Sunday 22 January 2012

Go Telyermum!

I will, of course, be using the Ager Proelii rules set recently published in Miniature Wargames (issue 345 January 2012) to fight this Telamon style scenario.
After deployment, I rolled D12s for army die and command quality for each side’s command group leaders. The Gallic army came off best with a D12 army die and sequence deck. The Romans got a D10 army die and deck. Leadership rolls were very average for both sides.

Next I totted up the unit integrity of both armies. The Gallic army mustered only 100 unit integrity points. The combined Roman armies mustered a whopping 150 unit integrity. This disparity is largely due to the larger units making up the Gallic army – larger units gain a smaller number of unit integrity in relation to their size than ‘standard’ sized units.

Dividing the unit integrity value by 12 gave the number of army characterisation cards that each army would receive: Gallic 8. Roman 12.

The characterisation cards gave the Gallic army 43 army morale chips (poker chips in the photo) and two characterisation sequence cards – Wild Card and Aggressive.

Note that the pictured sequence cards are not the ones published with the rules in Miniature Wargames (which are quite plain), these are my personal decks (for my own use) that feature pictures downloaded from google images. Covering my arse, I think they might not be all available under copyright permissions – but who knows?

The Romans got 61 army morale chips and three characterisation sequence cards – Like Hail, Deft Cavalry, and By Saturn!!

The game is now set to go. I’ll leave you with a few extra close up shots.

Friday 20 January 2012


I've set up the following battle, which I'm calling Telyermum, to be fought next Wednesday night. I thought is was time to fight a battle without a Carthaginian element, and so I came up with this.

The dispositions are loosely based on the battle of Telamon 225BC. It was at this battle that an army sized Gallic raiding force of 50 - 70,000 men was attacked, as it retreated back to Transalpine Gaul with its loot, by more than 100,000 Romans and allies attacking from two directions.

The most interesting fact about the battle is recreated in my scenario - the Gallic army is facing in two directions and fighting back to back against the Roman pincer movement. I have chosen to fight slightly more evenly matched forces and given the Gallic army better defencive terrain.

All figures are Renegade. The Gallic army is 12 chariots, 80 cavalry, 396 war band infantry plus command stands. The Roman army is 64 cavalry, 576 infantry plus command stands.

Tuesday 17 January 2012

Weapons and Warfare in Renaissance Europe by B.S. Hall

I have just finished reading Weapons and Warfare in Renaissance Europe by Bert S. Hall.

It examines several aspects of warfare in the later middle ages and sixteenth century, but concentrates on the effect of gunpowder in western Europe, gunpowder production, gunpowder weapon development and tactics, and its consequences in relation to other military arms and tactical development (heavy cavalry and pike squares).

It is a fine and detailed study, and although there was nothing that I did not know already (outside of gunpowder production and how it works - it is not as simple as "it goes bang"), it does state WHAT IS KNOWN about firearms and tactics very clearly.

One thing, which I found most interesting, was his interpretation of arquebus "volleys" during the Battle of Pavia. He has deduced that the volley fire came about due to the heavy fog. The arquebusier being 'loaded', saw a unit of French loom out of the mist at close range and fired at all at once, the French unit would disappear back into the mist and having no target the arquebusier would reload and await the next target looming out of the mist. I can see this, and it is a very clever conclusion as to how fire control during this battle was different to that in other battles - they were allowed time to reload because the French could not see them, at a distance, to launch an organised charge against them. The mist became 'the wall' for the arquebusier to operate behind.

The book is a good addition to my library. I can recommend it in the 'further reading' category for those with a keen interest in 16th Century warfare. It does not provide much in the way of information that will be directly useful for 'war gaming the period'.

I bought it from Amazon; it is a fine second hand copy in hardback, which I managed to pick up at a similar price to a new paper back (£18.50 including postage). This is something I've noticed before, and I much prefer hardbacks, even if they are not exactly in perfect condition.

Friday 6 January 2012

Ravignano set up - Italian Wars rule set playtest

I am still doing some basic play testing of Thirst of War and Blood. This time I have set up a field battle centred on control of some high-ground.

The armies are historical but, they are out of time and place. The French army is based on that at the Battle of Marignano 1515; the Spanish / Papal army is based on that at the Battle of Ravenna 1512. Numbers were taken from Renaissance Battles 1494 - 1700 Vol.1 by Peter Sides, except that there are no war carts, I have put the Papal infantry at 4000 rather than 2000, and I have given the Papal light cavalry crossbows rather than arquebus (of the latter I am, temporarily, short). Figure scale is between 1:40 and 1:60 - I'm not much of a bean counter.

To make life interesting (this is a solo game) I have added an off table force – The Medici Black Bands – which will arrive on a Stratagem card, as off table flank reserves, on the French left / Spanish right. I have not decided which side they will end up fighting for. This will be decided by a roll of the dice.

The French Army comprises: 1500 Gendarmes, 9000 Landsknechts, 4000 French pikemen, 2000 Gascon Crossbow, 500 French light horse, artillery.

The Spanish / Papal Army comprises: 1800 Italian Men-at-arms, 450 Spanish Men-at-arms, 900 light horse, 800 Genitors, 8000 Spanish infantry in four brigaded coronelas, 4000 Papal infantry, artillery.

I aim to play this game out over the next few days. I'll try and take some shots of the action and provide a narrative account.

Tuesday 3 January 2012

The Battle of Fastapasta - Well it was good for me

The Venetians cross the stream threatening the Imperial flank, which is only lightly defended, whilst a frontal assault is launched by their heavy cavalry in support.

Meanwhile, feeling a little unsupported and wasted in the grounds of the abbey, the Spanish coronela there begins to pull back.

The French turn a Group Melee card. They use it to launch the Venetians into the fray with mixed, but not unexpected, results. Along the river bank the Venetian troops make steady progress against the mounted crossbow units sent to hold them. At the works, the Venetian cavalry are routed with heavy loss - the French are now handing morale chips to the Imperials.

The Imperials turn a melee card - they must fight all ongoing melees. The Landsknechts rout the coronela facing them and advance to take the ground. When things are going for you ride the wave: The French pike, inferior to the Spanish on the slope above them, still manage to hold their own in what is proving a hard fought contest. The Imperials have had enough, the coronela recently withdrawn to the rear walls of the abbey, risking blue on blue, pour in fire.

Just in range! The French are still riding that wave! A big dice roll is in order - 10 Vs 1 - that will do - 3 unit integrity loss. Ouch!!!  

The next thing that happens - the French win a swing of 9 impetus - and the Gods of War are with them. 

Everywhere the French advance, fighting as they go. What's more they win almost everywhere they fight. Only the French pike finally break - but they fought well and distracted the Spanish reserve long enough for the rest of the Franco - Venetian force to break into the camp.

End Game. The Spanish are now handing morale to the French and they are running everywhere.

And that is where I ended it. The surprise, was the immense amount of French luck. On zero morale they almost managed to cycle their deck avoiding the their Army Morale cards whilst a zero morale. As for the rules in general, well the quick reference sheet is a hotch
-potch of highlighter pen and pencil scribbles, with several rules changing, or being added, mid game. On the whole things went quite well. I'll try another solo game this week - there is no official game scheduled here this week.

Sunday 1 January 2012

More Italian Porn - Fastapasta, Turn 2

Turn 2 of the Fastapasta game sees action become general. It also sees the French and Venetians reach a single morale chip, having lost over forty during the game, whilst the Imperialists and their Papal allies sit pretty with twenty one. The only way the French can win, but I'm getting ahead of myself: Turn 2.

Whilst the Imperial Landsknechts attempt to evict the Swiss from 'the outpost', with little success,..........

.......the Venetians begin to cross the bog and stream to the flank of the Imperial camp......

.....and the French and Venetian main force storm the outer defences.

 After a fierce fight the Landsknechts force the Swiss out of 'the outpost' but are spent in doing so. Meanwhile the Swiss have rallied several UI losses and are ready to renew the assault.

Note the Genitor cavalry which has worked behind the Swiss and is harassing them at every opportunity.
Then, to make matters worse, the Imperial commander is killed trying to rally the Imperialist pike - all of his units are vexed.

The French turn a Group March and there Venetian command moves into position.....

........and then almost immediately turn Chow Bella - they declare it as a melee card for the French pike and Landsknechts.

"Here they come!"

In a series of dashing melees the french and Landsknechts storm and penetrate the defences. But the Venetians are held.

The French pike push on into the camp. Advancing uphill into the reserve Spanish coronela they receive a crashing volley of arquebus fire that the French will find hard to rally.

At 'the outpost' things go badly for the Imperialists - the Landsknechts break.

Things are not going well for the French either, the Venetian pike is forced back from the works then showered with arquebus fire until it falls back in great disorder.

So endeth Turn 2. The French are breaking into the camp everywhere, but they have expended so many morale chips in UI losses, and UI rallies, that they must win just about everything from now on without failing army morale checks en route. Here are some general close of turn shots.