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Meet the Next Gen Team

John Spiess

Co-Founder & Events Coordinator

John Spiess is a co-founder of HMGS Next Gen, Inc. (“Next Gen”).  Considered one of the old veterans, John’s gaming experience goes back 50 years.  John is also a skilled figure painter and model terrain craftsman, which are other aspects of miniature gaming.


John has also written and published several gaming rulesets, including Trench Wars, which focuses on WWI game simulations, as well as Halberd, Mace, & Great Sword, which can be used for numerous medieval time periods ranging from the Arthurian Dark Ages through the later medieval War of the Roses.


Previous to volunteering for Next Gen, John served for six years on the HMGS, Inc. Board of Directors.  Starting as Communications Director, then as Treasurer, and finally as President for two years before retiring and devoting time to Next Gen.


John is now Next Gen’s lead game coordinator and hosts events for players of all ages, specializing in recreations of historical battles using miniatures.


John is a lifelong Connecticut resident, currently living in New Canaan, CT with his family.  Professionally, John has worked in the banking industry for over 30 years, specializing in the area of Trust and Estates.

Kelly McManus

Director of Communications

Kelly McManus is Director of Communications, serving to support Next Gen's mission of working towards supporting businesses, companies, and other professional organizations using games as a learning tool and form of training.  He is a historian and lifelong gamer. Professionally, he works for local government, administering several historic and cultural sites owned by the County of Passaic in New Jersey. In this role, Kelly has overseen the day-to-day management of Dey Mansion Washington’s Headquarters, led education and event programming, and administers several cultural heritage initiatives. Furthermore, he also serves as an Adjunct Professor of History at William Paterson University.

In his personal time, Kelly is an avid hobbyist. He has spent nine and a half years teaching leadership skills and creating competitions in an international online gaming organization. As he finished graduate school in 2017, he stumbled upon historical miniature wargaming and immediately cut his teeth on Napoleonics. Since then, Kelly has engrossed himself in the hobby.

Kelly became aware of HMGS Next Gen, Inc. through the Little Wars TV podcast. He contacted Jared and created a public event at Dey Mansion Washington’s Headquarters that resulted in astonishing success. Seeing the value tabletop gaming can have as a purposeful educational tool, Kelly now volunteers to further its mission.

Peter Anderson


Peter Anderson has loved games and history for as long as he can remember,  and discovered the hobby of Historical Miniatures Wargaming by way of a book in the public library at age 12. His chief interest is the Napoleonic Wars. While in college, he was fortunate to meet Charlie Sweet, one of the Old Guard of the hobby, who had very broad interests across the span of history. Peter’s collection and games now include the wars of the Renaissance, the English Civil War, late Medieval warfare, and Ancient warfare from the Egyptians through the Romans.

Peter has written several sets of Wargames rules [Band of Brothers (1200 -1600) and Hostile Realms (Large Battle Fantasy)] and scenario books [1809:Blunders on the Danube (23 Scenarios from that Campaign), Scenarios for Hostile Realms)], all in the Piquet/Field of Battle family. He has run games at HMGS conventions for the past 25 years and has won awards for outstanding games a number of times. Peter enjoys working with both adults and youth; he was an Eagle Scout and his first job was working in Ecology/Conservation for a Scout camp for 4 summers.

Professionally, Peter has been a Family Physician in New Milford, CT since 1984, and was Chairman of Peer Review for his local hospital for 20 years. He has taught Medical students in his office almost from the beginning, and has held appointments as a Clinical Professor at five different medical schools. He has been recognized for outstanding teaching, and is presently also Clerkship Director for Family Medicine education at Nuvance Health Network.

Jared Fishman

Co- Founder, Consultant
Mr. Fishman Headshot.jpg

Jared Fishman is the co-founder and co-director of HMGS Next Gen. He is a familiar face in the world of education and game design thinking. Over the past 15+ years, he has served as a teacher at the Hackley School in Tarrytown, NY. In that time, he's worked as a grade level dean, authored elements of the history curriculum, and was the architect of Hackley’s popular “Strategy Game Club.” He currently teaches two original courses that rely heavily on game related thinking: “Topics in the History of Warfare” and “Collaborative Storytelling and Roleplay Gaming.” In September, 2022, Jared will begin teaching at Brunswick School, in Greenwich, Connecticut.
Jared has been bestowed numerous honors in his career, including the Mary Lambos Award for Teaching in 2014 and the Davidson Chair in History, a position he held from 2016-2020. Jared's classroom experience has set the foundation for his belief that games support critical thinking along many different avenues, from the classroom to the office. He has organized and facilitated several conferences on the subject, entitled “Role Playing, Games, and Simulations in the Humanities Classroom” and has presented at various HMGS, NASAGA, and other game related events. In each presentation, Jared has demonstrated the real world benefits that game related thinking can provide. In 2019, he and his teaching partner Michael Canterino won the NASAGA “Rising Star” award for a role play simulation entitled “Drawing a Line in the Sand: Exploring Leadership Through the Lens of Popilius.”
Jared has partnered with numerous game authors including Chris Pringle (Bloody Big Battles), Brent Oman (Field of Battle), and Simon Miller (To the Strongest!), which has aided in designing rewarding experiences for student and adult gamers.  Through this and other gaming efforts, he has become an established contributor to Wargames Illustrated magazine, penning articles on the benefits of wargaming in the classroom, most notably in issue WI369 with a piece entitled “Schooling Borodino,” which highlighted a large scale game involving 30+ students and teachers at the Hackley School. 

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