Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Game Review: Warfare in the Age of Reason

Cover Art

Dear Reader,

Today I have the extreme privilege of reviewing an excellent miniatures rule set- the product of many years of discussing the period in question. Warfare in the Age of Reason, by Tod Kershner and Dale Wood, was the first wargame rule set which I tried for the Kabinettskriege era. They attempt to provide a rule set for roughly 1700 to 1783, or from the Great Northern War to the American War of Independence.

Warfare in the Age of Reason is highly enjoyable- one of its finer features. The game is fast-moving, allowing players to move through fairly large conflicts in reasonable time spans. I have wargamed many battles with this system, including battles from the western German theatre of the SYW, the Seven Years' War in North America, the Battle of Campo-Santo in the War of Austrian Succession, and others.

This rule-set combines historical accuracy with the need to move along game play, and troop movement, infantry fire, and artillery fire are all very historically accurate and well thought out. The battle withdrawal chart, and the use of multiples of 6 as a factor for inflicting casualties make the game easy to understand and enjoy.

In fact, I would encourage anyone new to Kabinettskriege era wargaming to begin with these rules. While I believe that the Final Argument of Kings rule-set by Dean West is slightly more historically accurate, (and I will review it in an upcoming post,) Warfare in the Age of Reason is unsurpassed in the areas of ease-of-learning, playability, and coverage of the whole of the Eighteenth century. While Final Argument of Kings may be more historically accurate, and Batailles de L'Ancien Regime may look more impressive on a grand scale, no other rule-set gives the player the ability to quickly become familiar with such a large period.

Troops based for Age of Reason

Indeed,  the other rule-sets above only attempt to cover the 1740-1763 period. Warfare in the Age of Reason does justice to the 1700-1783 period, and is highly enjoyable to boot. In addition, Warfare in the Age of Reason alone, among all the eighteenth century rule-sets, gives a bibliography and further reading suggestions, which make again, make it useful for an introduction to the period.

If you only want to buy one eighteenth century rule-set, start here, with Warfare in the Age of Reason. Even if, as in my case, you move on to different rule sets, Warfare in the Age of Reason is a necessary starting place, and will give gamers new to the period a foundation to understanding the basics of eighteenth century warfare.

Thanks for Reading,

Alex Burns


  1. Thanks for this. I am planning some SYW/F&I games for after christmas. I shall look for a cheap second hand copy of the rulebook.

  2. Moved to publish but I forgot a question. Do you think these rules are suitable for the skirmish or F&I type of game?

  3. Pierre- I believe that these rules could be modified for a skirmish or F&I type game- as there are rules for Native Americans. However, it is designed with larger conflict in mind, be that conflict in Europe or America. With that being said, my cousin and I once modified these rules for a skirmish between two Native American groups, and the result was quite enjoyable! I forgot to mention in my review, for European conflict, there is a world map, campaign rules, and rules concerning siege warfare. Thanks for the comment!