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"Is AWI more Popular than SYW Wargaming?" Topic

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1,449 hits since 3 Nov 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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MiniPigs03 Nov 2018 7:24 a.m. PST

SYW seems like the bigger conflict with more big armies and battles but AWI seems to have more support in the community in terms of figures, boardgames etc. It would be interesting to hear opinions about which Period is more attractive for wargamers and why.

Winston Smith03 Nov 2018 7:34 a.m. PST

In my neck of the woods, they're about the same.
One guy puts on SYW games, and I do AWI.
Admittedly, he runs more games than I do.

21eRegt03 Nov 2018 7:55 a.m. PST

SYW by at least 3:1, maybe more in eastern, WI.

MajorB03 Nov 2018 8:19 a.m. PST

How do you measure popularity?

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP03 Nov 2018 8:48 a.m. PST

The Applause Meter, Major B. How else can it be done?

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP03 Nov 2018 9:26 a.m. PST

It's funny how that works. In our group AWI has always been more popular – for years. Recently, I started working on a Russian SYW Army using F&D / RSM Figures and now others are expressing interest in raising their own armies. Usually it just takes a combination of enthusiasm and 'new' figures to get the ball rolling.

axabrax03 Nov 2018 9:33 a.m. PST

Never seen a SYW game (other than FIW) anywhere on the US West Coast including conventions, although my eyes aren't everywhere. I think people often like to game their own country's history. I've seen a lot of AWI, especially in the last 2-3 years.

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP03 Nov 2018 9:45 a.m. PST

AWI is one of the few periods that I've never played with, or heard of being played by our group but 7YW is an old favourite of many of them.

FusilierDan Supporting Member of TMP03 Nov 2018 10:37 a.m. PST

I have armies for both but recently AWI have seen more action.

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP03 Nov 2018 11:41 a.m. PST

Are you including F&I in SYW, or just Europe?

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP03 Nov 2018 12:32 p.m. PST

We have played 8 or 10 SYW games in ky club and 0 AWI, in the past few years.

Personal logo miniMo Supporting Member of TMP03 Nov 2018 12:42 p.m. PST

SYW at the club here.

Old Contemptibles Supporting Member of TMP03 Nov 2018 12:43 p.m. PST

SYW here and abroad.

Gone Fishing03 Nov 2018 1:53 p.m. PST

I'd guess it partly depends on what country you are from. Outside of the US (and to a far lesser degree, the UK), does anyone really game the AWI?

historygamer Supporting Member of TMP03 Nov 2018 2:06 p.m. PST

Some do in the UK.

saltflats192903 Nov 2018 2:34 p.m. PST

AwI over SYW in our group.

Costanzo103 Nov 2018 6:47 p.m. PST


Doug MSC Supporting Member of TMP03 Nov 2018 7:02 p.m. PST

AWI & FIW here.

coopman03 Nov 2018 7:20 p.m. PST

It is in my house.

Spooner603 Nov 2018 10:18 p.m. PST

I think it is regional as well as by gaming group. My early days of gaming I played a lot of SYW, and these were big weekend long games. Last 18+ years I have played only a couple SYW games, as well as a couple of AWI games. When Honors of War came out I got back into SYW gaming and played a dozen games the last couple years. The last Year I got into AWI as I have played 10+ games of Sharp Practice and Last weekend ran a big game of BP2 AWI and will be running another one next weekend.

What would be interesting to know is how much AWI is played over in the British Iles.



Personal logo Doctor X Supporting Member of TMP04 Nov 2018 1:25 a.m. PST

AWI in my group.

martin goddard Sponsoring Member of TMP04 Nov 2018 2:44 a.m. PST

Locally at clubs the ratio is about 4 to 1 in favour of AWI. However that is only based on 7 wargames clubs I visit. Like many periods of warfare, some clubs love it and some don't. Thus in a group of say 12 regulars, if 3 of them like SCW and play it a lot, then that will seem to them to be a major period.
In addition many clubs have "movers and shakers". these might supply all the scenery and figures for WW1 games and those that turn up are happy to join in. Making WW1 the top period.
There are probably 1000 gaming groups in the UK (5 or more meting together).
The nature and status (small private groups, indoor activity not on show and lower social status) of miniature gaming means that the stats are hard if not impossible to know.

olicana05 Nov 2018 3:34 a.m. PST

I think it depends if you are in the USA. I guess the AWI is a big thing for the citizens of that country. Something you are taught about at school, etc. Over here, in Europe, I'm afraid, political and sovereign repercussions aside, it's seen as a 'small scale' niche period, though ideal for 'skirmish' games, or as a secondary interest mostly due to the size of the battles.

In the UK we don't learn about the AWI at school: In my day (born 1963) we mostly did Roman conquest, Norman conquest, Tudors and Protestantism, slavery, Industrial revolution, WW1 & women's suffrage, WW2 and aftermath which were largely seen as the 'safe' turning points in UK history (note nothing directly about British colonialism, or the bad 'etc.' stuff, even slavery was taught with an emphasis on how Britain fought to bring it to an end globally). I guess all 'State taught' history focuses on the 'good' stuff.

I read up long and hard before choosing which 'tricorn hat' period to go for (including AWI, FIW, even age of Marlborough) before going for eastern theatre SYW (Prussian, Russian, Austrian). Big battles but, not enormous.

Jeffers Supporting Member of TMP06 Nov 2018 3:18 p.m. PST

Well, at Magna Carta Skool in Egham circa 1979 we did a whole 40 minutes on how those wiley riflemen hid behind trees to pick off redcoats.

Oddly, my gateway into the AWI was Newbury Colonial rules. This would be 1983, when I bought them to use with my Peter Laing Zulu war figures. They had army lists for the AWI and I was intrigued as to how it could be considered a colonial war, so started reading the right books.

7YW? Never played a single game. In my house, loose files and American scramble is preferred…

dantheman Supporting Member of TMP06 Nov 2018 3:47 p.m. PST

I play and have both and I see both played about equally in my area. Question depends on where you are. If you look at the market however, there are a ton of 28mm AWI plastics and no SYW I know of.

Why do I mention this? Because to make profit on plastic you have to sell volume. Metals are much cheaper to develop for manufacture. Therefore, circumstantial evidence suggests AWI is a bigger market.

Bill N06 Nov 2018 6:58 p.m. PST

I think it varies from place to place.

Here the only 18th century wargaming is AWI. One guy started a Prussian 7YW army but nobody else had an army for him to fight.

Winston Smith06 Nov 2018 10:52 p.m. PST

Well, then they're Hessians. grin
Except the Kurassiers. And Hussars. And the…

Crazycoote07 Nov 2018 4:27 a.m. PST

I am in UK, and AWI is the only 18th c period I collect/game (although I started collecting GNW just recently – but not even unboxed yet).

To me the period is historically fascinating, tactically really challenging (as all transitional/unusual periods are) and very collectable with lots of different troop types and options.

What is a shame though is how much the focus is on purely the American theatre of the war (although understandably if you are in the US and it is part of your heritage). For the Brits the war became a global conflict vs France, Spain etc after '78, with huge campaigns in India, West Indies etc. If there were more knowledge, source material and miniatures available for that side of things, perhaps the AWI would be more popular with European gamers – at least catching up with SYW??

22ndFoot07 Nov 2018 7:55 a.m. PST

Follow the money at least two companies make 28mm plastic figures for the AWI and, presumably, make, or at least don't lose, money. Nobody is doing anything similar for the 7YW.

dantheman Supporting Member of TMP07 Nov 2018 1:49 p.m. PST


I agree. I have full naval fleets for the period. The maritime part of the conflict is more interesting to me than Nelson's era. More evenly balanced and a lot more fleet actions.

Crazycoote08 Nov 2018 3:54 a.m. PST


Completely agree!! The Naval campaigns were very balanced, far more so than those of the later French Revolutionary wars. Suffren vs Hughes is a particularly fascinating conflict, and very playable as a naval campaign with linked battles and rough parity of (modestly sized) fleets…

nugrim22 Jan 2019 4:48 p.m. PST

One factor in AWI popularity is that you only need two armies. I can't play SYW minicampaigns but can AWI

oldnorthstate23 Jan 2019 10:06 p.m. PST

AWI…no question.

MiniPigs31 Jan 2019 9:03 p.m. PST

It's funny that one of the appeals of AWI over SYW is that it is more self contained and mini in terms of battle sizes and yet the sheer variety of options for troop types can lead to large collections of figures.

seneffe15 Feb 2019 5:31 p.m. PST

Been playing WAS/SYW for 40 years. Never played AWI or come across anyone else who did. You do see the odd demo game at wargame shows in the UK- the small forces needed on table really allow enable the terrain and vignette builders to go to town.

I think it's a nice looking period- but it doesn't have the big battle drama of WSS/WAS/SYW- as a wargame spectacle. A really well staged European theatre C18th game takes a lot of beating.

To be honest- I've always found the campaigns in the AWI fascinating and much more interesting than the battles themselves. Actually vice versa in Europe- the battles were amazing if bloody spectacles but besieging market towns in Flanders or Westphalia that will almost always be given back at the end of the war isn't the most exciting strategic context…

The great exception is Marlborough's 1704 march to the Danube to keep Austria in the war, culminating at Blenheim. 100 years ahead of its time- and a really dramatic strategic background to a tactical masterpiece. Maybe Frederick's 1757 survival odyssey too.

MiniPigs16 Feb 2019 4:46 p.m. PST

Is SYW that popular? I always thought Napoleonics sucked the air out of it and that it was a period people loved reading about but not really gaming…same for French Revolutionary War, seems like people generally get sucked in the 1805 and beyond vortex.

I always found the AWI boring as a lad because it didnt have hell-bent-for-leather cavalry charges, massive casualties and odd ball leaders. Maybe because no one like a Christopher Duffy had written any colorful books on the topic which reduced it to a wargamer friendly book. Also, too much back story like Nathaniel Fiddlypants slept here and founded the sarsaparilla ink co in 1795

But now it's rather a cool period to me with some slouch like the ACW and some smartness like the SYW. Uniform diversity which I once thought of as too chaotic, I now consider a plus.

I think a small SYW wargame can also be fun but feel like it needs to be kept small. Maybe that's my opinion now for all wargames. I used to love bigger battles but find on a fraction of the troops ever get engaged anyway so a smaller battle can be every bit as exciting.

Brownand18 Feb 2019 2:05 a.m. PST

7YW by far, you can get small battles and big ones. Skirmishing no problem as is the cavalary charge.
It has almost all that AWI has, just no indians

Bill N18 Feb 2019 10:27 a.m. PST

I am not concerned whether one period is more popular than another. I just want my periods to be popular enough so there is a good supply of high quality figures allowing me to put reasonably complete armies on the table. It was the appearance of figures from Fife and Drum, Kings Mountain miniatures and plastic figures from Perry and Wargames Factory, more than an interest in the era, that got me back into AWI.

So why AWI? Similar conditions existed for Naps and 7YW. The reason was more important battles being fought by smaller sized armies. There are a number of important AWI battles involving 8,000 men or less total, and some that are roughly 3,000 men or less total. I could do most of the war in the Carolinas and Georgia with fewer than 1,000 figures at a ratio of 1:10. In Naps and even 7YW in Europe most actions this size would likely be considered skirmishes.

smog monster25 Feb 2019 12:57 a.m. PST

Never played either, However I'm in the process of painting up a Prussian and Austrian 6mm armies to use with Polenos 7YW rules (if ever such a mythical beast appears),and I do love books on the period. I haven't the slightest interest in small bands of ruffians having a dust up in the woods accompanied by marauding bands of Indians.

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