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"Shiloh Scenario Book Progress" Topic

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1,945 hits since 9 Jan 2017
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Cleburne186309 Jan 2017 6:58 p.m. PST

Hello all,

I took a larger break between books than I had planned to, but that's life. And I feel great. I even painted a bunch of minis and finished an old Revell U.S.S. Enterprise model (sometimes it feels good to go back to basics). But now I'm ready for Shiloh.

I thought I'd do something different. I'm going to continue updating this thread with the ongoing progress of the book. The more cynical of you could say its good marketing and I'm keeping the product in people's minds for the next 4-6 months. :) But, I know many of you like to see the behind-the-scenes workings of how things get written and created. We're all friends here, so I hope you enjoy the updates. I'm hoping to add information to this thread about once a week. Feel free to ask questions!

The first thing I usually finalize on a book is the Order of Battle. All things flow from having this finished and organized. I worked on a lot of it during down time on the Antietam book, so it only took 2 days to finish it this past weekend. Of course, the biggest resource for this is the Official Records, and also The Battle of Shiloh and the Organizations Engaged by Major D. W. Reed. Then there are also unit histories, soldier autobiographies (many of the last two available on, and then books on the battle itself (Sword, Cunningham, Smith, etc.). Finally, there are internet searches, but unless they can be verified, I only use them as a last resort, and mark the information in red in the text as a guess.

Other than the obvious organization chart, there are several points that have to be addressed when creating an order of battle for a miniatures game.

1. What units were actually present during the battle, and when? For multiple day battles, you have to know when a unit arrived or was committed.
2. What are the ratings for the commanders?
3. What are the unit strengths?
4. What weapons did they enter battle with?
5. What are the unit ratings?

1. What units were actually present during the battle, and when? For multiple day battles, you have to know when a unit arrived or was committed.

This is usually fairly easy. I start with the order of battle listed in the Official Records. Most of the large battles are spelled out per battle, if not the campaign the battle was fought it. Then it just a matter of researching each regiment and battery to see when they were present. The Official Records even usually have extensive footnotes.

2. What are the ratings for the commanders?

A fairly subjective rating, of course. I normally base a lot of off Johnny Reb, with brigade commanders at +1, Division commanders at +2, and corps and above at +3. Actually, I think +3 is overkill, and usually give Corp commanders +2 unless they are exceptional. So if a brigade commander is +2, or a division commander is +3, I think it's easy to tell they are exceptional, and can translate that to other rules systems.

I typically try to judge how that officer performed during that battle or time period. So Hood as a division commander I might normally set as +3, and even as a corps commander at Chickamauga, but as a corps commander during the Atlanta Campaign I'd only give a normal +2.

Commanders that are new at their jobs, like if they are sudden replacements for a sick, wounded, or killed commander, then I will set it at -1 for the position. So unless it's an exceptional colonel, he would usually be at +0 for a brigade. Enough to issue orders, but not an inspiration with special bonuses for the units in his command.

For Shiloh, almost everybody is normal for their position.

3. What are the unit strengths?

A lot of times these are in the OR. In the case of Shiloh, many of them are in The Battle of Shiloh and the Organizations Engaged. You can sometimes find them in regimental histories, and state Adjutant General reports (also good for finding weapon types). Sometimes you just have to make a good guess. If there is just a brigade strength, you can at least have a goal for your guesswork. I do my best to research as much as possible, but sometimes a guess is the best we have. The point of these books is to make a good, fun game. It's not cost effective to pay for trips to state and federal archives to research the exact numbers. If this was a straight history book, then it might. I take pride in my work and accuracy, but I want to make a profit too! So guess work is set in red.

4. What weapons did they enter battle with?

Sometimes you luck out with a Regimental Strengths and Losses at Gettysburg by Martin and Busey or The Role of Ordnance Logistics in the Chickamauga Campaign by Maj. Davis that provides the bulk of the information. But most of the time it's a lot of searching. Word searches in regimental histories and Google for " '32nd Indiana' Enfield" or " '32nd Indiana' smoothbore" and a lot of variations. A lot of time answers on Google, such as message boards, will even site books. If it's a confirmed source, I'll keep it in black. If it's unsubstantiated, or a guess, I'll mark it in red. Especially for the Confederates, sometimes you just have to guess.

5. What are the unit ratings?

I usually start at a baseline of the following, at least for Shiloh: if the unit is straight from its camp of instruction with no time in the field, or a battery that had never fired its cannon ever, I'll rate it as 1-Militia. If it has served in the field but hasn't seen a firefight, I'll set it as 2- Green. If it has seen a firefight, such as Fort Donelson, Mill Springs, or Belmont, I'll rate them a 3- Average. I don't think I have any elite units at Shiloh. Even the US Regulars in Rousseau's brigade are just Average. They were well drilled and trained, but they were new Regular Army regiments that hadn't seen service on the frontier. There are some exceptions to this basic rule if it helps a scenario better fit the potential for its historic outcome.

Below are some screenshots of parts of the Order of Battle.


Till next time!

Brad Butkovich
Historic Imagination

Neli Creoruska09 Jan 2017 8:10 p.m. PST

Very interesting. Thank you for sharing.

Grignotage09 Jan 2017 9:09 p.m. PST

Your books are first rate. Thanks for sharing this behind the scenes info.

vagamer63 Supporting Member of TMP09 Jan 2017 9:47 p.m. PST


I hope you have a line of communication with the Park Ranger Staff at Shiloh! A couple of them are loaded with info regarding numbers, weapons carried, and one them (whose name escapes me at the moment) is a walking encyclopedia regarding where and when units went into action on various parts of the field!

I had an ancestor in the 2nd IA. that won the Medal of Honor at Shiloh, and two others who were both killed in action.

Look forward to the release of this book!

Noble Crow09 Jan 2017 10:50 p.m. PST

Thanks for the update. I'm glad you've returned to the western theater.

Cleburne186310 Jan 2017 5:47 a.m. PST

I'll be back in the West for a while. Shiloh, Atlanta Vol. 2. Kentucky. Knoxville. Trans-Mississippi. If I go back East, it will be for a combined 1st/2nd Bull Run volume. But that would be years away.

markandy10 Jan 2017 12:14 p.m. PST

+1,000 on the quality of your books. I have all of your historicals and cannot wait for Shiloh, it's one of my favorite battles to game.

tayerigonz Supporting Member of TMP10 Jan 2017 7:16 p.m. PST

How about the Seven Days battles during the Peninsula Campaign.

Cleburne186311 Jan 2017 3:58 a.m. PST

Not enough of the battlefields of the Seven Days are well preserved enough for my preferred style.

davbenbak Supporting Member of TMP11 Jan 2017 5:52 a.m. PST

What is the purpose of the 20, 30, 40, 50, 100 columns?

Cleburne186311 Jan 2017 6:19 a.m. PST

So you can match up your game's figure ratio to the historical strength. For example, if you are playing Johnny Reb 3, with a figure ratio of 30 men per figure, then 2nd Iowa you would use 13 figures. Or fudge it to 12 figures for an even 3 figures per stand.

Or take Regimental Fire & Fury, which is 40 figures per stand. The 2nd Iowa would 10 stands.

But there are also some games that don't quite match up. The new Pickett's Charge is 80 figures per stand. Since the effective strength is 390, that would be 5 stands. 390/5 = 4.875. Rounding up is easier.

vtsaogames11 Jan 2017 7:52 a.m. PST

Looking forward to the publication! Great stuff.

Cleburne186314 Jan 2017 12:58 p.m. PST

So, after the Order of Battle, the next step is to make the maps. For single battles like Chickamauga, Gettysburg, Antietam, and Shiloh, there are good historical maps out there to use as a basis that establish the road network, trees, fences, and elevation contours. For Shiloh, the Visitor's Center has several excellent large size maps.

In the past, I made maps per scenario as needed. For Antietam, since I knew I would be releasing a separate map and scenario creation book, I decided to make large maps encompassing the entire battlefield that could be cropped for individual scenarios. For Antietam, I divided the battlefield into large north and south sections. I did the same thing for Shiloh. The initial map was 40 x 50 inches (12,000 x 15,200 pixels) and 300 dpi. It began clocking out at 1.6 Gb after just the road network and began degrading the performance of my computer, so I had to split it in two. :)

One note regarding my own maps. There is a trend I see lately for making more "photo-realistic" maps for games. Across a Deadly Field comes to mind. I have nothing against that style. However, early on, I decided I wanted players to have clear, concise terrain features on maps that weren't too visually busy. At least, no more busy than they have to be. So I decided to stick with plain white backgrounds and simple map symbols and terrain features. So, that's just me.

Shiloh is not that difficult a battlefield to map. It's mostly woods with lots of fields. Most of the fields have fences, but nowhere near as many as Gettysburg and Antietam.

Here is beginning picture of the battlefield with the water terrain mapped out. The dark blue and deep water on the right is the Tennessee River. Owl Creek is on the left. Then there are the various creeks and tributaries.


Bloody Pond is actually missing. :)

After the water, I put in the roads. I make roads a light beige with solid dark brown borders. I use the Warp>Arc feature a lot to get curves.


Of look, there's Bloody Pond.

Next come the trails. Lots of smaller trails through the woods connecting the various farms for casual use. I make trails with a more orangish-brown with dashed dark brown boarders. They are also slightly thinner. I know, it's kind of tough to tell the difference on this small map.


Then on to the fences. I have separate icons or both post-and-rail fences, and worm fences. However, there is not a lot of evidence to distinguish the two on most maps. So I used the post-and-rail fences to show all of them. I'll add a note in the book explaining why. However, we do know where some worm fences are. For example, there are first person accounts of the worm fence surrounding the Peach Orchard, so I added the correct fence there.


Finally, here is a close-up of the Wolf, Review, and Duncan field area.


Next up are the elevations, then the trees and orchards. Finally will be the myriad of cabins and buildings. No entrenchments on this map. :)

Till next week's update!

Hellcat F6F14 Jan 2017 7:18 p.m. PST

I've bought a bunch of your work, Cleburne1863, and what strikes me without having played any of them is how well-balanced your scenarios seem to be. Both sides seem to have an equal and reasonable chance of winning the scenario regardless of the historical circumstances or outcome, while maintaining that historical feel for the actual circumstances and outcome. Excellent stuff ! Now all I have to do is plan for some Western battle flags.

Hellcat F6F14 Jan 2017 7:29 p.m. PST

The Hornet's Nest. I'm looking forward to that one.

BTW, your scenario on Longstreet's July 2nd assault on the Little Round Top front was excellent. I didn't actually play it out, but it was excellent, IMHO.

Cleburne186314 Jan 2017 8:11 p.m. PST

Thanks. I try to choose scenarios/battles that offer just that. I reasonable chance for either side to win. And some, like Burnside's Bridge, that have Victory Conditions that allow the outnumbered player, the Confederates, a chance of winning by replicating the historic outcome. Such as delaying the Union a certain amount of time. I just want everybody to have fun, after all.

The Hornet's Nest. Which day, April 6th or April 7th. ;)

Cleburne186314 Jan 2017 8:13 p.m. PST

Also, I have a number of flag sheets here. Maybe not as good as GMB or The Flag Dude, but nice, cheap, and once you purchase the pdf, an unlimited supply. Check them out.


Hellcat F6F15 Jan 2017 4:57 a.m. PST

I really should just get some blue and grey spray paint. The easiest miniature painting job ever :)

teramaze19 Jan 2017 8:47 a.m. PST

where did you find the confederate order battle Numbers> i have been looking for he number and have not found them yet.

Cleburne186319 Jan 2017 4:57 p.m. PST

The information on the Confederates is definitely slimmer. Some of the numbers are in the OR, others are consolidated in The Battle of Shiloh and the Organizations Engaged. Some are based on secondary sources, including other game books (that are appropriately credited in the Bibliography). Some of it just comes down to guesswork. For example, if I know the total numbers for a brigade, I can make up numbers that add up correctly. All guesswork and those from secondary sources I put in red. I'm trying to make it as accurate as possible, but I also want to finish it so people can play a fun game.

Cleburne186322 Jan 2017 10:16 a.m. PST

Almost finished with the map this week. Added woods, farms, and orchards. Just one big layer of woods, and lots of erasing for the open spaces. Darker green areas are the denser, thicker woods like the Hornet's Nest. There's even swamps like in front of Sherman's camps that split and disrupted Cleburne's advance and several other brigades. I haven't read that any of the fields were plowed or cultivated since it was early spring, so I left them blank. Next week I'll add names for the houses and fields, and should be done. Pretty easy map, actually. Not the fence-fest Gettysburg and Antietam were. I should be able to start putting together individual scenarios very soon.


Cleburne186328 Jan 2017 1:19 p.m. PST

This week I finished up the large map. Added infantry camps, etc. I left the field, terrain, and building names off. They will be added on each individual map, because you never know if the map orientation will change. I tweaked some of the other terrain. Changed some hill edges here, changed the size of the Hornet's Nest thicket. Small stuff like that. So, here is the large finished map. I have grid overlays, so I can move the grid around, change the size of the grid, and then crop to just the area I want for a scenario. The grids shown are just an example.


I also made regiment, battery, and skirmish icons. Because of the larger regiment sizes, I made different size regimental icons. I don't normally do so, but when you start to get into 600, 700 man regiments, you just have to. Now that I have these icons as individual layers, I can just drag them to each scenario, number them, and put them in the correct positions.

Then, I began laying out the book a little. I changed the publication text, etc. I reworked the How To Use This Book section for Shiloh specific rules and information. I pondered doing the Introduction (which lays out the purpose of the book) and Background (the historical background leading up to Shiloh), but I decided against it. I'm all maps and images now. I don't feel like switching gears and writing text, tweaking the How To section notwithstanding. So, I updated the Map Legend for Shiloh. Next, I cropped and laid out the map for the first scenario. This will be the initial attack on Sherman's camp.


There we go. Not bad for a week's worth of work. Next week I'll finish the scenario maps, and begin writing the text, which is actually more fun than the Introduction and Background. I may even do them last.

Cleburne186319 Feb 2017 7:40 a.m. PST

Its been what, 3 weeks? I've been busy! I have three scenarios completed and am working on the 4th.

1. Confederate Onslaught (large opening attack scenario)
2. Sherman Attacked! (focuses on just Sherman's division)
3. McDowell vs. Pond
4. The Peach Orchard

Yesterday I playtested McDowell vs. Pond. It was a Confederate victory! You can see the After Action Report here, along with a link for a free version of the scenario. Enjoy!

TMP link

Albino Squirrel24 Feb 2017 8:36 a.m. PST

Very much looking forward to this book! I really appreciate that there are games of different sizes.

Charlie 1226 Feb 2017 6:16 p.m. PST

Looking forward to it. I've got your other books and they're great.

Cleburne186305 Mar 2017 2:31 p.m. PST

Good progress. I've finished all the scenarios for the first day of the battle, April 6th. Here is a picture of the scenario map for The Hornet's Nest. Shaver's Arkansans are going to be in a bad way the first turn of the game.

Here are some pictures I took of the battlefield. Some will be in the scenario book. Others will be in the map book.

Looking south across Woolf Field toward The Crossroads.

Looking along the Hamburg-Purdy Road toward The Crossroads with the Corinth Road.

Reconstructed Shiloh Church

Looking down the Corinth Road from the 70th Shiloh toward the Confederate line.

Looking south across Spain Field toward Gladden's brigade. Miller's brigade of Prentiss' division made there stand here.

Looking south across the Sarah Bell cotton field toward the Confederates

The thicket of The Hornet's Nest

The Sunken Road and Tuttle's line on the east side of Duncan Field

Terrill's battery looking south toward The Peach Orchard. Bloody Pond is to the right.

The 3rd Mississippi's Bns position in Wood Field. Powell's patrol entered the field in the background to start the ball.

Yours truly at the Cleburne tablet along Shiloh Branch

The hollow where Johnston bled to death

A picture of a Type 2 14lb. James Rifle.

Cleburne186325 Mar 2017 9:56 a.m. PST

Well, I've finished writing. I thought I'd share the final scenario list.

Confederate Onslaught
Sherman Attacked!
McDowell vs. Pond
The Crossroads
The Peach Orchard
The Hornet's Nest
Bull in The Cotton Field
Duncan Field
End of the Line

Next up:

One more trip to Shiloh for some pictures! And more exploring.
Formatting files and pdfs.
Uploading to POD services.
More editing physical proofs.
Laying out and formatting the companion book Shiloh Wargame Maps. Its very easy actually since the large map is already made. And its just an electronic release, so no physical proof to get printed and approved.
Publishing and releasing both.

Expect them to be released in early to mid-May. The scenario book will be available on Amazon, Wargame Vault, and through your local book or game store with the ISBN number. Shiloh Wargame Maps will only be available at Wargame Vault.

Can't wait!

Cleburne186328 Apr 2017 7:44 p.m. PST

Finally decided on a cover.

Book on schedule for mid-late May.

Cleburne186309 May 2017 4:28 p.m. PST

So this happened this week.


Received first proof copies. Did minor edits, received final proof copies.



The books will be on sale this Saturday May 13th. This Bloody Field: Regimental Wargame Scenarios for the Battle of Shiloh will be available on Amazon, Wargame Vault, and through your local book or game store with the ISBN number 978-0-9904122-7-4.

Shiloh Wargame Maps will only be available at Wargame Vault. This will have extra maps, order of battle, and lots of battlefield pics for the wargame designer to use in creating your own Shiloh scenarios.

I hope you enjoy!

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