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  Fight for a Throne The Jacobite '45 Reconsidered by Christopher Duffy  'Bonnie' Prince Charlie and the '45 has always been...

Fight for a Throne: The Jacobite '45 Reconsidered by Christopher Duffy Fight for a Throne: The Jacobite '45 Reconsidered by Christopher Duffy

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!


 Fight for a Throne

The Jacobite '45 Reconsidered


Christopher Duffy

 'Bonnie' Prince Charlie and the '45 has always been one of my favorite historical times. Even though, I would have fought on the losing side. It stands to reason, because one of the first songs I was taught as a child in parochial school was the 'Skye boat song'. The first part of the song:

"Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing,

Onward! the sailor's cry.

Carry the lad that's born to be king!

Over the sea to Skye."

 I later grew to like the taste of Drambuie, supposedly a favorite of Prince Charlie. Enough about me; let us head toward the book.

 Prince Charles Edward Stuart landed in Scotland on the 23rd of July 1745. He was called the 'Young Pretender' (his father James Francis Edward Stuart was called the 'Old Pretender'), because his grandfather James II was forcibly removed from the English throne in 1688. The author shows us that the Jacobite (not to be confused with the Jacobins) cause had many adherents in the British Isles and Ireland. This book goes through all of the history of the Jacobites before we get to the '45. 

 The prince landed in Scotland against the wishes of his father and in the company of seven gentlemen. While discussions about him landing had always included a good number of French troops (He and his father lived in France. Louis XV used them as pawns against George II of England), he landed with no troops whatsoever. The sheer lunacy of his act of essentially invading Scotland with a total of eight men should be clear.

 The author goes into all of the twists and turns of Scottish Highlands politics of the time. He shows us how Charlie was able to raise a rag tag army that came much closer than it should have to taking George II's throne. He had even been able to invade England before his Scottish troops and lairds pulled him back to Scotland. The story continues through their retreat to the Highlands. They were being chased by British Regulars and their rotund commander the Duke of Cumberland. He was George II's favorite son and George III's brother. Because of his harshness in the Highlands, he was nicknamed the butcher. The book goes into how the Jacobite cause was virtually wiped out after the last battle on English soil Culloden was fought.

 One thing that the book has enormous amounts of is large wonderfully clear maps. In Appendix II there are thirteen! weather maps corresponding to the major events of the campaign. This book is certainly one of the best books I have read that allows the reader to keep up with where and when by the use of these spectacular maps. I have seen books that have maps that look like the author drew them on a drink napkin in the dark. 

 Thank you, Casemate Publishers for allowing me to review this large, 600+, pages work. This is an excellent history of the Jacobites and the '45. Did I mention that it has maps?


Book: Fight for a Throne: The Jacobite '45 Reconsidered

Author: Christopher Duffy

Publisher: Helion & Company

Distributor: Casemate Publishers

  Bayonets & Tomahawks The French and Indian War by GMT Games  I believe it is time to sip some tea and watch 'The Last of the Mohic...

Bayonets & Tomahawks: The French and Indian War by GMT Games Bayonets & Tomahawks: The French and Indian War by GMT Games

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!


 Bayonets & Tomahawks

The French and Indian War


GMT Games

 I believe it is time to sip some tea and watch 'The Last of the Mohicans' one more time. I will give 10 points to anyone who knows Hawkeye's real given name. I believe he is called more names in the book than many rap sheets have aliases. 

 The French & Indian War was not, strangely enough, a cut and dried English and Colonist victory from the start. As a matter of fact, the French were winning pretty much right up until 1759. This is pretty amazing when you look at the population figures:

French Colonists in North America - 50,000

English Colonists in only the 13 Colonies - 1,000,000

 If it had not been for the parsimoniousness of the Colonists it would have been a walkover. Oddly enough this ultimately led to the loss of the Colonies to England. The English government finally realized that to win in North America they would have to bring large amounts of troops and supplies. To do this meant spending an enormous amount of money. After the war, England tried to make the colonies pay for some, if not most, of the war which led directly to "Taxation, Without Representation". 

 This is really a great historical time to create a boardgame out of. You have the Colonists and the English on one side. Then you have the French and most of the Indians on the other one. You have Montcalm and Wolfe, let alone their famous death scene paintings, along with Amherst, whose own penny pinching leads to Pontiac's Rebellion. The only real assets the English have are their population and the Iroquois Confederacy. So let us see what comes with the game:

22" x 34" mounted map

54 cards

135 unit counters

8 Commanders

17 Vagaries of War tokens

1 small fabric bag

6 custom dice

1 sheet of markers

1 Player Aid sheet

5 Scenario Information sheets

Rulebook and Playbook

Complexity is listed as a '3'

Solitaire Suitability is listed as a '6'

Game Scale for Units is:

300 - 1,500 Men

16 Cannon

5 Ships of The Line

Each Round is approximately 3 Weeks

Playtime is listed as 2 hours per Year

 This is one of the new breed of games that are truly wargames, but are presented as Euro games as far as their components. It is a wonderful time to be a grognard, except of course, for most of our ages. As long as we still have our wits about us and our glasses handy, we will be fine. The map is mounted, and is extremely colorful. The way the territories are presented are a bit different, and it takes a bit of time to get used to. Canada is situated on the left, and the rest of the Eastern part of North America is on the right. There are no hexes, and it is a point to point movement system. In area, it goes from Louisbourg in the North to the Cherokee Nation (roughly South Carolina) in the South. It has all of the major, and some minor, of the points of interest in the French and Indian War such as Le Detroit, Ticonderoga, Montreal, Quebec etc. French forts and towns at the start are blue in color, and the English ones are red. All of the tracks, victory, turn etc., are on the map. The Rulebook is in full color, and is twenty-one pages long. The last two pages is a large two page Unit Reference Chart. The Playbook is forty-eight pages long. The last two pages are a Counter Manifest and one page called "Easily Forgotten Rules". The latter is a nice touch needed in a few other games as well. The Counters are very large and easy to read. They also have pre-clipped edges. Their shape is either triangular for light troops, square for normal troops, and round for artillery and fleets. Leaders are square shaped, and forts are circles. There are three decks of Cards. These are Indian, French, and English. Some have instructions on top, and all come with a combination of triangles, squares, or a combination of the two. There are six Die that were made especially for the game. There is a black pouch included to hold the Die. The game comes with two four page Player Aids. The lettering is large enough to read easily and they are set up in a sensible manner for checking rules etc. It also comes with two full page Scenario Setup cards for all four scenarios, double-sided, two for the English Player and two for the French Player. There is also a fifth setup card, one-sided, that is used for the Indian Nations setup in every scenario. The game also comes with a good amount of small baggies for the counters. As usual with GMT Games, the presentation of the game is excellent.

 The Scenarios in the game are:

Vaudreuil's Petite Guerre 1755

Loudon's Gamble 1757

Amherst's Juggernaut 1758-1759

French & Indian War Full Campaign 1755-1759

There are three Scenario Variants:

Early French & Indian War 1755-1756

An Ambitious British Offensive 1758

French & Indian War with historical reinforcements 1755-1759

Also included is an Optional 1760 Campaign Year 

 Do not let this game's look deceive you. Yes, it is manufactured in the EURO style, but it is a real wargame nonetheless. It forces the player to answer the same question wargames did fifty years ago. First, what is my plan of operations, and once my plan is shredded by my opponent's 'friction', what do I do now. The game is pretty much a two in one game. If you are playing the one year scenarios you do not have time to think about the long haul. In those scenarios it really just becomes a victory point grab free-for-all between players. With the longer scenarios you are able to build up your forces and really concentrate on winning a much longer war. France has the edge early on, but England is able to build up a much larger force given time. The Indian Nations are an invaluable asset to whomever swings the most of them to their side. This is the first game I have played that really gives the Indian Nations the credit they deserve in helping or hindering each side. Without the Indian Nations that were on the French side, the war would have been much shorter historically. One thing you have to remember is that your playing field is mostly wilderness. The contested ground between both sides was not what most of us probably imagine. Twenty years later Burgoyne was still hamstrung trying to go from lake George to Albany by the wilderness. As the French Player I would strike hard and often with raids. Remember, the English Player has to come to you to win the victory points he needs. Louisbourg is exactly what it was historically, the gateway to the St. Lawrence and Quebec and Montreal. The English Player, in the long game, can afford to wait and build up his juggernaut. He cannot run all over the map trying to stop French raids etc. It would be like playing whack-a-mole. He has to decide on a strategy and stick to it.

  The Designer states " I have more fun moving armies on the map than managing logistics". Then he goes onto explain that is why he designed the cards the way he did, and how much work went to get them to work the way he wanted. He was trying to get as many historical outcomes as he could, or at least match the history at different times. He goes on to write about how much work was put into the Die also. Then he shows how his system of using the Die does actually mimic historical outcomes. Every time a Player destroys an enemy  Metropolitan Brigade (French or British Army Regulars) the Player gets a WIE (War in Europe) chit. These can count as Victory Points at the end of your chosen scenario. The way the Designer writes he seems a bit proud of himself for this game and its system. I agree with him. He should be proud of what he has given us in Bayonets & Tomahawks. As someone who has read as much as possible about the conflict, I believe the game gives the Players much of the same goals, forces, and starting off point as in history. You can use/suffer these different strategies or events in the game:

Build Roads


Build a Fort

Lose Commanders in Battle

This is only a taste of what you can do.

This is actually a shot of the game on Vassal

 Thank you very much, GMT Games for letting me take a test drive with Bayonets and Tomahawks. I am very pleased with the historical accuracy and gameplay that is built into it. 


Bayonets & Tomahawks:

GMT Games - Bayonets & Tomahawks

GMT Games:

GMT Games

  The Black Prince and the Capture of a King Poitiers 1356 by Marilyn Livingstone & Morgen Witzel   This book continues the trend in Cas...

The Black Prince and the Capture of a King Poitiers 1356 by Marilyn Livingstone & Morgen Witzel The Black Prince and the Capture of a King Poitiers 1356 by Marilyn Livingstone & Morgen Witzel

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!


 The Black Prince and the Capture of a King Poitiers 1356


Marilyn Livingstone & Morgen Witzel

 This book continues the trend in Casemate Publications that I have mentioned before. To whit, never go by their titles. You would think that a book with a battle in its name would give you a little history before the battle and then end with the battle. This book actually gives the history of the entire Hundred Years War up to the Battle of Poitiers. It also gives a day by day journal of each day during the campaign. Then it finishes up with some of the events that happened after the battle. How the authors managed to get all of this in only 200 pages is pretty amazing. Because of the above, do not think that the history of the actual battle was given short shrift. The battle and the failed negotiations before it are gone into detail.

  I have never been much of a fan of the 'Black Prince'. I have always delved into the Hundred Years War before and after him. Because of this book I am now much more informed about his exploits and why he was considered a great general. Contrary to the usual history about the French, this book shows that they realized they had to come up with a plan to beat the English long bowmen. They didn't just haphazardly charge at the first Englishmen they saw. The book also shows how some Scots, fresh from fighting the English, were high up in the French war councils. The authors show that the Black Prince was brought to bay, much like Henry V, by the French maneuvering. 

 This is an amazing book that gives the reader everything he would want to know about the battle and the campaign. Thank you Casemate Publishers for allowing me to review this wonderful history narrative.


Book: The Black Prince and the Capture of a King Poitiers 1356

Authors: Marilyn Livingstone & Morgen Witzel

Publisher: Casemate Publishers

Heart of Leviathan by imageStudios  These are the ultimate heavy metal for us aficionados: Battleships in World W...

Heart of Leviathan by imageStudios Heart of Leviathan by imageStudios

For your Wargamer, Toy soldier collector, MiniFig collector, military history nut. Reviews, interviews, Model Making, AARs and books!


Heart of Leviathan



 These are the ultimate heavy metal for us aficionados: Battleships in World War I. The setting was mostly the frigid North Sea, although action took place across the globe. This is one of my favorite wargame/simulation topics. Who wouldn't be in love with their majestic beauty? These ships were the ultimate weapon of war on the high seas until submarines and then finally aircraft came along. In the age depicted, they are like the dinosaurs with no other enemies except other leviathans to worry about. Massively armed and armored, they strode across the seas from 1905 until the beginning of world War II as each nation flexed their biceps. With the building of the British Dreadnought all other warships became obsolete overnight. Oddly enough, Dreadnought was so radically better than any other warship it actually somewhat levelled the playing field between Germany and Britain. So we know what the game is about; how is it to play?

 First things first, I have to tell you what HOL is not. It is not a naval simulation where you need the floor of your den or dining room to play. You also do not need a calculator or have to keep maximizing and reprinting the game's spreadsheets in order to read them. This game is a thing of beauty. It is a mixture of miniatures and wargame/simulation that is wonderful to look at and to play. The game's components are top shelf all the way. The piece de resistance is the miniature ships that come with the game. Even the rulebook is a small piece of art. This is what you get with the game:

4 Battleships - 2 König Class, 2 Iron Duke Class (this game set)
4 Hardstock Ship Counters
4 Ship Command Placards
5 Movement Templates
15 Dice - 5 Red, 5 Blue, 5 Black
Critical Damage Card Deck
Equipment Refit/Upgrade Card Deck
Shallow Water Obstacle
Numerous Minefield Obstacles
Smoke Markers
Ship Captain Card Deck
Numerous Markers

 I just cannot say enough about the level of the components. The only games that are comparable are very high level space simulators. The rulebook is only ten pages long including the Advanced Rules. The actual rules probably only take up five pages because of the excellent, and large, illustrations of setup and play. This is not a tome that cannot be memorized and you do not need a medieval monk, complete with scrolls, sitting next to the players as a reference. This is an exceedingly playable game that actually gives the player historic outcomes. It is one of those things where everyone is scratching their heads, going why didn't I think of this? Another great part of the game is that you can use the miniatures unpainted, but why would you, or you can use them after they are spruced up in all their glory. Not only that, you do not need them at all. If you are too wary of damaging your small masterpieces, the game comes with thick stock overhead portraits of the ships. The miniatures actually have a small rectangular keel that fits right into the cardboard. So it is up to you, admiral, on how you want to play. This also means that when leaving home to play somewhere else you do not have to worry about damage to your miniscule beauties. They actually are not that miniscule. The ships are almost 4 1/2" long (at least these Battleships are). You can play the game in as little space as 36" x 36" or larger if you prefer. The key to the game is the 'Ship Command Placard'. Everything about the ship from speed, hull strength, and the dice to use at what range, along with other things are on the placard. Everything about the rules has been streamlined and pretty much thought of. It has turned naval gunnery warfare from an hour for the player to find out if he has hit to what he actually hit on his opponent, to a simple system. I am not saying the other types of games are not enjoyable at times. It is just before this game we never had the choice of what type to play. That is one thing I have to state strongly. This game was never intended to be a simulation of incredible depth. You cannot target a specific part of the enemy's ship. It is a simple die roll that shows whether or not you have drawn blood. If you roll a 'Critical Hit', then the captain of the hit ship pulls a card from the Critical Damage Deck and implements those effects. Some of these are:

Damaged Rudder - Can only move straight
Power Generator Damage - You can only fire at range 1 or 2
Shattered Primary Gun Barrel - Remove one red and one blue die
Command Station Destroyed - Discard all Admiral and Captain   upgrade cards
Powder Magazine Explosion - Something wrong with your bloody ship today

 Both Captain Cards and Equipment Refit/Upgrade Cards are bought at the start of the game. They suggest a 200 point engagement value for each player. You, of course, are free to decide among the players the amount. Some of the Equipment Refit/Upgrade Cards are specific to the type of ship (Battleship. Battlecruiser), and some are specific to either Germany or England.
These are some of the cards:

Elbow Grease - Can freely rotate turrets to the other side
Mast range Clock  - Another Friendly ship within range 1-3 may change one blank result to a hit
Repair Damage - Recover up to two Hull Value of your ship

 Each Ship Captain Card has its own set of allowable Upgrade/Refit Cards it can use.

 The sequence of play is:

1. Plot Phase - Planning phase for the turn. Players secretly set their ship's Movement Value on the Ship Command Placard. Players may also select an Order that is available to them to be used during the turn.
2. Movement/Orders Phase - During the Movement/Orders Phase, players follow through with the movement and orders previously designated for their ships during the Plot Phase. The Player in possession of the First Player Token moves and/or executes orders for any one of his/her ships first followed by player 2 (repeat alternately until all ships have been activated)
3. Combat (Guns) Phase - Ships fire at opposing targets while targeted ships attempt to avoid or minimize damage. Players alternate firing back and forth (just as in movement). Battle damage is resolved immediately/consecutively - not simultaneously - Ships can be sunk before they have a chance to return fire.

 The advanced rules add the ability for a captain to make smoke. The advanced rules also include Close Quarter Melee rules. These ships were still armed for this even at this late age. The age of the ram armed Battleship was not that many years before. Image Studios has also released a set with cruisers that has torpedoes in the game. These are the English and German ships released and planned so far:


Iron Duke Class - Battleship
Iron Duke -  This was in my set
Benbow - This was in my set
Emperor of India

Queen Elizabeth Class - Battleship
Queen Elizabeth

Weymouth sub-class of the Town class - Light Cruiser

M Class Destroyer


König Class - Battleship
König - This was in my set
Markgraf - This was in my set
Grosser Kurfürst

Helgoland Class - Battleship

Dresden Class - Light Cruiser



  This game is for anyone who has any interest in World War I naval battles. I think this is a great crossover game for someone who wants to try miniature gaming, or a miniature gamer who wants to head toward board games. This game is the perfect segue for either. Thank you imageStudios for letting me review this game. I cannot for the life of me understand why this game has so little written about it on the web. Its BGG page is almost entirely empty. For a game that is this good it is a shame. 

mageStudios Hearts of Leviathan: