Monday, August 9, 2021

Seven Years War Association Convention Review

 

Major General Benedict Arnold directs Enoch Poor's brigade of New Hampshire regiments
 into the fray at Freeman's Farm.

CLICK ON ALL PICTURES TO ENLARGE

The Seven Years War Association convention was held this past weekend at the Ramada Lodge in South Bend, Indiana. I had a wonderful time presenting the Freeman's Farm game on Friday and Saturday afternoons, but I have to say that I am completely knackered afterwords and several days later, I am still feeling the effects of a lot of hard work. However, as always, it is completely worth the effort doing double duty as a game host and a vendor of figures at the show.

I heard that the attendance was over 100 people through Saturday which is a very good turn out by the members considering all of the Covid angst that we have all gone through over the past year. My congratulations and compliments go out to the two convention organizers, Ken Bunger (vendors) and Alex Burns (game masters). Ken did a good job of coaxing the usual vendors to the show (as if we needed much prodding) while Alex assembled a great line up of games. There were 34 games spread over the three days of the convention: Thursday evening, Friday and Saturday. Game themes included 12 SYW, 2 WAS, 9 AWI, 3 FIW and 8 "Other" taking place in the 18th Century. Adding the WAS, SYW and FIW together, what I consider the "Frederician Era" games totaled 17 games compared to 9 for the runner up, AWI period. The SYWA convention covers the complete era of linear warfare from post English Civil War through the American Revolution. Personally, I alternate AWI and SYW game scenarios from convention to convention so I will probably be hosting a SYW game next year.

Here are some pictures of a few of the games at this year's convention.

Alex Burns' SYW game featuring huge 1:5 ratio regiments of infantry and cavalry  with 15mm figures.

Jeurgen Olk's Sugar Wars game in the Caribbean area.

Bob Moon (in red shirt) hosting one of his attractive French and Indian War games with 40mm figures.
I particularly like his use of dice towers, camouflaged in each corner of the table.

John the OFM, tankard in hand, discussing the merits of ale over still pot whiskey
with one of the  militia officers at  Freeman's  Farm



One of the FIW games featuring Black Powder rules.

My Freeman's Farm game saw the British winning the first game and the Americans the second.

In addition, we had seminars presented by Jim McIntyre (the development of light infantry theory in the 18th Century), a panel discussion about historical wargaming and its future and how to reach out to "young people", and finally, a presentation by Dr. Chris Juergen about the deployment of Hessian troops early in the AWI.

It appeared that every game was full so that indicates a high percentage of participation by the attendees. Both of my games had the full complement of players, and in fact, I had to squeeze in an extra player into both games so that all those who were interested could play in the game.

Here are several more pictures of Jeurgen Olk's Sugar Wars game. His armies have an eclectic mix of figures from Fife and Drum, Crann Tara, Front Rank and many others.





The traveling Witch Doctor does his sermon from the back of a wagon.
The building is from Miniature Building Authority.

An assortment of locals man the barricades.

And now for something completely different, pictures from my Freeman's Farm AWI game:



My Freeman's Farm table set before the game action begins.


Another view of Freeman's Farm. Note how the different sizes and colors
 of the trees provide a sense of realism to the scene. Most of the trees were scratch-built by Herb Gundt and RB Bases. The various K&M Trees were based by Tony Adams. The game mats are from Cigar Box Battle Mats. A few twigs and stones from Mother Nature, sourced from my backyard, are scattered about the forest floor area.


I like to place vignettes of the various farms in the corners of the game table where they won't impede the movement of troops, but they add some delightful color to the game presentation. Here are a few examples:


A view of the Coulter Farm.


Freeman's Farm. The British brigade of Hamilton is about to go tip toeing through the wheat field .

Simon Fraser's brigade of grenadiers and light companies marches past the McBride farm.

Some of the Minden agricultural workers figures are doing their job
cutting down the hay and stacking it in the adjacent field.

My John Carroll personality figure provides some intelligence about the approach of Burgoyne's army.
The blacksmith shop was scratch-built by Ed Philipps.


Let's get on with the pictures of the game{s} in progress.


Brigadier General Hamilton's brigade marches through Mr. Freeman's farm in search of the American army.

The 2nd New Hampshire Regiment from Poor's Brigade await Hamilton's attack.


The 2nd and 4th New York regiments from Poor's Brigade, defend the center of the Continental  line.

Major General (large circular stand) meets with Brigadier General Poor (left rear) and Colonel Daniel Morgan (right rear) to deploy their troops to stop the British attack.

Benedict Arnold (left ) and Daniel Morgan (right) from Fife and Drum Miniatures.
Arnold is the AC-001 Brigadier General figure and Morgan is the AC-003 General in Hunting Shirt figure.
I placed Arnold on the "heroic horse" that comes with the Minden Seydlitz personality figure. Arnold's ADC is actually the British General in Round Hat figure, painted Continental Blue rather than British Crimson.


Hamilton's British regiments attempt to break the American center in the woods.


Meanwhile, Simon Fraser's grenadier and light companies attempt to turn the American left flank at Coulter's Farm.


The players are getting into the spirit of the game. My rules are so easy to learn that the game practically goes on autopilot by the end of the second turn. I just stand around and answer questions and start the next game turn sequence.


American militia on the right flank emerge from the woods in an attempt to turn Hamilton's left flank.

Hamilton's British regiments seem to advance in the center with minimal casualties.
Not a good sign for the Americans.

Fraser's elite companies press the American left, who give ground begrudgedly.

The British scored a convincing win in the first game as they smashed through the American center with relative ease. The American left had no choice but to retire from the field, while the militia in the forest on the American right flank were holding their own. I decided to get rid of the small round skirmish stands that the British had as they were too powerful relative to their size (they needed a 1 or 2 on ) D10 dice. Each skirmish figure rolled on D10 and in one instance, all four skirmishers scored a hit against one of the Continental regiments. Now a formed regiment is often tossing four dice when it fires and it didn't make a lot of sense for four skirmishers to have the same fire power as 16 to 20 formed troops. I also reduced each of the British line regiments by one stand, thereby reducing the British units from 40 figures to 32 figures. These changes  resulted in a more balanced game in my second game.


I like this picture of General Arnold and the New Hampshire Brigade of Enoch Poor. The variety of tree types and colors plus a little bit of lichen here and there provides a look of realism, especially if you stoop to the table level and view things from ground level. Also notice the variety of figure poses in the Continental regiments. I used regulars in coats, men in hunting shirts, and some of the American militia figures (painted in regimental coats) in the Fife and Drum Miniatures figure range.


All in all, in was a successful convention for the attendees and for me as a game host.  I got an invite from the head of HMGS to stage my Freeman's Farm game at next year's Little Wars convention in April 2022. Lots of compliments came my way for the table layout and I must say that I agree with them, I had been painting figures and working on terrain since October 2020 and it seems that everything came together quite nicely. 

I did break one of my own rules, which is to not be painting figures at the last minute for the game commitment. I could very easily have used American regiments from my Philadelphia Campaign army to fill out the ranks, but I wanted to have a uniformity of basing for the Northern Army at Saratoga. I used bases measuring 60mm frontage by 80mm depth for the eight units in this army. Each American unit had 30 figures while the British had 40 figures on 80mm frontage by 40mm depth bases.

My Fife and Drum Rules for the American Revolution were a success and I have been using them, with some tweaks here and there, for nearly 30 years. The rules are printed on one side of a single 8-1/2 by 11 inch sheet of paper. The mechanics for firing, melee and morale are the same, which makes it easier for a person to master the rules in a few short turns. I want my convention gamers to be able to focus on their tactics rather than worrying about the rules. The rules address this issue and result in a fun game for the participants.



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8 comments:

  1. Awesome looking pictures and report,it was good to chat with you. Can't wait to paint up my Minden figures.

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  2. Looks like a great time was had by all , excellent looking games as well .

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  3. Great report Jim and super photos. I am so pleased it went well for all of you.

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  4. What a joy after all this coronavirus malarky to see Wargamers able to enjoy themselves in their natural environment of face to face games, and what splendid games too. Well done to all concerned. This has raised my spirits no end this morning! Thanks!

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  5. Thank you for a wonderful post of 18th century eye candy Jim. It looks like the convention went well.
    I hope your Fife and Drum Miniatures sold well.

    Willz Harley

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  6. This is one convention I have always wanted to attend Jim. I have been very envious of the fact the USA is able to hold this yearly event whilst in the UK we have never had anything similar. Now why is that I wonder? So well done for having the bollocks to stage a game and attend a wargames show.

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  7. Great pictures and write up. The John Carroll figure cracks me up.

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  8. Nice pics Jim. These are really good looking tables!
    Good to see the Sugar Islands getting a game

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