Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Not Quite The Seven Years War - A Gentleman’s War AAR

The second game I took part in at Barrage 2019 was a Seven Year's War-esque, Imagi-Nations game using A Gentleman's War rules. What caught my attention was the 40mm miniatures and the setting. I've always wanted to do my own Imagi-Nations campaign, and I've never played a game with such large miniatures. 

The setting for the game was the rear of a siege against a city of the Northern Alliance. The Pragmatic Coalition had entrenched itself and its forces were shelling the city. 

Hoping to relieve the besieged city, the Northern Alliance launched an attack on the rear of the Coalition lines, with three objectives. In the center of the battlefield was a foundry where the Coalition was storing supplies. To the Alliance's left were mortar emplacements that were shelling the city.

And to the Alliance's right was a bridge that needed to be held to prevent Coalition reinforcements from approaching.

My command for the Coalitions consisted of three line infantry regiments, two heavy cavalry squadrons, and a field artillery piece.

Bill, the opponent opposite of me, had three line infantry regiments, two light cavalry squadrons, two groups of skirmishers, and a field artillery piece. 

The rest of the Northern Alliance's forces readied themselves for the attack.

Bill's forces came towards me piecemeal. He moved one infantry regiment onto the hill to prevent my cavalry from moving over it, while another regiment moved towards my line with the field gun in support.

Units are activated by flipping cards from a standard deck of playing cards. One side activates on red cards, and the other on black. Up to three units within 3" of each other can activate at one time if there's a commander attached to one of the units, or if a face card is drawn. Activated units get a marker to note that they cannot be activated until all units on a side have gone, at which point all markers are removed. Jokers either remove all activation markers or, when the second Joker is drawn, sees all cards reshuffled into the deck. And previously activated units can activate again with an Ace.

My infantry moved as a group, while one of my cavalry squadrons redeployed behind my lines to support my left flank.

Unfortunately, I hadn't counted on the other Bill, commander of the Alliance's center, to attack my right! Suddenly I was fighting off two opponents, and my heavy cavalry retreated rather than get chewed up.

I should note that all of these models have been cast by, and mostly painted by Robert himself. They're 40mm flats. But compared to modern "heroic" scales, they don't seem all that large. And the flats gave the game a wonderful "toy soldier" feeling. They're colorful and just wide enough to not look odd from even the shallowest of angles.

Unfortunately, Bill's light cavalry launched an utterly devastating assault on my heavy cavalry, hoping to open up my flank, which would have left my artillery and the mortars wide open. With my heavy cavalry gone and my infantry dedicated to the forward assault, the Coalition's entire left flank was suddenly very vulnerable.

Shooting and melee is straightforward, with charts to determine how many dice are thrown and what the target numbers are (for both attacking and saving against hits), as well as morale results. Units can react to charges with certain modifiers.

As my infantry mounted the hill to dislodge Bill's defenders, my remaining cavalry moved away to counter the light cavalry in my rear lines. I had to hope that the Coalition's center command could keep their Alliance counterparts occupied.

However, in a feat of magnificent gunnery my field piece routed the attacking hussars from the field, re-securing my left flank. No longer needed there, my heavy cavalry turned around to move back into the center of the ongoing battle.

It was at this point that the Alliance's commanders decided to call off the attack (although we had also reached the end of the allotted time for the game). I had had a lucky triple activation with my three line infantry regiments, which had allowed me to devastate Bill's attacking forces. While he still had reserves, they likely wouldn't be enough to win through.

The battle's center was essentially in the same position. The Alliance attack had faltered, and were being pressed by the Coalition forces. One pocket of Alliance troops - already worn down by the fighting - was surrounded and close to being completely wiped out.

And the Alliance's left flank was almost completely gone, with the Coalition troops relatively untouched. Given time, they would be able to roll up the Alliance's lines.

Robert Dean ran a fantastic game, which I very much enjoyed. A Gentleman's War is very much on the "game" side of wargaming, but they're fine for beer and pretzel gaming - or as the rules themselves describe, there's "lots of six-sided dice, saving rolls, proper distances in inches,and a general sense that there ought to be salmon-and-cucumber sandwiches and tea, or beer."

It's an intentional call back to when men (and women) would sit on the floor and play out their little wars. And with these rules we don't need to worry about anyone's paint job getting chipped from flying matchsticks.

A Gentleman's War is another set of rules that I'll look to add to my collection, maybe with a 15mm force or two?


  1. Hey Brian, I have these and I like'em. I really don't think they are a beer'n pretzel set, honestly. They are medium complex, and about as realistic as sets that have a more serious demeanor. I think the only difference is that they encourage bigger figs and old-school style, rather than realism.

    For 40mm, I think Sash'n Saber is pretty much the best deal out there. I have some ECW I am continuously meaning to get to. But I think the game plays well with 54mm or 1/32 - 1/35 also. Here's some pics of a battle on my rather medium sized dining table:

    If you want to get them a try LMK. Cheers!

    1. I'd be happy to try them out when I'm back up in the area!