Game designer, magazine and book editor since 1972.

Alternative Histories download

“What If?” speculation can be fascinating. Games enable us to test such theories and alternative scenarios are part of Dana’s designs. Author, game designer and alternative history expert Kenneth Hite works with Dana at the DunDraCon annual convention to explore these at the DDC War College.

Download a PDF with a list of Dana and Ken’s recommended Alt Hist websites, books, and articles here.

World War One Illustrated magazine backstory

By Dana Lombardy.

In late 2013, I proposed World War One Illustrated (WWOI) magazine as a proof of concept to the nonprofit World War One Historical As a permanent member of the board of directors of WW1HA, I was aware of the organization’s need for a new publication as it entered the 100th anniversary years commemorating WW1 – known in 1914-1918 as the Great War.

I wanted WWOI to appeal to a broader audience than just people who already had an interest in WW1. This included wargamers, like me, and an attractive look with color maps and color illustrations.

I also felt that WWOI provided an opportunity to present the most recent scholarship, with comparative charts and diagrams called “sidebars” in the page layouts. I’m a data and statistics “geek” and trust numbers more than the opinions of historians who may have agendas for promoting or disparaging leaders or weapons or strategies. As publisher and senior editor of WWOI, I collected and assembled articles, images, and information for each issue to make the magazine something that I wanted to read.

I published issues 1 through 9 from 2013-2018. Number 7 was a special WW1 book issue with reviews of more than 100 books released between 2017-2018.

I am currently working on a new WW1 book review publication called the Tomlinson Prize Review of World War One Books. It will include books published from 2018 to date. I sit on the judging committee for the Norman B. Tomlinson Prize, awarded annually by the World War One Historical Association to the best English-language book(s) on World War One. This award was first presented in 1999. You can see the Tomlinson Prize winners here:

I am very pleased with the critical acclaim received by the magazine, and with the positive feedback on the four mini-games games I designed that were published with the first four issues of World War One Illustrated.

As a wargame designer, I firmly believe that games enable us to explore history, especially alternative history. Games can also be valuable tools for teaching. I was incredibly gratified that my Russia’s Great War: 1914 received a 2019 bronze level prize from the International Serious Play Awards in the Educational Board Game category.

All of these minigames were designed for solitaire and 2-players. The large 1-inch square markers were perforated so they could be easily separated. The game board, markers, and rules were printed in a 4-page stiff cardstock folder. Additional rules for #3 and a historical guide and game tutorial for #4 were also provided. You supply the six-sided dice needed.

It was not possible to continue producing a game for every issue of WWOI. However, I am developing more minigames for WW1 and other historical eras using the unique magazine insert format created for WWOI. Sign up here for updates:


The Colors of Napoleon’s Army 1807-1815 painting guide

The Colors of Napoleon’s Army 1807-1815

The goal of this four-page painting guide was to authenticate the color Imperial Blue used on all French infantry and artillery uniforms. Thanks to the assistance of the Musée de l’Emperi in Salon-de-Provence, France, and private collector Jean Brunon, we had the opportunity of handling First Empire uniforms. These were checked against cloth samples in other museums and institutions to provide cross-references.

We do not claim that the colors presented are the only “true” colors worn by Napoleon’s soldiers. However, we made a concerted effort to obtain or examine the best existing samples of First Empire uniforms and nearly all of our visual color matches were made using interior surfaces of garments, behind linings, where colors were most likely to remain consistent over the past 200 years.

The printer used actual samples of cloth to match the colors presented in this painting guide.

The Colors of Napoleon’s Army 1807-1815 painting guide is available for purchase in our Shop.

Waterloo Commemorative Items

Dana Lombardy and John Redmann, using the splendid portraits created by game Industry Hall of Fame graphic artist Rodger MacGowan, designed the following Waterloo commemorative bookmark and coasters. Available for purchase from our Shop.

Battle of Waterloo Bookmark

$3.00 (includes shipping)

Bookmark front

Bookmark back

Battle of Waterloo 4-Coaster Set

$12.00 / set (includes shipping)
One coaster each: all three generals, Napoleon, Wellington, and Blücher

A tribute to game designer John Hill

John Hill running a Gettysburg game at Nashcon 2014.

This originally appeared in the new issue of C3i Magazine, Nr28 (RBM Publication).

Tribute to John Hill 1945-2015

On January 12 our hobby lost one of its most creative designers.

John Hill earned his well-deserved fame for his Squad Leader board game (initially released in 1977), one of Avalon Hill’s best-selling wargames as well as one of the first games specifically devised as a continuing series. Squad Leader endures today through its many spin-offs, add-ons, and legacy as the Advanced Squad Leader series published by Multi-Man Publishing.

In 1978 John was inducted into The Game Manufacturers Association’s Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design Hall of Fame, and Squad Leader was inducted into the HoF in 2004.

What is less well known is that Squad Leader was initially designed as miniatures rules and converted to a board game at the request of Avalon Hill. John’s passion for miniatures and the American Civil War produced his Johnny Reb rules initially released by Dungeons & Dragons co-designer Dave Arneson’s Adventure Games company in 1983. The third edition of JR was released in 1996 and is still played today.

In 2014, John’s new set of miniatures rules called Across A Deadly Field was published by Osprey Publishing. John completed more books in this series for Osprey just before he died.

Board gamers may also recall John’s ground-breaking Jerusalem! (1975) about the Jewish convoys attempting to get through to the city during the 1948 War, or his Battle for Hue (1973) published with my Conflict magazine issue #6. John’s many credits include Battle for Stalingrad (SPI, 1980) and Tank Leader (West End Games, 1986 and 1987).

But John Hill was much more than this impressive list of accomplishments.

John had a warped sense of humor (like me) and a unique laugh—when I first saw the movie Amadeus I could have sworn that John was Mozart reincarnated. He truly enjoyed the absurdities and ironies that so often were a part of history and life in general.

John was a consummate model builder who was equally creative with his tabletop terrain and model railroad dioramas—one of the latter was featured on the cover of Model Railroader magazine. Playing Johnny Reb on one of John’s striking miniature battlefields was one of my greatest treats.

Where some creative types can have prickly egos, John could laugh at himself. He was quick to recognize the help of others in his published work, at the many exciting game demos he ran at conventions, and in his stimulating seminar presentations.

John was a caring husband—he and Luella (Lu) were married for 46-and-a-half years—and a loving father (daughter Stephanie) and beloved grandfather (Danielle and Carl Anthony). I cannot imagine how devastated they must all be. There is now a huge hole in my life without being able to make my periodic phone calls to John and share in his funny insights into history and life.

Dana Lombardy

The backstory on ‘The First Battle of Bull Run’ battlefield guide book

In 1991 The First Battle of Bull Run booklet was published and over the next several years sold successfully at the Manassas National Battlefield Park visitor center. Despite selling 5,000 copies no further guides were produced. Why?

The creation of Bull Run was a “proof of concept” project designed by Dana Lombardy in conjunction with the Chief Historians and Park Rangers at the Park and written by John Hill. It was enthusiastically endorsed by them, and we hoped it would be the first in the “American Civil War Notebook Series” of graphic booklets for other Parks—useful guides for visitors, reference material for wargamers, and user-friendly introductions to Civil War battles.

Unfortunately, the project was brought to a standstill higher up in the National Park Service. NPS decides what will be sold at the parks and later released its own “guides.” These did not contain detailed color maps, color orders-of-battle, or as many historical illustrations as our Bull Run.

The lesson learned: don’t try to sell something to the U.S. government unless you have “inside” support.

Dana went on to design and publish (in 2014) the first full-size book in the Map Study Series: Grant Rising, Mapping the Career of a Great Commander Through 1862.

The First Battle of Bull Run remains a unique and unmatched battlefield guide booklet and is available for purchase as a print edition or pdf from our Shop.

The backstory on Napoleon magazine – Napoleon Journal

By Dana Lombardy. Why did Napoleon magazine become Napoleon Journal, and what’s the difference? The story about its evolution as a publication involves a little-known predecessor called Empires, Eagles & Lions.

empires-eagles-and-lions-1993In 1976, Jean Lochet started publishing a small format publication dedicated to Napoleonic history and wargaming called Empires, Eagles & Lions—nicknamed “EEL.” It was a club-like ’zine or newsletter printed in black ink only with mostly text. Despite its modest format it became a respected if not controversial periodical, attracting writers such as British historians Paddy Griffith and Philip Haythornthwaite, and American historians Scott Bowden and George Nafziger, among others.

Todd Fisher, owner of The Emperor’s Headquarters in Chicago, offered to develop Jean’s EEL into a slick magazine with a color cover and interior illustrations. The enhanced EEL, subtitled “The Napoleonic Source Magazine,” appeared in the summer of 1993 as issue #1.

Despite the improvements and contributions from a wide range of notable writers, EEL was not attracting a bigger readership. This is when Todd contacted me for help.

By 1994 my publishing background included founding Conflict magazine (1972-1975) that incorporated a paper map and die-cut counter wargame with most of the issues—similar to Strategy & Tactics, but Conflict included color interior pages and maps, unlike S&T at that time. From 1978 I worked on Model Retailer, a trade magazine that went to owners and managers of hobby stores and chains in the USA. My job included writing a column about how hobby shops could stock games to broaden and increase a store’s number of customers. This led to my promotion as Associate Publisher for Model Retailer, and then as AP for the new trade publication Game Merchandising in 1983. Todd Fisher knew of me professionally since we both worked in the game business.

Other than a few books I read, I knew very little about Napoleonic history. That would change dramatically—and quickly.

As Publisher of EEL from issue #7 in 1994, I increased the number of interior illustrations, added color, and worked with the art director to improve the magazine’s overall appearance. By issue #14 in 1995 circulation had grown only modestly. A major boost was needed.

Although Jean and Todd thought the acronym EEL was memorable, I pointed out that most people simply wondered what the magazine was about. Which empire? What era?

Renaming EEL to Napoleon in 1996 solved this uncertainty, but more than a name change was needed. A complete layout overhaul was introduced that included battle studies, details on tactics and organization, personalities, interviews with prominent historians and authors, and more. Napoleon was subtitled “His Life, His Wars, His World” to emphasize the format change. Napoleon was a totally new magazine design, but it utilized the same consortium of experts that earned EEL admiration.

I learned a lot about Napoleonic history in two years of editing and often researching information to fact check maps and augment the articles submitted to the magazine.

Napoleon’s next 12 issues were well received. But like the mathematical paradox of the frog that hops halfway to the wall with each jump—and never reaches the wall—the magazine’s continual improvements helped but never achieved the breakthrough we hoped for. Another boost was needed.

That final lift consisted of another format change: increased page count per issue, a perfect binding (like a book spine instead of staples), a revised subtitle “International Journal of the French Revolution and Age of Napoleon,” and a quarterly release schedule instead of bi-monthly. Unfortunately, after four issues of the journal, The Emperor’s Headquarters was unable to continue publishing.

Printed back issues of EEL and Napoleon (magazine and journal) are no longer available, but Lombardy Studios sells a PDF searchable collection of Napoleon issues 1-17 plus an index to the first 12 issues on a DVD.

SU-152 and T-34

I am an avid collector of books on military equipment and history. I currently have over 3,000 volumes in my library of which I have over 800 books on tanks and AFV’s. And I can say the two books on the T-34 and SU-152 are the best, most informative and fact filled of any books I have. They are scholarly efforts that provide information not written about in any other book I have.
Anybody buying these will have spent their money well. Congrats to Lombardy Studios for raising the bar on historical accounts of tank design and warfare!
– Brian Willis


The SU-152 and Related Vehicles
102 photos, 105 illustrations and diagrams, 6 tables and charts, 2 11″ x 17″ illustrated blueprints displaying a 152mm cannon and SU-152 vehicle, 2-page full-color foldout with SU-152 cut-a-way profile, 8 pages of full-color armor profiles, 264 pages $29.95 ($39.95 regular price)
The T-34 Goes to War
94 photos, 28 tables, 6 charts and diagrams, 9 maps, 2 appendices, 2 11″ x 17″ illustrated tactical organization and equipment charts displaying 1940 and 1941 tank battalions, 8-page full-color foldout with armor profiles, 236 pages $29.95 ($39.95 regular price)
Filled with facts and history about the “Beast Killer” of German tanks (a $5 value)
For the first time in English — Photos and drawings from secret Soviet archives and museums — many never previously published. Recently translated documents are used to present the Soviet Russian stories of the T-34 and SU-152. (This is why we call them “The Russian View.”)
In “The SU-152 and Related Vehicles,” you will learn about the design and evolution of the legendary self-propelled gun on the KV chassis, including many little-known prototypes and proposed alternate models. Called the “beast killer” at Kursk for its ability to destroy German Tiger and Panther tanks. What disaster led to the shortage of these “bunker busters” in the final push into Germany in 1945?
“The T-34 Goes to War” chronicles the real story of this famous medium tank, from its troubled conception to its first, desperate combat actions in the cauldron of Barbarossa. Thousands of T-34s were available in June 1941 – why did they fail to stop the German panzer groups? Soviet archival records admit to some astonishing problems.
Both books are filled with illustrations and photos.

Click here to buy now!


Download FREE 8-page “Sneak Peek” SU-152 PDF
Download FREE 8-page “Sneak Peek” T-34 PDF

The Great War card game playtesting update – September 2019

MacGowan & Lombardy’s The Great War was completely funded on Kickstarter and will ship in April 2021

Further refinements have been made since this playtest. Click here to go to a report that links to the latest rules, overview & card samples, examples of play, and quickplay rules.

Based on player feedback at Consimworld Expo 2019 we made some important changes to the World War One card game.

Here is a brief overview of what we changed –

1) We kept a color border on the card back only for the Random Events deck (orange) since these cards never go into a player’s hand.

2) All other deck colors (new Bonus deck yellow, red/blue core decks, and white additional-optional deck) are now on the card fronts. They appear as a broad, wide diagonal stripe across the middle of each card. This enables quick sorting but won’t tell your opponent what you are holding in your hand.

3) We changed most naval cards to BLOCKADE cards (Allied surface ships and German submarines). They still have low battle points. Now they have a bigger impact on the game. If a blockade card is still in play at the end of a turn, it cancels and discards any one enemy Nationality card. This reflects the blockade’s long term logistical effects. Naval cards cannot help capture army or aviation cards – instead they remove them from play. Chris Janiec suggested these revised rules. Chis is a US Navy veteran and designer of PQ17 published by GMT. We will credit him as naval rules developer.

4) A turn winner cannot place high value aces, kings, queens, and jacks back into their hand. Nor can they be voluntarily discarded. This would enable a player to avoid their capture by the enemy. These cards now show their battle point (BP) values as white numbers inside a black circle.

5) We now consider Heavy Machine-Gun (HMG) cards as another type of infantry. Therefore, cards that link to infantry now also link to HMG. This text fix appears on all appropriate cards.

6) All mortars and howitzers now include the word “artillery” so their card type is clear. Field guns are now called field artillery.

7) We have added dates to the new white deck cards. For example, all USA cards now have 1918 on them.

8) The number of cards a player may have in their hand increased from 8 to 9.

9) Dana is working on a game overview with designer’s notes and player tips. These, and the new four levels of victory, will appear on the back of the new version of the Quick Play Outline.

These changes slightly shortened the amount of rules text.

Click here to download a PDF of the latest rules (4.7) and sample cards.