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First of the great dynastic struggles of the eighteenth century, the War of Spanish Succession involved most of Europe. A state which did not back up its policies with troops in this period probably supplied them as mercenaries to those which did.

Central to the causes of conflict were the expansionist ambitions of Louis XIV, King of France, which were opposed by a series of shifting alliances. Towering over the period is the figure of John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, and his close ally Prince Eugene of Savoy.

This is the classic campaigning period. Each year, the armies marched across Europe is a colossal chess game on a board constricted by river barriers and studded with fortresses. These manoeuvres culminated in great set-piece battles, including Marlborough’s ‘big four’: Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde and Malplaquet.

The War of Spanish Succession has much to recommend it to wargamers; uniforms were colourful (but are simple to paint.) and manoeuvres were bold and forceful. Standing armies were in their relative infancy at this time, and the period saw the founding of traditions which were to last the centuries.

Polemos War of Spanish Succession is specifically aimed at enabling the wargamer to fight large scale actions; actual battles, rather than small scale skirmishes. Systems for firing, melee and morale are straightforward and easy to learn, but allow your troops to emulate the tactics used by their historical counterparts. For instance, troops using the platoon firing system have improved close range factors, while others using fire by ranks are allowed to be more aggressive.

The basic playing piece in Polemos is the Base. An army consists of a number of bases, organised into Brigades and Commands, either to an historical model or by the use of army lists. The size of armies in this period varied enormously; in Polemos WoSS, a general’s command can be from eight to 15 bases, but an army can comprise anything from two commands upwards.

Polemos War of Spanish Succession is designed to not only give the feel of command in the period, but also to give something of the look. The actual number or composition of figures on a base is unimportant, but it should mount enough figures to make it look like a real unit of troops. The sight of your lines of steady musketeers or massed cavalry advancing across the table should fill your opponent with awe and trepidation!

Unit Representation and organisation

In Polemos WoSS, a base may represent the following:


  • Between 400 and 600 infantry – a single battalion of foot, a couple of smaller ones or a group of sub units
  • A base of British Foot
  • Two to three squadrons of cavalry.
  • A base of Bavarian Cuirassiers
  • Up to four artillery pieces.

Cavalry and infantry are organised into brigades of at least two bases; a number of brigades comprise a command.

A Brigade of three British Foot bases



Ground scales and basing

All distances in Polemos games are expressed in Base Widths (BW) and Base Depths (BD) in order to allow the use of differing base sizes. A BD is half a BW.
One base width represents 200 paces.
One base depth represents 100 paces.

This system means that any size can be used for bases, so no rebasing is required so long as both sides are consistent. We believe that a 60mm x 30mm base gives the best results in terms of both practical use and visual impact. All Baccus 6mm Polemos army and booster packs are organised on this basis.

Using a BW of 60mm, a six foot long table represents about three miles – about the length of the French front line at Malplaquet!

Polemos War of Spanish Succession rules include suggestions for campaign gaming and solo play.