Sunday, May 27, 2012

28mm War of the Roses Game at Nashcon 2012

28mm War of the Roses

This weekend was Nashcon 2012, and me and my good friend, Titch W., ran
a War of the Roses game. We ran a hypothetical scenario set during the Tewkesbury campaign of 1471. We used slightly modified "Medieval Tactica" rules. These rules are great for convention games because they are simple, bloody, and play to a conclusion quickly. The average unit size was 32 foot and 18 mounted figures per unit.  The figures are mostly 28mm Old Glory, Wargames Foundry, Front Rank and some Perry plastics. We actually had more figs than table and didn't use all of the figures we brought to the con. Next year we are planning on a table twice as big so we'll have room for Titch's castle, a river and 100% of our figures. We had four players and a great time! Here are some pictures from my iPhone:

Nascon 2012 - this year was very busy and I think there were  more gamers in attendance than
in the last 5+ years. It was good to see so many gamers out gaming and supporting the vendors!

An overview of the starting positions (and my Starbucks)!

The Lancastrians on the left (my figs) and the Yorkists on the right (Titch's figs).

A close up of some of my troops about to go into action!

Titch on left and me on the right

Titch's Yorkists

First blood... the light horse tried to ride up and shoot the artillerymen.
The horsemen  got shot up and routed!

Some of the Lancastrian army

One of my good friends, Chris W. played on the Yorkist side.
He brought his camera and will send me some better pics of the
battle to post. Thanks Chris!

Things got messy in and around the hedges.

Chris's Yorkist foot knights try to push Jeff's archers off the hill!
(...which they did with ease!)

After the battle...the Lancastrians won the day! Chris and Titch were
read a list of their crimes and then beheaded!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

81st Regiment Indiana Infantry

81st Indiana

This regiment was organized and mustered in at New Albany, IN on 
August 29, 1862. They were a veteran unit, having served at: Perryville, 
Stones River, Chickamauga, the Atlanta Campaign, Battle of Franklin and the Battle of Nashville. They
were mustered out in Nashville on June 13, 1865. 

These are 28mm Dixon figures that kicked my butt! They took forever to paint because of 
their "full kit". I had forgotten how much more I like to paint simpler "campaign" figures. Even though
they don't look too bad, these guys had all the bells and whistles like: backpacks, blankets, straps,
canteens, gun straps, buttons, socks, etc. It could only have been worse had they been NAP or SYW

81st IN - painted as a 25 figure unit for "Johnny Reb" (approx. 500 men)

The officer seems like a confident chap!

I painted them like a veteran "Western" Federal unit might have looked
like at the Battle of Franklin in Nov. 1864

Marching to the sound of the guns!

Rear view of all those packs and straps!

A close up of the Hoosiers.

March attack!

Rear view of the line.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

28mm Dixon Miniatures Confederate General

28mm Dixon Confederate Command Stand

I have been painting a lot of Union infantry lately, and it was nice to put away the blue
paint and break out my greys and browns. Here are some pictures of a CSA general
I painted this week.

A front view of the general and standard bearer. Hovel ACW
building in the background. 

One of the local lads came out to cheer on the Rebs!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

28mm ACW Union General

28mm Dixon Federal Command Stand

I was out of town for most of last week, so I wasn't able to
paint an infantry regiment as I had planned, but I was able to get a couple 
command stands done. Here is a picture of my USA
command group. I'll post some pics of the CSA figures soon.

28mm Dixon Figures in front of a Hovel's house with a
scratch built fence.

Front view of the command stand

A better view of the horse and mounted officer

Rear shot

Friday, May 11, 2012

Interview with Dean West - part 2

Question 2: What can you share with Cigar Box Heroes about the early days of Johnny Reb rules development with John Hill?

During the 1960s I did not play miniatures games. However, the military board game industry emerged during the sixties and I was the first one on my block to purchase Tactics II, designed by Charles Roberts and published in 1962 by the legendary Avalon Hill Game Company. Tactics II was the first military board war game ever published. This game was too theoretical and stark for my taste, but in quick succession AH published Gettysburg, Afrika Korps, D-Day and Waterloo. I played these games extensively (learned Waterloo when on my Honeymoon in 1966).
In college, my interest in Horse & Musket warfare was far greater than my interest in studying for my classes. I read every book in the Ball State University library on the Napoleonic or French Revolutionary wars, and bought many others besides. I hoped to someday design a Napoleonic miniatures game that was heavy on tactics but still fun to play and challenging.

A Polaroid picture of a  Johnny Reb campaign game in Dean's basement 20+ years ago.

After marrying, becoming the father of twin boys, landing a job as an adjustor at State Farm Insurance Company, and graduating from college–in that order–I became interested in trains and scale model railroading. My problem was that there were no good hobby shops in the area. Late in 1969, I heard about a hobby shop only sixty miles away, in Lafayette, IN that was rumored to be a scale modeler’s dream. I took off work and hurried over there, to find that “The Scale Model Shop” was everything it was rumored to be. The proprietors of that special place were John Hill and Norris Darrell.

The Scale” was a terrific hobby shop where a “serious” scale modeler could find about anything needed to build model railroads or war game terrain. I visited the shop often. Initially, my friendship with John and Norris was founded on mutual interest in modeling Colorado Narrow Gauge railroads. But as the months rolled by, it became apparent that we also harbored a mutual interest in war games. Soon, we were talking more about military history and less about trains. I learned that John owned his own board game company, Conflict Games. Conflict Games publications included Verdun: The Game of Attrition, Kasserine Pass, Overlord and Bar-Lev. All were designed by John (Several of these games have recently been reissued by other companies). Over the course of a year or so, war gaming, modeling, and historical research replaced model railroading as our primary mutual interest. However, our interest in very detailed model railroad scenery has been a major factor in our insistence on very realistic wargame miniatures boards. John has even taken this penchant for detailed wargame boards into his latest board and miniature game design - "Shiloh Dawn" for Pacific Rim Publishing.

A preview of the map from John Hill's latest project "Shiloh Dawn". 

Squad Leader and Johnny Reb were invented almost simultaneously in John’s basement roughly between the years 1971 and 1978. Both were developed and play-tested under John’s leadership by a dedicated group of war gamers who were also amateur historians. We even had one professional historian in the group, Professor Gunther Rothenberg (Gunther eventually wrote several well-received books on Napoleonic warfare). Squad Leader was already under design when I joined John’s gaming group sometime in 1972. We played the earliest versions of the game on John’s basement floor using Micro-Armor tanks and vehicles. Terrain was cardboard cutouts or chalked in. As the design developed, unit counters representing infantry, heavy weapons squads, and officers were introduced. The use of counters to represent infantry formations made the battles seem more realistic and interesting. An Allied player soon learned to fear the arrival on the battlefield of a column of Micro-Armor SdKf 251s with Feldgrau unit counters stacked on them.

Another 20+ year old Polaroid picture of a Johnny Reb
scenario played in Dean's basement.

 Occasionally, we needed a break from WWII play-testing, and as the Horse & Musket guy on the team, I volunteered to bring my Napoleonic figure collection to John’s basement and to host a game using my homegrown rules. By 1973, I had amassed respectable forces of French and Prussian 25 mm figures manufactured by “Der Kriegspieler”, and had hobbled together a half-assed set of Napoleonic miniature rules based loosely on the Napoleonique rules written by Jim Getz (Empire) and Duke Seifried - "Uncle Duke". Just like any war gamer past or present, I’m incapable of playing anyone else’s rules without first modifying them to suit me. John’s the same way, and so every time we played my game we made changes and found problems until finally John decided that we could do better and so John and I embarked on the design of a horse & musket miniatures game. Thus the Johnny Reb project was born. After some discussion, we decided to base our rules on the American Civil War (ACW). We decided on the ACW because we had access to tons of research material, all in English, and we could also visit the battlefields. Another reason is that it would be somewhat easier to design a game based on our Civil War because the troops and tactics were more generic. Unlike the Napoleonic Period, we would not have to struggle with the complicated problems inherent to depicting “national differences” in tactical doctrine, maneuverability, or temperament of the many European belligerents.

A picture of John Hill's "Battle of Resaca"
scenario from Historicon 1997.

Both Squad Leader and Johnny Reb were considered at the time of their publication to represent major advancements in recreational military game design. Squad Leader was published by Avalon Hill in 1977, and quickly became the best-selling military board game in history up to that time. For his achievement, in 1978 John Hill was awarded the "Charles Roberts Award" for "Best Tactical - Operational Game" at the Origins II convention. In 1980, the subscribers of Campaign Magazine selected "Squad Leader" as "the Best Game of All Time". Johnny Reb was finally published in 1983 by Adventure Games, and quickly gained great popularity among Civil War miniatures players and in 1984, John received the H.G. Well's award for Johnny Reb as "The Best Miniatures Rules of 1983".  
Play testing for the Johnny Reb tournament at Origins 1986.

If you guys are still interested, in my next submission I’ll try to describe some of the Johnny Reb mechanics that were considered innovative when the game was published twenty-nine years ago. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

ACW Split Rail Fences

Here are some pictures I took of split rail fences on the Franklin battlefield. I wanted some 
examples to use to when building my own fences, but I thought some of my bloggin' buddies might
be interested as well! I also included a few pictures of the Franklin, TN battlefield.

A post split rail fence. This is located near the location of the
cotton gin.

The Cotton Gin after the war. 

Same post spilt rail fence. These are fairly high and the top
of the fence is mid-chest high.

Showing some curvature in the fence line.

One of my 28mm fences with some Union boys defending it.

A split rail fence near Winstead Hill. These could be easily built
on rocky / rough ground since they didn't require post holes.

Gen. Hood's view of the Franklin battlefield. Looking north from
Winstead Hill. Columbia Pike runs N from the bottom right to the
middle left. The heavy fighting took place at the Carter House where the
pike disappears into the woods.  In the 1860's the area was mostly open
fields with scattered woods.