Wargaming 18th Century Style

King George I FirstBeing an avid reader of Charles S. Grant and his scenario creations, I’ve been itching to try some out. The majority of them seem to be horse and musket so I needed to get in to that period. As a creative person, the thought of conjuring up a couple of Imagi-Nations (or fantasy nations that are based on real nations) was also very attractive.

After much poking around on the web, I decided to get in to some horse and musket gaming at the start of the period – around 1700 to be exact. But why did I chose that particular period?

It’s a good question, and there are actually several reasons why I settled on that particular time period. I’ll run through them in no particular order.

1. I know nothing about it. 

I love learning, and what better opportunity to dive in to a wargaming period I know absolutely nothing about. To game in this period required me to study and learn about the tactics used, the way troops were equipped, as well as the weird and wonderful uniforms they wore. Yes, it is time consuming. However, it is also massively rewarding and allows me to continue increasing my wargaming knowledge.

2. Nations were in a state of flux

If you are going to create an Imagi-Nation, the 18th century saw a lot of weird and wonderful states appear, only to disappear a short time later. That makes it perfect to create some fictitious nations who can easily get lost in the shuffle of borders. I toyed with the idea of a Napoleonic Imagi-Nation, but ended up discarding it in favour of an earlier period.

3. The figures are cool

I love soldiers in tricornes. With bright coats and facings. I think this period really makes for a colourful battlefield. The sheer variety of uniforms worn also makes it a very fun period to model. While that is also true of the Napoleonic period, the 18th Century gives me more room to be inventive with my Imagi-Nations. I am thinking one army painted in red and yellow, with the other in blue and white. Why? So I can set red against blue, just like in C. S. Grant’s scenarios!

4. The figures are cheap

I bought four boxes of Wargames Factory Wars of the Spanish Succession infantry for about Eur70, inclusive of international postage. That gives me 144 28mm figures to kick off an army. Seeing as I will be basing them 12 to a unit (if I play using the Cartouche Piquet rules), that gives me 12 units. Not bad at all. When I factored in that I can get 48 cavalry or 8 cannons and crew for the same amount of money, I can build two 28mm armies quite cheaply. Even better, the plastic figures from Wargames Factory have so many options, I can easily build two distinct armies using the same boxes. Awesomesauce.

5. I don’t have to sweat uniform details

Lord, believe me I tried. Before I settled on my Imagi-Nation idea I scoured reference books, uniform resources, and historical facts. I was trying to piece together the historical uniforms of regiments in Malborough’s time. I thought I would at least attempt something historical. All I got for my troubles was a blistering headache and nightmares of lace. I think the period is termed “Lace Wars” because sources fought over uniform details. Once I read that uniforms were normally sourced by the regiment’s colonel I thought to myself, “Sod it. Let’s just do a reasonably historical approximation with an Imagi-Nation and have some fun on the wargames table.”

6. I like pirates

Finally, I chose the early 1700s as my period because the units I build will stand shoulder to shoulder with any pirates I decide to bring in. I like pirates. A lot.