‘Tricorn’: My Seven Years War Variant of ‘Shako’ Rules

Well it’s taken a while, but here is the first draft of Tricorn, being my adaptation of Shako Napoleonic rules for the wars of the mid-18th Century. 

Tricorn has actually been around since the mid-1990s, when the Wargames Association of South Pembrokeshire (W.A.S.P.) used it to fight the battles resulting from a massive War of Austrian Succession campaign that I organised and umpired.  Although we didn’t use it for Napoleonic wargaming, we found Shako (with some modification) to be be ideal for our needs, being sufficiently fast-playing to play a reasonably large 12-turn campaign battle in a single evening and also great for playing large historical refights to a conclusion in a single day.  However, while Tricorn existed in our heads, we never actually got around to writing it down!  Then, having perhaps having had ‘too much of a good thing’ during the campaign, we moved on to other projects and Tricorn (along with the Seven Years War) was largely forgotten until late in 2020, when I played a Shako 2nd Edition game with my new chum Phil Portway. 

That game (in which Phil’s French were absolutely trounced by my frankly rubbish Spanish army; I may have mentioned it before, but I mention it here again in case anyone missed it) set my mind whirring and I was determined to finally set Tricorn down on paper!  Of course, a procrastinator’s work is never done, so ‘flash to bang’ has taken 18 months!  That said, the time spent thinking about it has enabled us to have several playtests and make several minor (and some major) refinements to the rules.  

Although these rules are aimed initially at the Seven Years War, they’re also eminently suitable for the War of Austrian Succession, the War of Polish Succession and the Silesian Wars in the European Theatre.  I will expand these to include North America, India, the Turkish Wars and the ’45 Jacobite Rebellion and I’ll also add army lists for pick-up games.

Note that this is not a complete ruleset and you’ll need a set (or at least an understanding) of Shako rules to play Tricorn.  These are designed primarily with Shako 1st Edition in mind, though will work perfectly well with 2nd Edition.  I’ve cherry-picked a few of the vanishingly-rare elements of 2nd Edition that I liked (e.g. generals’ initiative and divisional morale results), but quite a lot of the rules below are specifically related to removing things that 2nd Edition brought in!  🙂 In the ‘unlikely’ event of a dispute between players, these Quick Reference Sheets (and the conversion notes, which will follow in a future post) take precedence, then the 1st Edition rulebook over 2nd Edition.

Feel free to cut’n’paste these four Quick Reference Sheets.  They’re graphics files, so just right-click on them to save them and/or print them off.

In a future post I’ll detail the various rule changes more fully and illustrate some examples of play, but these QRSs should be enough to get experienced Shako players started for now.

Also feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comments section below and I’ll answer them as best I can.  If there are any amendments to be made, I’ll come back to amend this page, so that the correct version is always in one place on my blog.  Amendments will be listed at the bottom and the version number will always be shown for each Quick Reference Sheet (to make things easier for myself, the version number on each QRS will only change if that QRS has been amended, so each QRS might have a different version number). 

I’ve added a ‘Tricorn Rules Resources’ button to the list of categories on the right of the page, which will provide a link straight back to here, without having to wade through dozens of other posts relating to scenarios, games, units, etc.

Lastly, my thanks must go to Phil Portway, Andy James, Mike Eynon, Peter Williams and Lewys Phillips at The Carmarthen Old Guard for the recent play-tests and encouragement, as well as the ‘Old Guard’ at W.A.S.P. for the original concept and playtesting; Gareth Beamish, Jase Evans, Al Broughton, Martin Small, Andy James (again!), Chris Jones, Chris Howells, Rob Wright and Bruce Castle, as well as our much-missed friends Doug Weatherall and Sidney Jones, to whom Tricorn is dedicated.

[Edited to add: These rules are designed for play with 15mm figures.  My typical frontages for units are 60mm for an infantry battalion of 12 figures (80mm for a large unit of 16 figures), 75mm for a cavalry regiment of 12 figures (100mm for a large unit of 16 figures) and 40mm for an artillery battery (single gun plus crew).]

[QRS Page 1 (above) edited 1 May 22 to v1.1: Artillery will stagger a target if it equals or exceeds the MR of the target (the same as musketry).  This was an error copied over from the original Shako 1st Edition QRS, but we’ve always played it this way and it was actually changed for the 2nd Edition.  Thanks to Maurizio for pointing it out.]

[QRS Page 1 edited 16 May 22 to v1.2:  Skirmishers hit on a 5 or 6, not 6 as previously written.  Thanks again to Maurizio for noticing the error.]

[QRS Page 2 edited 16 May 22 to v1.1: French infantry may now move at Column speed (8 inches) when formed in Ordre Profond, but may only wheel at half speed.  The ‘French Stuff’ section on Page 4 has also been amended accordingly.]

[QRS Page 3 edited 16 May 22 to v1.1: Cavalry units providing rear support may not be Blown.]

[QRS Page 4 edited 16 May 22 to v1.1: French infantry may now move at Column speed (8 inches) when formed in Ordre Profond, but may only wheel at half speed.  Additionally, two battalions may not form Ordre Profond if one or both are Staggered.]

Designer’s Notes

If you’re familiar with Shako 1st Edition, you might be wondering why I’ve bothered, considering that the rules included a page of Seven Years War rules.  Here are a few of my random thoughts, in no particular order:

1.  The original ‘SYW Supplement’ included some incorrect assumptions for the period, especially with regard to brigade organisation, which the rules assumed to be the same as a Napoleonic division.  This is not correct; brigades were essentially the same as they were in the Napoleonic Wars, being typically 4-6 infantry battalions or 2-4 cavalry regiments strong in most armies and commanded by the equivalent of a Major General.  In the 18th Century, divisional-sized bodies of troops were known by various non-standard titles such as Corps, Wing, Division, Line, Column, etc, but they usually amounted to much the same thing as a Napoleonic division, usually being commanded by the equivalent of a Lieutenant General and comprising two or more brigades.

2.  To compound the above, the rules went on to state that rear support had to come from troops of a different formation.  While that was often the case with regard to brigades, it wasn’t true of higher formations.  When deployed for battle, an army would be divided into divisions/corps/wings (typically Centre, Left, Right, Left Cavalry, Right Cavalry and perhaps Reserve, Advance Guard and Rear Guard – these last two often formed largely of light troops), with a general taking command of each sector of the line.  These could each then form a number of lines within their own sector and therefore be self-supporting.  Formations did occasionally support the rear of other formations (e.g. the Old Dessauer’s Second Line at Mollwitz), but this wasn’t typical.

3.  In the original Shako rules. infantry battalions in line formation were far too vulnerable to frontal cavalry attack without forming an unhistorical phalanx of battalion squares, as not only do the cavalry often get better factors than the infantry, the infantry are immediately broken if they lose.  Cavalry (especially heavy cavalry) are also a lot more numerous during this period, making it doubly dangerous to be a footslogger when using Shako.  Hasty squares were disallowed in the Shako SYW Supplement rules, but squares formed during the player’s movement phase were not.  Historically, successful frontal cavalry charges against well-formed lines of infantry were incredibly rare during the period and this is what prompted the need for ‘Solid Lines’.  Cavalry can still win against them, but the chances of doing so are massively reduced.

4.  Artillery was hopelessly under-ranged in Shako.  Time after time when setting up historical scenarios, we’d find that batteries placed in their historical positions were a very long way out of range of the targets they were historically damaging by fire.

5.  Manoeuvring in line formation using the original rules was very, very slow, particularly when wheeling.  This is what prompted the increase in infantry movement speed and removal of the 50% movement penalty when wheeling.  The arbitrary limit of 45 degrees when wheeling in line isn’t to everyone’s taste, but it does stop the ‘nippy small unit wheeling on to a flank’ syndrome without slowing down larger formations and its a mechanism used in other rules systems for the same reason (e.g. Fire & Fury).

6.  Infantry movement rates have also been increased (from 4 inches to 6 inches in line) in order to speed things up.  Musketry range and rear support distance have also been increased to match (at 15mm scale these were all 4 inches, now they’re all 6 inches) and this also means that you now have just enough room to place two battalions in column on the flanks, between the two lines of an army (standard Prussian practice) and still be able to give rear support with the second line.

7.  I was never fan of the single movement rate for all cavalry types.  There are arguments for and against having different movement-rates, but I simply like the different cavalry types to have advantages and disadvantages beyond their baseline combat/morale factor.  However, you’ll note that unlike the infantry movement, I haven’t massively increased their movement rate and in the case of heavy cavalry it has actually been reduced.  Cavalry simply didn’t spend their time galloping around the battlefield at full pelt and most manoeuvres were performed at the walk.

8.  The most controversial of all the rule changes was the Cavalry Fatigue rule.  This was something we brought in almost immediately with my original group at W.A.S.P., as it was a mechanism we were already familiar with from Napoleon’s Battles and it worked well.  However, the lads at Carmarthen Old Guard weren’t convinced… until we played the Lobositz scenario, when the cavalry battle just went on and on and on and on and on… so much so that the infantry lines never got to fight!  The Cavalry Fatigue rule represents the cumulative fatigue effects of combat on the horses, as well as the attritional losses, men detached to escort prisoners, etc, etc.  It’s clear from reading the writings of cavalry commanders such as Von Warnery, that cavalry once committed to combat, were essentially a one-shot weapon to be husbanded until the critical moment.  An infantryman could fight all day if he had to, but horses quickly became blown when too much was asked of them.  As an optional rule for campaigns, casualties accrued from cavalry fatigue could be marked separately and restored to the unit after the tactical battle.

9.  I brought in flank and rear support bonuses for cavalry in order to encourage players to keep their cavalry in linear formations.  Our Lobositz playtest quickly degenerated into a confused and swirling mass of units, with little attempt at formation cohesion.  There didn’t seem to be any reason not to bring in this rule and it’s worked well in subsequent games.  However, this rule only applies against other cavalry, as it might otherwise make it too easy for cavalry to overcome infantry by cunning use of support modifiers.

10.  I’ve allowed rear support bonuses for infantry assaulting towns and fortifications, as these assaults were often conducted in deep, columnar formations formed by successive battalions in line and it therefore seemed appropriate to encourage those tactics.

11.  In Shako we often found that occupied towns could simply be bypassed and ignored.  Consequently we allow the garrisons of towns to fire as skirmishers (though out to 6 inches rather than the full 8 inches) and this helps to make them more of a thorn in the side of an attacker.  However, I’ve reduced town-defender’s firepower against charges on the town, as the amount of fire generated by the defender is simply not going to be anything like the firepower of a battalion volley and it’s also split around the perimeter.  I’ve also made a slight change in that the defender has to fire at each attacker individually.

12.  Battalion Guns are the aspect we probably agonised over the most.  Early playtests demonstrated that large numbers of battalion guns, if classed as regular Light Foot Artillery, could have an enormous (and unhistorical) impact on the game.  We initially tried abstracting them into infantry firepower, but that proved unsatisfactory, so they were brought back onto the table as physical gun models, though with reduced firepower when compared to other artillery and their range reduced to reflect their infantry close-support role (and reflecting Frederick’s ‘Instructions’, which dictated that Battalion Guns open fire at no more than 1,000 yards and switch to canister at 500 yards).

13.  The French ‘Ordre Profond’ formation was added late in the day and still needs to be playtested.  It might prove to be too fiddly and may therefore be relegated to ‘Optional Rules’.

14.  I’m still mulling over rules for the Prussian-style attack in ‘Oblique Order’; mainly because no two authors can quite agree on exactly what Frederick’s ‘Oblique Order’ actually was!  I was thinking that for that classic ‘advance in echelon’, as seen at Leuthen and Zinna, we could extend the front and rear lines of a unit forward and backward by 2 inches, thus allowing Flank Support to units deployed in that manner.  I don’t think that giving ‘Solid Line’ status to such a formation would be appropriate, however.

15. Oh and I only used the term ‘Solid Line’ because I couldn’t think of a better phrase… Please do suggest a better one!

Anyway, enough waffling… 

Sorry for the slow output since February!  Mrs Fawr has been rather ill and that’s consequently stolen much of my available time and mojo for writing.  I have however, been painting like a demon, have written some scenarios and played a couple of games, so there’s plenty to come.

This entry was posted in Eighteenth Century, Seven Years War & War of Austrian Succession, Shako Rules, Tricorn (18th Century Shako Rules), Tricorn Rules Resources. Bookmark the permalink.

62 Responses to ‘Tricorn’: My Seven Years War Variant of ‘Shako’ Rules

  1. Andy James says:

    At last!

  2. steven says:

    I thoroughly approve of any rule set where the Spanish can do some trouncing.

  3. iainfuller69 says:

    Say hello to Phil for me. I used to be a club mate of his at the SLW.
    Also, I’ve been very much liking the SYW posts.

  4. Andrew McGuire says:

    Very pleased to see these. I take it those QRS’s are downloadable? And now, on to Kepi, I assume?

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Hi Andrew,

      Yes, just right-click and save each one as a picture. 🙂

      No, I think I’ll leave it there with rules named after period-specific headgear… 😉



  5. Andrew McGuire says:

    Aw, not even Stocking Cap? What am I supposed to look forward to now?

  6. Gary Amos says:

    A truly excellent piece of work, thanks! Now off to get my 7YW stuff . . . .

  7. Pingback: The Combat of Zinna 1759: A Scenario for ‘Tricorn’ | Jemima Fawr's Miniature Wargames Blog

  8. Maurizio says:

    Thanks for uploading the charts!
    I have noticed that the artillery’s die roll needs to exceed the target’s MR to score a hit
    while small arms can also equal it.

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Thanks Maurizio! And thanks for highlighting that. I’d never even noticed, but that’s what it says on the original Shako 1st Edition playsheet. Strangely, we’ve always played it like the Musketry rule; that is, if they EQUAL the target’s MR they stagger the target. I don’t have Shako 2nd Edition to hand right now, but I’m sure that you need to EQUAL the target’s MR, so that must be something they changed for the 2nd Edition.

      With that in mind, I’ll amend the QRS and we’ll go with EQUALING the target (which is how we’ve always played it anyway!).

      Thanks very much for pointing out the discrepancy! 🙂


      • Maurizio says:

        While we are here, how do you define a formation?
        Maybe something like the first line of the right wing?

        • jemima_fawr says:

          I’ve just discovered that the 1st Edition rulebook actually says ‘Equal or Exceed’, so it was an error in the Shako 1st Edition QRS. That obviously explains why we’ve always played ‘equal or exceed’! Thanks very much for highlighting it and it’s been corrected now. 🙂

          My apologies for not posting the expanded explanatory notes yet, but yes, a formation can essentially be whatever you want it to be! Usually a divisional-sized formation of multiple brigades, but we’ve just played a game with cavalry ‘wings’ consisting of just single units and that worked just fine. If you’re looking at historical orbats, you’re usually looking for the formations commanded by ‘Generallieutenants’ or ‘Feldmarschalleutnants’, but it doesn’t really matter if you go for smaller formations to (for example) just keep cavalry in one formation and infantry in another. Remember though that it if you have very large formations they will be very inflexible, as they’ll all be on the same set of orders. Conversely, if you have lots of small ‘nippy’ formations, you’ll struggle to change their orders with only one or two ADCs.

          In the near-future I will expand on the orders section, including new orders ‘Support’ and ‘Retire’. We’re also looking at options for Corps, Line or Wing commanders to fill the chain of command between Army and Formation in very large battles.

          Have fun! 🙂

          • Maurizio says:

            Thanks again , very helpful.
            20 + years ago I posted a 7YW variant for Shako 1 on the old Yahoo group.
            Yours looks much nicer!

          • jemima_fawr says:

            Thank you! 🙂

            Back then we were also playing SYW Shako, using essentially this version, but didn’t have the internet or a printer, so it was all hand-written and now long-lost! I’m sure your version looked a lot better than ours did! 🙂

  9. Pingback: ‘Tricorn’ QRS Page 1 Amended to Version 1.1 | Jemima Fawr's Miniature Wargames Blog

  10. paul smith says:

    Hi Mark

    Many thanks for this. As my small group of wargamers are still trying to find a set of Seven Years War (SYW) rules for our 10mm figure collections that we like (after trying and failing to get along with ‘Black Powder’, ‘Age of Honor’ and ‘Honours of War’ for various reasons) I’m trying to decide if it is worth shelling out £37.50 for the main Shako II rules (trying to watch the penny’s!) so that we can give your SYW variant a go. Just one thing, our infantry units tend to have a frontage of a bit under 10cms and you mention that your infantry battalions (with 15mm figures) have 6cms frontage. Now I am presuming that the actual number of figures in a unit is irrelevant (is that correct?), so was wondering if the different frontages would actually have an effect or not (also given the fact that musket range is 6 inches)? Hope that makes sense and grateful for any thoughts.

    Cheers Paul

    • jemima_fawr says:

      Hi Paul,

      Yeah, Shako does go for silly money these days (1st Edition was a tenner in the 90s and that was double the normal going rate!), but perhaps invest as a group…?

      Re frontage: The critical thing (certainly with the Prussians) is that they routinely put two battalion-columns on the flanks between the two lines. In an emergency, those two battalions would turn outwards as lines and ‘box off’ the whole formation. So the frontage of those two battalions needs to be less than the rear support distance and therefore musketry range, as the second line was placed within musket-shot of the first. I hope that makes sense, but it is interesting how all the ‘bits’ interrelate.

      I did think about including range modifiers for musketry (short and long), but decided against it as an unnecessary additional complication.



      • George Banic says:

        G’day Mark,

        It’s been a while since I checked out your site, had previously been tracking your progress with 10mm ACW and F&F rules, with great interest. In fact, I was so inspired I went out and bought a couple of ACW armies in 10mm as well. Now I see you have launched (back) into one of my other pet periods, the SYW, and that old itch as started to, … itch, again! 🙂

        I had previously had 15mm armies for this period and was using ‘Age of Reason’ rules. I have since picked up ‘Honours of War’ on recommendation from a friend, but in the meantime had sold off all my 15mm stuff. I have a copy of Shako V1, so am very interested in your ‘Tricorn’ adaptation.

        That said, what I am missing at present is armies to play the period! I intend to go with Pendraken 10mm, but would appreciate any advice you may have to offer on the practicalities of that scale with your Tricorn rules.

        With 10mm, I have previously run with 40mm frontage bases with 10 figs per base, i,e, two ranks of five, with each such base representing a battalion. I used this configuration for the Franco-Prussian War, using house rules by a friend with an adaptation of the ‘1870’ rules basing requirements.

        I could probably bring the 10mm SYW figures in closer to get 12 figs to a 40mm base. I note you are using 60mm frontage with your 15mm figs, so I would be hoping to get six 10mm figs for every four 15mm figs on your basing style to get a better mass effect.

        You appear to have a mix of basing for your 15mm infantry (either that or my eyesight is crap), I think I saw battalions with either a single 60mm frontage base, or three 20mm frontage bases? If so, is there any benefit to running with 3 x 20mm frontage bases per (standard) battalion? I’m thinking about road march, crossing bridges, passing through towns. Also, is there any need for a battalion to be able to refuse flank, in which case, three individual bases would be handy for this manoeuvre/formation?

        Just confirming also that you have all your cavalry mounted on a single 60mm frontage base, in two ranks? Is there any variation in numbers of figures per cavalry unit/type? Do you also distinguish or represent squadron sized units?

        I note you had Grenzers in skirmish order, also apparently on 60mm frontage bases. I think the examples I saw in the photos were single 60mm bases, but did you also base skirmishers on 20mm frontage bases (e.g. 3 x bases per skirmisher battalion)? If so, any advantage either way regarding single or multiple skirmisher basing? I note in one of your comments you mentioned that Grenadiers could also be used for skirmishing, if so, how are the Grenadiers based for this role? I would expect the Grenadiers are typically based as line infantry, to be used in the firing line, do you need a duplicate unit in skirmish order to be able to deploy Grenadiers as skirmishers?

        Do you distinguish heavy/light artillery by the number of crew figures, i.e. more crew for the larger calibre guns? I’m thinking of using this technique to make it easier to pick out the type of arty at tabletop viewing distance.

        Happy for you to respond off-line to save clogging up you website with noob questions!



        • jemima_fawr says:

          Cheers George!

          40mm battalion frontages are perfect; just reduce everything by a third – 4 inches instead of 6 inches for musketry and rear-support.

          Yes, my infantry are all on 60mm frontage for a ‘normal’ battalion and 80mm for a large battalion. I started out basing everything to match my Napoleonic collection, on four-figure bases with 20mm frontage and 25mm depth, but my mate Doug started basing his Austrians on single battalion-bases to speed up games and to make it easier to see the division between battalions when they were all lined up in the firing-line. It worked really well, so I followed suit, though my older battalions remain based as before. When deployed in column we use MDF arrows to indicate the direction of march.

          For cavalry a ‘normal’ regiment has 75mm frontage (originally three four-figure bases 25mm wide by 55mm deep) and a large regiment has 10mm frontage. For the French, in most cases a unit actually represents a brigade of three tiny regiments. For most British Dragoons and Horse, as well as Hanoverian and Hessian Horse, a unit represents two regiments, so I do two 6-figure bases (the RHG, 1st KDGs, 15th LDs, Hanoverian Dragoons and Hessian Dragoons being full-sized, 12-figure units). When I do cossacks I reduce the number of figures to make them look more ‘irregular’, as the number of figures isn’t important. Some of the very tiny regiments such as the single-squadron Prussian Garde du Corps, Hanoverian Garde du Corps and Hanoverian Grenadiers a Cheval are too small to represent, though could be tacked on as a stand to bump a unit up to a Large unit.

          At the other extreme, some of the VERY large units, such as two-battalion Prussian Hussar and Dragoon regiments are represented by two units (two Large units, in the case of the Prussian 5th & 6th Dragoons). French Carabiniers are a tricky one, with their five ‘Brigades’, but best represented by two units. French Gendarmerie de France by a single Large unit.

          In inherited more Grenzer from Doug than I think served in the Austrian Army at 1:1 scale… 🙂 I rebased them as ‘dense’ skirmish-screens, 5 or 6 to a base. I had the bright idea that I could then shove two skirmish screens together (one behind the other) when they’re fighting as a formed unit. I’m not sure if I like that idea yet… When I did the Freikorps I did the traditional formed battalion, plus two alternative skirmish-bases.

          I do need to get some skirmishing Austrian Grenadiers (for which I’ll use firing-line figures). Austrian grenadiers are an odd one in that they were maintained as independent companies and used for a wide variety of tasks, only brought together as grenadier battalions on relatively rare occasions. Consequently, companies could be detailed off on special tasks such as guarding the baggage, holding the end of a street, deploying as picquets/skirmishers. etc. I take the view that such tasks were detailed in the Orders of the Day, so they spend the entire game either as skirmishers or as formed infantry and can’t switch between the two modes during a game (same goes for dismounting French dragoons). There never seemed to be the tactical flexibility seen in later wars.

          I do tend to use three figures for light guns and four for heavies, but it’s not set in stone and I’ll often use four figures for a rare artillery unit such as horse artillery or small Imperial contingents. I also find that I’ve NEVER got the right numbers of the right sort of guns for any given scenario, so I use labels and they are what the label says they are! If the label says that a 12pdr model is a 3pdr battalion gun, then that’s what it is… 🙂 As it happens, I’m presently conducting a massive expansion of my battalion guns!



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  14. George Banic says:

    G’day Mark,

    Many thanks for your speedy response and particularly the comprehensiveness of your answers, has been a great help! I am yet to locate my old copy of Shako (packed away during a house move), so am going off what I have seen on your website descriptions and photos as a mental prompt for things to consider or otherwise nut out.

    You’ve opened a bit of a can of worms for me with your answer regarding the different nationalities you mentioned and corresponding variations in unit sizes. With my 15mm effort, I had a Hanoverian and Russian army, my mate had the Prussians, Bavarians, Austrians and French. So yes, I had a bit of a problem trying to figure out how to represent the Hanoverian Garde du Corps and Grenadiers a Cheval, in fact I think I brigaded them together to make one ‘standard size’ elite unit from memory.

    This time around I’m looking to get two opposing armies but have yet to settle on the theatre and nationalities. Leaning towards Austrian and Prussians, but I do still have a soft spot for the Hanoverians!

    I note you had some ‘fun’ figuring out how to represent battalion guns on the tabletop. As a side question, are you using any particular ratios for artillery pieces per artillery base in your games, both for battalion guns and also battery pieces? My references are a bit light on organisation details, so have not found info on how many guns per battery were used in the SYW, but from memory I don’t think there was much standardisation e.g. 6 or 8 guns per battery ala Napoleonic period etc. I remember Frederick the Great having his 12 pdrs in 10 gun batteries. Most of the SYW battles and stats I have only list the numbers of guns and maybe calibre/type, but no real info on the organisation of the guns into batteries, so just wondering how you dealt with arty to determine number of arty bases to use per battle.

    As you may have guessed, I’m trying to determine what ratios I need to apply to order infantry, cav and arty for my prospective armies. I’ll have a look at what a 40mm base with 12 x 10mm scale figs looks like, compared to your standard of 60mm frontage, just to satisfy myself on the aesthetics. Will do a similar mock up for the cav. Once I figure out a ratio to use for arty bases, I’ll have all the info I need to place an order for another mountain of 10mm goodies – to add to the paint queue!



    • jemima_fawr says:

      Hi George,

      Yes, it would be a shame not to have those Hanoverian elite squadrons, so I might field them as a full unit and then bump a French regiment up to full strength as compensation. 🙂

      As you say, battery size was fairly random during the period, but I use a core ratio of 1:8. So a model gun represents roughly 5-9 guns. As you say, 10-gun 12pdrs seemed to be a Prussian speciality and I tend to represent those with two models, though try to average it out across the army at 1:8.

      Most armies had 2 battalion guns per battalion, so that becomes 1 model per four battalions. Some had a lower ratio with only one gun per battalion (e.g. French and most Reichsarmee), so 1 model per 8 battalions. Bear in mind that semi-permanent grenadier battalions, such as Prussian & British, had battalion guns permanently assigned, whereas ad hoc grenadier battalions such as Austrian/Imperial would have guns allocated on the day from the army artillery park. E.g. the seven Austrian grenadier battalions at Moys had only two guns attached in total, whereas the ten Prussian grenadier battalions at the battle each had two guns permanently assigned.

      The Prussians moved generally from 3pdr to 6pdr battalion guns during the war, but I don’t treat them any differently. They were doctrinally to provide close-range fire-support, regardless of calibre. The exact-same types of guns in Light Batteries will therefore have better gunnery stats, but that stems from the Battery guns having a greater degree of concentration and fire-control. I would however, tend to ignore the 1pdr Amusettes issued to Grenzer battalions.

      The Prussians also tended to move generally away from light position batteries, leaving the 3pdrs and 6pdrs to the battalion gun detachments, with position batteries being primarily 12pdrs and heavier. Everyone else had position batteries of various calibres.

      Working out the number of guns for a historical scenario can be a nightmare, as they often didn’t count battalion guns in the overall number and/or didn’t separate by calibre or class of gun and it’s frequently down to guesswork. For example, if you have an Austrian or Prussian army with 40 battalions and 70 guns, I’d start by subtracting the number of battalions (40) from the gun-total and dividing by 4 to get the number of battalion gun models (10). However, don’t count Austrian Grenadier battalions or Grenzer battalions. That leaves you with 30 guns. Divide by 8 again and round to the nearest = 4. For the Prussians I’d assume that at least three of those would be heavy batteries. For the Austrians I’d go for 1 or 2 heavy batteries, but no more than half.

      One day I’ll do some army lists… 🙂



    • jemima_fawr says:

      Oh and another can or worms is that the sheer array of gun calibres and barrel ‘weights’ (e.g. light 12pdrs, heavy 6pdrs, 8pdrs, 9pdrs, etc) might warrant the creation of a Medium Battery class… Just to use one example; a British 9pdr could outrange a lot of 12pdrs (especially the Prussian Light 12pdr ‘Brummer’), so the traditional ‘heavy gun = longer range’ idea doesn’t work in all cases.

  15. George Banic says:

    Hi Mark,

    Copy all. Again, very many thanks for taking the time to write such a fulsome response, has been extremely helpful.

    I like your approach to the elite squadron sized units, just flesh them out to full size units and compensate the other side, very elegant! That said, did you ever consider using squadrons as the tactical units for cavalry? I believe in the period we are looking at, orbats and battles were usually described in term of battalions and squadrons. Obviously you put a lot of thought into your Tricorn rules, so wondered if you’d considered the scale of the game in such a way, i.e. battalions and squadrons of cavalry as the manoeuvre and combat units?

    Thanks heaps for your thoughts on artillery and conversion of orbats to tabletop bases, that’s been a massive help straight up. Copy your closing comment on the variety of gun calibers and the non-intuitive variations in ranges! Are you considering adding that layer of granularity to the rules? Noting your example comparing British 9pdrs with Prussian 12pdr ‘Brummers’, would you be looking at the range performance of Heavy artillery but the ‘to hit’ performance of Light artillery for your ‘Medium’ artillery stats?

    Quick question on the ‘Brummers’, I thought they were ‘heavy guns’ in the usual sense of the term, both weight of shot and long range; and that Frederick had introduced a light 12pdr, which didn’t perform to expectations? I could well and truly be off the mark on that though, but just thought to check, and more than happy to be corrected. Don’t know what the visual differences are between the various gun calibers (e.g. barrel size) and carriages, so no doubt I’ll be using your technique and applying a label to each arty base to specify what it is for each game, very practical!

    I have yet to find my copy of Shako but I did manage to find my copy of ‘Honours of War’. Not sure if I read this in your blog or someone else’s, but apparently HoW missed the mark in representing SYW combat? If it was you that said that, did you explain why in any of your posts? I’d be very keen to read the critique. Happy for a link to the post to save you typing! If there wasn’t a rationale why HoW failed to please, no need to write an answer. I’ll just keep the thought in the back of my mind as I’m reading through the rules.

    Thanks again for your time and effort in responding. I am genuinely looking forward to giving Tricorn a run as soon as possible. I’ll mock up some paper bases or something while I’m waiting for figures to arrive to at least try out the mechanics.



    • jemima_fawr says:

      Hi George,

      Sorry, I was getting my Brummers mixed up with my Light Conical-Chamber 12pdrs! Yes, it was the new, light 12pdrs that I was thinking of as being rather anaemic. 🙂

      Re Squadrons v Regiments: I’ve had the argument a few times and my firm opinion is that while they listed squadrons separately for tradition’s sake, they were normally committed to battle as regiments; squadrons from the same regiment acting as a tactical whole. Similarly, grenadier companies were also often listed separately in orders of battle (especially in the Austro-Imperial armies), but were normally only committed to battle after being formed into tactical battalions.

      No, it wasn’t me re HoW, sorry. I’ve not come across those rules, sorry. The only SYW rules I’ve played are Shako’s SYW Supplement, Kriegskunst and Warfare in the Age of Reason and all of them a very long time ago! 🙂



      • George Banic says:

        Hi Mark,

        Again, very many thanks for your response!

        Copy your position on Cav sqns, I don’t mind either way but am happy to run with Cav Reg’ts as a more practical representation on the tabletop.

        Thanks for pointing out the issue in the use of Cav Sqn and Grenadier company terminology. I was under the impression from a couple of references that I was going to have to field Austrian grenadiers in company sized penny packets rather than having them as converged battalions, very grateful for the clarification!

        On a different tack, I subscribed to your blog a day or so ago, then realised that yours is the only blog or website I’ve ever subscribed to! There’s heaps that I visit regularly enough, but none that elicited a desire to subscribe. So kudos to you, for what it’s worth! 🙂

        Looking forward to reading more about your efforts from now on!



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  20. jemima_fawr says:

    I’ve been toying with some ideas based loosely on the original Shako Optional Rules for generals:

    * Generals (either Divisional Commanders or Army Commanders) may attach or detach themselves to a unit under their command and within 12 inches at the start of the turn (before the Artillery Phase). Leave the HQ marker in place, but add an extra marker (e.g. a mounted officer figure) to show the personal attachment.

    * An attached Poor or Average general will increase the unit’s Morale Rating (MR) by one level (even a bad general can have his moment). An attached Good or Excellent general will increase the unit’s MR by two levels. The modified MR may not exceed 7 and the Disordered Morale Rating may not exceed 2.

    * If the unit to which the general is attached is Broken, the general will be killed/captured on a roll of 4,5,6 and will be replaced by a Poor general at the start of the following turn.

    * If the unit to which the general is attached retreats, the general will be killed/captured on a roll of 6 and will be replaced by a Poor general at the start of the following turn.

    * If a formation is broken the general will be killed/captured on a roll of 6 (this is only really relevant to campaign games).

    * If a general is killed/captured, the formation must roll on the Formation Morale Table during the following Command Phase, applying a -1 modifier. Use the next ‘step’ of the table; e.g. if the division hasn’t yet rolled for Formation Morale, use the 1/3rd casualties step. If it’s already rolled for 1/3rd casualties, use the 1/2 casualties step. If it’s already rolled for 1/2 casualties, roll again applying the -1 modifier. If the Army Commander is killed/captured, use the same method at the various ‘steps’ on the Army Morale Table.

    * Attached Divisional Commanders may not receive orders from the C-in-C during that turn the ADC marker waits at their headquarters until the next Command Phase in which the general is unattached).

    * Attached Army Commanders may not transmit orders during turns in which they are attached to a unit.

    * Generals NOT attached to individual units apply their generalship rating to Formation Morale rolls (Note that I’m already going to add a -1 morale modifier for formations that are already Demoralised).

    * The Army Headquarters may move during the Movement Phase, provided that the Army Commander is not attached to a unit. The Army Headquarters may not transmit orders during the turn in which it moves.

  21. Pingback: Tricorn SYW Rules: Some Generalship Ideas & Playtest Rules | Jemima Fawr's Miniature Wargames Blog

  22. Andrew McGuire says:

    Just a little heads up for anyone looking for a copy of 1st edition Shako: Caliver Books is listing a copy described as ‘near fine’ for £121.

    • jemima_fawr says:


    • jemima_fawr says:

      You can have my copy for the knock-down bargain price of £100! 🙂

      • Andrew McGuire says:

        Thank you for the kind offer but I already have two copies, one that I bought for the original price of £10 22 or 23 years ago (current whereabouts unknown) and a second that I bought via eBay this year, prompted by the publication of your amendments, for £25, that I was less than happy with at the time but now regard as a very sound investment that at the current rate of OOP rules inflation may offer me the best chance of a comfortable retirement.

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