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The Seven Years War – Playing the Period

Dealing with those Prussian Bullies

The Seven Years War in the Journal


This is arguably my favourite period. Many 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 get suckered into gaming it. True to form my first army was the Empress Elizabeth’s lads, with figures from the superb Foundry range. Thanks to the antics of my drunken idiot pal Dougie, I lost over half of the army when he left it in an Edinburgh nightclub. I sold the rump, and reinvested in the French. Since then I’ve stuck with the western theatre theme, and augmented them with a small Reichsarmee force, and a growing army of Prussia’s western allies.

This is a period which waxes and wanes in the favour of the Edinburgh club, but a lot of the guys have armies – Prussians, Austrians, French, British, Hessians, Russians – whatever. So, there’s always the chance of a game, and plenty of kit there for when we want to run one of those large multi-player weekend-long games.



We tend to play Seven Years War games using several different sets of rules. For most of our games we used to use Die Kriegskunst, a SYW variant of the Napoleonic rules set General de Brigade which was written by myself and Dougie.  The two rules use the same basic system, but they’ve been altered a fair bit to reflect the subtleties of the earlier period. They were first published in 2009, and they remained in vogue in the club until Dougie moved south in 2012. I was spending most of my time up in Orkney then, and didn’t get a chance to play the period. By the time I returned to Edinburgh Black Powder was very much in vogue. So, to get a game, I had to run with the crowd. Actually, I like Black Powder, as the system is both quick and fun. I don’t think it does such a good job of reflecting the period though, but at least  everyone knows the rules.

Then, along came Honours of War. This is another set I quite like, and it has the advantage of being dedicated to the period. This got some play time in Edinburgh, but a few of the stalwarts weren’t keen on it – I don’t think they liked the way their nicely painted toys kept on melting away. So, it sort of fell by the wayside. Next, we tried out a couple of games using a slightly amended version of Simon Miller’s To the Strongest. Although a set of rules for Ancient games, the card-driven system works for other periods, and we sort of tried it out for the Seven Years War. While this worked well enough, I’m not convinced it’s really right for the period.


So, eight years after writing it, the time has come to revisit Die Kriegskunst  (or “DKK” for short). I have to admit, Dougie and I never offered the old version of the rules the on-line support they deserved. Lots of things have got in the way – work, family, more work, and of course the regular wargaming of other periods. However, we now feel the time has come to revisit the set. So, Son of DKK, or DKK 2 was born. Of course, we’ll have a cooler name, or even keep the old one unchanged, but this time round we have more wiggle room. You see, DKK was a closely based on General de Brigade. While a good set of rules, it wasn’t necessarily fast. Since then though, Dave Brown has produced two newer versions. First there was General de Brigade Deluxe, which had a much slicker mechanics. Then more recently, he produced General d’Armee, which is faster still, with some really excellent ideas in it.

So, our brief form DKK 2 (working title) is to take a good hard look at all our rules mechanisms, and see how we can improve them, or make them faster and more intuitive. We’ll certainly steal a lot of the systems from General d’Armee (with Dasve’s approval), but this time round we’ve got the flexibility to strike out a bit further on our own, producing a set of rules we feel properly reflects this period. So, this is the mission. ,We want DKK2 to be the best darned SYW set on the market, but we’ve got a lot of design, experimentation and playtesting to do before we get there.  If you want to help, then drop me a line.


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