Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Developing a Hubbardton Scenario for "Live Free or Die" - The Map

Those with younger children will get this...

 A map.  "A diagrammatic representation of an area of land or sea showing physical features, cities, roads, etc."  I'm a sucker for maps.  I have the 1:100,000 map of when I was a platoon leader in Iraq framed and on my wall in my gaming bunker.  I have numerous expensive books of maps that show combat at Regimental level at Gettysburg, Antietam, and on the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars.  Yes, I'm a map aficionado.  I love a good, beautiful map, hand drawn by staff engineers and painstakingly scaled with regiments, detachments and cannon on it.  Supposedly, Von Paulus' hobby was to recreate hand-drawn maps of battles from the Napoleonic Wars.  I can relate.

That could be why this last phase of scenario development for the Hubbardton Scenario is proving so difficult.  I'm wanting to produce something good but don't have the skills or the software.  Anyways, let's get to it.

Here we see the topographical map of the Hubbardton Battlefield, with modern roads and buildings.  There are alot of squiggly lines and let me tell you, they are just as painful to walk up as they would be to try and count with your eyes.

Source: Arc-GIS
So, what are we looking at?  North is up.  The "Y" junction in the center of the map at the base of the big hill shows where the "Road to Ti" would have met the Castleton Road (which is the main road going north to south on the map).  In fact part of that old road still exists, albeit in paved form today.  Sargent Hill is the large landmass in the upper left of the map and the old military road came down it, crossing Sucker Brook and almost colliding with what is now called "Monument Hill".  It was there, at Sucker Brook, where the battle began in earnest.  I have added British and Continental positions - the starting positions for the battle - below.

From top (N) to bottom (S) you can see the Blue continental units arrayed along the Castleton Road.  2nd New Hampshire, 11th Massachusetts, and Warner's GMB below them by the Selleck Cabin.  The skirmishers are deployed to meet the British 24th foot (facing each other) across Sucker Brook in a swampy area, and behind them coming down off Sargent Hill are the lights and grenadiers in column.  This is the area we will focus on for our game.

From the map above, you can see where the old military road would have intersected with the present day road. (along the Gridline and the word "East Hubbardton Cemetery").  The gridline below that almost moves straight into the modern road and this is the part that follows the old military road.

  In fact, the Cemetery on the map is probably where the 24th and Lights commenced their first push against the hill mass, with the long lines of Continental blue on the map pushing west, up to the crest to meet them during the battle.

So, with all this great info I have, what's my problem?  Well, for starters, I don't have good software to make cool maps like you see in wargaming books.  A quick turn to Google solved the problem.  

I used a map creation template from the "Jay's Wargaming Madness" Blog (used without permission) which turned out to be a very nice tool, indeed.   While the contour lines aren't great, you get the general idea and I'm pleased enough with this to offer it as the scenario map, suitable for a 5 x 4 table.  The units are slightly out of scale - please forgive!  I was not using a mouse when drawing them but rather my finger tips on the track pad.  Not the most effective way but it got the job done.  When laying out your scenario, use the stand width and stand count as your guide and not my goofy unit drawings.

Starting Positions.  East is up.  North is to the left.  The Continental units start in column along the Castleton road, arranged north to south.  The British Grenadiers start immediately behind the lights, off map.  When you read my scenario download, the letters on the map will make sense!

On the map I have plopped the Selleck Cabin about where it should be (small black box) and a tiny wheatfield next to it.  The contour lines will be difficult to recreate if you dont have large hillmasses and I'm thinking of using towels placed under my wargaming mat.  Zion Hill will be forbidden to climb except for the small woods at the bottom of the hill. 

So there you have it!  We are almost ready to fight Hubbardton with Live Free or Die.  The only thing needed now is to put the scenario download together.  We have to put it all together in a nice, attractive package that is fun to read.  Expect that (hopefully) over the next day or so.  Enjoy!


  1. I have a re-print of the original Ordnance Survey map for Bristol and surrounding areas, that is always interesting to look at as I pass it in the hallway. I also have some from the 1930's that I've used for my A Very British Civil War games. Then there is a re-print of one of Africa from the mid-17thC that is fun to compare to modern ones, especially given how inaccurate the interior is! You would probably love the map shop in Bath where you can buy originals from times gone by, beautifully printed and hand coloured, but way beyond my means:(.

    Anyway, you map is a good reference for a game and as you say, getting the contour lines sorted for a game with the hills as they are, is always a tricky prospect. I've found the same issue with the Austro-Prussian War when playing Bloody Big Battles.

    1. Cheers, Steve. You and I share a similar interest in maps. I have a print reproduction of the famous Bachedler map from Gettysburg that I absolutely love and every time I look at it I see something new. 18th century maps of any flavor or stripe are my favorites however I'll take any century, really. (the German NATO maps produced in the FRG were outstanding and are really easy on the eyes). the Soviet maps made of places like London and New York are equally impressive (though at what sinister purpose??)

      Anyways thank you for your encouraging words. I am very much looking forward to putting this scenario on the table.

  2. What are the contour intervals on the first two maps Steve? 10 feet? It looks very steep! And how big are the grid squares?

  3. Your map turned out very nicely. I do love maps, which is probably one of my attractions to boardgames.