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Subject: Pleasantly surprised by S&T 221 rss

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Tom Stearns
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S&T 221 The Seven Years World War

I picked this game up in a math trade recently. I have developed an interest in numbered year wars lately. You know 7, 30 and 100. S&T magazine games have been hit and miss by my experience over the years. This game is a hit.

Due to a dearth of opponents I set this one up to play through a turn or two to learn the game. This allows me to teach it more quickly when and if a live opponent ever appears. The components are pretty top rate for a magazine game. It is a paper map, but it is a large one. The counters are brightly colored and double side printed, albiet they are thin.

The way the rules are written makes the game appear more difficult than it is. Almost all the charts are printed on the map, but not all. The rest are at the back of the rules. I recommend copying them for easy access. The campaign game is only 7 turns long. The sequence of play is pretty straight forward.

I. Initiative Determination,

II. Treasury Phase- conducted simultaneously with 5 sub-phases,

III. Player turns- conducted in turn order, a) Diplomacy, b)Movement, c) Combat, d) Pillage,

IV. Provisioning Phase- simultaneously,

V. Enlightenment- optional rule,

VI End Turn.

The Treasury phase is the most time consuming phase involving collecting money, collecting campaign chits, buying and training units.
In each player turn diplomacy and pillaging may not even occur. If they do they are quick little actions. Movement and combat are not time consuming because units can't move far, units seem somewhat tied to areas to protect, (there are not a lot units for many of the nations), combat is on a unique, interesting set of CRT's. Three CRT's to choose from based on the make up of the attacking force. CRT results cover, losses, retreats, advances and drawing of campaign markers. Provisioning is suplpying units based on supply level of area. Enlightenment is an optional rule that may never come into play.

The campaign markers are the deal breaker here. In order to be successful in most any phase of the game you must have the appropriate campaign markers to help you along. We are talking diplomacy, forced marches, generals, admirals, etc. The cm's also introduce some random events. I liked this aspect of the game a lot.

One knock, and it is true, is calculating the tax value of each nation. Each tax phase you have to look under each stack on owned territories to calculate each powers tax value. The solution is to keep a running total with pencil and paper, which isn't hard. A track on the map would have been helpful for this. That is about the only knock on it I can see through admittedly a limited play sample.

Here are setup pictures. Sorry for blurriness.






I played one turn using the 4 player campaign. Each player side has plenty of options and decisions to make. Britain and France have the easiest time projecting power globally. With France I found it easier to expand from what they start with. They have a good ally in the Maratha Confederation in India and can give the British a very hard time there. In fact it looks like the British in India get squeezed pretty good by the French and her allies and the Manchu Empire, if the Manchu player decides to expand westwardly. Austria, Prussia, Russia and the Ottomans are pretty much relegated to a land war in Europe. Russia and the Ottomans have some options to expand east and south, but they are dicey propositions. The Dutch and Spanish are major neutral powers that can be allied through diplomacy. Another neat thing I forgot to mention as all sides begin the game as beligerents and stay thatway, unless a power, through diplomacy, is swayed to become neutral. Each player is usually playing more than 1 major power. If they are down to 1 then that power cannot be turned neutral. Other minor countries,including the Native American nations are represented by minor neutral counters. Using campaign markers, players can move and attack with them. Minor neutrals never ally for more than a phase with any player power.

This is a game I want to play ftf at some point. The solo run through one turn not only taught me the basic mechanics and rules, but also wetted my appetite.

Edit: to add photos
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Dan Fielding
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When was this published?

There are not very many strategic level 7YW games. Can anyone compare this to the others?
 
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Tom Stearns
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Published in 2004. Click the blue printed link above to go to the game site. I also added some pics to the post above.

Clash of Monarchs and Soldier Kings are two other games that cover 7yww at the strategic level. Clash of Monarchs seems to be held in higher esteem than the others. I have Soldier Kings also,but haven't played it yet. Go to each game site and you can read reviews for each game.
 
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Lawrence Hung
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This is probably the very first design and game by Joesph Miranda using his well-known chits for the fate of the nations in a strategic scale. Seven Years World War is an ambitious game, letting people know that the war was not only done in Europe but infact it was a global war. Ottomans, Khan, Holy Roman Empire, Hundred Years War in other S&T magazines are other examples of using this model. I like Joseph's approach of looking into things on a global much wider scale. Whether you like it or not, money (treasury) is behind all things as developed. What's more in his game theory, it is a world of winner takes all.

This brings us to the games of Seven Years War. I played Clash of Monarchs recently and was awed by its wealth of information in the game. A magnificient game focusing on the struggles over the European continent. Many historical chromes in respect of economics, military and politics, all integrated into a strategic framework. It is really an intellectual wargame...and I like the game simply based on this. From card text conferring historical reinforcements, Fortune of War guiding the fate of the royal family, to the combined arm tactics modifiers during battles. In a word, a lot of information and a whole bunch of them. There are 12 scenarios in a separate Playbook - they ensure you always get something ou of the game every time it gets played. It takes a bit long to play. But given its scope and scale of operations, the time spent well worth it. This game is also very solitaire friendly. If you take the time to play it, you would be rich rewarded like having finished a Tolstoy novel or Kubrick movie. I myself certainly look for a chance to play it solitaire when time allows.

On the other hand, I find Soldier Kings is a somewhat akward, with limited strategic options as to movement, diplomacy or economics (In fact, I am not quite sure if there is economics in the game). I was not impressed at all with this game. The roll-a-six-to-hit thins the combat system to a low level for such a rich colorful period.

The classic, of course, is the Avalon Hill's Frederick the Great. The map looks bland after these years with a few mountain pass in between the ridges of Alps. The generic strength points counters were much like the ones in Clash of Monarchs. The game offers a solid historical model on the Frederick's continuing attack from within interior line vs. ulteriro threats. One step above the basic line of offering from Avalon Hill at the time, but never complex. It is a wonderful experience to play this game.

One day, I have to go to the Age of Reason tactical level wargames on the Seven Years War as I own Lobositz, the first battle of Seven Years War.
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Tom Stearns
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Thanks Lawrence for your great addition to this thread. Clash of Monarchs is on my want list. I will give Soldier Kings a try, but few people seem to have good things to say about it. I am not a fan of d6 to hit systems. Maybe someone will do a CRT for SK. Maybe even adpating the SYWW CRT's wich I really liked.

I also am curious to play some tactical battle games from period. I am keeping my eye out for them.
 
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