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.


Army of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the 17th Century

When I first visited London, in 1989, I attended a wargaming club in North London. I forget where. The club night featured a renaissance game with Polish Hussars dominating the table. I was captivated. Now, years later, I’m revisiting the army of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (Rzeczpospolita). Poland was the biggest country in 17th Century Europe, nearly twice as big as the next biggest, France. Its army was powerful and combined elements of the east and west. The most distinctive component were the famous winged Hussars, but they also had good light cavalry, and western style pike and shot. And it

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Polish-Lithuanian Orders of Battle Converted to Tilly’s Very Bad Day

I just bumped into Jasinski’s Examples of the composition of the Polish Army in the 17th Century. Perfect for getting a rough idea of what a Polish-Lithuanian army list might be for Tilly’s Very Bad Day. I converted each of Jasinski’s orders of battle to Tilly’s Very Bad Day using different nominal unit sizes. Then I combined those for a small game so there was a range for each troop type. That gave me a single army list with a range of options.

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Small Herbsthausen – A Tilly’s Very Bad Day Scenario

Table - Herbsthausen - Tillys Very Bad Day

This scenario represents the Battle of Herbsthausen (5 May 1645; also called Battle of Mergentheim) using Tilly’s Very Bad Day. For the third time in a row Mercy’s Bavarian army smashed the French (this time under Turenne). Given the number of troops involved in the real battle, this is a small game on a small table with small armies (in numbers of units).

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Spitballing on Eastern Armies in Tilly’s Very Bad Day

30YW-794 - Catholic - Croat

I tend to focus on the Thirty Years War in western and central Europe. Tilly’s Very Bad Day is written with this same focus. But there was a lot going on in the East. Russia, Poland and the Ottoman Empire were all big players. Even closer to home there was also the Hungarians and Transylvanians – sandwiched between the Holy Roman Empire and the Ottomans – and they could field large armies in their own right. So how can we / should we represent these armies in Tilly’s Very Bad Day? I don’t know the answer so figured we should

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Download Populous, Rich, and Rebellious – English Civil War Campaign

Populous, Rich, and Rebellious is a campaign game system for the First English Civil War (1642-46) in England and Wales. The campaign assumes Tilly’s Very Bad Day as the tactical rules, although you can any rules that suit you. The campaign uses a simple area based campaign map to drive tactical battles and weaves in a bit of flavour with campaign cards. The first version was a web page, but I thought folk might like a PDF version, hence a download page.

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English Civil War Campaign Rules for Tilly’s Very Bad Day

Chris is really keen that we do a Campaign. Every time we play Tilly’s Very Bad Day he mentions this. So here it is. At least here are the rules. Unexpectedly I’ve chosen the English Civil War as the setting for the campaign, but only because I’m following the lead of Peter of Grid based wargaming – but not always. Peter’s ECW campaign system uses a simple area based campaign map to drive tactical battles and weaves in a bit of flavour along the way. Exactly what I’m looking for, but I feel obliged to change some things, of course.

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Peter’s English Civil War Campaign for One Hour Wargames

1642 Start of the campaign and the contest begins in the Yorkshire region

You might remember that Peter of Grid based wargaming inspired my Terrain Cards. Terrain cards were actually part of Peter’s Campaign set in the English Civil War (see Grid Based Wargaming – ECW). There is quite a lot to this campaign – Peter wrote something like 45 posts on it and played 30 games. I love it. Tons of inspiration. And I appreciate the obsessive element that saw Peter completing this project – I think it took him 18 months.

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Small Lutter – A Tillys Very Bad Day Scenario – Roger Calderbank

Table - Lutter - Tillys Very Bad Day - Roger Calderbank

Roger Calderbank and I collaborated on a small scenario for the Battle of Lutter (27 Aug 1626) using Tilly’s Very Bad Day. Lutter was, historically, actually a very good day for Tilly as his Catholic League forces defeated the mostly Protestant / mostly Lutheran army of the Lower Saxon Circle, led by Christian IV of Denmark in his role as Circle Colonel.

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Horse and Musket Crossfire – Crossfire for the Horse and Musket Era

I wrote this about five years ago because a couple of my projects, i.e. Albuera in the Peninsular and Sipe Sipe in South America, had stalled because I didn’t like any of the available horse and musket rules. Inspired by Roland’s WW1 experiment I wondered if I could make a horse and musket variant for Crossfire. These rules have now remained raw and unplayed for some time. I stopped work on them because I decided I had bent the rules so far that it is no longer Crossfire. But rather than having it lurk on my hard drive any longer,

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Quick Reference Sheet for Tilly’s Very Bad Day

Tilly's Very Bad Day Logo

If you have already Downloaded Tilly’s Very Bad Day (PDF) you might want the Quick Reference Sheet (QRS) as well. This is for version 2.

How to get a paper copy of Tilly’s Very Bad Day

Tilly's Very Bad Day - Printed Book - Lulu

Tilly’s Very Bad Day is available free for Download (PDF). Some some people will want a paper copy. Here are three options: print and staple; print and bind; lulu print on demand.

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Small Fleurus – A Tilly’s Very Bad Day Battle Report 1

Tilly-192 Protestant left wing

Chris and Adam played my Small Fleurus Scenario. This was, of course Tilly’s Very Bad Day, and was played before I published Version 2.

Summary: Spanish won. Scenario was too challenging for inferior Protestant Paladins. But potential for a good game with tweaks.

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Version 2 of Tilly’s Very Bad Day

Tilly's Very Bad Day Logo

We’ve been playing Tilly’s Very Bad Day for a few months now and I think it is time for some substantive changes – a version 2. This post describes the changes.

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Musing on Sequence of Play in Tilly’s Very Bad Day

Tilly's Very Bad Day Logo

For Version 2 of Tilly’s Very Bad day I’m thinking of making some changes to the sequence of play. Most of these are to make implicit steps explicit. There is one more radical proposal (changing initiative). But much of the sequence of play remains unchanged, even though some steps have changed names. I thought I’d share a few thoughts on why it is the way it is and why I’m changing some things.

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Battle of Nieuport 2 July 1600

Nickle Figure 1 - Dutch formation - Battle of Nieuport - Hexham Part II diagram between pp 21 and 22

The Battle of Nieuport (2 July 1600), also known as the Battle of the Dunes, was one of the few open field battles of the Eighty Years War, and the Dutch beat the Spanish. At that time anybody beating the Spanish was a surprise. I have reproduced Barry Nickle’s (1975) account of the 1600 campaign including the Battle of Nieuport. Then I’ve supplemented with some other sources, including Henry Hexham (1641).

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