"Authentics Only!"

A wargame for reenactors by Jonah Begone

I realize many of you are wargamers as well as reenactors. I have limited experience with wargames myself, not having the requisite 1,000 hours to spare that the average game requires. My inexperience with wargames, however, is no barrier to my developing a wargame of the classic military and political strategy of reenacting. I plan to call it "Authentics Only! - the Wargame of Reenacting." The illustration on the cover of the box shall be a painting of a typical reenactment - reenactors milling up and down Sutler Avenue handling wares and issuing forth pronouncements of authenticity, quarter-ton trucks moving up and down company streets, unit commanders drafting complaints and threatened walk-outs for the event sponsor, a huge line of spectators' cars entering parking lots ushered by Confederates, cloggers in the foreground, Ferris Wheel in the distance, etc...

The game board

The game board is a representation of a site somewhere deep in Virginia. Beside a muddy one-lane road that leads to an even muddier field designated "participant parking" there is an area full of ticks that is designated the "military camps." (The poison ivy has just been mown, leaving sap oozing from cut stalks.) The drill and battlefield is located 12 miles away. The event site is difficult to find from the main roads.


Each player assumes the role of one of the great reenactment organization commanders, one Federal the other Confederate. Each player receives cardboard tokens representing reenactment regiments. The blue player receives 20, and the gray player receives 50, 100, 150, 200, 250 or 500 depending upon the throw of the die (1 = 50 tokens, 2 = 100 tokens, etc.)

All attacks are frontal (for the spectators' benefit) and the success of any attack is calculated by the formula:

Success of Attack = M + A - P - F

by 4 throws of the die, where M = Morale Index, A = Aggressiveness Index, P = Political Index and F = Farb Factor. Success of Attack value is compared with your opponent's and the highest number wins the attack. (Note: A side with a negative value for "Success of Attack" is considered to be in rout and must be dispersed in confusion among the spectators and concessionaire stands.)

Morale Index - Depends upon the throw of the die.

6 = Catered event & pleasant, sunny weather - morale is high. 5 = Indoor johns & a nearby McDonald's - morale is good. 4 = Weather is warm & commanders insist on extensive drill sessions - morale sinking. 3 = Rainy and cold, a "pass-in-review" is scheduled in front of a hostile public - morale bad. 2 = Heavy rain, camp flooded, participants from neighboring states start packing cars - morale very bad. 1 = Extreme heat, tompions and ramrods flying, local participants packing cars - morale sucks.

Aggressiveness Index - Depends upon the throw of the die.

6 = Drunken participants - aggression level high. 5 = Your side historically won the battle to be reenacted and the other side accepts this fact - aggression level good. 4 = Your side historically won the battle to be reenacted but the other side plans to ignore this fact - caution is apparent. 3 = The other side has fixed bayonets and is barechested and screaming loudly - very little aggression on your part. 2 = Your men have planned to drop en masse at the first cannon shot - no aggression whatsoever. 1 = Your men have organized a rout to the soda stand at the first musket shot - an attack wouldn't be prudent at this juncture.

Political Index - Depends upon the throw of the die.

6 = A competing event sponsor announces a reenactment of the battle on a different site and on the same weekend - extremely political. 5 = The egotistical leader of a brigade-level organization has called for a boycott of the event - very political. 4 = A boycott is called by an unlikable brigade-level organization and most units ignore it - politics as usual. 3 = One or two units refuse to attend - mildly political. 2 = Everyone plans to attend - not political at all. 1 = Event sponsor gets "How can we help?" phone calls from unit commanders - idealistic in the extreme.

Farb Factor - Depends upon the throw of the die.

6 = Sunglasses and blue jeans everywhere, nobody ever takes hits, participant parking lot empty/company street bumper-to-bumper - very farby. 5 = Railroad bandannas are worn, the "official video" crew is on-site, "Kowabunga!" can be heard - rather farby. 4 = Cigarettes and desert boots seen - farby. 3 = A blanket slips off a cooler here and there - not too farby. 2 = No apparent visual anachronisms, first-person conversations can be heard - not farby at all. 1 = Event sponsor hired local Hell's Angels chapter to inspect the camp for anachronisms, spectators ask way to restroom and universally get "What's a restroom?" in response, haversacks are inspected - you might as well enlist in the REAL army!

Additional rules

Each side may choose to march or attack during a move. A commander may opt for two moves in a row by yelling "Scenario Violation!" and grabbing the die. In doing this, however, he must add 2 to his Farb Factor.

Either commander may initiate innuendo, allegations of fiscal malfeasance or acrimonious unit mailings about the other in an effort to lessen his opponent's Morale Index. In doing so, however, he must add 2 to his Political Index.

In conditions of extreme peril a commander may declare a "Heat Wave!," wherein the field becomes overrun by paramedics and the event declared over (except for special units of die-hards who remain firing and are uncontrolled by the commanders). In this instance the wargame results in a tie. 3 Heat Waves are allowed per reenacting season.

It is my hope that "Authentics Only! - the Wargame of Reenacting" will provide many hours of realistic, action-packed reenacting activity during those long event-less days of winter quarters. Now, whose turn is it?