Category: Spain

My specialty is the Military History of Spain and Portugal. The Spanish bits that seem to interest people the most are Carlist Wars, Rif Wars, Spanish Civil War and the Spanish involvement in WWII (mostly the Blue Division).


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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Four Player Big Battle Big Base Triumph in the Punic Wars

Triumph-295 Iberians form battle line in woods

We played Big Base Triumph in the Punic Wars – liked the Triumph rules but thought some of the troop types sucked. To really challenge ourselves and test out that impression, we played another, bigger, game with Iberians on the table in force. So “Light foot” for both Scutarii and Caetrati and “Javelin Cavalry” for Roman, Numidian, Carthaginian, big shield Iberians, and small shield Iberians. I felt, somehow, I was about to rub salt in the wounds. Of course this is Punic Wars.

Summary: Romans (Chris, Adam) beat Allied Carthaginian (Jamie) and Iberians (Steven)

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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

Tillys 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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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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Small Fleurus – A Tilly’s Very Bad Day Scenario

This scenario represents the Battle of Fleurus (29 Aug 1622) using Tilly’s Very Bad Day. Historically the Spanish defeated the Protestant Paladins Mansfeld and Brunswick, and destroyed the Protestant infantry, but did not prevent the Protestant horse from reaching the Dutch. 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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Rafa “Archiduque” paints Minairons’s Spanish Civil War Figures

Archiduque 6 - Mando Miliciano

Every now and then I have a chat with Rafa, aka “Archiduque”, from Rafa “Archiduque” Miniatures Painting Studio. He got in touch recently and, after our chat, I had a look at his blog. Specifically his Spanish Civil War Gallery. Wow.

Rafa has kindly let me post some of his work here. Amazing. Have a look.

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Factions in a multi-player Thirty Years War Campaign

Factions for a Thirty Years War Campaign Logo

I keep thinking about a multi-player Campaign for the Thirty Years War. Two of the big questions is how many factions and what are they? I take a quick look at board games for inspiration before taking a view. There are quite a few board games for the Thirty Years War. Many focus on simulating the entire war so I thought I have a look at what factions they have.

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Should I introduce baggage camps to Tilly’s Very Bad Day?

P1000834 Dutch Camp

Richard (doctorphalanx) has been encouraging me to introduce baggage camps into Tilly’s Very Bad Day. I like painting up camps for DBA and I already have a camp for my Dutch army of the Thirty years War. My question is, was looting the baggage train/camp a significant event in any battles of the Thirty years War or English Civil War?

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DBA 3 – Improving the Simulation – Some Comments

DBA3.0 Cover

Joe Collins has highlighted a number of problems with DBA 3.0 and suggested ways to address these problems. Collin’s was part of the group that developed DBA 3.0 so he is both a fan and on the inside team. I really like Collin’s attempt to tackle some big problems with DBA. It would be great if more people did this, starting with Phil Barker. Unfortunately, Collin’s particular suggestions mostly leave the problems unsolved. I do like his solution for Bow but even that needs more.

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Musing on types of (commanded) shot in Tilly’s Very Bad Day

30YW-802 - Catholic - Shot

Tilly’s Very Bad Day has a “Shot” troop type. I thought I’d explain my thinking behind this troop type including how it simulates “commanded shot”.

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1529 French v Spanish – A 24 Element DBA-RRR Battle Report

DBA-RRR-503 Messy melee on French centre-right

Chris, Adam, Jamie and I had another DBA RRR game, with 24 Elements, set in the Italian Wars. I think everybody enjoyed it. Chris and I won as the French. I found it a bit odd that pikes avoid fighting shot, in fact everybody avoids fighting shot, and shot don’t really need support by pikes against anything. My conclusion is that shot is a DBA-RRR super troop.

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Musing on Large Pike+shot in Tilly’s Very Bad Day

Swedish Yellow Brigade

In Tilly’s Very Bad Day all pike+shot are the same. But Tilly, after whom the rules are name, was fond of the older style big tercios and Richard (doctorphalanx) has been encouraging me to do something about this.

And Tilly wasn’t alone in the appreciation of big brigades. Gustavus Adophus invented the Swedish Brigade of the Thirty Years War and this was as big as Tilly’s tercios although the interior configuration differed.

What to do with the large pike+shot units in Tilly’s Very Bad Day?

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William Guthrie on Tilly’s Big Tercios

Guthrie - 2000 man Catholic League Tercio - Square

Tilly (Field Marshal Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly) was fond of the older style big tercios. William Guthrie describes these unit in his book “Battles of the Thirty Years War: From White Mountain to Nordlingen, 1618-1635” (Guthrie, 2002). I thought I’d have a look.

There is a health warning. Guthrie’s books contain a lot of great detail. But they do get a bit a a thrashing from European experts on the Thirty Years War. That means some of the below might be open to challenge. Even with my limited insight I’ve spotted a couple of things that don’t add

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Spanish beat Swedes – 2 player game of Tilly’s Very Bad Day

Tilly-474 See-saw infantry battle - Left

Jamie and I played a Spanish versus Swedes match up of Tilly’s Very Bad Day. In a very exciting game my Spanish eventually prevailed. We introduced a house rule to make chequerboard more effective and both focused on this aspect of the game with some interesting conclusions.

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