Continuing on with our discussion of war gaming with Imaginations, as inspired by Peter Young in "Charge" and by Charles Grant in "The War Game", I thought that it would be helpful to provide an overview of of six mini campaign books written by Charles S. Grant (fils) since 2008. These can be played with Charles' rules book "The War Game Rules" which were written in 2012 or with your own favorite set of rules.
A quick note about The War Game Rules; these are a recent update of the war game rules from the classic, The War Game" and have been amended and updated for today's wargamer and reflect more than 40 years of play testing, innovation and development. Now some of you might be thinking that these rules are of the "Old School" genre, but that would be far from the truth. These are very modern and current rules that represent a considerable amount of research and development by Grant fils in more recent years, making them as "modern" as any other set of SYW rules that you could purchase in the market today.
Mini Campaign Books by Charles S. Grant
Let us now look at the titles that Mr. Grant has penned since 2008:
* Raid on St. Michel (2008)
* The Annexation of Chiraz (2009)
* The Wolfenbuttel War (2012) and The War Game Rules (2012)
* The Siege of La Crenoil (2013)
* Attack on the Junger (2014)
* Border Raid - Pillage in Procraster (2015)
Each of these books feature the long standing struggle for power between the Grand Duchy of Lorraine (GDL) and the Vereinigte Frei Stadte (VFS). The Lorrain forces are modelled after those of France while the VFS armies represent a fairly tight agglomeration of small principalities, republics, city-states, duchies and similar entities. Some of these nations bear a similarity to the Prussian army.
In recent years, Charles has been adding actual historical units of French and Prussian/Hanoverian regiments to his armies.
The Margrafin of Wolfenbuttel
The driving force in the long running rivalry between the GDL and VFS seems to be the the Margrafin of Wolfenbuttel (known as "Tutzi" to her friends), who wears the pants in the family if you will. She has a bone to pick with the Grand Duchy of Lorraine because her young husband, the Margraf, died in one of the wars and so she has sworn undying enmity against Lorriane. It is the Margrafin (I don't know her well enough to call her Tutzi) who is constantly plotting with the generals of the VFS to launch an aggression against the GDL. She is responsible for launching the pre-emptive attack in the Wolfenbuttel War (only to have her pre-emptive attack, itself, pre-empted by the armies of the GDL. She seeks reveenge in the Siege of La Crenoil, but finds that her plans are scuppered once again and again (Attack on the Junger).
The Raid on St. Michel
The first book in the series takes five Table Top Teasers and rolls them into a mini campaign for the 18th Century. Color cover with black and white pictures inside (ensuing books were published in full color).
The book starts with a brief background of the forces in the campaign as well as mini biographies of the commanders of the respective sides. The general theme is that the forces of the VFS are crossing the border and making a raid on the Lorraine provice of St Michel. Throughout the book, Charles Grant has written up some newspaper articles for the local papers of Lorraine and the VFS. These are fun to read and they add quite a bit of color to the mini campaign, giving it some extra context for your games.
The first teaser is "The Bridgehead" that is reminiscent of the Battle of Blastof Bridge."
The second teaser takes place several days after the Bridgehead and is titled "Rear Guard". A small force of Lorraine defenders are attempting to buy time for the garrison of St Michel to get ready for the forthcoming attack.
The third teaser is the actual battle of St. Michel. Having successfully crossed the border and swept aside the Lorrain rear guard, the VFS army has arrived in front of St Michel and are preparing to attack.
Teaser four is called "Counter Attack on the Bridgehead" in which a separte a separate Lorrain force not involved in the battle of St Michel attacks the VFS guard at the bridge in an attempt to cut off the main VFS army from its line of communication.
Teaser five, the final action, is called "Heading Home". The VFS army, having captured and looted the town of St Michel, is heading home with a wagon train full of the treasury of the town. This is a fun river crossing scenario that you will find challenging and fun to play.
The Annexation of Chiraz
The principality of Chiraz is in the uncomfortable position of being georgraphically located between the Grand Duchy of Lorraine and the VFS. This land has been fought over for several centuries and we find, once again, that the aggressive VFS is up to no good in this mini campaign. It seems that the heiress to the throne of Chiraz is expected to marry a nobleman from the Lorraine court and this would undoubtedly lead to a de facto annexation of Chiraz to the Grand Duchy of Lorraine. Obviously it would be in the best interest of the VFS to prevent this from happening.
Teaser number one is called "Seizing the Arsenal at Petresville" which calls for the VFS to attack this walled town and capture the gunpowder arsenal to deny its goods to the opposition.
Teaser number two "Invasion" is a pontoon crossing battle that will encourage you to purchase a lot of our Fife & Drum Miniatures pontoon wagons and pontoons (LOL!).
Teaser number three is "The Encounter at Drew" which is another battle to capture some bridges at a key river crossing.
Teaser number four is "Return to the Arsenal at Petresville" which features a relief force of Lorraine troops that are trying to recapture the gunpowder arsenal.
Teaser number five is "The Defense of Cressay" in which another Lorraine army is defending the town of Cressay from the attack of another VFS army.
The book includes battle accounts in each teaser and ultimately the Grand Duchy of Lorraine ejected the VFS army from Chiraz.
The Wolfenbuttel War
In my previous post I made reference to this book, having read it during my recent vacation, and what a good read it was. The campaign is a thinly disguised play of the Hundred Days leading up to the Battle of Waterloo. Actually, it is not even disguised as Charles states upfront that the scenarios and battles are the actions at Ligny, Quatre Bras, Wavre and Waterloo.
The battles can easily be played as stand-alone games or linked together in a campaign. For example, losses in a battle are deducted from each regiment and the reduced numbers of men are carried forward into the next battle. Grant provides instructions on how to set up the campaign and manage it without too much paper work.
I have to say that The Wolfenbuttel War is my favorite book of all the campaigns.
The Siege of La Crenoil
This mini campaign has six stand alone scenarios based upon the progress of a fictiitious siege, with rules to run the seige itself, so this is a very useful book.
Once again we have the VFS as the aggressor, conducting another crossing of the rivers that separate the Grand Duchy of Lorraine and the VFS. The VFS is still smarting from their loss of the Wolfenbuttel War and seek revenge by invading the Lorraine province of Chantilly.
The scenarios are as follows:
1) The Run for the Fort
2) Storming the Grammon Ravelin
3) Attack on the Siege Park
4) The Sally
5) Storming the Breach (the Forlorn Hope)
6) Fight Through the Town (two versions)
As you can see from the scenario titles, there are plenty of ideas for actions associated with a siege from building trenches, sally attacks on the siege lines, storming the breach in the walls and the bloody fight in the town.
Attack on the Junger
This mini campaign features two small actions, two medium size actions and finishes with a large battle. So there is something of interest for everyone.
Once again the VFS army is on the march into the Lorraine province of Chantilly, but this time it is led by the legendary General Fritz von Tarlenheim. Will the VFS finally have some success in its never ending war with the Grand Duchy of Lorraine?
1) Surprise Attack at Haux
2) The Attack on FALOUX
3) The Action at Tasque
4) The Battle of Haux
5) The Battle for Blaise - Day One and the Day Two scenarios.
Border Raid "Pillage in Procrastor"
The Margrafin of Wolfenbuttel and her entourage were captured in the previous campaign and imprisoned in La Crenoil, ironically, for breaking the terms of surrender of the VFS army in the previous campaign. Well, that should seem to put an end to all of the VFS aggression, right? Oh come on, you know the answer to that question. The high council of the VFS has decided to make a quick dash into the neutral state of Procraster and seize its herds of fine horses so as to deny them to the army of Lorraine.
Day One - The Raid Begins
Day Two - A Gathering Storm
Day Three - Actions and Ambush
Day Four - The Chase
Day Five - End Game
I shall not reveal the outcome of this mini campaign other than to say that it consists largely of small actions that are both interesting and won't take long to play.
Well, there you have a review of the six campaign books penned by Charles S. Grant (fils). I hope that you have found my review of interest and that you will want to purchsae one or more of these mini campaigns to play out on your own table top.
In the United States, you can purchase the books from On Military Matters while in the UK, Caliver Books is your go to source.
Finally, I would reiterate the point that you do not have to play all of these battles and actions as part of a campaign. Each scenario can be played independent of the campaign and provide a nice variety of small actions, medium sized engagements, and large battles - something for everyone.
Even if you are not interested in campaigns or scenarios, the "eye candy" quotient is extremely high with lots and lots of color pictures of 18th Century armies (I'm pleased to say that there are many Minden Miniatures gracing those pages.)