Monday, 13 August 2018

Some thoughts on the French Indian War Campaign

Well, the French Indian War campaign has come to a close. I thought there might be one or two more battles to play out, but at the operational level fate was on the side of the British and not the French. The final events are detailed on Jonathan’s Palouse Wargaming Journal.

Finishing this campaign is like when you have read the last page of a really good book. A slight sense of loss prevails you and you wonder what will take its place.

This campaign was run as a "solo campaign relay" and started way back in February this year. When Jonathan put forward the idea which consisted of him running the operational aspects of a FIW campaign while I fought out the battles on the wargame table. The original concept is detailed here.

The campaign lasted for just over 5 months and involved playing out some 20 battles. These battles involved: 14 attacks of forts, 5 battles without a fort, and 1 major siege. While the French lost the campaign, they actually won more battles (11 of the 20 engagements).

So some thoughts on the campaign...

Why did it work and last for 5+ months and not fizzle out?

The battles were played using a heavily modified variant of one-hour wargames. This meant all games were play to a conclusion normally within 1 hour and I could fit a game in easily in an evening. More often than not, I would set up one evening and play the next.

Most games were played with between 6 and 10 units of plastic Spencer-Smith Seven Years War figures. They are simply painted, and its is always a joy to pull them out of their containers and place them on the tabletop ready for a game.

A game in progress

Did I get the context to the battles?

Yes, the context came in two areas. Firstly, Jonathan provided an excellent campaign narrative and suggestions with each battle. Secondly, before most battles I took the opportunity to read up about the locations history and view map images of the period to help get a feel for how to setup the tabletop.

An attack on a fort - a necessary photo after 14 games involving forts.
Did the rules work out?

The rules are pretty well settled after 20 games. The combination of campaign rules and tabletop rules helped improve how regulars, militia, and warbands were defined in term of hits accumulated before elimination and combat values. 

Commander quality also made its way into the rules. Whereby a commanders defensive or attacking qualities improve his units resilience (hits they could take) depending if they were attacking or defending in the battle.

I now need to post the final rules and make a booklet as I have with by WW2 and Napoleonic rules.

Highlights of the campaign?

Some of the earlier games with the contest of Fort William-Henry were very interesting. Possible the taking of forts become a tad less interesting as the campaign progressed. However, the siege of Quebec (game 15) was most enjoyable and allowed me to get my star-fort onto the tabletop.

The Siege of Quebec


  1. Peter, thanks to your good self and Jon for keeping this going and for all the work that has gone into it, so that the rest of us can be entertained. your point about a 1 Hour Wargames ethos is well made.

    1. Thank you for your comments and ideas throughout the campaign. Having quick games keeps the campaign momentum and interest. Would I have fought 14 games attacking a fort if each games took a couple of hours or more and stretched out over a few days, possibly not.

  2. Congratulations and a big Thank You to you and Johnathon for sharing this with us, good ideas and enjoyable reading and pictures.

    1. Thank you for your supportive comments during the campaign. I am glad the posts, operational and tactical, were enjoyable.

  3. Peter, this was a fun exercise and, for me, well worth the effort.

    The siege of Quebec was one highlight for me. I really enjoyed seeing your city scape, citadel, and siege works. I also really admired your creativity in terrain layout, hand-drawn maps, and building one-off items to accommodate scenarios. You have many talents. All great stuff!

    I am a little surprised that the French came out the better on the battle front. They simply could not overcome the odds that were stacked against them. Very similar strategic situation to the ACW in that respect.

    You bring up an interesting point about how to fill this sudden void. For you, twenty games may be a big hole to fill. I am sure we will see more games from many of your other periods you collect. Who knows, maybe some day a another campaign game in another period might be of interest?

    Well done, Peter! This has been great fun.

  4. Hi Jonathan, I am so pleased it was a fun exercise for your self. I suspect some of the tabletop results were unexpected and operational plans were hastily adjusted as a consequence.
    I would be interested in another such campaign in the future, where there is a suitable boardgame that can have the operational and tactical elements split. Or you have another splendid idea.
    Right now I am pondering a mini-campaign for either Napoleonic, ECW or WW2, yet to be decided.
    Many thanks again, Peter

  5. It's been nice reading your battle reports. Many of them a nailbiter. It's good to see a battle fought with concern for the future. Thanks. I look forward to a printable set of rules.

    1. Thank you. Playing campaign games does add that next game consideration to when playing. I should be posting the updated rules in the next week.

    2. Peter, will your rules be keeping the leaders' rating of AxDy as in the boardgame?

    3. Jonathan, A definite yes, I like the rules and was writing up my notes yesterday. I have them as an optional rule with a suggested D6-2 dice rolls when undertaking a one-off game. Just need to read the rules again with a fresh set of eyes to spot typos and for clarity before posting them up.