Sunday, April 10, 2011

Little Wars - April 9, 2011

For Little Wars this year, I decided to host Gettysburg - Day 2. The ruleset is a homebrew version of Command & Colors: Civil War that I cooked up. Here is a shot of the table as we were just getting going on the first game. I scheduled 3 games for Saturday: 10:00 am, 1:30 pm, and 5:30 pm. Game 1 lasted just over 3 hours and ended with Union victory. The Southern Commanders were determined to smash the Union left flank and sent Longstreet's Corp forward. Their initial attacks went in somewhat piecemeal and were driven off. The Union player reinforced the left with Sykes Corp and launched a successful counter-attack. The desperate Southern commanders fed in reinforcement's from A.P. Hill's Corp and the losses mounted. Eventually the Rebel army could take no more and retreated from the field: A Union victory!

After awarding the medal for the victory, setting up the table again, and taking a hurried bite of a beef sandwich, we were ready for the second group of the day.

This time, the Rebel players started out with what looked like a similar plan. Longstreet's men moved forward and began to attack Rose's Woods. After the Union player moved their Reserve (Syke's Corp and the reserve artillery) to their left to support Sickles, the rebels shifted their attack to the Union Right and began attacking the saddle between Culp's Hill and Cemetery Hill. The attacks started out slow, but quickly grew in intensity. Attack; counter-attack...charge; counter-charge. The Confederate leadership was fiercely determined to take and keep Cemetery Hill, and eventually did, but their losses were terrible the Union organized a final assault on the rebel units atop Cemetery Hill and drove them off. The depleted rebels finally admitted defeat and left the field: A second Union victory!

I was pretty tired after running two full games, but there was a full crew signed up for the third game, so after takign a short break with my wife and kids, I set it up again and off we went. Pictured above are the Union players, and below are the Confederate players. This time, the rebels were a bit more circumspect and after some skirmishing in the Peach Orchard, they began a grand assault on the Union right. It initially went badly, and Johnson's boys opposite Culp's Hill were rooughly handled and fell back into Gettysburg. However, once A.P. Hill's Corps deployed forward and began a slow, steady pounding of the Union position on Cemetery Hill and Ridge, the battle began to turn. Once several units of Union artillery were driven off the ridge, the Confederate Infantry began to advance. Their advance crested the Hill and swept down to Meade's HQ were a final desperate struggle erupted. The battered Union army quickly ran out of fresh troops, and the rebs had the victory!

It was a great day, but man was I tired. It was going on 10 pm and I had been on my feet for 14 hours. I slowly re-packed the armies and prepared to head for home. While I did so, several groups of players and judges stopped by to chat. Everyone had very nice things to say about my tabletop, which I appreciated. The star was the amazing paint job on the figures by Scott Mac Phee. Throughout the day, many gamers wanted to know who painted them, and the praise for the paintwork was unending. They are, truly, magnificent (Thanks again Scott!)

I had a great day, and really enjoyed putting on the games. The players all seemed to have a great time as well, with smiles all around after each match. Little Wars is a great Con. Well run, with many amazing looking tabletops (I was right next to a super-cool 54mm Alamo game that sprawled across two tables), many great vendors, and well attended by hundreds of very polite, and happy gamers. I was especially happy to see many younger gamers in their 20's and 30's...the hobby is very much alive in the Midwest.

Lastly, the new venue for Little Wars, at the DuPage Expo Center at the Pheasant Run Resort is perfect! It was enough space all under one very tall roof...and most importantly only 30 minutes directly north of my house!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Little Wars Gettysburg (part 3)

Cemetery Ridge and the Irish Brigade

The town of Gettysburg at the north edge of the table

General Lee at his HQ near the Lutheran Seminary.

Not a glam shot, but a good view of the entire table.

Preparing for Little Wars (part 2)

Early's Division eyeing the defenses on Culp's Hill

The defenses up close. (I made the breastworks pieces out of model railroad cargo logs.)

One of the new Iron Brigade units that Scott MacPhee did recently holding the saddle between Culp's Hill and Cemetery Hill.

Cemetery Hill ready for the attack. I scratch-built the Cemetery Gatehouse out of boardgame counters from the game Oasis.

Cemetery Hill/ Ridge. You can see the 14th Brooklyn Zouaves off on the right there.

Rebel units looking across at Cemetery Ridge

The Wheatfield there in the valley I made out of a coconut mat and some model railroad fencing.

Anderson's Division waiting for Longstreet's attack to go in.

...and waiting.

Longstreet's boys almost ready to go.


Sickles men in the Peach Orchard and Wheat Field

Preparing for Little Wars

I'll be running a game at Little Wars again this year on Saturday, April 9. Last year I did the Battle of Ligny. This year, I'll be doing the Battle of Gettysburg: Day 2. The rules will be my Civil War adaptation of Command and Colors: Ancients.


  • I've ordered new buildings to increase the number if my Civil War era buildings (which look different from Napoleonic era buildings). My building scale is 6mm, which may seem odd with 28mm figures, but I'm trying to create a tabletop that represents the entire battlefield, which would be impossible with 25mm buildings. I figure that since each figure represents approximately 300 men, that it actually makes sense that the figures are over-sized.
  • I purchased and based alot of trees
  • I purchased and flocked quite a few new hills
  • I also commissioned a few new units and casualty figures from Scott MacPhee (the genius figure painter who did all of my Civil War figures earlier this year.
  • I researched the orders of battle and starting positions of all units: Each infantry stand is equal to approximately 2 brigades.
  • The final step was to do a dry-run setup on my table. Here are some pictures:
The Luthern Seminary (great building from Total Battle Miniatures in the UK)

Notice the new casualty figures. I plan to place one on the table every time a unit is eliminated. That way, as the battle goes on, and units come off the table, it won't look as empty, and it will be apparent where the hard fighting took place.

Confederate troops of Rodes Division waiting in Gettysburg for their chance to storm Cemetery Hill.