Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

Today, Memorial Day, I remember Jeff Bolton. And not just as a Veteran.

I met Jeff in 1996 after moving to the Twin Cities from Kansas City, MO. I had recently come back to wargaming from a 10-year hiatus after discovering DBA (De Bellis Antiquitatis, © Wargames Research Group) while still in Kansas City, and in Jeff I met someone who seemed to want to play exactly the kind of games I wanted to play. I was happily playing DBA in 15mm, and dabbling with DBM, when Jeff brought out his 25mm toys for HOTT (Hordes of the Things - the fantasy derivative of DBA) during one of our gaming sessions. I was immediately hooked by a new game and scale. HOTT really allowed Jeff to put his sense of humor and whimsy on display, and our games were fun.

When HOTT was updated to the 2.0 version, Jeff was very involved in the on-line development forums. While we very much enjoyed HOTT, we had often discussed ways to include the light troops from DBA in our HOTT games. When said light troops didn't make it into HOTT 2.0, we decided to add them in as house rules for our own games, along with Pikes and Elephants and Chariots and Camels. . . well, everything that was in DBA that wasn't in HOTT, as well as a few extras.

That's how GH! (Great Hordes!) was born. In GH! we had a big battle rule set that allowed us to play Ancients (and Dark Ages and Medieval) and Fantasy with a single set of rules.

Jeff continued to tweak GH! after I left Minneapolis in 2001. We kept in touch by e-mail and I was able to provide feedback regarding the ongoing development of GH! since I found a group of gamers in my new home city of Tulsa, OK who were willing to build armies and play. We played a lot of games of GH! in Tulsa; you can see some photos of the games on the TAWC (Tulsa Area Wargame Confederation) Yahoo group:

DBA/HOTT/GH! is still my favorite game to play. . .

Jeff passed away in 2006. I did not see Jeff during the last 5 years of his life. Though Jeff's e-mail contact was very sporadic (he was not well) during his last year,  I was saddened and still surprised when I got word that Jeff had passed away. I think about Jeff often, and I always smile.

Since HOTT 2.0 is now available on-line in PDF format, and DBA 3.0 is soon to be published, there should not be any copyright issues with providing access to Great Hordes! at this link, providing you download for your personal use only:

I moved back to the Twin Cities 2 years ago. I haven't been playing a lot of games since moving back, but I have been working on my hobby in the time available around settling into a new job and a new home. I do hope to be playing more soon. Watch for more about that in future posts.


  1. A beautiful tribute. Jeff and I never saw eye to eye on HOTT (he was far less of a purist than I), but he was a great promoter of the game, and made a valuable contribution to the second edition. He made Minnesota the HOTT capital of the USA. I miss his posts and input to the game.

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog, and adding your own personal tribute to Jeff.
      I was a big fan of The Stronghold, and am very glad to see it in its shiny new skin.