Saturday, 24 February 2018

French Indian War Campaign Relay - Game 1 Setup

As this is the first tabletop game of the Montcalm and Wolfe campaign relay. This post is just about game setup and a battle report will follow in a day or two. This is because the setup has been really interesting for me as I take the first campaign orders with their battle description and order of battle (OB) from Jonathan's blog - Palouse Wargaming Journal. (This is where you can read about the campaign background and Jonathan's concept of a "campaign relay").

Oswego fort on the shores of Lake Ontario
Having read the battle situation and OB my initial questions were:

  1. How big to make the fort?
  2. Should artillery come with the fort?
  3. How best to reflect the commander quality from the campaign game on to the tabletop?
  4. Is open terrain all open?
  5. By what factor do I scale up units for an enjoyable game?
  6. How will I setup tabletop terrain?

The scaling up of units was quite simple to answer. By a factor of 3, I don't have enough units for a factor or 4. So here is the order of battle with the original campaign units in brackets:

  • British - 3(1) Caynga war bands and 6(2) regular infantry. These come with a commander and trusted officer. Army resolve = 9.
  • French - 3(1) regular infantry and 3(1) irregular infantry. These also came with a commander and trusted officer (which are part of my FIW house rules). Army resolve = 8.

Initial jottings for the game
The quality of commander had me scratching my head for a while. Actually, I did not come up with an approach until the following today having slept on it. The commanders come with attack rating and defence rating, which both can range from 0-4. I opted to use a commanders defence rating to add to the army resolve score so they are less likely to retire or surrender as they take unit losses.

The attack quality was the one which had me stumped. In the end it required a new rule mechanism to be added to my FIW house rules. For each attack quality a commander can make a regular unit make a sustained attack which doubles the hits. The unit must be within command range (in an adjacent square to a commanders unit) and this sustained attack action use is limited to the value of a commanders attack quality.

So in this game the British commander Shirley with A0D1 adds 1 to the army resolve and cannot perform and cannot make any sustained attacks during the game. While the French commander Contrecoeur with A2D2 adds 2 to army resolve and can make 2 sustained attacks during the game.

The game is being played on a 6x4 foot tabletop. The top foot is covered by Lake Ontario. So actual playing area is 4x5 foot played longways. I have put lichen and individual trees on the square corners to make the grid more visible.
Terrain needs were well described in the battle situation and I opted to add a couple of areas of difficult terrain which improve irregular infantry resolve and make regular unit's movement a tad more problematic.

Fort size and how many units may occupy it was another question. A quick search in google showed Fort Oswego to be quite substantial. This answered my questions and I opted for a large fort covering 4 tabletop squares and 1 artillery piece. This lined up nicely with the available French forces, allowing all 3 regular units to be placed within the fort and have irregular units outside the fort harassing the British.

The fort with gun.
With the question sorted out and tabletop setup this is looking like a nicely balanced game.


  1. Your game layout and scenario look terrific! Rule amendments meld into the campaign quite nicely. Looking forward to seeing this battle play out.

    1. Thank you. In the throws of the game now and I hope to post game sometime tomorrow. Do have a question. How from a campaign game view do we translate tabletop casualties to your campaign game? From a tabletop point of view an eliminated unit has ceased to be effective, but has not necessarily been destroyed.

    2. Keeping within the context of the campaign and the M&W rules, any unit not completely destroyed in battle returns to full effectiveness automatically afterwards. Destroyed units can return to the game as reinforcements later.