The Seven Years War
Dealing with those Prussian bullies
This is probably my favourite period. This is the true "Warfare in the Age of Reason", "Sport of Kings" era, when the aesthetics of warfare seemed almost as important as the fighting itself!
Although I began with a 15mm army, I've switched over to 28mm, tempted beyond reason by Foundry's new Seven Years War range. There's just something about a tricorne - serried ranks of tricorne-wearing infantry and imposing grenadiers look great, and then there's the range of different uniforms, flags and colours involved. It really is one of the most aesthetically pleasing wargame periods around.
As we couldn't find a set of rules that really worked for us, we adapted the Napoleonic rule set General de Brigade. This eventually led to Die Kriegskunst, published by Caliver Books.
Several years ago I wrote a couple of Osprey books on the Russian Army of the Seven Years War, so I suppose it was inevitable I would opt for the Empress Elizabeth's lads. The Foundry range is superb, with a great range of poses, although their sometimes illogical packaging system means that I've slipped a few Front Rank figures into the mix as well. The force now stands at over 400 figures, but I'm afraid I haven't finished - I want to add another brigade of foot, and more cavalry, and .. and ...
At the moment I've got 16 units of foot, five of horse,(16 foot to a battalion, or 12-16 horse to a regiment), plus Cossacks, guns, limbers, wagons and, of course, a dancing bear (left). My final goal is 20 battalions of foot, 6 regiments of horse, 4 units of Cossacks, four gun batteries, staff and all the other impedimenta of war.
I then started a new army - the French. A few years ago I did a lead swap with a wargaming pal - he got Romans, while I gained a box of Front Rank French infantry. It was enough for about five battalions, which formed the nucleus of a little army. It now stands at 400 figures too - 16 battalions of foot, 6 of horse, plus guns, skirmishers and all the rest. Unfortunately these two armies never fought alongside each other, but they give me two very different forces, each with their own charms and challenges.
Part of the inspiration for me was meeting Phil Olley - a very gifted member of the former League of Augsburg triumvirate, and the owner of an extremely pretty and rather large Prussian Army. My regular wargaming opponent (and co-author of Die Kreigskunst) Dougie Trail also built up a large force of Prussians. Others in the club have built up Austria armies, as well as other Russian, French or Prussian ones.
We really play a lot of Seven Years War games, using two different sets of rules. For most of our games we use Die Kriegskunst, a variant of the Napoleonic rules set General de Brigade. These Seven Years War rules use the same basic system, but they've been altered a fair bit to reflect the subtleties of the earlier period. I wrote them with my wargaming buddy Dougie Trail, and they were first published in 2009. We now use them for most of our games, as do most of our local club gamers in Edinburgh. However, while Die Kriegskust (or "DKK" for short) can be used for very large games - some people have used them to refight Minden - in our club we prefer a simpler multi-player system, especially when time is at a premium. That's when we use Black Powder, an ultra-fast set of rules that might lack the period feel and subtleties of DKK, and aren't nearly as realistic, they're perfect for one of those huge multi-player games we like to play now and again.
Click on the cover too visit the DKK page
or here to visit the retailer Caliver Books
I have to admit, Dougie and I haven't exactly been diligent at offering the rules the on-line support they deserve. Lots of things have got in the way - work, family, more work, and of course the regular wargaming of other periods. However, we promise to make it our priority in 2010. What we have been doing is working out improvements to them, and trying out new mechanisms designed to make the rules slicker, faster and more enjoyable. We think we've already got the period feel right, and a lot of players tell us they capture the tactics of the war. All we plan to do is make it a little more snappy. Another influence is the publication of General de Brigade (Deluxe edition), the new, improved version of the rules we based DKK on in the first place. We want to bring DKK into line with the new-look GdeB rules.
The plan is to come up errata for the current edition, and to keep testing the planned tweaks for the planned 2nd edition. To achieve all this we could really use your help. First off, please, feel free to e-mail in any errata - any mistakes, typos, or other such monstrosities in the rules. For starters, there's a diagram that is utter nonsense in there - the result of my own poor proof reading, and some factors on the playsheets are wrong - they slipped in there during the editing process, when the final version was accidentally merged with an earlier playtest set. Please, e-mail me with your errata. Thanks!
Then there's the business of improving the mechanisms. We've already got playtesters for this, but we could always use more, so again, please feel free to offer your services. Together we can make the forthcoming DKK (Deluxe edition) the best Seven Years War rules set on the market.
Die Kreigskunst page Notes on Die Kriegskunst Basing and Unit Sizes A sample Order of Battle (Kolin, 1757)
A simple version of Die Kriegskunst Playsheet (Word file)
Sample Scenario: Gross-Jagersdorf , 1757 (Prussians v Russians (Word file)
General de Brigade site (an off-site link) - it includes a Die Kriegskunst discussion page
Seven Years War Armies: The Russians The Prussians The French
For accounts of our own Seven Years War games, see:
Journal 9, Journal 12 , Journal 13 Journal 15 Journal 16 Journal 17 ,Journal 18 , Journal 19 , Journal 23 , Journal 24 ,
Journal 26 , Journal 30 , Journal 32 , Journal 33 , Journal 34 , Journal 35 Journal 37 , Journal 41 , Journal 42 ,
Journal 43 , Journal 51 , Journal 53 , Journal 54 , Journal 55 , Journal 56 , Journal 60 , Journal 62 , Journal 64
Journal 69 , Journal 81 , Journal 91 , Journal 96 , Journal 102 & Journal 107
As you can see, this period is something of a main staple of ours, despite a lapse in 2012, after Dougie lost half of my army!
Seven Years War French & Indian War American War of Independence Age of Bonaparte
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