Viewer's Choice Celebration MiniCampaign

It has now been over 20 years since I launched "With MacDuff On the Web" and nearly 10 years since I launched my 2 blogs: Gathering of Hosts and Battle game of the Month.

To celebrate the years and the friends and the million hits I've decided to run a 3 game mini-campaign in late October. By popular vot e it will be set in the mid 18th Century.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Sieges, Skirmishes and Ships

Not surprisingly, the early military history of Nova Scotia/Acadia (click)  is not well known.  What I basically remember from school in Montreal was that after some disagreement in the 17th Century about whether this was Nova Scotia or Acadia, the French built Louisbourg so that Wolfe could come and capture it before moving on to take Quebec bringing us back to 'real' Canadian history. So it was a surprise later on to hear that Fort Anne in Annapolis Royal in Nova Scotia was attacked more often than any other fort in North America (something like 13 times over a period of less than a century).  Why? By whom? Anything worthy of a wargame?

I've had a copy of this print for over 50 years. I used to wonder why some of the British are in Blue but these are of course all New England troops since the print portrays the 1744 siege not the 1758 one. (As many of my troops shall beBy F Stephen - Archives anglaises, Public Domain

A brief glance at the details of those 150 years suggests that there is ample scope for wargaming just not for conventional miniature wargaming. There were no pitched battles between conventional armies and the sort of terrorist warfare that plagued North American history during the conquest holds no interest for me as a  source of amusement. What there were in plenty were sieges, mostly small apart from the two sieges of Louisbourg and usually seaborne due to the difficulty of transporting artillery and regular troops over land and the ease with which any point of interest could be reached by sea. I have occasionally been tempted by the thought of staging a mini-skirmish level 17th Century land and sea mini campaign involving Fort La Tour, some ships, pike and shot Europeans on both sides as well as some Indian allies but since the driving point is the new Prince August Seven Years War moulds, I will once again put that temptation aside.

Leaving out those early days and the various expeditions against isolated garrisons of a mere score of men, we find at least a  dozen sieges, large or small, Some of these were successful, others were not and still others were more what one might call potential sieges where a land force blockaded a fort with plans to rendezvous with a fleet which was bringing more troops and artillery but which failed to arrive.  I haven't ruled out eventually building parts of the Louisburg defences such as the island battery that the New Englanders had to assault several times before capturing it or one of the bastions that were breached and scheduled to be assaulted only to be forestalled by a French surrender but apart from the preparation work on terrain etc, it will take some thought on how best to portray these in 40mm on my small table. That it is possible has been shown by my test siege game a few years ago. (Click "siege" label for more on past 40mm SYW sieges.)

A scene from a test of the Fire & Stone siege rules using a mock-up fort.
Instead I shall begin with a smaller largely earth and wood fort such as were Fort Anne and Fort Beausejour. Using my historical license I shall allow for some opposed amphibious landings, assaults on outlying works, sorties and petite guerre scenarios as well as the more formal siege work. The real problem will be fitting some toy sailing ships suitable for 40mm troops onto the table. Others have tackled this before me though so I am comfortable that I can do it. But first, I need troops and a fort!  (To really carry out the idea the way I want, I will also need to modify the Treaty of Utrecht slightly.....)

A model Fort Anne or Port Royal as it was called when the French first built it.
By Charny - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0


  1. Oh my...well this just took a turn for the intriguing.

  2. I'm interested how this will mature , Tony

    1. I'm not sure 'mature' will be an applicable term for the end product......

  3. A photo and a very interesting article, but above all very inspiring for siege scenarios. I take this opportunity to wish you a very merry Christmas for you, your family and friends. Carlos

  4. Oh, look at that.

    I'm sure there is an article in it all there for an un-names magazine...