YJ box picture

Yellow Jack
The War of Jenkins' Ear 1739-1743

Volume III in the Sea Lords series

Yelow Jack is the third of a set of games covering the Age of Sail at an Operational level.

Autumn, 1739. Fierce economic competition between Britain and Spain has broken into open war: the War of Jenkin's 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.

The Game

Yellow Jack is a two player strategy game. You command either the British or Bourbon (Spanish & French) fleets. Orders are handed down to you from your Admiralty, and you must try to fulfill them within the framework of the wider war, which is represented by a set of events. Your opponent will have orders of his own to fulfill, but with his spare forces he will be attempting to foil your plans. Success will earn you Prestige (victory points), and may even have an impact on the land campaign. You must decide when and where to commit resources, where to feint and where to strike, organising your 'sail' (ships) into squadrons, and your squadrons into flotillas commanded by leaders (commodores and admirals). Maintaining sufficient forces at 'battle readiness' is critical, but very difficult, since ships constantly suffer wear and tear – a battle may be won and the campaign lost.

Time Required: 3 hours for a Minor Scenario; 1 weekend for the Campaign Game. As a bonus, there are also scenarios for 1744-1748, when the Caribbean struggle became submerged in the greater War of the Austrian Succession; these allow an Extended Campaign covering 1739-1748.

Components

1) Twelve 12x18 inch full colour maps representing the Caribbean Sea in the 18th Century (the entire map covers 48 inches by 54 inches).
[NB sample map image is low-res].

2) 720 counters. The boxed version of the game also includes about 35 wooden disks as an alternate means of representing the higher formations. Every ship that appeared in the theatre is accounted for, as is every leader. (Although by the basic rules ships are generic 'SPs', players can use the OOBs to add detail and even fight battles using their favourite tactical system). Squadrons are rated for movement and the number of sail they can contain. Special named squadrons represent the great ships, like the 84-gun San Felipe. Other counters represent special assets, like fireships, frigates, and galleys. These can be 'played' (like cards) to conduct special tasks such as search and shore bombardment. In the Baltic, galleys played a prominent role, and thus appear as Sail as well as mere 'assets'. Leaders are ranked, and rated for skill and personality.
[NB sample counter images are low-res].

3) A set of charts and tables, plus display cards.

4) A series rulebook (called the Fighting Instructions, or FI), a game-exclusive rulebook, and an historical commentary.

The game is available both as a digital download (PDFs, not software) and as a boxed game with die cut counters.