Posts Tagged With: Civil War miniature wargaming

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

New ACW rules system being developed by TooFatLardies


The title, They Couldn’t Hit an Elephant, comes from a quotation attributed to Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick of the Union Army of the Potomac just prior to his death at the hands of distant Confederate sharpshooters during the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House in May 1864. Here is some information from the TFL website

“Great news for those who are looking for a fresh approach to American Civil War gaming, our latest rule set is at the printers and will be published on Wednesday the 3rd of December. Designed for either Divisional or Corps level games these have been written to give an enjoyable game which is also historically accurate in the abilities of troops and commanders. With fifty-two pages of text on high quality paper the rules are presented in staple bound format with a heavy card gloss colour cover. As well as complete rules for the period TCHAE contains lists for armies throughout the period, with commanders, weapons and troop quality covered for all theatres, and three scenarios to get you started.


We are now taking advanced orders of both the pdf and hard copy version, both will be despatched on the day of publication. £12 for the hard copy rules, £7 for pdf to anywhere in the world.”

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Rick Dunn’s 10mm ACW game


The late afternoon shadows creep over the battlefield as the sun dips to the horizon.

Rick Dunn is a friend of Civil War Commander rules set author Jim Kopchak. Rick was kind enough to send the Johnny Reb Gaming Society three photographs of his recent 10mm Civil War game.

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These guys are tiny! 10mm ACW gaming

10mm Civil War miniature wargaming figures and terrain from a game held at Rock Con 2008. The rules were A Terrible Discord by Doyle Collins. Photos by Randy Miller of ACME Terrain. For more photos of this scenario, “Richmond or Bust,” please click here.

Have you ever tried 10mm wargaming? It packs more figures, terrain, and excitement into a smaller space, making the scale ideal for kitchen table gaming or smaller venues than 25mm or even 15mm. The scale can readily be used for larger convention games as well.

I gave 10mm a shot a few years ago when I purchased some packs of 10mm Rebellion figures from the good folks at GHQ, who made the Terrain Maker hexes I was finishing and using at the time. I also picked up a bunch of 10mm accessories and houses / buildings and planned to switch from 15mm to 10mm (keep in mind that I had already scaled down from 20mm K+L figures to 15s, so this would have been my second dip into the scale downsizing pool).

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Categories: Civil War wargaming | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

Larry Morris’s JR3 Historicon playtest – Lauffer’s Crossroads

Wow, do those hills look foreboding! Instead of the Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Meade should send in the U.S. Army Rangers to scale the heights. (click on each photo to enlarge it!)

Fellow Pennsylvania wargamer Larry Morris was kind enough to send me several photographs of a playtest he, Jeff Corbin, and some buddies ran in preparation for their recent Johnny Reb 3 game they ran at Historicon 2008. Larry has become of the leading JR gamemasters in the state, and his games are always fun and interesting. I unfortunately had to miss his game (and most others) this year as Historicon conflicted with a trip to Ohio, a speaking engagement at the Chambersburg Civil War seminar, and other events (I was triple booked that weekend).

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Categories: Civil War wargaming, Johnny Reb 3 | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment


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.

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Who are the “best” Civil War miniature painters?

In years of attending wargaming conventions in the Midwest when I was involved in HMGS-Great Lakes and more recently here in Pennsylvania and Maryland with HMGS-East, I have seen hundreds of painted armies – mostly average to very good, some poor, and a few spectacular. And, there has been the occasional unpainted or spray painted monochrome armies from gamers that had not yet had the time to finish their figures. I’ve seen guys (and the occasional girl) with carefully shadowed and highlighted paint job on their figures, and I came away impressed and challenged to bump up my own skills.

In browsing the flea markets and dealer halls, I have also noted a wide variety of styles and qualities to their painted armies, even from “professional painters.” The same has been true of armies I have purchased from eBay or Bartertown. At times, I have been disappointed by these “pros” when I bought sight unseen from Internet sellers. Other times, the figures were much better than advertised.

A few years ago, after eye surgery (detached retina followed by a cataract), I basically retired from painting 15mm figures. I invested some money obtained from selling older armies I had bought through the Internet in some premium painted 15mm figures from West Virginia painter Larry Reber, owner of lee_pair.jpg I may be biased, but I have owned figures from dozens of painters, including some of the better known pros, and I think Larry’s work is simply the finest painted 15mm figures on the market today, especially his custom work. He’s terrific, and when I have his figures on the tabletop, folks take notice. My painting is OK; his is light years ahead.

Recently, I started admiring Andy MacDonald-Rice’s work on the Internet through his photo gallery, and I think he’s one of the most talented painters I have seen for larger scale figures. He is writing a series for the Charge! hard copy newsletter on how to improve your painting. Watch for it!

So, who do you consider to be the best commercial painters on the market today? Everyone has their favorite professional – who is yours and why?

Categories: Civil War wargaming | Tags: | 7 Comments

Cold Wars 2007 – some random thoughts

I attended Cold Wars this past weekend in nearby Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Cold Wars is one of the three flagship miniature wargaming conventions presented by the Historical Miniatures Gaming Society‘s East Chapter. This was my fifth Cold Wars, and, as usual, it was fun to catch up with old friends in the gaming hobby and to see the array of visually appealing wargaming terrain layouts. I missed several friends who could not make it for a variety of reasons. For personal reasons, I did not serve as a gamemaster this year (not enough time to properly prepare, and I have been focusing on my historical books versus my wargaming activities).

Some random observations and thoughts:

* Attendance seemed fairly strong this year, despite a rather nasty snowstorm on Friday afternoon that dumped over six inches of fresh powder on south-central Pennsylvania and turned U.S. Route 30 (and the hotel’s parking lot) into a vast skating rink. A few gamemasters and several players had to cancel, as they could not make it into town. Virtually all the dealers were there, as they had arrived on Thursday before the storm hit.

* Rich Hasenauer’s Regimental Fire & Fury is nearing completion. He hosted another great 15mm ACW game on Saturday night, presenting an interesting scenario based upon the Battle of Kernstown. RNFF is gaining in popularity at conventions and has a cadre of devoted followers. However, not having the rules yet in print limits the overall acceptance, and there are way too many versions of the rules floating around the Internet. Still, Rich is to be commended for his efforts, and we at the American Civil War Gaming Society look forward to his finished product. Tony Figlia, who often co-hosts the RNFF games with Rich, is a great gamemaster who keeps things entertaining for the players.

* Jim Kopchak of the Northern Ohio Gaming Society (NOWS) debuted his new rules, Civil War Commander, which are a new regimental-level set. Jim is an old pal from when I lived in Cleveland (he used to drive out to Lake County and play Johnny Reb 3 with Doug Rogers and me). Jim’s new rules should be in print and for sale before too long. He showed me a proof copy, and they look easy to understand. I will keep the readers of Charge! blog updated on his progress. Jim’s game was a nice depiction of the 1862 Battle of Corinth. He scratchbuilt a number of fences and abatis for the layout.

* I played in a Mexican-American War scenario, the Battle of Cerro Gordo, presented by Jon Coulter of Old Dominion GameWorks of Virginia, publishers of the American BattleLines rules set (which can be used for the Civil War as well). I was Santa Anna, and we had a blast. The Mexicans held their own and denied the miniature Winfield Scott’s advance on Mexico City. The Mexicans did not take a single casualty for the entire first hour of the game, while the Americans by then had three regiments wrecked and two more routed. Once Gideon Pillow’s division arrived and unlimbered its artillery, Mexican casualties started evening out, but, by then, it was far too late for the Americans to seize the Mexican camp and open the road to the capital city.

* Doug Kline’s Battlefield Terrain Concepts was quite busy during my two-hour book signing session (I only sold one copy – disappointing, but I understood. Gamers prefer to spend hard-earned cash on wargaming supplies and figures. I have MUCH better success selling my books at bookstores, museums, and ACW gift shops in Gettysburg, as well as on Doug’s hot new product was cast resin tree bases (about an inch and a half in diameter), which sold really well. They look quite good when flocked and finished, with the tree attached! Doug’s new terrain tips booklet (published by the Johnny Reb Gaming Society), This is Good Ground, also sold well. This new digitally printed booklet offers lots of color photos of Doug’s layouts, as well as many of his “secrets” for a marvelous looking gaming table layout.

* Sash & Saber’s 40mm figures are outstanding! If I had to start over, I would buy  them and get hooked. My friend and fellow JR3 gamemaster, James Mattes of Maryland, has started collecting and painting 40mm figures and plans to run a major JR3 game with them at one of East’s conventions later this year.

* Speaking of JR3, the only Johnny Reb 3 game on the schedule this year was a 15mm four-player game of the Battle of Overall Creek presented by gamemaster John Breslin. Unfortunately, this game was cancelled, so, for the first time in memory, there were NO Johnny Reb games at an East convention. I plan to run at least one game at Historicon, and perhaps  we will see games from some combination of James Mattes, Curt Daniels, John Breslin, Larry Morris, Bob Grosse, Doug Kline, and/or P.J. O’Neill (all are leading JR gamemasters who have graciously presented their talents in past East cons).

* John Michael Priest (a Maryland high school teacher and the author of interesting books on Antietam, South Mountain, and Gettysburg) was back at Cold Wars with his 54mm skirmish level wargaming rules, Fix Bayonets!. Both of his Battle of Carthage sessions were well attended. John’s games always remind me of my youth of playing with toy soldiers, as he uses commercially ready-to-play soldiers from Britains, Marx recasts, and an array of other figure manufacturers. His rules are incredibly simple and uncomplicated, yet are great for a fun afternoon’s entertainment.

* I spent so little this year – $15 admission for a “day tripper” wristband, $6 for a pair of painted 10 mm farm buildings, $2 for a nice McElfresh color map of the Chancellorsville battlefield (I used his maps of Gettysburg and Antietam as a major source for the maps in my wargaming scenario books), $2 for a large pack of 3/4″ x 3/4″ metal bases from Outland Games’ bargain bin, and $8 for food and beverage for the day, plus a quarter tank of gasoline for the round trip from my home in York over to nearby Lancaster. I just didn’t see much else that really tempted me. I have been spending more on Civil War music and books lately than on wargaming.

What were your impressions of Cold Wars this year compared with previous years? Please leave your comments and thoughts!

Categories: Civil War wargaming, Conventions, Johnny Reb 3 | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Charge sequence in Johnny Reb 3

officer.jpgThis past weekend, I had the privilege of hosting a JR3 game at Patriot Point on Cemetery Hill at Gettysburg. During the wargame (which was of Cemetery Hill), I had a chance to chat with fellow gamer Bob Johnson regarding the rules and sequence for conducting and resolving charges in Johnny Reb 3.  In a specific instance, one regiment of the Louisiana Tigers, supported by 3 other regiments, charged a portion of Ames’ Brigade along hasty works on the northern slope of Cemetery Hill. The Tigers were hit at normal range with musketry, inflicting 3 casualties on a 4-figure stand. The Rebs passed their check, came storming in, easily won the dice down for impact, and the Yankees rolled a 10 and routed off the position. My colleague’s opinion was that there should be more of a modifier for losses on an incoming regiment. In this case, losing 20% of the regiment as it came in was not enough of a deterrent to stymie the attack, and the chargers swept that portion of the hill (they were repulsed a couple of turns later and the Yankees won the game).

 The question got me thinking about how fickle and die-roll oriented the charge sequence is. It is perhaps as good as it can get (although I do like P.J. O’Neill’s differential table). What is your opinion on the charge sequence? So many folks who don’t like JR3 point specifically to the cumbersome charge system as the major drawback of the rules system. Your thoughts?

Categories: Civil War wargaming, Johnny Reb 3 | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

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