Saturday, March 14, 2009

Book Review - "Brothers Divided"

Time for book review #2!

I recently received in the post a copy of Scott Mingus's new book, "Brothers Divided," a book of tabletop skirmish scenarios from the Gettysburg campaign. Having adored his Human Interest Stories of Antietam, I was very curious to see how his writing held up in a wargaming book!

The book is a collection of eight wargaming scenarios, primarily of the skirmish variety, designed ideally for Brother Against Brother but also suitable for any other system. It begins with some background information about the Gettysburg campaign, and then has the various legends (map, Order of Battle, and formations.) The book then gives the background story, forces, map, and scenario details for each scenario.

The first thing any wargamer will notice about the book is the sheer good-lookingness of it. So many damned wargames books are printed only in black and white and feature NO eye-candy. If I want to read dense tables of numbers and boring-ass text with no photos, I'll read the WSJ. I'm a wargamer! I want to see great photos and neat layouts! Thankfully "Brothers Divided" is in color, is heavily illustrated, and is simply chock FULL of functional eye candy. The OOBs are simple and beautiful; as you can see in the photo to the right, they are large, illustrated, and clear, with no chance to use pictures instead of text missed. The scenario layouts are not the boring boxes that most wargames maps use... instead, individual figures are nicely illustrated, and things such as casualties are marked as well.

As I mentioned, each scenario starts with a page of well-researched background story and, facing it, an OOB and game notes. The text is nicely laid out and simple to read, and the background stories add a bit of character and historical perspective to the scenarios. There are color photos scattered throughout the book, which simply add to the already-high number of enjoyable things to look at. A funny note; some of the photos are courtesy of John Mayer and feature his beautiful scenery and figures (see the photo to the left) all of which now belong to a rather close friend of mine! It was funny to see the scenery in the book and think 'Wait a second, I've played with that scenery!'

After each scenario breakdown you get the maps. The maps are very detailed and, again, quite nice to look at... anyone who enjoys looking at toy soldiers will devour these as well! Elevations are cleary marked, as are troop formations, and all relevant map data is clearly printed to either side of the maps. Very clear, and more importantly to me nice to look at, they look simply like 2-D dioramas, which any wargamer will appreciate. Scenarios are nicely varied and include a number of interesting sub-plots, such as stopping a train before it leaves the station or capturing the telegraph agent. One side or the other generally starts off-table and has to move on, which adds to the feeling of a larger battlefield.

This text is great to read just for fun, and a definite treat for anyone who is interesting in playing ACW skirmish games. While intended for 28mm, the scenarios could be quickly modified for a larger or smaller scale without too much issue. Overall, and given the reasonable price, it is a definite buy, especially if you game ACW!

For more info on "Brothers Divided" by Scott Mingus, you can see his website HERE.

1 comment:

scottmingus said...

Thanks for the nice write-up!!!!

The book is available on the Internet from Scale Creep Miniatures, Battlefield Terrain Concepts, The Last Square, and other dealers, as well as directly from the publisher, Marek/Janci Design of Wheaton, Illinois.