Daybreak at Hangman’s Creek for TotalCon 2012

After a long march initial Union forces have made camp south of Culpeper. Major General Wackenham and his brigade commanders rest in the town near Hangman’s Creek. It isn’t known for much but the town has a gun foundry making weaponry for the war.

The bulk of the division is still arriving. A defensive picket keeps watch but only a single brigade has fully arrived. Little do the Yankees know that a fresh Confederate division is advancing on their position. If the Rebels succeed they will gain vital supplies for their fight for freedom from northern industrialists. But, if the Union wins this fight they will open Richmond’s back door.

This sets the table for the Daybreak at Hangman’s Creek Black Powder scenario that Adrian B., Cort N., and I are planning to run at TotalCon 2012.  This is based on the scenario, by the same name, from the Black Powder (Guidelines for Gentlemanly Wargaming, as I call it) book written by Rick Priestley and Jervis Johnson.  The three of us are not a gaming club in any official sense of the word.  We are instead guys that love history and gaming with each other.

The Black Powder book is a great way to casually wargame favorite battles, real or imagined, in any setting.  Fans have created adaptations that halve or quarter distances allowing gamers to play on any size table using any size army.  We began play testing our scenario at The Whiz, Rte 9 East in Westborough, and continued it at Battleground Games & Hobbies in Abington.

The first play test used a single 4×6 table and the 50% distance version of the rules.  Cort’s daughter assisted by rolling his dice and Adrian’s son, Rhys, filled out the Union.  This marked his first miniatures/wargame but he did a great job.  It was timely as he shipped off to boot camp several days after the game.  Adrian and I played as the Rebel attackers.

We learned many valuable lessons from this first try.  Always follow-up with a place to make sure they expect you and will have the promised space available (we ran into some hiccups but it was easily resolved).  The game will take 2-3 hours to play.  A single 4×6 table is too cramped.  The Rebels will get slaughtered.

The second play test was held at Battleground Games & Hobbies in Abington.  Adrian commanded the Confederates while Cort and I fielded the boys in blue.  More valuable lessons were learned.  It is necessary to move tables very carefully (sorry Derek).  “Experienced” gamers still need 2 plus hours to play the scenario.  A single 6×8 table is the perfect size.  15mm scale models are awesome!  The Rebels will get slaughtered.

Moving forward we will test a minor change to hopefully, allow the Rebels more of a fighting chance.  We are pleasing with the terrain, table size, rules, and scenario as a whole.  It was written in such a way to allow newbies a fun game without getting bogged down by numerous special rules.

Adrian is creating the event’s name and description.  Cort is finalizing terrain.  I am coordinating with TotalCon.  We expect to have a lot of fun and hope to get new players interested in historical wargaming and in Priestley & Johnson’s Black Powder rules.

We hope you will join us in our future play tests.  Our next one will be Saturday, November 5th at 2pm at Battleground Games & Hobbies in Abington.

Below you will find pictures of our first play test, first, and our second one below.

7 Comments on “Daybreak at Hangman’s Creek for TotalCon 2012”

  1. Adrian

    Good writeup, I forgot to post the pics I took of game one, I’ll do that later. Hard to believe Rhys beat me so bad in his first ever wargame, but as I said I took it easy on him since he was leaving.

    Looking forward to 11/5; hopefully we’ll have some new players.

  2. Cort Naegelin


    As usual a lot of fun. Yah, My daughter was rolling. Rolling bad! Notice that I left her at home last time. I have a suggestion for next time. Increase the staff for the Confederates to 9. Should make them faster and a little more responsive. I, also, think it would be more historical considering the scenario situation.

    Cort N

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  4. Itinerant Hobbyist

    I just ran my first ever Con game this past weekend. Blitzkrieg Commander II. Lessons learned: smaller scenario. Fewer Players (I was the only one GMing. With more than one host you probably won’t have a problem.) Unbalanced scenario (my design and player morale suffered).

    Other than those issues, I had a good time and will do it again. I got lots of good tips from other GMs and by watching how others do things.

    Good luck and keep us up on how it’s going.

    Here’s the blog entry summing up the game. And you can see other posts of my work leading up to it.

  5. Itinerant Hobbyist

    Oh yeah, I also played my first ever ACW miniatures game using the Johnny Reb III rules. It was enjoyable and may take those up sometime.

    Though Black Powder is intriguing. Not only for ACW, but I’m also trying to find a Samurai set of rules. There are some that say the earliest BP army rules may work. Though many are leaning toward using Hail Ceasar between those two rule sets.

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