Havoc XXXVII (2023)

Mar 31-2, 2023

Havoc Game Convention

Sponsored by Battle Group Boston

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Historical Miniatures Gaming [1]

"Wargaming had its origins in a military game called Kriegspiel, invented by a Prussian officer in 1824 for training purposes. The author H.G. Wells is considered by many people today to be the grandfather of modern wargaming. It was his book "Little Wars" published in 1913 which moved wargaming away from purely military training and converted it into an enjoyable hobby.

In his book the author put forward his own rules for battles with toy soldiers and defined wargaming as " a game for boys from twelve years of age to 150." From these early beginnings wargaming has developed as a full fledged hobby in its own right. While still used as a military training aid ( "Sand Table Exercises" ) the hobby now has many thousands of adherents from all walks of life.

The soldiers vary in size from 54 mm to the more popular 15, 20 and 28 millimeter. Some are as small as 6 mm ( about 1/4 of an inch !) and modern centrifugal casting allows for a remarkable degree of detail. While they can be purchased already painted figures are usually bought in a bare metal state. Vehicles are cast as one solid piece to more involved model kits that can require the assembly of numerous detailed parts.

There are no set rules to govern the conduct of a wargame. Many commercially and privately published rule sets are available, but none of these enjoy total control of the hobby. Many wargamers prefer to write their own reflecting their personal concepts and interpretations of the chosen period. In very basic terms wargame rules allow figures and vehicles to move, fire and melee and permit their morale status to be checked. A die is usually thrown to inject an element of chance against known factors such as range and weapon quality."

Battlegroup Boston

The origins of the group go back to a small hobby shop in Wellesley, Massachusetts in the mid 70's. The original charter members of the group were at one time involved with the Strategic Gaming Society of M.I.T. As legend would have it with a resentment and a coffee pot BGB was formed.

In 1978 the first official attempt was made to formalize the club by developing bylaws, officers and articles of organization. Annually the club draws in people from all over New England for our annual wargaming convention held each spring. To find out more about us and our club, where and when we met and the various games being offered join our email list on groups.io by visiting: https://groups.io/g/bgb

Our first ever convention of miniature games was held in 1982 and taking our inspiration from Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" to "Cry Havoc and let slip the dogs of war" we came up with our mascot, Hrolf, and the name of our convention "HAVOC".

"The Dave" To those of us who knew him and had the opportunity to game with him one gentleman stood head and shoulders above the rest. Dave Donovan was a regular supporter and participant at our conventions. He embodied the best of camaraderie , good sportsmanship and over all fellowship that attracts those of us in the hobby. Undeterred by limitations that some might find daunting it never seemed to enter anyone's mind that Dave was a bi-lateral amputee. We lost our friend a few years ago to his illness and in his honor and memory each year the person who best embodies the spirit of the hobby at "Havoc" is given a plaque and has his name added to the list of engraved honorees. It is our most cherished and coveted award.

"The Al" To honor the memory one of our own. Al Garnache who valiant fought Cancer was respected and admired by all for the spectacular visual presentation of his games. In his memory we present this award annually for the game table with the best visual attention to detail and the best "eye candy".


The club is currently at home in "The Hobby Bunker" located at 103 Albion Street Wakefield, MA 01880. Open seven days a week and home to the largest collection of collectible toy soldiers in New England. Hosting an enormous inventory of all scales, sizes and types of military figures, vehicles and model kits. The Hobby Bunker also boasts an enormous gaming space which is constantly in use. Special thanks to Matt and the staff of the Hobby Bunker for supporting and promoting the hobby.

[1](Taken from "Wargames" an Argus Specialist Publication, 1985)