Category: Gunpowder Warfare

Black powder guns from arquebus to flintlock musket. I have chosen to start this period with the discovery of the New World (1492) and end it with the Siege of Sevastopol (1854–1855).
Sub-categories: New World, Italian Wars, Eighty Years’ War, Thirty Wars’ War, War of Spanish Succession, Napoleonic Wars, Liberators, Liberal Wars, Carlist Wars, New Zealand Wars.


Terrain Cards – Random terrain placement for pick up wargames

Terrain cards - Example - Real Cards

In our recent game of Tilly’s Very Bad Day Chris observed that, as the defender, he could exploit the terrain placement rules to his advantage. This is my proposal to address Chris’s concern. These rules allow randomised terrain for pick up battles in any period.

The terrain placement rules described here borrow heavily from Terrain Cards for a ECW Campaign.

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Spanish draw Swedes – 4 player game of Tilly’s Very Bad Day

Tilly-899 Swedish foot blaze away

In a very exciting game the Spanish (Jamie and Steven) just barely managed to deny the Swedes (Chris and Adam) the victory they thought well in hand. We really enjoyed our first game of Tilly’s Very Bad Day following publication. Again the rules proved themselves able to provide a fast and exciting game, with lots of flavour. We are still struggling to break deeply ingrained habits from DBA, e.g. bunching up, and the more we do this, the more we enjoy Tilly. And we still need to iron out the problem with chequerboard formations.

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First Battle of Seminara 28 June 1495

Ferdinand II (Ferrandino) of Naples

During the Italian Wars, there were three battles at Seminara, in toe of the Calabrian peninsula. This is the first one (28 June 1495), where Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, known to history as the Great Captain (El Gran Capitán), suffered his only defeat. This battle was also the first field battle in the Italian Wars. The French gendarmes drove off Gonsalvo’s genitors, the Calabrian Militia panicked, and the Swiss pikemen (apparently) rolled over the lightly equipped Spanish infantry. This defeat forced Gonsalvo to rethink Spanish arms and tactics. Decisions that subsequently lead to the successes that made his name.

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Musing on Types of Horse in Tilly’s Very Bad Day

30YW-769 - Generic - Harquebusiers

I quite like Brzezinski’s (1993) analysis of cavalry in the Thirty Years War. He believes there were three types of horse (Arquebusier, Horsemen, Cuirassier) and I think unit quality can simulate these types in Tilly’s Very Bad Day. All three types could shoot or charge but typically a unit did one or the other; I leave this choice to the player.

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Swedes beat Imperialists in play test of Tilly’s Very Bad Day

Tilly-70 Imperialist Harquebusiers

Adam, Chris, and Jamie came over for a play test of Tilly’s Very Bad Day. It was a good quick game, with considerable spectacle. There were lots of troops, and, yay. I’ve finally got my Thirty Years War forces on table. Although it was a reasonable game, we did come up with quite a long list of observations, suggestions, and tweaks to the rules. By the way, the Swedes beat the Imperialists.

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Spanish Painting Guide for the Thirty Years War

30YW-784 - Spanish - Pike and Shot

Since I’ve published Tilly’s Very Bad Day I figure I should update my painting guide for the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). Although the title refers to the Spanish this is the guide covers all troops in Spanish service whether Spanish, Italian, or Walloon.

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Imperialist Painting Guide for the Thirty Years War

30YW-856 Who is this guy

Since I’ve published Tilly’s Very Bad Day I figure I should update my painting guide for the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). This is the guide for the Imperialists throughout the war.

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Swedish Painting Guide for the Thirty Years War

30YW-871 - Swedish - Pike and Shot - Yellow Brigade

Since I’ve published Tilly’s Very Bad Day I figure I should update my painting guide for the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). This is the guide for the Swedes. It is applicable for Swedes throughout the war but of course it is most relevant to the Swedish Phase (1630-1635) and after.

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English Civil War play tests of Tilly’s Very Bad Day by Brett Simpson

Brett Simpson - Lord Byrons Regiment of Foot

Brett Simpson got me inspired to write Tilly’s Very Bad Day and he has kindly been play testing them as the rules evolved. Brett’s interest is the English Civil War so, nominally at least, these play tests are for that war not the Thirty Years War. He has shared three play tests with me over the last couple of weeks.

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Download Tilly’s Very Bad Day – Fast Play Rules for the 30 Years War

Tillys Very Bad Day Logo

I’ve been on the hunt for a set of wargaming rules for the Thirty Years War for a couple of decades. The hunt has taken so long that I’ve ended up writing my own. I’ve called the rules “Tilly’s Very Bad Day” in memory of the Battle of Rain (15 April 1632) where Field Marshal Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly, got hit by a Swedish cannonball. He, of course, subsequently died. I’d like to thank Brett Simpson for the inspiration to undertake the project and for play testing from the first draft.

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Battle of Fornovo 6 July 1495

1495-07-06 Battle of Fornovo - Map from Oman

In the comments of my post Choosing a date for a DBA-RRR game in the Italian Wars John Rohde pointed out I had got the results of the Battle of Fornovo (6 July 1495) wrong. This was the second major field battle of the Italian Wars. In a short but brutal fight the French gendarmes proved their superiority over their Italian counterparts.

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Constructing 24 element armies for DBA and DBA-RRR

Constructing 24 element armies for DBA and DBA-RRR

Our recent game of DBA-RRR with 24 elements a side, shared between two players was great fun. But it did exhaust my supply of figures, as I’d collected enough for 12 point armies using all options. It also resulted in both army looked pretty much identical. Lots of shot, men-at-arms, and light horse. With as few pike as possible. I think more games with 24 point armies are quite likely in the future, but I’d like the army lists some real choices in what troops appear on table. So how should I arrange my 24 point army lists?

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2 by 2 Napoleonics – Questions following our play test

2 by 2 Napoleonics Logo v3

We enjoyed our play test of 2 by 2 Napoleonics but were left with some questions. Because they are quite long and detailed I thought I’d post them separately to the battle report.

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2 by 2 Napoleonics – A battle report

2x2Nap-82 Battle on hill goes badly for the French

Adam, Jamie and I had a go at 2 by 2 Napoleonics. Of course we used my normal Peninsular War figures, in 15mm, on Big Bases. Using Big Bases for the Peninsular War meant this was really 4 by 4 Napoleoncs.

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Review of 2 by 2 Napoleonics Rules

2 by 2 Napoleonics Logo v3

I recently discovered 2 by 2 Napleonics by Rod Humble, John Rigsby and Eric Sprague. They are simple but elegant way of representing corps level actions with units as either brigades or regiments. Here is an overview of the rules and my take on them.

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