1718: Death of a King

1718: Death of a King is the second game in The Scandinavian Wars Trilogy from Pantero Games.  The other games are 1814: The Norwegian War of Independence and 1905: Days of Decision.

The game is a strategic level analysis of the Swedish invasions of Norway in 1716 and 1718. 

 

The Scenario/Background:

After the disastrous loss at Poltava in 1709, and a long period spent as the guest of the Ottoman sultan, Charles XII returned to Sweden and was eager to revive fortunes in the Great Northern War which had turned decidedly our for the Swedes in his absence. 

The first attempt took place in March 1716, when Charles XII led a Swedish invasion army across the border into Norway. After heavy skirmishes in the border areas with Norwegian forces led by Col. Kruse, the two invading Swedish forces joined up and forced their way to the capital of Norway, Christiania (Oslo). Here they occupied the city and laid siege to the mighty Akershus Fortress. The Norwegian forces chose a defensive strategy, establishing fortified lines west and north of Christiania. After several attacks on these lines, the Swedes sent a force of 500 cavalry to outflank the lines, but were discovered by Norwegian spies and met heavy resistance by farmers militia and dragoon units at Harestua, north of Christiania. At Norderhov, the entire Swedish flanking force was surrounded and captured by Norwegian units. The Swedish position became untenable as time moved into April, especially since they had left strong Norwegian fortresses at Frederikshald (Modern day Halden) and Fredrikstad, that were now used by Norwegian forces as bases for guerrilla patrols and attacks on Swedish supply and post-lines back to Sweden. On July 8th 1716, the Norwegian commander Petter Wessel Tordenskiold took his squadron of just seven ships and defeated a Swedish fleet of 44 ships at Dynekilen, capturing or destroying  25 of them including all the heavy siege artillery. Charles XII promptly abandoned his siege of Akershus fortress, and, save for an attempt to storm Fredriksten fortress at Halden, the Swedish army returned to Sweden by the end of May 1716.

In 1718 Sweden invaded Norway again, hoping this time to capture an important bargaining chip for peace talks with Denmark.

In the north, Gen. Armfeldt led a force of some 10,000 men into Trøndelag county in Norway, aiming to capture Trondheim and thereby cutting Norway in half. The Swedish force skirmished with strong Norwegian defensive positions, and were forced to manoeuvre around the county in search of food and fodder- a task that became increasingly difficult. Upon hearing of the death of King Charles XII, Gen. Armfeldt led his force back across the mountains into Sweden,in what has become know as the Carolean Death March. Continuously harassed by Norwegian snipers and guerrillas, the Swedish army started crossing the mountains in the dead of winter, and on January 1st they were surprised by a heavy blizzard. 3,000 Swedish soldiers froze to death in the mountains, and stragglers were still arriving in Swedish villages a month after the disaster. Even today, one can still find remnants of the lost army in the mountains.

Charles XII once again led the southern army of some 30,000 soldiers himself, this time determined not to repeat the mistakes form 1716. His first target was the mighty Fredriksten fortress in Halden, which had caused him so much trouble in 1716. On November 30th, he peaked above the siege lines and was hit by a bullet to the head, killing him instantly. Where the bullet came from has never been conclusively established,although most likely it came from a lucky shot from the fortress. There were however, and still is, speculations that he might have been shot by one of his own officers.

The war dragged on until 1720, with the Norwegians, commanded by Tordenskiold, going on the offensive and capturing the mighty fortress at Marstrand in Bohuslän in 1719.

Rules

All three games in the Scandinavian Wars Trilogy will use the same set of basic rules, the same basic map board and the counters and markers will be similar in design, although with certain period specific features. The game is of low-to medium complexity, and is solitaire playable.

 

There will be a set of additional rules for each game to account for historical differences, for instance the use of siege artillery in 1718 and machine guns in 1905.

Time

Each Turn represents two days of actual time, and the game runs for a maximum of 15 Turns - roughly one month of fighting. 

 

The Map

The map will be based on an area movement system that we feel better captures the nature of the campaigns in this area, than did the hexagon based system we used for the 2018 release of 1814. This will be on a mounted map board (in two or three sections) covering the border areas between Norway and Sweden, from Gothenburg to Trondheim. Each area has a dominant terrain, which represents the dominant terrain in the region,and this influences the combat and movement of units.

The Units

The military units that fought,or could have fought, in this war, are represented by 300 cardboard counters. The counters will be relatively large at 3/4" (we may even go up to 1" size) with some markers in 5/8" size. Each unit is given a combat factor which influences how strong it is in combat.

The military units are Cavalry, Dragoons, Infantry (Grenadiers and musketeers), Jaegers/Sharpshooters, Ski Jaegers, Artillery, Engineers and Pontoons. The units have a morale value from 0 to 3, which influences battle results.

In addition there are separate counters for named officers, as well as a few generic officers that are used for moving forces around the map and influencing battle outcomes. Officers can be killed in battles. There are also some other units/markers that are used to mark certain locations and events on the map,

 

Movement

Units move across the map from area to area, either via a road or through terrain which affects how far they can move each round.

Mounted units have an intrinsic movement allowance, whereas foot units must be accompanied by an officer to move, using the allowance of the officer.

Jaeger units can also move independently and can also ignore the additional movement cost of certain types of terrain.

 

There is a chit pull system for the activation of units, simulating the problems of relaying orders and coordinating units larger than brigade size during this time.The Swedish field army did have more experience in operating in larger formations, but the terrain in Norway prevented coordinated operations of forces much larger than brigades,in many cases coordinating a few battalions would be challenging enough.

 

Combat

Combat results are decided by totalling the combat factors of both sides, and rolling a six-sided die. This die roll is then modified by things like officers command values, terrain,weather, supply, morale etc., yielding a final roll,which is then referenced on the Combat Results Table to find the outcome of the battle.

Combat results are implemented immediately.

 

Units of battalion size and larger can never be destroyed completely (representing the relatively small nature of the battles in this area) but can be demoralised and/or forced to retreat. Smaller units can be destroyed in combat, meaning that they have stopped functioning as a unit,not that everyone in the unit have been killed.

 

Generally the Swedes enjoy better training, better supplies and more fire power, the Norwegians have advantages in mobility and skirmish ability, employing ski troops and light infantry (jaegers/sharpshooters) to harass and identify Swedish units.

Victory

Victory is determined by Victory Points, which are awarded for achieving the objectives of either side.

If the Swedish player side does not achieve his victory conditions after 15 Turns, the game is a Norwegian tactical win.

 

For the Swedish side, the objective is in general to gain control of Norwegian key Victory areas and lowering the Norwegian National Morale Index.

For the Norwegians the objective is simply to prevent the Swedes from gaining a strategic or tactical victory (a stalemate is, by definition, a Norwegian win). The Norwegian side also scores victory points for demoralising Swedish units, and for keeping the National Morale Index above the threshold.

 

Random Events

Random events will influence the war. These include adverse weather conditions, illness and/or death of key officers, political events in Europe and elsewhere etc.

 

Pre-order the games in the Scandinavian Wars Trilogy now

1 game £40, 2 games £75, all 3 games £100

Shipping

UK: £5

EU: £8

ROW: £15

Games to the EU will be shipped from within the EU to avoid customs issues after Brexit.

 

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