Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Little Wars 2018

I have spent almost three years painting Glenn Drover's Napoleonics collection, and I hope the figures provide a good spectacle.  Of course, the point of all that work is to play a game.  Glenn usually runs a game at Little Wars each year.  This year Glenn Drover was going to put on Waterloo with the figures I painted, and he invited me to spend the better part of a week in Chicago.

I arrived in Chicago late Wednesday.  Thursday we packed up the collection and drove to the venue.  We spent a couple of hours setting up the game.  Although we never made an official count, I would guess that we had between 1,800 and 2,000 figures on the table.  We used Glenn's own rules, "Miniature Battles: Napoleon," which he will be publishing this year.

The Whole Table

d'Erlon's Infantry Supported by Cavalry

Dutch-Belgian Light Cavalry

Hanoverian Landwehr

British Lines in the Center

Brunswick Contingent

Bauduin's French Prepare to Attack Hougoumont

Hougoumont Itself

The event organizers put Glenn's game right next to the entrance doors, so everyone coming into the convention got to take in the sight.  Both games saw the battle finished within four hours of playing time, and the scenario was well balanced and enjoyable!  The first game saw a British victory, and the second game saw the French break the British center and reverse history.

The players picked up the rules very quickly, and everyone enjoyed them.  Well, there was one player who was frustrated because she couldn't move every unit every turn, but overall the rules were a hit!  I will certainly be using them for some of my own games.

Glenn Starts Briefing the Players

The British Players Discuss Their Strategy

All the Players Were Pushing Lead within Minutes

d'Erlon's Attack

Glenn's Friend Paul alongside Ivor Janci

The French Players Examine Their Options

The French Took Hougoumont, but Stalled Short of the Ridge

Game Two Took Place Friday Morning

Glenn Helps Players Resolve a Combat

The French Captured the Ridge and Closed in on Wellington
After our games concluded, I had two days to enjoy the convention and play a little myself.  Nearly 200 games were available over the whole four day period, and some of them were stunning!  I never saw anything that equaled the spectacle of Glenn's Waterloo, but then I am a little biased ...

To the Strongest!  Mongols vs. Chinese
The first game I gravitated towards was this.  I have had the rules for a while now, but I never seriously sat down and tried to play with them.  I certainly will now!  The game flowed beautifully, the players always had important decisions to make, and the results seemed historical.  Most ancients rules break down when trying to handle horse archers, but this system handled it beautifully.  I sat down and ordered a terrain mat with grid the very next day.  I think I have found my ancients rules.

Vikings Raid a Saxon Villiage

The Saxons Prepare to Defend

Age of Sail

Waterloo with Paper Figures

"1812: The Invasion of Canada" with Custom Board and 6mm Miniatures

Epic 40mm Lord of the Rings Game

The Figures Were Prepaints

This One Drew a Crowd of Players

Beautiful 15mm Lord of the Rings Game

Excellent Sabot Trays

The Figures Were Beautifully Painted

All of Market-Garden with 15mm Figures

Pirates in 15mm

"To the Shores of Tripoli" American Marines Storm a Fort

The US Navy Supports the Attack

Howard Whitehouse Runs an Entertaining Game

Eutaw Springs in 15mm

100 Days Campaign

Mollwitz.  I Knew It Immediately

French and Indian War

Pretty AWI Game

6mm Napoleonics

A Vietnam Game

French and Indian War with 1/72 Plastics

Another AWI Game

Crusades with some True 25mm

Memoir '44 Using Plastic 54mm Figures

Jurassic Park Game Was a Hit

Thirty Years War Action

Is that Frank Chadwick?!  Why yes, yes it is.

Lots of People Enjoying Games

Saturday afternoon Glenn and I, accompanied by his friend Jack, set up Glenn's new board game designs and played.  We started with "Victory and Glory: Napoleon," which allows players to complete the whole of the Napoleonic Wars in about two hours.  This was my first time playing, and we finished in about 90 minutes.

Victory and Glory: Napoleon
I LOVED this game.  I have followed Glenn's design process over the past two years, and it is very gratifying to see the final product play so well.  This game will get heavy rotation with my gaming group, I can tell.  It should be hitting your local game store within a week or two.

We also played a game of Railroad Rivals, which will be a hit with my family.  It's a tile laying resource delivery game, and Glenn has produced another winner.  Glenn's company is Forbidden Games.  I got a sneak peek at the next three games in the production queue, and they all look like hits to me.  I don't know how much Glenn wants to reveal yet, but I can say that the games are all very different from each other.  Glenn hired an artist from Disney, and it shows!  The look of the games is fantastic.

I have been playing Glenn's board games since 2002, and there is a reason he won the Origins award for Historical Game of the Year.  His designs just keep improving.  I feel very lucky to know him and am grateful that he invited me into his city and his home.  

GP, Mike, and Me
 These guys .... let me tell you.  I've known GP for years through his blog, Lord Ashram's House of War.  Now he and Mike have started Minuteman Miniatures, using 3D scanners and printing to let you create a miniature with YOUR OWN HEAD on it!  After GP and I spent half an hour flattering each other, I sat to have my portrait made.

Coming Soon to a Miniature Near You
 Here is the 3D scan of your humble blogger.  I ordered a Roman officer, Viking war lord, and WWII American officer, all in 28mm.

GP was not the only online friend I met for the first time.  I got to spend a few minutes conversing with George Nafziger, Mark Severin of Scale Creep, Larry Reber of Gettysburg Soldiers, and many more.  I was surprised to have my name recognized by so many people at the show.  I never realized that so many people followed my blog.

On Sunday Glenn and I skipped the closing games and headed out on the town.

Lake Michigan and Downtown Chicago

The El Train
I'm a big baseball fan, and it was a treat to take in a game at Wrigley Field.  The Cubs shut out the Brewers 2-0.

Glenn and Me at Wrigley Field

A Beautiful Day for Baseball

After the game, Glenn and I hit a few bars, then went to Juno Sushi and got the works.  This was the best meal I have had in my life.  Wow.

Juno Sushi

A night of drunken debauchery followed, and by 4:00 AM I was at the airport, bleary eyed and still a little boozy.

It was a great trip, full of good games, good food and drink, and very pleasant people.


  1. Your figures llok great in that Waterloo game!
    4 Days of wargaming is something unseen here in Europe. Maybe, one day I'll cross the pond and take a look at one of those big wargaming shows.
    Thanks for the excellent report and pictures!

    1. It was my first time taking part in anything so large. I had been to our local convention in Spokane, Washington, with maybe 20 games played over two days. This was on a whole other scale.

  2. That's a nice payoff for all your work over the last three years. I lived in Chicago for five years in the 80s but never made it to Little Wars. It looks like it's grown up into a great con.

    1. It was surprisingly friendly. Actually, all of Chicago was.

  3. Awesome report, so glad you got a chance to use the figures you spent so much time beautifully painting!

  4. Excellent photo recap of Little Wars. Looks like you had a great time. I look forward to facing Mini MacPhee on the gaming table.

    1. It was pretty neat to see how excited everyone was about the technique.

  5. Great report Scott,
    Must have been fantastic to see all your work over the last few years laid out in front of you.
    I was lucky enough to spend a few days in Chicago with the family a couple of years ago I have to agree a very friendly city definitely my kind of town!

    1. It was very nice indeed. My experience of cities is limited to DC and Seattle, neither of which is friendly.

  6. Excellent report and some awesome photo's. Love your game, it looks fantastic. Have to say I like the idea of the 3D printed model with my own likeness...but only if they can scan my head and put it on the body of someone 120lb's lighter!

    1. They did not have a mini that reflected my gamer's physique, so I had to settle for someone slender! :-)

  7. So did you wear a t-shirt saying" Yep, I did indeed paint these beautiful armies!" at the Nap table.:-)

    Wonderful looking games!


  8. Gosh all the figures you painted look great! Sounds like you had a ball!
    Best Iain

  9. A splendid adventure. Going to a big convention is exciting and we don't see much like it on the West Coast.

    Chicago is a great city. Many things to do. Gabby is now thinking about the University of Chicago for school.

    Let's have a game soon.


    1. It was indeed a lot of fun. Some day I'll make it to Enfilade and see how it compares.

  10. Great coverage of the games at Little Wars! I sent a link to your blog to the over 30 members of our gaming group, the Wheaton Light Brigade.

  11. Great visuals. Who made that Waterloo game mat?