"About 4 o'clock p.m., most of the re-enforcements being in position, the order was received to advance the whole line and take on silence the enemy's batteries immediately in front. The order was immediately obeyed, and the advance was made with the utmost enthusiasm. The enemy made a desperate resistance, charging our advancing lines with fierceness, but they were everywhere routed and fled with precipitation. In this advance the chief loss fell upon the division of General Willcox, which was most exposed, being on the right, as I have said above; but it gallantly overcame all obstacles, and the success was complete along the whole line of the corps."
Brig. Gen. Jacob D. Cox, USA at South Mountain (OR)


Winner of the 2003 Charles S. Roberts Award for Best DTP Produced Boardgame

Thunder on South Mountain covers the American Civil War battle at South Mountain fought over Turner's and Fox's Gaps, September 14, 1862.

Following the discovery of Confederate Special Order No. 191, which outlined the disposition of General Robert E. Lee's entire army across the countryside, Union commander Gen. George McClellan moved to catch the Rebel Army while it was so dispersed. At South Mountain, the Federal First and Ninth Corps tangled with an assorted Confederate force under D.H. Hill, who fought the battle of his life. Could he hold the Yankees at bay and buy enough time for Lee to pull his scattered army back together?

Thunder on South Mountain is a tactical, brigade-level simulation of low complexity with an emphasis on command and control. A unique "army posture" matrix determines the sequence of play each turn, and leader effectiveness is governed by a combination of momentum, luck, and resource management.

Based on the Fire in Mississippi system, the game adds several new features such as long-range artillery fire and target disruption, line of sight, corps leaders, and variable reinforcement times.

Thunder on South Mountain is of high DTP quality with an 11x17 color map, 140 two-sided, color counters (that must be mounted and cut apart), a rules booklet, and player charts and cards.


Game Errata / Questions & Answers


Image of Map and Counters

What people are saying about Thunder on South Mountain:

"I highly recommend Thunder on South Mountain because I like the originality of the basic design, the unpredictability of the sequence of play, and the low complexity... The components are top-notch... Each playing [is] different from the last." Carl Gruber in PAPER WARS #51

"... the best-looking DTP items that I've ever seen." Todd Davis, Cool Stuff Unlimited


Game Scale
The mapsheet depicts the battlefield terrain at a scale of 1/5 mile per hexagon. Combat units represent brigades or half-brigades. Each infantry or cavalry strength point equals approximately 400 men. Each artillery strength point equals approximately 8 guns. Each game turn represents 45 minutes of daylight time.


Game Credits
Artwork, Design, and Development:
Scott Holmgren
Playtesters: Christopher Hall, Kevin Ingoldsby, Kim Meints, John Nebauer
Rules Editing: Steve Carey

Production Services: Allegra Print & Imaging


Recommended Reading
John Michael Priest's detailed narrative Before Antietam: The Battle for South Mountain (Oxford University Press, 1992) is a helpful resource, although the maps are very difficult to decipher. On a campaign level, Joseph Harsh's Taken at the Flood: Robert E. Lee and Confederate Strategy in the Maryland Campaign of 1862 (Kent State University Press, 1999) is a remarkable study of Lee and his decision making process. Freeman's account of South Mountain in Volume 2 of Lee's Lieutenants is a wonderful snapshot of the battle.




© Scott Holmgren for
Blue Guidon Games, Waveland Creative, LLC