Lieb Garde

Lieb Garde
The Leib Garde of Hesse Seewald

Friday, December 1, 2023

Our Annual SYW Christmas Game


Tomorrow we will be playing our annual Christmas Game at Kieth L.'s home (he of the huge basement with three 6ft by 30ft tables). We have been doing this for at least the past decade, usually the first weekend of December. We often play the Big Battalions using Bill Protz's "Batailles dans l'Ancien Regime" or B.A.R for short. Click on some of the pictures here to get the true feel for the vast amount of tabletop space that we have to play with.

Ian Weekley buildings, vintage 1990. Der Alte Fritz made the church.

This year's game is a little unusual in that there is a tectonic shift in the alliances of Europe in our 1757-ish period. Gadzooks, Britain and France are now allies, while cats (Austria) and dogs (Prussia) are playing together after forging a new alliance. I have heard that Frederick II and Marie Therese have secretly divided the German Holy Roman Empire into two spheres of influence. Prussia has the northern half while Austria holds sway in the largely Catholic south.

I have no idea how Britain and France came to terms, other than a fear of the Austro-Prussian alliance. Britain has always been the counterweight to alliances and affairs in Europe so my guess is that this is the motivation for the two countries to set aside their differences and seek out a common good.

Here are some pictures of the game tables with all of the troops set up in their positions several days before the actual game day on Saturday.

The British brigade.

The center table (of three) where all of the action is likely to play out.

One of the Austrian brigades that Himself will command.

The view of all three tables. My Austrian brigade of four infantry battalions 
and two regiments of cuirassiers are in the foreground.

So Der Alte Fritz, Himself, will be commanding some of the Austrians. My brigade, shown in the pictures above, cover the left flank of the Austrian-Prussian army. Apparently the two army commanders had a player draft and I was selected by the Austrian side. I am not so sure that I look very good wearing white, but I will give it my best effort. LOL!

There will be some after action pictures and a game report on my main blog, Der Alte Fritz Journal, and I will likely post a few pictures on this blog, probably on the Sunday following the game.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Winter Comes Early to Hesse Seewald

Festung Hesse Seewald
A thick blanket of snow draped over Hesse Seewald today, thus shortening the military campaign season. Crown Prince Friedrich ordered all troops to go into Winter quarters.

The army will be resupplied over the Winter months and new cavalry regiments are on their way to the capital city.

Meanwhile, the citizens welcomed the early arrival of the snows by organizing a Winter festival.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Another New Cavalry Unit in Hesse Seewald Service

The Kronprinz Friedrich horse grenadiers (Minden Miniatures Austrian Horse Grenadiers)

Today, His Royal Highness, King Georg Ludwig, is pleased to announce that the Saxe-Gotha horse grenadier cavalry regiment has been transferred from service in the Duke of Gotha to that of Hesse Seewald. It seems that the Duke had to settle some gambling debts with the King, and so the regiment passed into Hesse Seewald service to settle those debts.

The Kronprinz Friedrich Horse Grenadiers on parade.

Reverse view of the previous picture.

The unit will be renamed the Kronprinz Friedrich regiment of dragoons. The Hesse Seewald cavalry establishment allows its inhabers some latitude in uniform details, so tricorns or bearskin hats, they are all considered to be "dragoons", which are still heavy cavalry regiments.

The command section of the regiment.

King Georg Ludwig is quite pleased with his newest acquisition.

Monday, February 25, 2019

New Cavalry Unit Enters Service in Hesse Seewald Army

The Messerschmidt Horse Grenadiers
(de Ligne horse grenadiers in Austrian service)

King Georg Ludwig is pleased to announce that a new cavalry regiment of horse grenadiers has been raised and will join the Hesse Seewald army as the Messerschmidt Horse Grenadiers.

The regiment has only one squadron, which is typical of the Hesse Seewald cavalry establishment, but there is a possibilty that a second squadron might be raised in the future.

As anyone with a discerning eye can see, the unit is actually comprised of Austrian horse grenadiers from the de Ligne dragoon regiment. However, since they are sporting the green coats of the Hesse Seewald army, they can easily do double duty serving as an Imaginations unit. 

That is one of the nice things about Imaginations army - they can consist of anything and whatever you fancy in your own army. And who can say that the uniforms are not correct? It is your army.

These are the new Minden Miniatures Austrian Horse Grenadiers: MAC-007 Horse Grenadier Command and MAC-008 Horse Grenadier Reiters. Each pack has three cavalrymen with horses.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

What's Wrong With Imaginations?

The Battle of Lobositz at the Little Wars Convention, using BAR rules in Old School style wargaming.

I recently read a blog that has taken a few swipes at "Imaginations Armies" and  says that his way of doing things in wargaming is the best way. Several other blogs have carried a similar tune from time to time, so I thought tha a rebuttal of sorts was long overdue.

Well, it's ok to have your opinion, but we live in a big church - the wargaming community - and there are a lot of different ways of approaching the hobby of playing games with the Little Men, as our wives and sweethearts call them. As long as people are having fun playing wargames and socializing with like minded friends, what is the point of disparaging one form of wargaming over another?

* the majority of wargamers like to build historical armies and recreate historical battles on the table top. They might also (and often do) create fictional battles and scenarios for their table top wars. This is the lane that I choose to play in most of the time.

* an even larger community of wargamers dwell in the fantasy realm of Hobbits, orcs and dwarves and all kind of imaginable monsters and enemies. Not my cup of tea, but I recognize that this segment of wargaming is vastly larger than the historical miniatures segment.

* back in 2005 or there abouts, Patrick Lewis created a Yahoo Group titled "Old School Wargaming" ("OSW") that celebrated the "good old days" of wargaming with the likes of Donald Featherston, Peter Young, Charles Grant and Peter Gilder, among others. It also remembered some of the old figure ranges such as Suren, Spencer Smith, RSM, Minifigs, Heritage, and Connoisseur, among others.

The Battle of Mollwitz, an old favorite from The Wargame book by Charles Grant. Suren Uhlans de Saxe clash with Stadden Black Hussars.

Another cavalry scum at Mollwitz featuring Hinchcliffe Austians and Elite Miniatures Prussians. Note the use of single stand figures mounted on movement trays, or sabots, paying homage to the Old School style of single mounted figures in Peter Young's Charge book and rules.

The Origins of Old School Wargaming and Imaginations

OSW brought back memories of the imaginery armies created by Peter Young and Charles Grant and books such as "The Wargame" by Charles Grant and "Charge" by Peter Young. People  remembered cutting their wargaming teeth on these books and many a fond memory was dredged from our memories from those early days of the 1960s and 1970s. I think that the main attractions of wargaming in the Young-Grant style are the large regiments of big, easy to see 30mm figures and the kinder, gentler style of interaction amongst the players.

The Old School Wargaming movement brought a lot of people into the realm of 18th Century wargaming, and the Seven Years War in particular. They began to build imaginery armies, just like those of Charles Grant, that might have represented fictional countries, but they were firmly based in the era of tricorn hats, coats with turnbacks and a rather gentlemanly approach to wargaming that emphasized courtesy, corgiality and a sense of fair play. This was all good.

Somewhere along the line, someone applied the name "Imaginations" to all of the fictional countries, kingdoms, dukedoms and principalities that gamers had developed. The name stuck and now a days when wargamers hear the word "imaginations" it conjures up wargaming in the manner of Young and Grant. 

Let me be clear in my opinion, Old School Wargaming and Imaginations brought a lot of new people into the world of 18th Century wargaming and anything that expands the populace of 18th Century wargaming is a very, very, very good thins. Period!

Batailles dans l'Ancien Regime Rules Are Developed

Circa 2007, I was attending the Seven Years War Association Convention in South Bend, Indiana and I was hosting some sort of conventional SYW game featuring Austrians and Prussians. On the table next me was a game hosted by Bill Protz that featured large battalions of 48 and 60 figure battalions of soldiers fighting in three ranks, just like they did in the SYW. Bill was running a French and Indian War game at the time. As my game progressed, I found that I kept peering over at Bill's game table to watch these "Big Battalions" fight it out on the table top

After our prospective games had concluded, I walked over to Bill Protz and told him how interested I was in his wargame and discovered that Bill's game and rules were strongly influenced by Peter Young and his book "Charge". As the conversation continued I got around to asking Bill the question, "have you ever considered building armies for the European theatre of the Seven Years War and  using your big battalions for wargames?"

Well, like minds converged and we agreed that it would be a good idea for us to get together and try some games in the European theater of the SYW. I began painting Prussian battalions of 60 figures and cavalry squadrons of 12 figures. Bill began adding cavalry to his existing French and British armies. After several months of painting we collectively had enough big battalions on hand to fight a decent SYW battle on Bill's large 6ft by 24ft table.

Paying homage to messers Young and Grant, we created fictional nations for our armies. Bill had an afinity for the French army and so his "imagination" was called "Gallia". I countered with a country called "Germania" (or Geraniums as Hal Thinglum called it). My own particular country was called Hesse Seewald, a small country that modeled its army after the Prussian army. As a matter of fact, all of my infantry battalions and cavalry regiments were painted and flagged as Prussian regiments. They just happened to be fighting under the banners of Germania or Hesse Seewald.

The Napoleonic Battle of Aspern-Essling fought as an imaginary SYW battle between  Gallia and Germania.

The happy band of brothers playing an Old School style game of Imaginations.

The town of Aspern decorated with old style Ian Weekley buildings and a newer church built by Herb Gundt

Big 60-figure cavalry regiments at Aspern-Essling.

Where does the name Hesse Seewald come from" I live in a town called Lake Forest so Lake = See and Forest = Wald, thus Seewald would, in theory, be a German name for Lake Forest. It seemed like there were many German principalities that were called Hesse-this or Hesse-that so I added the word Hesse to Seewald and created the fictional country of Hesse Seewald.

Rules for Playing With Big Battalions

We fought our battles using Bill's "Drums of War Along the Mohawk" rules for the French and Indian War. The rules use a figure to man ratio of 1:10, meaning that one wargame figure represents ten actual men. We played a lot, and I mean a really large lot of wargames with these rules, tweaking and adding things here and there. Over the course of several years, we had developed a really nice set of 18th Century wargame rules and I encouraged Bill to publish his rules.

Bill did indeed publish the rules under the name "Batailles dan l'Ancien Regime" or Battles in the Ancien Regime (which is what France was called prior to the advent of the French Revolution. We needed an acronym for the rules because it had a rather long name, so we settled on "BAR" for short. From 2005 to 2010 we staged many battles between Gallia and Germania. Following the admonishement of Peter Young, we celebrated our victories by bestowing battle honors to the winning armies and gluing wooden plaques to monuments to celebrate our wins. Battles were named after Donald Featherstone, Peter Young, Charles Grant and other pioneers of the wargaming hobby from the 1960s and 1970s.

Historicon Game hosted by Protz, Frye & Purky

Big battalions, Winter terrain and Imaginations armies add up to a whole lot of FUN!

We must have garnered some attention to the 18th Century, because Bill sold a lot of sets of his rules and people all across the USA were building BAR armies. Bill had the honor of being invited to a convention in Texas and helping to run a BAR game at the convention. In 2007 as I recall, Historicon invited Bill Protz and I as special guests of the convention given that the theme of the year was the 18th Century Warfare. We ran 3 or 4 games in the front lobby of the hotel and conducted a seminar on infantry tactics (we pushed a bunch of our battalions together to create two 600 figure battalions of French and Prussians so that people could see how long a battalion was and how hard it might have been to maneuver such a battalion. That was a really cool thing to see.

Above all, WE HAD FUN!

My Style of Imaginations & Old School Wargaming
Many of my forces were built using 30mm Stadden and Suren figures, as featured in Charles Grant's book, The Wargame. I also used RSM figures, some Elite Miniatures, Old Glory and Front Rank figures. I had fun building my Prussian/Germanian/Hesse Seewald army with these figures. At one time I had as many as 20 battalions of 60-figure Prussian battalions, but over the years I have reduced my army to about 12 battalions (about the amount of figures that I can carry in the trunk of my car to a wargame at Bill Protz's house).

On at least four occasions I organized and hosted large mega-games at a local hotel for our SYW games. We played SYW versions of Rossbach, Gettysburg, Aspern-Essling and Austerlitz with our BAR armies and had 20+ players in each game. It was really amazing to see so many troops spread across two or three 6ft wide by 20 feet long game tables. I was always enamored with Peter Gilder's Wargame Holiday Center and Grand Manner style of gaming, and this is what I attempted to recreaate in these large games. All were fought under the Imaginations banners of Gallia and Germania.

So I have nothing but warm feelings about Imaginations armies and wargames. I caught the wargaming bug, and the SYW bug in particular, from messers Grant and Young. If Imaginations were good enough for them, they are good enough for me too.


The concept of Imaginations has attracted a lot of gamers to the SYW era of historical minatures wargame. Anything that brings in new people to the hobby is something that should be celebrated, rather than disparaged.

As I said earlier, there are a lot of different approaches to the hobby and the diversity of ideas on how to wargame is one of the things that make this such a great hobby to pursue. 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Map of Hesse Seewald in Central Germania Theatre of War

Hesse Seeewald in the central Germanian theatre of war.

We are pleased to announce that our most righteous royal sovereign, King Georg Ludwig II, has commissioned a recent drawing of a map depicting the location of the Kingdom of Hesse Seewald in central Germania. The highly respected cartographer,  Jakob Birkenbeil & Sons, accepted the commission and has presented the map included with this report.

The Key Players in the Final Arguement of Kings
A perusal of the map highlights the Kingdom of Hesse Seewald in green, the vile Duchy of Saxony in red and the contested territory of the Grand Duchy of Altenburg in purple. Other countries of note include Prussia in blue, Bohemia in brown-orange and the latter's ally, the Bishopric of Wurzburg also in brown-orange.

Allies of Hesse Seewald include the Duchies of Hesse Kassel, Hanover and Brunswick and the Principality of Anhalt.

The Saxons can count on Bohemia and Wurzburg as committed allies with the Kingdom of Bavaria leaning in their direction.

The neutral lands include the duchies of Anspach, Bayreuth, Mecklinburg and Lippe. Poland, of course, is a failed state that aligns with whichever army happens to be passing through it (usually the Russians).

The Grand Duchy of Altenburg is a contested land with both Saxony and Hesse Seewald claiming its ownership. It is a long and complicated story that dates back to the 14th Century and it is one that will have to be told on another day.

Brief Potted History of the Region
The territories of Anhalt, Altenburg, Bayreuth, Coburg are the "Saxon Duchies" over which many a war has been fought by Hesse Seewald and Saxony. In the most recent round of this decades long struggle, the Saxons invaded Altenburg in 1740 thereby setting off the gunpowder for the War of the Saxon Duchies. In 1742, the Hesse Seewald army marched into Altenburg to "rescue" the Grand Duchy from the unhappy grip of Saxony. A brief war lasted until 1744 when both sides agreed to a truce called the Treaty of Naumburg,  that called for a withdrawal of both armies from Altenburg. A codicile of the treaty was Saxon recognition of Hesse Seewald's acquisition of the Duchy of Saxe Coburg in 1735.

The Saxons had a great deal of incentive to end the conflict on their western border, for in 1745 they would make the unwise decision to abandon their alliance with the King of Prussia and join the Austrians in the Second Silesian War (1744 - 1745). The Saxons were crushed by the Prussians at the battle of Hohenfriedberg in 1745 and ended the year with two more losses in December of that year at Hennersdorf and Kesselsdorf.

The demise of Saxon fortunes in 1745 swung the pendulum in Hesse Seewald's favor, which has used the peace to increase its influence over the politics of Altenburg. There are some who believe that Georg Ludwig should take advantage of the current weakness in the Saxon state and outright annex the Grand Duchy of Altenburg.

Ever mindful of the impact that another war could have in this part of central Germania, diplomats from both Berlin and Vienna have been doing there best to keep Hesse Seewald and Saxony from resuming hostilities.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Garrison Regiment Beck

Garrison Regiment Beck

I had forgotten to show pictures of the most recent addition to the Hesse Seewald Heer: the Garrison I Battalion Beck. They are a snappy looking regiment clad in all green uniforms. The grenadier company is detached on permanent duty with the Grenadier Battalion Rochling.