Brad Butkovich and Historic Imagination recently released “This Bloody Field – Regimental Wargame Scenarios for the Battle of Shiloh”.
Brad’s scenario books are always well researched and written with the ACW regimental gamer in mind. The book leads off with an introduction, and then a background to the Battle of Shiloh. The scenarios can be played with almost any set of tactical ACW rules and there is an informative “How to use this book” section that explains how each scenario is organized. Each scenario includes: background information, a game overview, terrain information, deployment notes, victory conditions, maps, optional rules (like looting camps) and and order battle.
The order of battle is useful in that not only does it provide the actual number of men in each brigade and unit in “present for duty” and “engaged strength” numbers, but also the number of figures (or stands for 1:100) you will need to represent each unit at different gaming scales, including: 1:20, 1:30, 1:40, 1:50, and 1:100. I play multiple sets of varying scope ACW rules (Johnny Reb 1, JR3, ADF, F&F, FFR, etc), and these scenarios are organized in in a way that makes them quickly adaptable to the varying rule’s ground and figure scales. Also included in the OOB’s are morale (“status”) and weapons equipped (“arm”). Shiloh is typical of many early war scenarios that featured poor quality weapons like flintlocks and muskets, poor artillery pieces (6# smoothbores and 12# howitzers) and widely varied unit morale, fatigue and training. The scenario book includes this information for each unit and is necessary to add to the flavor of this early war battle.
“This Bloody Field” has small, mid, and large size scenarios that will cater to any wargaming groups available miniature collection. One nice aspect of the book is that it includes scenarios from the second day’s fighting, which in my opinion are almost always overlooked in the wargaming community. When was the last time you played a Shiloh, April 7th day 2 scenario? It’s assumed by many that the second day was a pushover for the reinforced Union army, but as Brad mentioned to me, “the Confederates almost won the second day”. This book is the perfect way to dust of your figs, throw down some wooded terrain and find out “what might have happened”!
Brad’s maps are fantastic and are accurately designed. They are scaled for 15mm figures at 33 yards per inch, but are easily modified and adaptable to any figure or ground scale. He includes two maps for each scenario, with one showing the terrain and the other showing terrain as well as troop deployments. This is a really nice touch! He also visited Shiloh and took numerous pictures which are tied into the corresponding scenarios and show key vantage points in each scenario. This is another great feature of this book and it shows you what the terrain actually looks like. Obviously the fields and woods have changed but ravines, hills, streams, ponds, indian mounds, etc. are still the same and it’s interesting to see things from the “troops eye” perspective. I love that Brad hikes all of the battlefields he writes scenarios for and puts in the research from the boots up!
Shiloh was a straight up fight and frontal assault and there are not a lot of strategic flanking maneuvers that are likely going to happen when playing these scenarios. However, Brad has done a good job balancing the games with turn/time limits for the Rebels, and the some optional troops and reinforcements included as options for game play balance. I really enjoyed this scenario book, and I highly recommend it if you are interested in Shiloh.
“This Bloody Field” contains nine regimental scenarios:
- Confederate Onslaught – April 6th, 1862 – This is large scenario that simulates Polk’s morning surprise attack on McClernand and Sherman the first day of Shiloh. The suggested table size in 15mm is 5’x8′ or 6’x9′ (for 15mm figures) and there nine federal brigades, plus artillery in the game and ten Confederate brigades (plus artillery). This is a fantastic scenario for a large club game that can be left set up and played over a weekend or a convention game that can be played over multiple sessions. This is a large regimental scenario and might also work well using Fire and Fury (brigade) or Across a Deadly Field.
2. Sherman Attacked! – This scenario focuses on the attack that fell on Sherman on April 6th. This is a smaller, more manageable scenario than the “Confederate Onslaught” and can be played on a 4×6 table with four Federal brigades and five CSA brigades and artillery.
3. McDowell vs Pond – This is the smallest scenario in the book and explores the possibility if Pond had attacked McDowell more aggressively. This scenario is set on the extreme Federal right flank on the first day and is a brigade vs brigade affair. There are five Federal regiments and a battery vs five Confederate regiments and two batteries. This is a small, fun fight perfect for a set of detailed tactical rules. This is a great scenario to fight using 28mm figures as well. We refought this scenario recently using “Johnny Reb 2” and had a great time. See the Summer 2017 issue of ACW Gamer the E-Zine for more information on our game.
4. The Crossroads -This is a large scenario featuring 10 Federal brigades (some small) vs six large Confederate brigades and recreates the fight at the Crossroads of the Hamburg-Purdy Road and the Corinth Road. The table should be 5′ x8′.
5. The Peach Orchard – The is a nice medium sized scenario and the game involves roughly 5-6 brigades per side, or about two divisions fighting on a 4’x6′ table near the Davis Wheat Field, Sarah Bell’s Old Cotton Field, the Larkin Bell field and of course the Peach orchard. This looks like a fun scenario and is on my “play next” list!
6. The Hornet’s Nest – The “classic” Shiloh scenario for wargamers featuring the Duncan field and the “Sunken Road”. The fight for the middle of the battlefield features about five Federal brigades vs seven CSA brigades and artillery on a 3’x4′ table.
7. Bull in the Cotton Field – This is the first of the day two scenarios on April 7th featuring the fresh units of the Army of the Ohio. Can they break the Rebels at the scene of the previous day’s fighting near Sarah Bell’s Cotton Field? One nice aspect of this scenario book is that once you have your Shiloh terrain you can use it for both day’s fighting! This is a medium sized scenario featuring about five big and fresh Federal brigades vs eight small and fatigued Confederate brigades.
8. Duncan Field – April 7th – This small segment of the battle showcases the early head to head fight for Duncan Field on a 4’x3′ table with about five Federal brigades vs four Confederate brigades.
9. End of the Line – April 7th – This is a large scenario with about two divisions fighting per side on a 4′ x 5′ table. It pits exhausted Confederates against the fresh troops of Wallace’s division.
Here is what Historic Imagination has to say about their book:
The Battle of Shiloh was the first truly large battle in the American Civil War’s western theatre, and the largest until Chickamauga the next year. With largely inexperienced troops, the two sides faced each other and knocked each other around until one withdrew from sheer exhaustion. Try your hand at the gaming table and manage the chaos of untried and untested combat troops thrown together and pitted against each other in a fight to the death along the Tennessee River!These scenarios are designed to be used with almost any American Civil War regimental level set of rules. Rules are included for figures based on 20, 30, 40, 50, and 100 historic men per figure/stand. Times are given for 10, 15, and 20 minutes per game turn. Maps are in full color, as are the numerous color photographs of the modern battlefield.
Here is a link to Brad’s website – link
Be sure to check out all of Historic Imagination’s other ACW scenario books!
Thanks and Good Gaming!