Sunday, April 1, 2012

Three Seven Years'War Association Games

On March 30-31, 2012, The Seven Years' War Association met for the 29th annual weekend of good gaming, camaraderie and  fun. Just under 100 members and guests attended the Friday and Saturday event at the Grand Magnusen Hotel in South Bend, Indiana.

The celebrated Professor Christopher Duffy gave a stimulating and very interesting talk illustrated with photographs about his research concerning cultural and military aspects about the 1745 Jacobite Rising. This was accentuated with ideas to use in recreating a generic Jacobite battle in Britain. See Part III for this.

Jürgen O. from Omaha, Nebraska hosted two highly appealing, colorful and entertaining SYW battles in India. The French won both. The first is described a little below solely form my perspective.

French Left Flank
I was posted here and also in the center at the top of the image. Did you know the position of honor was on the left in India?

French Extreme Left Flank
The two units above penetrated the lightly wooded area before them and swept in an arc to the right ending  at the other side of the verdure. This maneuver caused British forces to oppose them.

Inside French Left Flank
You can see the shirtless allies sweeping within the wooded area at the top left of the image. Across the middle of the image more potent units tried to conform with those in the woods. Notice the British reaction at the top right of the image. Things are looking good here.

The pajamaed mortar section fired every other turn never landing a bomb on target though a splinter knocked out an important enemy officer causing some distress.

 French Center
Near game end we suffered the loss of a native leader to an assassin, a momentary torrential downpour preventing discharge of weapons (a good thing at the time!) and British Highlanders coming forward to the attack. Steady they were too but notice horsemen beyond the palm trunks. They and some others are French allies wrecking and penetrating the British left flank and center. Though the French left was stalled, the British Army was in disarray and losing. At this moment of victory the French Commander in Chief (me) de Bussy on the rearing horse was felled by a Highlander firing his weapon. French tactical victory.

Jürgen designed a series of chance cards drawn once per turn. Some were good. Others were bad. A few others were blank. These and the highly brittle nature of native morale make this a fun, interesting  and unpredictable game experience. Add vivid colors, native troop types of the most interesting an unusual kind compared to those gaming in Europe or America, lovely terrain and you have a winner. Jürgen has developed a great game experience. I hope he offers to run another in 2013.

This was the stunning debut of Der Alte Fritz's Fife and Drum Miniatures with singularly striking terrain  crafted by the artistic H.G. Walls. The ground cover is from Terrain Guy in Texas.

British forces were ordered to converge upon a rebel supply depot near Philadelphia to snatch supplies away from The Continental Army as Winter nears.

One of the aspects of gaming I took away with me from my gaming years in Nebraska was trying to act in accordance with what my officers can see/hear and therefore know and not know. I'd like to do more of this in our tabletop games in Wisconsin. It has to do with commanding one's units nearly oblivious to what is going on outside of one's line of sight and hearing - the senses of my miniature officers that is.

 My command consisted two units; converged light companies in the distance followed by the guards marching toward the sound of battle. Naturally I as Bill knew exactly what was happening beyond the top right of the image. The Rebel Army was fighting a very good delaying action against British and Hessian units disposed in two brigades.

My force was late to the party arriving on Turn 4. The above shows my lads marching in stately order on about Turn 6. Jim's new miniatures uniformed with his special painting talents are stunning indeed.

 Beyond my line of sight but certainly within the helicopter view of the war gamer we see British units in the foreground and Hessian units in the distance pushing back American militia units. Fife and Drum does not have Hessians. These were borrowed from Jim's SYW collections. Anyway, let's take closer looks shall we?

 The British march inexorably forward. No way to stop 'em. 

Take a very close look at Fife and Drum's realistic anatomy.

Americans taking cover within a cornfield.

There would be two to three more turns to play out. Here you see my command too late to stop evacuation of American Conestoga wagons loaded with supplies.

 My brigade later pushed nearly to the fence line in the far distance without capturing the supplies. General Washington would be able to feed his Army in the inclement cold months ahead.

A lovely game with resplendent miniatures marching across highly realistic terrain with companionable gamers is the best this hobby can be. Well done everyone.


From Professor Duffy's talk and personal counseling before the game the following dynamics were adapted into Jacobite BAR, Batailles de l'Ancien Régime 1740-1763.

1) There is no first person evidence for the "Cumberland Bayonet Drill". Supposedly this was where a soldier would not engage an opponent directly to his front. Instead, he assisted the man to his right by thrusting his musket with bayonet at his friend's opponent. We scraped the Cumberland Bayonet Drill.

2) BAR skill level adaptations were as follows:
Elite: Prince Charlie's Bodyguard, Irish and Royal Ecossais reserves.
Veteran: One-half of Jacobite infantry and most of the red coat foot.
Trained: One half of Jacobite infantry and one red coat regiment of foot.
Poor: British dragoons.

3) No Artillery. The reason given was the Jacobites rarely had any and its use might shape or place an undue emphasis on the game in a way it should not. An exception was for late in the Rising such as at Culloden. We threw 1D6. The result was early in the Rising on a throw of 1 or 2. Thus, no artillery was allowed for either side.

4) Other Jacobite Dynamics:
Very good first volley. We allowed a +5 and the British got a +3.
Good supply of ammunition for Jacobite elite reserve infantry
Clans would fire once and throw their muskets down.
Jacobites added 1D6 in inches to movement.
British subtracted -1D6 in inches from movement.
Lots of room was needed to fight with a broadsword. Thus the close infantry +1 melee bonus was removed for the Jacobites. However, to simulate their prowess and the fog of war with same, Jacobites threw 1D6 adding an unpredictable plus 1 through 6 result in melee.
The standard infantry movement rate for us before modifications is 16."

5) Deployment:
Terrain should be broken with trees, undulations, stone walls and cottages.
British deployed up to 24" onto the table and 36" from the sides.
Jacobites deployed afterwards on two of three table sides but not the British rear.
Jacobites moved first.
One trump card was given to Prince Charlie to delay a British movement or fire thereby allowing Jacobites to do so first.

6) Morale:
I am foggy about this. I perhaps should have had the British test morale to stand before a Jacobite charge. Hindsight tells me I should have done this some.

7) Cumberland may have suspected his 1st Foot Guards (Royal Scots) had Jacobite sympathies. Professor Duffy suggested a 50/50 change for a random British unit to change sides in the battle. I threw a die for the turn. It would be Turn 4. However, the 50/50 subsequent die throw did not allow this exciting event to occur.

British Right Flank - Beyond Jacobite Left Flank
The red coats are swinging inwards to the center to flank the Jacobite left. Jacobites are off image above right. Exquisite Highland croft from the collection of Der Alte Fritz made by HG Walls.

Jacobite Right Flank - British Left Flank
Jacobite clans surged from a wooded ridge along the bottom of the image into and pushing back the British first line. Some red coats held out in the other Highland croft structures with walled enclosure till the end.

 Jacobite Left Flank - British Right Flank
We move in for a closer look. Red coats on the left are also being pushed black with more trouble coming toward their rear. Other Jacobites surge into the next red coat line of infantry throwing everything into confusion.Jacobites were from the collection of Der Alte Fritz.

The high water mark of the Jacobite Tide reminiscent of Picket's Charge in 1863.
Closing Remarks
1. So much can be said. I hope others find time to post remarks and photos too.
2. There were many mostly SYW 18th C. games, a good number of vendors and a lot of happy attendees.
3. Prodigious thanks for Randy Frye who managed the weekend and to all game judges too.
4. Thank everyone for attending this almost family gathering.
5. remarks welcome below.


  1. Thanks for posting Bill. It truly is a great small convention and when I've attended I found the companionship of the gamers excellent. It looks like a good time was had by all.

  2. Thanks Bill for hosting the Jacobite game. It was my 1st time playing the 45 and really enjoyed it. Plus I had the pleasure of being on your side in the India game also.

  3. Thanks for running the game, Bill. It says something that even though I rarely play games at conventions, I found myself participating in both your Jacobite and Jim's Rev War ones. Credit to you both for helping to make them enjoyable experiences.

  4. Hi Earl, Frank and Curt,
    Thank you very much for taking the time to compose your kind remarks above. I appreciate these a lot and look forward to gaming with you all again soon.

  5. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and photos. I'm sure you had a good time -- wish I had been there.


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