Volume VIII in the Lace Wars series
By order of his Most Royal and Ausgust Presence, the KING, you are hereby appointed Generalissimo of all royal troops currenty serving in the field. Your instructions are to carry the war to the enemy in the manner you best see fit, but not so as to endanger either the realm or the royal purse. If you fail, there will be... displeasure. Your duties commence at once. Do not return without victory.
Kabinettskrieg (KK) is a Grand Campaign module combining the games Cockpit of Europe, Sport of Kings, and Queens' Gambit in one very large scenario. IMPORTANT. All three base games are required for this module.
The War of the Austrian Succession is one of those forgotten "Cabinet Wars" of the 18th Century. It is the war of which Voltaire quipped that the sole result was the transfer of a single province. But that povince was Silesia, and its transfer from Habsburg to Hohenzollen rule signalled the rise to power of Prussia and the eventual "prussianisation" of Germany. Elsewhere, the war began Britain's psychological dominance of the waves and the bowing out of Spain from mainstream European affairs. Most of all, it ensured the survival of the Austro-Habsburg Empire for another two centuries. Even taken in isolation , the war has much to recommend it as a study. It killed an estimated half million people. Desperate actions were fought: Mollwitz, Campo Santo, Dettingen, Bassignana, Fontenoy, Hohenfriedburg, Rocoux, Piacenza. Befitting an age when men engaged in war to obtain personal glory, great feats of arms were performed: the Retreat from Prague over the trackless Erzge-birge in the dead of winter; the stand of the British Square at Fontenoy against the French Maison du Roi; the Piedmontese counter-attack at Campo-Santo; the Fench using the bodies of their own dead to buld a ramp against the mountain-top fort of Assietta; the Prussian infantry advancing silently in parade-ground order at Mollwitz.
The war had its share of great captains, too: the French marshals Saxe, Maillebois, and Belle-Isle; the Austrian marshals Daun, Traun, and Browne; Marshal Gages for the Spanish; and the great Frederick himself for Prussia. Strategy may have been driven by the whims of kings and queens, but the operational art, as practised by those who had to fulfil the objectives of an irrational strategy with insufficient means, was in full bloom. Frederick's oblique attack was born in this war - in a battle between the Austrians and the Spanish. The French marshal Maillebois conducted an Italian campaign so brilliant Napoleon would later take it for a model. An Austrian marshal - von Traun - inflicted 30,000 casulaties on the Prussian Army without fighting a battle. Advances were made in the science of war, too - not least, Prussia's iron ram-rods (a pre-war innovation also used by Spain). Experiments were made with the use of light infantry, the three- and two-rank line of battle, and with all-arms formations - radical ideas mostly shelved and forgotten, of course, on the outbreak of peace.
KK is a multi-player operational study, for 2-6, or even more would-be generals; each player controls the forces of one of the major participating nations and its minor allies. Extra players can lead the troops of the same nation in individual theatres of the war. Although the players are divided into two Camps, victory is an individual goal as you try to win more glory than both your allies and your enemies. Do YOU have what it takes to become the greatest captain general of the Eighteenth Century?
Included in the module is a set of the latest basic rules, charts, and tables (version 3.75) for the Lace Wars system. A few key concepts in this system include Operations Points, Campaign Plans, Prestige, and Auxiliaries. Operations Points are accumulated during periods of inactivity, in order to be spent during the course of active campaigning. If a player is unable or unwilling to spend OPs, his forces suffer attrition instead. The further forces are from their base of operations, the more severe the penalties will be. Whoever has the most OPs also has the initiative.
Map scale is 8.5 miles per hex. The counters are battalions and regiments. Units are rated for Strength (in battalions), Effectiveness (a combination of morale and training), and Movement. Turns are equivalent to months. Each turn is broken down into several phases - supply, operations, admin, etc.
The heart of the game is the Operations Phase, where the players alternate moving their formations, laying siege to fortresses and engaging in battle with the enemy field forces. The players have a degree of flexibility in what they do with their forces, but they are constrained by the Campaign Plan or plans that they choose. These dictate what objectives (usually fortresses) must be taken. A successfully completed plan will garner Prestige for a player. At the end of the game, the player with the highest prestige wins. In addition, bonuses can be won for victory in battle, and these may be used to buy rewards that improve a player's chances, or be used as influence.
[In this era, decisive victory was beyond the grasp of most nations' war effort, despite their grandiose plans. It is thus more realistic to expect the players, as theatre commanders, to use the war to further their own ambitions. The campaign game ends when the diplomats choose, but as they are beyond the players' control, player victory is based solely on personal performance.]
Auxiliary counters represent support troops and irregulars who had a major impact on operations, but cannot be adequately represented as traditional game units. Instead, a player might have a pontooneer auxiliary that he can play onto a stack to help it cross a major river, or a converged grenadier auxiliary that provides a morale bonus in combat.
Leaders have an important role to play, as befitting an era where personal command was critical. They are rated for skill or effectiveness, personality, and influence (i.e. the chance they have of retaining command despite their incompetence).
In addition to the concepts above, the supply system has been streamlined while keeping to the basic elements of foraging in tandem with the use of pre-positioned depots. River and canal movement has been taken into account and will prove as critical to success as the use of rail lines in more modern games.
The combat system has a tactical feel - while not a full sub-system with battlefield maps, it addresses the key issues of frontage, reserves, and supports, as well as firepower and morale. Winning a battle will bring you the acclaim of your noble peers, but may not gain you any strategic advantage; losing a battle can be catastrophic.
1) 25 12x18 inch full colour maps representing the three primary theatres of the war: Flanders, Germany, and Italy. The maps correspond to those found in the three bases games. It may interest players who own earlier editions of those games to know that these maps have been updated with new artwork and corrected. The maps were derived from a mix of modern cartography and period maps dating from 1715 to 1750. While the maps are hex-based, players will find themselves keeping to the historical invasion routes most of the time - but they have the option to try alternates.
2) Over 3000 counters representing the forces of Britain, Holland, France, Spain, Austria, Prussia, Savoy, many minor German and Italian states, and a Russian Corps.
3) A set of charts and tables, plus several 8x11 and 11x17 inch display cards.
4) A series rulebook - version 3.75 - called the King's Regulations and Orders (KR&Os), a module-exclusive rulebook, and scenario & OOB books for each player.
The module is available both as a digital download (PDFs, not software) and as a boxed game with die cut counters. Because of its size and cost, the text is also available on line (for free - see the Support Page) and the counters and maps are also sold separately (note that counter sheets are not sold sheet by sheet; there is no point in owning just a few of them). You can compare the prices on our Home page.