Thursday, 11 February 2016

First impressions of Honours of War Seven Years War (SYW) has long been a favourite period on my wargames table. Over the years I have tried many rule sets (WRG, Principles of War, Warfare in the Age of Reason, Konieg Krieg, Black Powder, Maurice, etc.). Most give a good game, but none has quite hit the spot! Therefore the publication of Honours of War (HoW) by Keith Flint, published by Osprey sparked my interest, which was further increased by a number of positive reviews and AAR’s.

I purchased the rules, quickly read through them and decided to trial the Lobositz scenario as a solo test. I choose this ‘larger’ scenario because I really want rules that can handle significant numbers of units on the table. The battlefield dispositions are shown below:

The game certainly played fast and an Austrian victory resulted after only 5 turns of play. On the Austrian right flank, Draskowitz’s grenz held at bay the Prussian infantry under Bevern, whilst Ferdinand’s attack against Lacy was severely mauled by the central Austrian guns. Von Kleist did quickly bring forward his troops to plug the resulting gaps. The decisive fight was in the centre where the Austrian horse under Radicati destroyed the Prussian cavalry led by Kyau, and then it hit Gessler’s command in the flank as it was manoeuvring to face the delayed Lowenstein. On turn five the Austrian commander, Kollowrat, became active but the battle was won before he could get involved.

So, how did the rules cope? They are clearly written and easy to play; I used a 15mm QRS supplied via the Osprey website and rarely had to refer back to the main rule book. The command/control aspect was simple but the scenario did not include any ‘Dithering’ commanders, which was a pity, but ‘Dashing’ commanders can frequently put on a good turn of speed! Casualties mount up quickly and artillery was devastating, so that units rapidly reach the 5 hits necessary to cause an irretrievable rout! Superior (Grenadier) units did perform marginally better than Standard units, but not enough to give the impression that they were dominant, super-troops. The Austrian Grenz in the cover of vineyards performed surprisingly well. I never had a chance to assault any of the built-up areas, so cannot comment on how this mechanism worked. The cavalry melee was the decisive factor in the game. I read, but did not appreciate the consequences of, the fact that combat is fought to a conclusion in a single game turn. The Austrian’s largely won by providing supporting units in a second line and, with hindsight, I should have moved Gessler into a support role rather than moving around the flank. The rout of the Prussians under Kyau in a single turn totally exposed the remaining Prussian horse to defeat!
In conclusion the jury is still out on Honours of War. I feel there are still many aspects of the rules that I have yet to explore, but I did find the high casualty rates a bit off putting. I certainly felt the artillery was to powerful, and having two guns in a central position on the battlefield was too dominant and restrictive.

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