Warfare in the 18th Century

Home About Membership Contact Despatches Supplies Forum Gallery News

Welcome to Warfare in the 18th Century

Gaming the Seven Years War

by John Jenkins


Back in July 2003 Herbert Wong and I played a 15mm French, British, Seven Years War game using the Age of Reason rules.  The scenario was a simple introductory encounter game with both sides equal at 10 SP (strength points).  This gives each side between 3-4 Brigades.  The game is basically card driven with each card activating a particular brigade.


Set up is simultaneous, with both sides already having made a note of deployment on paper.  The set up zone for both armies for an encounter game is 12" from the baseline and 18" in from both sides.  The narrow deployment area means some consideration for manoeuvre to cover the flanks must be made.  The French set up in a classical formation for the period, Infantry in strength in the centre with cavalry on both wings.  Since the French had this advantage in cavalry, it was up to the British to secure their flanks.  The British left flank, held a defensive position using the river as a defensive anchor, against the threat of 2 French cavalry regiments. The British right was more open with no terrain to anchor the wing and not enough troops to extend the line.


The French general sensing this was the weak point sent 2 regiments of Dragoons to take advantage of the situation.  The Dragoons almost caught the British line out of position but the outer supporting regiment managed to wheel in time and send a volley of musket fire into the charging Dragoons at point blank range!  This was enough to rout the French Dragoons from the battlefield.  In later turns the British cavalry reserve advanced and also routed the second French cavalry unit, securing the flank against further intrusions.  Meanwhile the centres of both armies advanced and proceeded to hammer away at each other.


Both sides reached 25% casualties after a few turns of continuous volley fire without any significant breakthrough in the centre, although the French seemed to be gaining the upper hand.  The percentage of casualties initiates a 'withdrawal check'.  Unfortunately the French, failed their check and were forced to withdraw, much to the relief of the British centre that looked like it would not survive another round of volley fire.


This was a good example of a fairly simple encounter game for this period.  A chance for both players to try out the mechanics and familiarise themselves with the basic rules.  The choice in this case was Warfare in the Age of Reason rules by Emperor's Press (no longer print but readily available on the Internet).  The governing factor for a scenario like this was simply to use whatever troops were available, to create two equal forces.  10 SP (strength points) seems to be recommended to give a good sized game which lasts between 2-4 hours. The rules include some generic army lists so that 'equal points' armies can be fielded, and also a simple system for generating a terrain map. 


One of the problems with encounter games, although fun is that fairly quickly once we start reading military history, we realise that very few battles were actually fought with equal sides.  Sometimes one force has to be the defender, and the other the attacker, also equality of numbers and army structures can differ greatly.  An obvious approach is to attempt to reproduce historical battles or parts of historical battles with exactly original forces, set up and terrain.  I hope in future articles and games to reproduce some of the smaller battles of the period, such as the Battle of Quebec, and Broglie's attack as part of the Battle of Minden.


For now here are some pictures of some of my 15mm French army, figures by Essex .  To be followed shortly by some pictures of Herbert Wong's Prussians.  



There are also plans to game the French and Indian War, in 28mm using the highly recommended Brother v Brother rules.  Watch out for a series of articles on simple skirmish scenarios for this period.  Just to whet the appetite some pictures of 28mm Front Rank's F & I War range that are on the painting table!




back to seven years war