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Wargaming convention in Lancaster to feature York County gaming clubs

Photograph of Scott L. Mingus, Sr.’s 15mm scale Civil War miniature wargaming layout at a recent gaming session at the Department of the Susquehanna’s wargaming room in Harrisburg this past Saturday.

The hobby of miniature wargaming involves recreating actual historical battles or studying hypothetical military situations through the use of model railroad terrain features, miniature soldiers, and specific chess-like rules in terms of movement, firepower, morale, formations, and officer influences. Dice-rolling using statistical casualty tables create losses in manpower or morale, and players command a specific unit (company, regiment, brigade, battalion, division, army – depending upon the scenario and rules system being used.
One of the largest wargaming conventions in the East Coast is held annually at the Lancaster Host Resort and Conference Center on U.S. Route 30 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. This year’s Cold Wars gathering of several thousand wargamers and military hobbyists will be held from March 11 – March 14 with hundreds of games going on each day, as well as military-related dealer sales areas and flea markets (books, toy soldiers, miniature wargaming material, model railroad terrain accessories, dice, fantasy and Warhammer game materials, magazines, etc.). Admission to walk around and view the gaming is FREE; there is a modest daily charge to play in the games and command a miniature fighting force on the tabletop.

The typical miniature wargaming layout depicts a battlefield in model scale (in this case, 1″ = 50 yards and 1 miniature figure = 30 actual combatants).

The Cold Wars gaming convention in Lancaster will feature more than 3,000 gamers and hobbyists in four days of gaming and shopping action. The public is welcome to come on over and see what the hobby is all about. The pageantry and color of thousands of well painted miniature toy soldiers of all sizes on hand-crafted terrain is well worth a look if you have never experienced the hobby.
This year should be especially colorful as the Cold Wars convention theme is “Napoleon’s Enemies”, dedicated to the generals and privates who gave the Little Corporal fits. Other games will focus on the Civil War, American Revolution, World War II (perhaps the most popular period to game with the wildly successful “Flames of War” rules system), ancients, World War I, Seven Years War, French & Indians, and so many other conflicts).
Among the many organized gaming groups and clubs that are expected to present public games at the convention are several York County groups, including Susquehanna Gamers (which meets at Comic Store West on Industrial Highway in York for their regular club meetings), Bunker Wargamers (a group based in the Etters / Goldsboro / Northeastern York County area), Gettysburg Gamers (from western York County and Adams County), and the Johnny Reb Gaming Society (an all-Civil War group based in York and hosted by the Cannonball blog editor).

York County author and historian Scott L. Mingus, Sr. will present the game shown above at the Cold Wars convention. This is a 15mm scale battle based upon Major General George Gordon Meade’s planned Pipe Creek defensive line in northern Maryland, a fall-back position that he advocated as an alternative to what became the Battle of Gettysburg.

While the convention is heavily focused on military and historical wargaming, there are other games being played as well from other genres, including NASCAR miniature automobile racing on simulated race tracks, ancient Roman chariot races, futuristic battles such as Star Wars and similar space games, Victorian fantasy (think of the old 1999 Will Smith movie Wild, Wild West), and others. There will be fantasy games in the spirit of The Lord of the Rings and similar movies, as well as Warhammer, Warcraft, and others.