The Seven Years War, Black Powder, 28mm
Last week, Dave Imrie suggested laying on a midweek daytime game, to entertain the gifted Thomas Foss, who was visiting from California. Thomas is the man behind those Renaissance galleys and rules we use, and a bunch of other projects, although his day job is working as a computer game designer. So, we duly hired the local bowling club here in Edinburgh, and we all turned up with a selection of toys. Actually Dave was a couple of hours late thanks to work, so we got off to a slow start. Fortunately Thomas was on hand to entertain us with a cool jousting game he’d invented, complete with stunning plywood figures, lists and game play markers. I’m sorry I don’t have any pictures of it, but if someone took some then I’ll post them here. Eventually though, Dave appeared, but without lead – just a terrain mat. Still, that let us stick whatever toys we had onto the table, and get on with playing the game. As nobody had brought scenery it was fought on an open heath. it was a strange battle, with a large British contingent on one side, supported by Prussians and Brunswickers, while on the other side were my Reichasrmee and another lot of Brunswickers. Each side had about 12-16 battalions, and half a dozen cavalry units, plus guns. We played the game out on an 8×6 foot table, using Dave’s colourful terrain mat, which we thought looked a little like an SS camouflage smock.The two sides drew up in parallel lines, and the British-Brunswick alliance advanced on the Reichsramee-Brunswick allies right from the start. My wing was facing Thomas’ Brunswickers, and most of Ken’s British infantry. Still, a combination of some excellent artillery rolls and a counter-charge by my Reicharmee cavalry sort of held them at bay… for a bit. The cavalry melee was interesting, as Thomas’ guys were both pushed back, but when I attacked them the next turn they did the same thing to me. So, we were both left with battered and spent cavalry, facing each other.On the far right Dave launched a cavalry attack on Ken’s flank, and managed to wipe out a British cavalry unit. This success though, was countered by the fact that for three crucial turns the Brunswick contingent on the Reichsarmee’s side failed its command role. That meant this powerful six battalion brigade didn’t move an inch. I could have used them too, as by this time Ken’s British were attacking the Reisharmee all along the line.Ken’s British grenadiers charged the Reicharmee guns, and got blown away. That was a good start for me, and I had one other success too, when the Mainz battalion routed a Brunswick unit. Another vapourised after some long-range artillery fire. In return the British 3rd Foot saw off one of my Koln battalions, blowing a hole in my fist line. Fortunately I had reserves, but the pressure was on. Then, all of a sudden, the pressure eased. The thing was, the bar had opened, and by now people were on their second beer. People were chatting and enjoying themselves, and forgetting to roll dice. So, the game sort of drifted away from us, until we reached the stage when we decided to pack up and go to the pub.To be fair, we only had the hall until 5.30pm, and the clock had just struck the hour. We wouldn’t reach a conclusion in half an hour, so it made perfect sense to pack the toys away, then order another beer. With the late start we only had about three hours of gaming time, altogether, of which about two was spent playing. So, it was more of a manoeuvre on the tabletop than a real tabletop battle! Then we thanked our hosts at the Bowling Club, and trooped off to the Stockbridge Tap, where the afternoon turned to evening amid laughter, merriment and more beer. So, it was a sort of a non game, but it was fun nonetheless, and it let us give Thomas a proper anorak send-off, after his five day sojourn in Edinburgh. All in all it was a fun day to spend a “school day” Wednesday afternoon!