Talented wargame scenario designer Brad Butkovich is among the upper echelon of today’s generation of Civil War regimental-level wargamers. The Georgia-based Butkovich is well known to Charge! readers from his previous series of excellent scenario books, mostly based upon battles in the Western Theater.
Now, Brad has produced an interesting new booklet covering various actions at the July 1-3, 1863, battle of Gettysburg. It’s an area of keen personal interest to me! Some of you may recall a two-volume set, Enduring Valor: Gettysburg in Miniature, which I wrote for my friend and graphic designer Ivor Janci more than a decade ago. They have long been out of print, so Brad’s fresh look at the battle is much appreciated and timely.
Here is the table of contents for this book, which may be the first in a series (let’s all hope!). Brad’s research is compelling and accurate, and his take on how to break up the battlefield into bite-sized scenarios is of strong interest to Civil War gamers everywhere. The scenarios are adaptable for almost every major regimental-level rules set. They are designed for 15mm gaming, but of course can be modified for other figure scales. Brad also presents data for rules based upon 10-minute, 15-minute, and 20-minute time intervals per turn.
Years ago I wrote the text for a very popular wargaming scenario book, Undying Courage: Antietam in Miniature, which has unfortunately been long out of print. Long-time Johnny Reb wargamer Jerry Merrell has taken several of my scenario maps (drawn by graphic artist/publisher Ivor Janci of Wheaton, Illinois) and combined them into one large tabletop layout of Antietam for a heavily modified version of the late John Hill’s Across a Deadly Field rules. Check out his layout above! Impressive!
Jerry writes, “I photocopied the maps from each Antietam scenario & pieced them together (resizing where necessary) to create the mosaic shown. A few compromises were made, but not many & none where significant fighting was anticipated. We’ll be using traditional 4 stand JRIII regiments with simplified ADF rules. 15 players
with a total of about 600 stands. Hope you enjoy seeing that you work endures.”
Here are a few photographs Jerry sent to me…
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.
Two blockhouses (far left and far right of image) protect the old covered bridge and the B&O Railroad bridge at Monocacy Junction.
Veteran wargamer and master figure painter Larry Reber of www.gettysburgsoldiers.com sent me some photographs of a recent game he ran using a scenario I wrote for the July 1864 Battle of Monocacy (near Frederick, Maryland). This scenario appeared in Charge! issue #25, and can be downloaded for a modest charge from the Wargame Vault.
Larry will be presenting this impressive-looking Monocacy game at the upcoming Drums at the Rapids wargaming convention in northwestern Ohio.
Here are the rest of Larry’s photographs!
John Drewienkiewicz and Adam Poole have produced a fascinating and well illustrated new book on wargaming the American Civil War battle of Gettysburg. Volume 3 of the popular Wargaming in History series, this book carries on the tradition of the two earlier volumes in terms of quality of the photographs and the broad appeal of the content. The authors and several others played a series of regimental-level wargames based upon the fighting at Brandy Station, Barlow’s Knoll, Sickles’ Folly, and Pickett’s Charge. They present a detailed after-action report replete with hand-drawn maps of the various troop movements, and describe the battle action and results in the text.
Ken Trotman Publishing of Huntingdon, England, produced this book on high quality coated-two-side enamel paper with full color offset reproduction of the images and text. Priced at $50.0o U.S. , this book is a worthy addition to the gaming library. It is available in the U.S. from On Military Matters, 31 West Broad Street, Hopewell, N.J. 08525. In the UK, the book is carried by the publisher, Ken Trotman Ltd. (www.kentrotman.com).
Here is a link to a very interesting on-line scenario for the July 1861 fighting along Bull Run near Manassas, Virginia. While written specifically for the Civil War Command rules set, this scenario should be adaptable for several other leading rules systems.
This year marks the 150th anniversary of First Bull Run, a battle that stunned the North and gave hope to the South. It also showed the folly of promoting a brevet major in the adjutant’s office to brigadier general when that officer, Irvin McDowell, had little tactical or strategic field experience. McDowell would be replaced by the much more experienced George B. McClellan, who proved to be a strong trainer and organizer, but too cautious and indecisive on the battlefield. President Lincoln’s revolving door in the leadership of the Army of the Potomac would finally stop with George Gordon Meade in 1863 (and with U.S. Grant who traveled with that army in ’64-’65).
For the South, the two principle leaders at First Manassas, P.G.T. Beauregard and Joseph Johnston, would go on to high profile, if not always successful, careers in the Confederate army. Johnston would be wounded in 1862 during the Peninsula Campaign, opening the way for Robert E. Lee.
It’s interesting to compare the organization and order of battle at First Bull Run to that of the much larger opposing armies just a year later on the Peninsula. A handful of the generals are the same, and several colonels had been promoted. Of note is the massive increase in the size of the armies. Both sides had roughly 18,000 men engaged at Manassas; those numbers were substantially higher the rest of the war.
At Historicon 2011 in Valley Forge, PA, long-time Virginia-based wargamer Grant Daniels and his father, Curt, presented an impressive wargame of the August 1862 Battle of Chantilly (or Ox Hill). This 15mm game used the popular Johnny Reb 3 rules system by John Hill. Nine players, and numerous kibbitzers including yours truly, gathered for an evening of social entertainment and conversation around the gaming table.
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!
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.