Saturday, April 4, 2015

SYWA Con Games

I played in three and contributed to a fourth game at the Seven Years War Association Convention in South Bend, IN last month.  My contribution was making a plan for the Battle of Bungerpat.  I then rode off on my elephant to sample the exotic pleasures of India.

First up for me was the Battle of Cowpens using Guns of Liberty, run by Mike Wedding.  Our group has been dabbling with GoL so I was particularly interested to see if we were playing things the same way.  Happily, we were.  Mike had set the scenario to start as the serious action was being joined.  By a roll-off I was on the British side, which frankly suited me.  Had I been alive in 1776 I suspect I would have been a Loyalist.

The rebel militia held up better than historically so the Continental regulars advanced to form the battle line as my boys swept around to threaten both flanks.  There were many attempted charges but only one actually went home and fought during this refight.

The militia finally collapsed and created a cascading effect.  The British cavalry kept trying to get into the fight but no one would stand against them.

The Highland battalion did great work though finally were so shot up that they relocated precipitously to the rear.  However, that that point it was only a moral victory.  Morgan was dead and most of the rebel army was in rout.  A perfect place for the British cavalry to be, so we called it.  

A fine time with some nice gamers.  Mike kept the game flowing along and the tabletop and miniatures were most impressive.

Next up was a naval game based on the 1759 action based on the action off Lagos between Boscowan and de la Clues squadrons.  I got to try out Jeff Knutson's new (to me at least) system for large actions, "Admirals."  Aptly named because the focus is at a higher level than most with an eye for resolving fleet actions and not worrying about the little things.  For game balance it was assumed that the French fleet had not separated during the night and were formed for the run into Cadiz.

The larger British fleet is in the foreground with the French, holding a less favorable wind, are towards the top.  My commander, who isn't allowed to talk to me about the game, signaled me to "Engage the enemy van" with my trailing division.

The models are just amazing.  Made from paper they are still highly detailed and extremely resilient as Jeff demonstrated by tossing a frigate about the table.

My commander was displeased with me as I chose to conform to the line one more turn, anticipating a clever French maneuver to both gain a better wind heading as well as to force us into a bad one.  Arriving as a blocking position I backed sails with my squadrons and was able to fire freely without receiving return fire.  All movement and fire is done from "point to point."  This keeps it simple and poses some planning problems for the players.  Win-win.

Near the end where four French ships of the line have fouled themselves while attempting to maneuver out of the trap.  The remaining ships would have to fight their way through my lines, which was likely to happen.  So it was assumed that we would take these four plus the Souverain which was a straggler.  I certainly endorse this game as one that lets you be an admiral without needing to worry about loading chain or double shot in your guns.

Finally I played in a game of Final Argument of Kings with the author Dean West and Alex Burns.  Always a pleasure because the miniatures are gorgeous, the table breath-taking and they always attract a nice bunch of players.  The premise of the game was a "Maxen" like scenario where a first-rate Prussian force has found itself surrounded and outnumbered.  The historic action was at Altenbrunsler and was quite small, but as the number of players grew so did the scenario.

I found myself with four smallish French battalions and two large Austrian with a heavy gun facing four Prussian battalions and a medium gun.  Two of the Prussians were twenty figures and significantly out-classed my boys.  In looking at the table I remarked, "if they are going to try to break out it will have to be through me."  And I was right.  About the attempt at least.

Broad view of the table.  The Prussians have been surprised and are surrounded on all sides.  Break out, or consolidate and hold?  An impassable "river" (except at fords) aids the defense, as does some swampy, broken ground.

Looking through the ranks of my brave boys as they await the Prussian onslaught.  Two Prussian grenadier battalions out of frame have been sent to attempt to flank my position.

A new Prussian force has marched to the sound of the guns.  A blocking force of Austrians bars their way as most everywhere else we press with some success.

Except on my front where I'm locked in a struggle with the attackers, the French and Austrians are advancing everywhere.  Here after crossing a significant water obstacle.

The Prussians, chastened by our staunch defense retire and look for another break-out point.  There was none.  Here we see the Prussian grenadiers marching away with half the remaining force facing me.  Let the grenadiers get another move away and I will attack.  My opponent Skip did not have any miniatures experience but did a good job, suffering from a bad string of dice throws.

And so the Con came to an end.  Dr. Duffy's talk, as mentioned previously was excellent.  I spent some money in the vendor row, picking up some miniatures, inks and flags.  A nice dinner with good friends finished the day.  After a good nights sleep we headed home, highly satisfied with the weekend.


  1. It was indeed a pleasure putting on the Battle of Cowpens using the Guns of Liberty Rules. Being I am a newbie to game mastering the Guns of Liberty it was a great help having an experienced player like Michael Matthews who was familiar with the rules. It was a great battle and a lot of fun. Thanks Michael was great meeting you and playing in both my game and Alex's FAK game.

  2. Sounds like a great convention with a good combination of great players, interesting games and lots of new things to experience.

    Kevin Walker