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1814: The Norwegian War of Independence

The norwegian war if independence.png

During the Napoleonic wars, the Kingdoms of Denmark-Norway and Sweden found themselves on opposite sides, and fought several skirmishes in the border areas between the countries. In 1808, Sweden invaded Norway with the aim of capturing what was then a province in Denmark. The fighting was largely inconclusive, after some surprising Norwegian victories at Trangen and Lier.

In 1814, Sweden invaded again, this time encouraged by the Treaty of Kiel, which had given them control of Norway on account of Denmark being on the losing side of the war. Sweden had the backing of the great powers (UK, Russia), and the UK even actively supported Sweden by blockading the Norwegian coastline to prevent food and other supplies being shipped from Denmark.

Norway, in the meantime, had declared independence and written their own constitution, which was declared on May 17th 1814. The Swedish invasion hit the desperate Norwegian forces hard. The Norwegian army some 35,000 strong, although fairly large for a country of only 900,000 inhabitants, was suffering the consequences of the British blockade, and could not maintain a full field army for long. National morale was low in the Eastern parts where the war would actually be fought, whereas in the other parts of the country,morale was high, and the willingness to fight a war was considerably higher in these areas.


The Swedish forces of some 45,000 men were composed of both excellent, battle hardened troops in the Field Army, recently returned from Germany where it had fought against Napoleon and participated in large battles, and more questionable units in the Reserve army which had stayed at home and generally lacked supplies, training and equipment. 

Sweden planned to force Norway to surrender by capturing the border fortresses,and take the capital Christiania in a quick campaign,using their best troops with a couple of diversionary attacks to prevent the Norwegians from concentrating their forces.

The Norwegian defence plan relied on the use of prepared positions and natural obstacles like the Glomma river and Lake Oyeren. There were also field works built at strategic places that controlled the roads that the Swedes would have to use. Many Norwegian officers felt that a big opportunity was lost when the Norwegian command decided against invading Sweden in early 1814, when the Swedish field army was still in Germany. Would the Swedish home army have been able to stop a Norwegian invasion at the time?


In late July, the Swedes were ready and started the invasion, and all Norwegian thoughts of taking the fight to Sweden were gone. The result of the initial battles was once again an uneasy stalemate after initial Swedish success, but both sides knew it was just a matter of time before the superior Swedish forces would prevail. Norway, exhausted by warfare, low on supplies and close to starvation, had to accept a peace that placed it in a personal union with the King of Sweden as the Head of State, but kept its own parliament and constitution. There were strong voices though,that wanted to fight till the end, and resort to guerrilla warfare when the field army was destroyed,

This remained the situation until 1905, when the union was finally dissolved and Norway became fully independent,once again under threat of a Swedish invasion (a theme explored in our projected game "1905: Days of Decision".)

1814: The Norwegian War of Independence allows you to see what could have happened, had the cooler heads not prevailed and Norway had decided to fight till the bitter end...


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 for two players, as well as being 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.

There will be a few optional rules to add more realism in areas of supply, naval movement/combat etc.


There are two main scenarios in the 1814 game.

1. The Historical Scenario, where both armies start with their historical set up and the game lasts 12 rounds.


2. A What If scenario, exploring what might have happened if the Norwegians had decided to attack Sweden in the Spring of 1814, before the main Swedish army had returned from Germany. This is a race against time, where the Norwegians try to mobilise, supply and move their forces before the Swedes can bring their main army home.

In addition there will be a 1808 scenario, exploring the short fighting that took place in 1808, between a small Swedish army and the mobilised Norwegian forces.


Each Turn represents two days of actual time, and the game runs for a maximum of 12 Turns - roughly three weeks of fighting. Both armies would have struggled to maintain fighting much beyond this time, especially the Norwegians.


The Map

The map is 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. 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 primary terrain, which represents the dominant terrain in the region, and this influences the combat and movement of units. There are also secondary terrain features that influence movement and combat, including towns, villages, roads, bridges etc.

The Units

The military units that fought, or could have fought, in this war, are represented by 300 cardboard counters. The counters are relatively large at 1" with some markers in 3/4" size. Each unit is given a combat strength which influences how strong it is in combat before any modifiers are implemented.

The military units are Cavalry, Dragoons, Infantry (Grenadiers and Musketeers), Jaegers/Sharpshooters, Ski Jaegers, Artillery, Engineers and Pontoons. 

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, as well as a few counters used for optional rules for supply, naval combat/movement etc.



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. Some terrain features block movement for certain units, for instance only ski/units can cross mountains.

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 Swedish 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. Also, Norwegian officers were generally afforded more flexibility, whereas the Swedish command system was more rigid, and designed for coordinating large armies on the battlefields of Europe.



Units that move into an area occupied by opposing units must stop their movement and decide whether to attack or besiege the defending units. If the odds are 5-1 or more, the attacking player can choose to overrun the defender. if the defending unit is a Jaeger unit, the defender may choose to retreat instead of being overrun, handing control of the area to the attacker.

The attacker may attack with all, some or none of his units, and he must designate the units participating in the attack before the first round. He may also designate cavalry units as a follow up force, that will come into play if the defenders are forced to retreat, but will not influence the main battle. All defending units participate in the 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 score, 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 and the short time scale) but can be demoralised and/or forced to retreat. If demoralised twice, the unit is withdrawn from the game for three rounds, representing the need to regroup. 

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. Officers can be killed in combat.


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 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 12 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.


The Norwegian Army 1814
Note: These are playtest counters and the final design will likely not be exactly like these.
The Swedish Army 1814
Note: These are playtest counters and the final design will likely not be exactly like these.

Pre-order the games in the Scandinavian Wars Trilogy now

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


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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