Saturday, 31 December 2011

How to cook Fastapasta

The above shot shows the Battle of Fastapasta at the end of turn one. I used the embryonic "Thirst of War and Blood" to fight the battle. Over the last couple of weeks these rules, in their tabular form, have received much attention and 'on paper play-testing'. They are still not right, but they are certainly getting there. 

In the very first initiative the French turn a march card. On the far side of the field the French command, including the Swiss pike, rolls more and triple - three moves! The Swiss have a D12 combat die and, moving their combat die in inches, advance 36" in a single bound. This is a game of decision; as in real war, once the enemy starts to move it is often too late to transmit orders to intervene - which is often far too easy in most war games, where things are signposted by movement rates that are far too short. 

What is more, they have rolled even so can initiate a melee versus the Landsknecht pike square. They win the first round. The Landsknechts only save themselves from rout by expending a morale chip to invoke stubborn status - they have lost less unit integrity (UI) than the total number of rear rank stands - to convert a rout into a push back.

Almost immediately the French turn a melee card, on a won 'lull card' roll where the initiative can be stolen, and must resolve the ongoing melee. This time the advance of the Swiss is slowed - a hard fought melee, the Swiss still have the advantage but the sheer weight of the Landsknecht pike square is beginning to tell.

The Swiss storm the earthworks (below) rolling over the artillery and into contact with the Landsknechts. This will prove to be important later....

The French turn an officer check card and rally back their losses. (I've used some nice contemporary portraits on the leadership quality markers - this one is Alfonso of Ferrara).

In the next round of melee a draw is obtained - more UI losses but no advantage to either side.

Then the Imperialists turn "Four horsemen"; a characterisation card. It gives four extra impetus points to turn cards! It enables the Imperials to position themselves against the French attack which looks like it is about to become general.

The battle between the Swiss and Landsknechts continues on every melee card that is turned. The fight turns dramatically in the Landsknechts favour, but they are unable to take full advantage because they are pinned by the other Swiss pike square.

On the other side of the field the advance of the French Landsknechts and Picard pike is slowed dramatically by well timed artillery fire. Both squares are vexed and move at half speed.

 Then the turn ends on an equal roll, in this case double ones.

Below are some shots of the field at 'turn end'. They show that much more went on in the turn (of 17 impetus each) than is pictured in detail above.

The Fight between Landsknechts and Swiss.
The Imperialists rush their Papal allies to guard the rear of the camp. 
The Imperial camp under attack.
Here they come!

I'm fighting this one solo. I aim to get in several more turns over the next few days. I'll try and do a similar report for all.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

The Battle of Fastapasta - Deployments

Having fought a battle on similar terrain over the last two weeks, Peter and I liked it so much we decided to use it again but on a larger table with more room behind the Imperial camp. The scenario is quite simple, the French and Venetian force must destroy the forces of the HRE and the Pope by attacking them in their well situated camp.

The Battle of Fastapasta will be fought next Wednesday night.

French Deployment

Much of the main French Venetian force in front of the camp is pictured here.

Pike: 180 figs
Shot and crossbow: 72 figs
Gendarmes and other heavy cavalry: 32 figs
Light cavalry: 16 figs
Guns: 3 models and crew

To the left of the troops pictured above, Gascon crossbowmen are advancing through the woods toward the priory.

I've decided to do infantry skirmishers 3 to a stand (60mm frontage x 45mm deep). I'm not going to penalise skirmish fire when formed up 'deep' as they represent troops moving about (front to back and vice versa) to shoot and reload, but their depth will make them a better target - Dn1 for skirmish, Up1 for being deep.

Venetian Stradiots. Poorly situated behind the bulk of the Venetian force. Fully based, I like my depiction of 'cavalry skirmish' on extra depth bases even more.
Venetian pike and shot at the crest of the long ridge.
French Landsknechts - bloody traitors!

The French flanking force. A very powerful force including Swiss pike and Medici's Black Bands.

Swiss pike: 108 figs
Shot: 32 figs
Gendarmes: 16 figs
Light cavalry: 16 figs

Imperial Deployment

The main Imperial camp. The bulk of the Imperial and Papal forces are here.
Coronelas: 144 figs 
Papal infantry: 92 figs
Heavy cavalry: 16 figs
Light cavalry: 16 figs
Guns: 2 models plus crew
Brigaded coronela, Papal crossbows and artillery man the defences.
Romagnol pikemen in red slashed white stand ready to support.

In the background (on the road) a Spanish officer takes his dog for a stroll before the commencement of battle.
The priory is manned by Spanish veterans - woe betide any attackers here!
Spanish and Papal cavalry stand in reserve to plug any breaches.
The outpost. Guarding, what was thought to be, the only bridge over the major river to the rear of the camp this contingent has been surprised to see the French - the French must have put a pontoon across the river somewhere downstream.

Landsknecht pikemen: 90
Italian shot: 12
Heavy cavalry: 8
Genitors: 16
Guns: 1 model plus crew

Imperial banners - my own personal favourites; it's the eagles.
 The Imperial artillery emplaced outside the village.

Actually, it is a shot of my newest building; which I you like too.

Hopefully, with spare time between now and next Wednesday and having purchased two new bottles of brown acrylic ink today, I might manage to finish the basing before we start playing. I'll post some shots and a report on how the rules are coming on.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Thirst of War and Blood - Italian Wars

Peter and I have started to work on a new set of rules for fighting battles set during the Italian Wars period. Last night we started play testing the basics. The rules have a working title: Thirst of War and Blood. The title comes from a satirising of Europe, in 1522, by Erasmus.
  "These are the instruments, you must know, that are still irritating Kings to thirst of War and Blood under the splendid notion of Empire and Glory: and with the same art and industry they inflame the spirits of the Nobility likewise and of the Common People."

The test game I set up uses most troop types and terrain. It is clear that the rules will be quite an easy task to get right as most of the donkey work on basic mechanisms has already been done for the 'Ager' series - melee with pointy sticks doesn't change much over time! It is more a matter of giving the rules a distinctive period feel; which will be harder but rewarding.

Here are some shots of the battle. The troops are on newly sized bases, but the bases are unfinished - thankfully they are not, being dull brown, too stark.

The French are attacking the armed camp of the Spanish and their Papal Allies. The Spanish are rushing reinforcements to the camp.

The Spanish reinforcements arrive just in the nick of time.

The French flanking attack appears - Medici is here!

French pike assault the outer defences and break into the camp before being checked by a newly arrived brigaded coronela.

The battle at the barricades and ditch is in full swing. The French Landslnechts are being held back under muderous fire from artillery and Spanish arquebusier. The battle is in the balance.

Peter and I will finish this battle next week. I hope you like the look of things to come.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Ager Proelii - Publication announcement


Ager Proelii (Field of Battle, or more accurately Field of Engagement) is a set of period specific war game rules for the Punic Wars. The original working title was Ager Sanguinis Punic Wars. The rules follow the base mechanics of Piquet Inc.'s Field of Battle by Brent Oman, some very neat ideas from Classic Piquet by Bob Jones, and some ideas of my own.  

Ager Proelii will be published by Miniature Wargames in issue 345  (January 2012). The rules come as an advertisement free, 20 page centrefold pull out with cover page and card stock for scanning / photocopying. A full colour set of glossy rules for under a fiver - that's what I call a Christmas gift!

If you liked Ager Sanguinis (a rule set for the early Crusades) that were published by Miniature Wargames in 2009 / 2010 you'll like this set too (it seems that many of you did, as this edition is no longer available in hard copy). If your interest is in the Crusades, rather than the Punic Wars, but you liked Ager Sanguinis this edition of Miniature Wargames is not to missed. Many of the new (and better) mechanics, especially for game set up and melee, are easily transferable. Peter and I used these new mechanics in our recent Crusades campaign to very good effect.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Master for a Ravenna war cart

At Ravenna the Spanish and their Papal allies deployed somewhere between 30 and 70 war carts. These had been devised by Pedro Navarro. They were armed with heavy arquebus and were fitted with defencive spear points and scythes. From the description I have (given in F. Taylor's The Art of War in Italy 1494 - 1529) I have made the following model.



The wheels are by Irregular Miniatures, but the rest is constructed from Miliput and various odd bits of tube an metal. I will make a mould from RTV rubber so I can cast a few in white metal. The piece will be cast (without wheels) in three pieces, possibly four if I finish and fit the wooden 'gun shield'. I'll buy the wheels from Irregular Miniatures.

The gun shield is almost finished, but I'm not sure if I'll add it as I rather like the model as it is here.