There is a new set of 7 Years Wars rules out from Barry Lee. These are an A4 set with a colour card cover, a few colour pages within, with the rest black and white. It is a staple bound book with an A4 card quick reference sheet. The rules retail for £12 and are available through Hersants. Not having any 7 years wars armies available we decided to try them out with out American War of Independance armies. Simon took his British, and I took my Americans.
the game is designed for 25/28mm figures based in blocks (40mm square) of 4 figures, but should be easily adapted to any other scale with figures based in blocks. We used about 12 infantry units a side, a cavalry unit, and a couple of artillery pieces each. I equated my Americans to the Reichs Army stats (Mainly ‘D’ class troops, with ‘C’ class French allies). The Brits were mainly ‘C’ class, with a couple of ‘B’ class grenadier units and some ‘D’ class continentals.
The game was a simple encounter near a watermill (I have a watermill and by God it will be used in any battle I can use it in!). The Amercians had 2 generals whilst the British had three. I used the French general chart to roll my generals on and ended up with two poor generals. The Brits weren’t much better, but their cavalry commander was inspired.
Whilst the game did involve a lot of dice rolling, we found the table referencing a bit annoying with the layout of the book proving a bit frustrating. I’m unsure why the tables didn’t carry the same number referencing in the book as on the quick reference table, and why the rule book and quick reference table weren’t laid out in the same order as the turn structure.
We played the game through about 5 turns with the British assaulting the Amerecan lines. We gave up through lack of enthusiasm to continue.
Overall the game mechanics weren’t overly tortuous to understand – but despite rolling a lot of dice very few figures were removed, and very little seemed to happen in the game. There were quite a few aspects which just seemed odd, and maybe it was my frame of mind on the evening, but they just seemed to irritate me. These included the movement and ranges being measured in multiples of 40mm for the 28mm rules. Whilst I appreciate that this does allow the rules to cater for varying scales – why didn’t the rules focus on one scale and then provide a conversion for other scales. This way a simple set of distances could be provided for the designated scale. There was no record keeping – which was a bonus, but you do end up with a series of untidy units designating their dissordered status, with a small collection of counters for orders.
I haven’t been sold on the rules (yet) and they probably deserve another outing to test them again. There was nothing in there which seemed to encourage period manouver or linear restraint of the Seven years War. Maybe this simply means that I need to read the rules again to find those aspects.
We have tried the Warmaster Ancients variant for AWI and enjoyed that immensly. Minden Rose has some tough competition to beat for simple enjoyment. Other rules available for the period include British Grenadier (General de Brigade variant), Warfare in the Age of Reason, and of course the WRG old faithful with the 7YW lists.