Ile de la forteresse: 15mm SYW Islands Game


March 8, 2020 by wargamerchris

Some months ago, I bought a copy of Wargaming the Sugar Islands Campaign by Stuart Insch.  It is a nice, tidy publication which outlines the Martinique and Guadeloupe campaigns from the Seven Years War period – 1759.

20200304_0050598754246359228087166.jpgI don’t have 28mm SYW collections for the Caribbean – but I do I have multiple 15mm ones for the campaigns in North America and Europe though, and the idea for a home-based game for Black Powder emerged as I have been contemplating what to do with the excellent Caribbean Island game mat from Cigar Box Battles I got with their first  or perhaps second kickstarter some time ago.

20200304_0051296275287568360289234.jpgScenario:  French forces on the Islands have consolidated from three islands on the Isle de la forterese in the hopes of holding out until relief may arrive from France.  A British force of some 2 battalions of troops and a half battalion of Scots have arrived off the Isle and are lowering boats.


20200307_1805036751150593091417502.jpg20200304_0053028019770640275272200.jpgFrench Objectives:

  1. Prevent the governor from falling into British hands and conceding the islands
  2. Retain the majority of the town at the Western end of the island
  3. Hold the battery tower at the eastern end of the island.

British Objectives:

  1. Capture the governor
  2. Take the island – destroying or routing all French units, while having no more than 7 units (companies) break/ rout.



  • Mat by Cigar Box Battles w green 1″ insulation board cutout underneath to give the island some contours.
  • Troops:  15mm French and British – variety of manufacturers, mostly line infantry for both sides with a grenadier company for each British battalion, and two companies of Chasseurs for the French as well as two poorly-trained battalions of Island militia.

Were I to take this further, I would add some Caribbean troop types to my collection but I am happy as-is for now, and while much of the actual campaigns featured fewer troops and fit more of a large-skirmish format, I wanted to create a more dramatic sweeping game.  My 15mm SYW regiments are now companies, so pardon the extra figures w/ flags etc.

Rules we’re using are Black Powder 2nd edition.  We’ve been playing/ arguing through  the fourth turn so far.  The speed of landing boats has been fixed at 6″ per move, and when a unit disembarks and forms up it takes a move, and the unit is automatically disordered for the remainder of that turn.  This is the trickiest part of the game adaptation so far.

I should mention that one of t he great features of the game mat are the three breaks in the cliffs with paths to access the upper part of the island off the beaches.  These three breaks then become the focus of both attacker/ defender as the British chose to assault two of three simultaneously, and the French are easily able to use their interior lines to warm the reception at both so to speak – with only a small unit of Chasseurs to guard the third.


So in the first four turns, the righteous British commander (me) has largely failed to have an impact on the French and militia forces on the high bluffs around the island.  I will add the photos and post this now, and if the game satisfactorily concludes, we’ll add a follow up post…


Two companies and a small battery approach the pier and the west draw – the French player immediately brings more forces to bear….


The first ashore – including the Lt Col and the supply marker for the western battalion


A view of the eastern beach – where the companies are taking casualties but may actually get to grips with the French next turn.


One can see the French player applying the forward defense to his dispositions at the West beach



Stats for the units came from The Last Argument of Kings as well as some additional improvisation for the militia and grenadier units.

2 thoughts on “Ile de la forteresse: 15mm SYW Islands Game

  1. Pete S/ SP says:

    That looks like it was a great game- I love the terrain. Inspiring stuff.




  2. Very impressive, I shall send a link to Stuart re this. His next publication should be ready by May


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Small Soldiers

I’m a father, soldier, wargamer and traveler. This site is for my kids and to share my work over half a lifetime musing on the history of warriors and the portrayal of their efforts in miniature.  I’ve never really known why I do this

Wargame Rules

Rules I’m gaming with now:

Lions Rampant/ Dragons Rampant
Black Powder
Age of Eagles/ Age of Valor/ Fire and Fury
Force on Force/ Ambush Alley/ Ambush Z!
Hail Caesar
Command Decision: Test of Battle
Battles for Empire 2
Pride of Lions
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Sword and Spear/ Sword and Spear Fantasy
Regimental Fire and Fury
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Chain of Command
Sharpe Practice 2
Wilderness Wars
Test of Honour
Field of Battle
Pike and Shotte (Warlord)
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Flames of War – Vietnamese/ WW2

Rules I still need to find to make my life better:

15mm Napoleonic mass battles rules (holy grail)
15mm War of the Spanish Succession mass battle rules
15mm Zombie mass battle rules


Command Decision Test of Battle Forum:

Din of Battle:

Henry Hyde’s Site:

Dan Mersey – author of a couple of rules sets we like:


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Wasatch Front HMGS (Journals):


Big Force on Force (Great modern gaming)

Last Stand Dan:


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