered or bought at participating gaming retailers. Some people flocked the backside of the chits to make them look better on the gaming table and help them blend in for photography.

A couple of years ago, a Midwestern gamer began creating and selling Fox’s Bases – magnetic disks marked with the six JR orders, with another magnetic cover to mask the order. These were flocked. They were initially popular, but because of health issues, Rob had to curtail his activities.

Now, the Dial Dude has decided to adopt Fox’s Bases concept and further improve it with covers that have flags for easy ID. A full report will be in the August issue of the hard copy CHARGE!, as well as ordering information and, if all goes well, free samples.

Do you use Fox’s Bases, chits, cubes, the new improved disks from the Dial Dude, scraps of paper, or some other method to mark your orders?? Any photos of your games with markers that you want to share?

Categories: Johnny Reb 3, Product reviews | Tags: | 4 Comments

Dave’s Baggage Train storage system


At Cold Wars, I decided (finally) to invest in a better system to store and haul my 15mm Civil War figures to and from conventions and other public gaming settings. After years of lugging heavy totes or fighting with balancing everything on my dolly, I took a little bit of money I made selling non-wargaming historical books and invested in luggage from Dave’s Baggage Train in the dealer hall, and then augmented it with some stuff bought on eBay. This should make it easier to transport my figures and accessories.

In the first photo, here is a quick look at some of my Civil War miniature wargaming items as stored in the trays that I purchased for use with the carrying cases. (The old toys in the background are Fisher Price stuff my little grandson was playing with).


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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Categories: Civil War wargaming, Product reviews | Tags: | 4 Comments

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