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Yellow Jack  The War of Jenkin's Ear 1739-1743 Part of The Sea Lords Series of Games By  Red Sash Games   The War of Jenkin's Ear, w...

Yellow Jack: The War of Jenkin's Ear 1739-1743, By Red Sash Games Yellow Jack: The War of Jenkin's Ear 1739-1743, By Red Sash Games

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Yellow Jack: The War of Jenkin's Ear 1739-1743

Yellow Jack 

The War of Jenkin's Ear 1739-1743

Part of The Sea Lords Series of Games


Red Sash Games

  The War of Jenkin's Ear, was mainly a conflict between Bourbon Spain and England. Robert Jenkins was a captain of an English merchant vessel who was mutilated by Spanish Coast Guards in 1731. In reality, the war was really about money, specifically the Asiento (a contract with England that allowed her to sell slaves in Spanish America). In Spain, the war is called The Guerra del Asiento. The war mostly took place in the Caribbean. The War of Jenkin's Ear then became part of the wider European conflict: The War of the Austrian Succession 1740-1748. There was also an earlier outbreak of hostilities between Spain and England over the same reasons named The Anglo-Spanish War 1727-1729. The wars were really about English merchants' access to the Spanish areas of North and South America. Red Sash Games mainly has naval and land warfare games centering around the time of the War of the Austrian Succession. They call their land warfare games of the time The Lace Wars Series. Their sea warfare games of the time are from their The Sea Lords Series. As obscure as this war seems I remember being taught about it in High School. Well, enough of that. Here is what actually comes with the game:

6 die cut counter sheets – 720 counters – including the naval forces of Britain, Spain, and France, plus Pirates (no Caribbean naval game is complete without Pirates). One of the counter sheets includes all the important naval leaders who participated in the War of the Austrian Succession; another consists of land units – all the regiments that fought in the Caribbean. There is also a sheet of generic markers.

37 wooden disks representing “task forces” (boxed game only; regular counters are also supplied to represent these items).

48” x 54” map depicting the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and Carolinas coastline.

1 series rulebook, 1 exclusive rule book, 2 scenario/OOB books, 1 set of charts & tables, historical commentary. 1 set of display cards.

One piece of the Map

 This is their own write up about the game:

"Autumn, 1739. Fierce economic competition between Britain and Spain has broken into open war: the War of Jenkins' Ear. As His Britannic Majesty's naval commander-in-chief in the Caribbean, your duties have suddenly multiplied. Their Lordships at the Admiralty demand action. Parliament expects the speedy conquest of Spain's New World possessions - ALL of them - but is unwilling to supply men and ships. That would require the adoption of methods suitable only under a 'French Despotism'. Before you utter them let it be known that your objections are unpatriotic and un-British. Meanwhile, the powerful Planters' Lobby is insisting you make defending their islands your top priority, while the equally powerful Traders' Lobby is demanding convoy protection and simultaneously accusing you of 'pressing' merchant seamen into service aboard your ships. Or, can you honourably serve the great House of Bourbon, whose scions rule France and Spain? The English heretics have unjustly fabricated a war. They are jealous of Spain's greatness and desire her colonies for their own. For years they have paid lip service to the international laws of commerce while breaking those same laws at every opportunity. Of late, His Most Catholic Majesty had graciously agreed to accept arbitration for so-called 'wrongs' done to British traders, waiving compensation for similar wrongs done to Spain. But when she offered payment, the English dogs slapped Spain's hand aside, saying it was not enough! This insult will not go unavenged. The King has ordered you to secure our trade routes and has issued letters of marque for the harrying of British merchantmen - let their own methods be used against them! In the fulness of time, our brother France has promised his support.

Control the seas and you control the fate of the New World. Whichever side you choose, glory and honour - and prizes galore - are yours for the taking. Provided you avoid court martial and disgrace."

 I like the writing in the above piece, so I added it in. Sometimes a game company can come up with a more succinct and intriguing summary than a reviewer.  The game is operational in scope. By the way, Yellow Jack is actually jargon for the rampant Yellow Fever in the area. Although by this time they were waning, the game does contain pirates and privateers.

 The map pieces are well done, and to me at least have a period flavor to them. It could be because I played Pirates from Sid Meier for so many hours on the C-64. The counters are wonderful. They are pretty much the same as the ones in their game 'Cockpit of Europe'. I did a review of that excellent game, and the link will be below. The counters are large and easy to read. There are numerous Players' Aids in the box, from a hurricane sheet to a four page turn sequence fold out! It also comes with a twenty-three page 'Exclusive Rule Book' for this game. Yellow Jack comes with two Scenario & Orders Books, one for the Bourbons (France & Spain), and one for the English. To top it all off, there is a 111 page Historical Commentary which is well stocked with maps and pictures. The Historical Commentary moves easily between the big picture and the minutiae of the period, and it is easily worth its weight in gold doubloons. The game and Historical Commentary were both done by the designer Ian Weir. It is plain to see that these games are a labor of love by Mr. Weir. 


 This game was given a rating of 4.5 for complexity. Yes, it is a very complex game. This is not one that you are going to break out on game night and decide to play on a whim while trying to teach the rules. However, like almost all games that are complex, you get out of it what you put into it. If you have a Saturday to run through one of the smaller scenarios, and then try your hand at the campaign game, this would be your best bet.

 There are five Minor Scenarios from 1739-1743, each one lasts one year.

1739 - Rule Britannia

1740 - Old Grog & Peg Leg

1741 - Carlos Don't Surf

1742 - Spanish Fly

1743 - Hot Cocoa

The Price of and Ear - The Campaign Game

Hasta La Muerte - The Extended Campaign

1744 Scenario

1745 Scenario

1746 Scenario

1747 Scenario

1748 Scenario

 The scenarios of 1744-1748 saw no major operations historically, but they do add France as a Spanish Ally.

 The Turn Sequence has these and many other segments:

Wind Generation Step

Check for new Hurricanes

Check for Random Events

Resolve Hurricanes

Resolve Gales

Reinforcement & Reorganization 

Conduct Searches & Mark Spotted Formations

Detach Independent Squadrons Without Orders

Disembark Expeditions

One side of the Hurricane Map

 If you love sea warfare from an operational standpoint, this game is for you. The historical information of sea warfare at this time is alone the price of admission. The game is complex, but it has to be to plumb the depths of historical accuracy that the designer intended. The game was intended to be a two-player, but like almost all games it can also be played solo. The age of warfare that the game represents has very little boardgames to choose from. This game is not historically like the Campaign of Trafalgar. It is one of far flung outposts that are important to each crown, but not as much as they once were. There are no more Spanish Treasure fleets filled with Inca and Aztec gold plying these waters. Even Piracy has lost the glitter of its golden age. Both sided in the game must deal with pretty much the forces that they have been dealt with, especially in the one year scenarios. 

 I am definitely an aficionado of the era. For me to pull myself away from a game, or simulation, of land warfare when one of your counters represents Maurice de Saxe is a pretty hard task. However, Yellow Jack was up to it and more. Thank you very much Mr. Weir and Red Sash Games for letting me review this game. 

 Red Sash Games has numerous ways to buy their products, including the ever more popular print & play. I urge you to take a look at all of their games when you have a chance.


Red Sash Games:

Red Sash Games Home Page

Yellow Jack:

Yellow Jack (

My Review of 'Lace Wars, The Cockpit of Europe':

Cockpit of Europe by Red Sash Games - A Wargamers Needful Things