Goonhammer Historicals: Mugginns’ Road to AdeptiCon 2023

It is that time of year again! Three weeks left to AdeptiCon and I’m still grinding through a huge project. This year I’m helping to run the 2nd Annual Lard America gathering at AdeptiCon on Friday and Saturday, playing in the SAGA Age of Vikings tournament on Sunday, and also playing in an Age of Sigmar event on Saturday.

For this year’s Lard America event I’m running an American Civil War Sharp Practice game set in the Wilmington region in North Carolina in late 1864. I’ve run ACW games before at Fall-In and FlintCon, but this will be my first time at AdeptiCon.

Mugginns’ Sharp Practice game at FlintCon.

Sharp Practice on Friday

On Friday I’m running an ACW Sharp Practice game. I ran the scenario at FlintCon and it went alright; the local Confederate forces are attempting to get a spy aboard the steamboat at the bottom of the screen. They just ran as fast as they could down there and didn’t really attempt to screen their force at all. I have to re-do the scenario a bit so it gives more incentive for actual fighting in the middle of the board.

The 2nd North Carolina Battalion (freedmen and former enslaved people who joined the Union Army) opens up on the Confederates. Mugginns’ Sharp Practice game at FlintCon.

I may actually make the Federal forces the ones who have to get to the boat. They have more men and better leaders – they should definitely be attacking and trying to move up the board. I’m also going to spread the trees out a bit so that forces can move around a bit easier. The two Federal main formations got clogged up and weren’t able to spread out.

I don’t have anything else to finish for this game at this time. It’s all done!

Mexican-American War Game on Friday Night

I had only signed up to run one game, but I wanted to hang out and get some good times in with my Lard America pards so I proposed that we run some ‘club games’ where the people who usually run games get to play. We have one club member who may be running a Kiss Me, Hardy game, which sounds amazing. I am working my patoot off trying to get a Mexican-American war Sharp Practice game going that I just decided to do a few weeks ago.

History in a Nutshell | The Mexican-American War | Season 2 | Episode 3 | PBS

Why Mexican-American War?

I am extremely interested in the ACW and have painted hundreds of models for it. It’s been a lifelong interest for me. The Mexican-American War is always mentioned in works as basically the place where a bunch of ACW leaders got their experience, but really no more than that.

The real truth is that it was a massively important war in the development of both the USA and Mexico. It was also a huge antebellum precursor to the Civil War in that it caused a lot of the sectional problems with slavery. Ralph Waldo Emerson said “the U.S. will conquer Mexico, but it will be as the man swallows the arsenic, which brings him down in turn. Mexico will poison us.” He was entirely correct – the addition of all the territory caused immense sectional divides around slavery.

It’s also a period when most troops were still using smoothbore muskets – the Mexican army using mostly flintlocks, and the US army using mostly flintlocks with some percussion cap conversions. The Mexican army was full of conscripts that fought bravely, but were many times poorly led and all the time poorly equipped. Their powder was bad and their muskets were horribly outdated. The American regulars were well drilled and mostly well led, and had the best artillery in addition to being trained with horse artillery. Mexican artillery was mostly left from when the Spanish evacuated Mexico and was extremely heavy and old.

At many of the engagements the US army was outnumbered sometimes 2:1 or 3:1, but still pulled out sometimes major victories because of the aforementioned issues. These are just my initial thoughts from what I’ve read so far.

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What Units Am I Painting?

I am painting up forces entirely from 1st Corps minis. For the Mexican army I chose light infantry (they’ll be in line), regular skirmishers, and line cavalry with lances. Please forgive the half-painted photos, I snapped them after I’d started. The 1st Corps minis have good raised detail and are crisp sculpts. They’re better proportioned than the WW2 and ACW stuff I’ve gotten before. The light infantry will have dark blue coats, dark blue / brown / gray pants, red facings and green collars / poms on their hats.

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For the American force I’m painting two groups of regulars and two groups of drilled volunteers as the main formations, with two groups of skirmishers attached. These uniforms will be immensely easier to paint than the Mexican Napoleonic-like unis. They’re mostly sky blue / gray with blue hats and dark blue coats for officers.

This matchup will provide the Mexican army with a numbers advantage and a mobility advantage with their lancers, but the Americans will have better drill and weaponry.


Compared to the ACW, there aren’t a ton of books and uniform guides for the Mexican-American War. I managed to pick up some that I think are the best.

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I’ve started reading the Eisenhower book So Far From God and it’s been a great way to pickup the background to the war and why it happened. What amazes me is that the way the books talk about the war – they mention that for Mexico this was the third major world power they had fought in a decade (Spain, France, USA) and how the near-constant coups and political fights caused the country to be at such a weak point, militarily, when the war happened.

Other Stuff Needed

When I was painting FIW and ACW stuff, all that action took place in the Eastern US in  relatively similar terrain. The MA War took place in desert and scrubland in Mexico, Texas, and California, so I needed a new mat, new movement trays, trees, etc.

A map I intend to use for desert scrubland from TinywargamesUK.

I also grabbed these rocky outcroppings to put down to break up formations and provide some line of sight blocking stuff. I had to get different trees because most of what I have are pines that are more common in the Eastern US.

Rocky outcroppings from Northland Gaming on Etsy.

Trees from Gale Force 9.

Last, I ordered a town set from Empires at War to use as a main town to fight over. I already have a few of their buildings – the great part about these is that they’ll work for Mexico and for the Spanish Peninsula for Napoleonics.

Spanish / Italian buildings from Empires At War.

SAGA Vikings on Sunday

I actually don’t have anything to do for SAGA on Sunday. I already have my Viking warband painted, and I like all the units included in it. I had thought about painting my Irish guys up but just haven’t had the time. I know if I started it wouldn’t take long, I just haven’t done it. I am going to get some practice games in so I can remember how to play – I know it’ll be a great time!

My Vikings, led by Ragnar Lodbrok

Other Stuff

I look forward to seeing all the new games on demo and will be taking a big look at all the stuff that Warlord Games and Badger Games have on offer. In particular, I’m going to be looking for some Italian guys for my Eastern Front and Dracula’s America / The Chicago Way stuff.

Thanks for reading – check back after AdeptiCon for my in-depth on everything I saw!