Review of Across A Deadly Field: War in the West

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Review of ADF:  War in the West

Across A Deadly Field: War in the West is John Hill’s third and what will final rulebook to be published by this phenomenally  talented historian.  As many of you now know, John Hill passed away six months ago and has been dearly missed by his family, friends and his fans.  Having been released in May of this year,  four months after he passed away, Across A Deadly Field: War in the West strives to be provide ample scenarios of the Western ACW Theater which aims to produce hours and fun and entertainment for you and your wargaming group.

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Facebook Post on a Review of ADF: War in the West – By Clicking on the Above Image you will be taken to John Hill’s Facebook Tribute Site

Cory Ring wrote the following on his CigarBoxBattle website:

The third book in John Hill’s “Across A Deadly Field” rules trilogy is now out! This is a very special book if you are a John Hill and ADF fan, since this will be John’s final publication. As many of you know, John passed away this year and he has been sorely missed. The ADF rules and this scenario book will leave a fitting and lasting legacy. John was a phenomenal historian and game designer and I feel this is some of John’s finest work.

The ACW history in the book is fantastic and well researched and John always has an entertaining and  slightly different take on historical situations. If you are a fan of the Western ACW theater, this book is well worth the price alone just for John’s re-telling of the historical campaigns and battles.

The core rules are also expanded, and there are new rules and additions for: interpenetration by disorder and skirmishers, farm areas and fields, combining fire restrictions, second charges, charges against unseen units, cavalry representation and weird weapons (by Mike Bradford). If you are gaming the ACW with ADF, these rules will add a new and needed dimension to your game and possibly clear up some rules questions.

The core of this book however are the scenarios. There are a lot of great Western ACW scenarios that will give you and your gaming group hours of enjoyment. Here are the scenarios included in the book: Shiloh – A stubborn flank (9am attack on the Union left flank), Shiloh – A long morning (the main center battle 8am – 1pm), Shiloh – Sheman’s Fight (8am – Noon CSA attack on Sherman’s 5th div.), and Shiloh – The Hornet’s nest (11am CSA attack on Gen. Prentiss). There are lots of great maps by Todd Davis and the battle of Shiloh is broken down into several playable scenarios, perfect for any rule set.

The next scenario is from the Vickburg campaign,  “Champion Hill – May 16th 1863″. This scenario was written and designed by John’s good friend Dean West. Dean was part of the original Johnny Reb design team and also assisted on ADF. Dean is an expert historian (and retired KY cavalryman) and provides an expert recap of the battle which is accompanied by a well researched  terrain map, scenario and OOB.  This is definitely one battle worth playing!

Paul Stevenson wrote the excellent “Pickett’s Mill” scenario, which is part of the Atlanta campaign. It is a small scenario, which explores the “opportunity squandered” on May 27th, 1864. This makes a great introductory ADF scenario for an often overlooked engagement.

John wrote two Nashville scenarios which are also included in the book. The first of these is a small scenario on Dec. 15, 1864 called “A Questionable Diversion”, which explores a small Union attack on Cleburne’s division. The second scenario is a large “Battle of Nashville” scenario which explores the  main Union attack on the CSA left flank along the Hillsboro Pike on Dec. 15th. This an a big, and often overlooked western ACW battle which is finally getting the attention it deserves.

These scenarios will work for any set of ACW rules! Pick them up from your local gaming store, or from your favorite online retailer. I would also like to point out that John Hill’s daughter, Stephanie Hill, has started a wonderful website (  dedicated to her father and ADF. You can also purchase this book thru her site, which I highly recommend!

Hstoricon is coming up this weekend from July 16-19 and John will sorely be missed as he was a regular facilitator and promoter of his ADF rulebooks.   You can check out more on Historicon by reviewing the popular Questions & Answers, asked by many folks.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read my latest post on ADF and John Hill.  I hope you take the time to leave a comment and I will reply shortly.

Stephanie Hill


  1. Mark

    Hi there Stephanie,
    I’ve never been a gamer and don’t I really know anything about the book’s content but I can tell that your Dad was a talented and much loved man. I’m sorry to read of his passing and for your and your Mum’s loss.
    It really seems like he knows his subject and the fact he dedicated so much time to it shows that he was an extraordinary person.
    I know you can’t change history, but do you think there would be any unease at the book title “Johnny Reb” after all that news we’ve seen worldwide lately about the guy who gunned down those poor people in a church and who was subsequently seen photographed posing with a Confederate flag?

    1. Stephanie (Post author)

      Hi Mark:

      There certainly has been much in the news and media about the use of the confederate flag. Personally, I think many people are over-reacting. Of course, slavery was wrong and we all know that, but to insist that any reference to the Civil War and the Confederates verse the Union be eradicated would be asking that we erase history which, of course, is not possible. We need to keep references to the Civil War and Johnny Reb so that we can remember our tortured and treacherous past histories so we can hopefully learn from our mistakes and prevent them from being repeated. I am really glad you asked this question and brought this issue up.


      1. Mark

        I agree that we need to be able to revisit history from time to time without feeling the need for it to be rewritten.

        You can’t change what’s happened anywhere but we can learn lessons from the past in order to make sure bad things don’t happen again if at all possible.

        And I believe people ought to be able to be proud of their roots as long they are not out rightly racist, xenophobic or bigoted.

        1. Stephanie (Post author)

          Hi Mark!

          I agree with you completely. History is indeed something which should be embraced and appreciated it. So many people are tempted to try and forget some of the tragedies that have occurred in our past, but to do that would be unfortunate because it is only from studying our history that we will learn to be better individuals and create a better society for everyone moving forward.

          Thank you for visiting again Mark and have a wonderful day!


  2. Jim

    This looks awesome! I didn’t know a game like this existed, but I’ve loved the history surrounding the civil war my entire life. I’ve played many games, mostly on the computer. I’m very sorry to hear about your father, he sounds like he was both a genuine historian and loving father. Best of luck to you and your mother.

    1. Stephanie (Post author)

      Hi Jim!

      Thank you very much for leaving such a kind comment. And yes, my father John Hill was a loving man and a huge genuine historian. Many thanks for visiting my website today. Have a terrific day!


  3. Norris Darrall

    Great review for a great set of rules. Played the game five times and enjoyed them and look forward to playing more games. At NASHCON last year, John was playing Robert E. Lee and I was one of his subordinates for the first day of Gettysburg. Miss your Dad. Give your Mom a hug from us.

    1. Stephanie (Post author)

      Hi Norris!

      Once again, it is great hearing from you. I will definitely give my Mom a hug from you. How is Margarette doing? Are you gearing up for Historicon?



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