A thousand years ago, when I was a university student, I remember my professor commenting that the SYW/FIW could reasonably be called the first world war. It is because England and France flailed at each other in Europe, North America, and India, that gives it that flavor. France entered in on Austria's side, because because Louis XV's Madame Pomadour decided to end the emnity with the emperor and remove Prussia as a threat. England joined to keep France in line, and changed its relationship with Austria in the process. Russia joined in because her Empress saw an opportunity to pick up property in East Prussia but switched sides when she died and her Prussia/Frederick fan brother came to the throne.
England sent troops, not too many, and lots of money to help out Prussia. She kept her real forces to kick the French out of India once and for all and to gain control of North America. So, the real winner of that one was England.
Fair conclusion. I think the title ''the real 1st WW'' or similar, was used years ago (I was a student too) in some mag, I think it was Military History or Command Magazine. And yes, the Brits played the most clever game among all participants.
By the way, I, too, love this sumbject, the war in N. America was the subject of the 1st history book I ever read.
Contrary to what many people think, 7YW are NOT the best solution to represent French or British. The Prussians wore that miserable, economy-inspired tight tunic with no cuffs (suitably called ''prussian'' at the time), the same that was universally worn after the 7YW (say, during the AWI or the Fr. Rev).
We need French and British with that distinct War-of-the Spanish/Austrian-Succession look: voluminous coats and cuffs, and waistbelts OVER the coat.