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.
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).
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).
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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 up. But here we go.
During the Italian Wars, there were three battles at Seminara, in toe of the Calabrian peninsula. Most sources talk about the two Battles of Seminara on 28 June 1495 (Spanish loss) and 21 April 1503 (Spanish victory). Mallet and Shaw (2014) have an account of the battle of Seminara in late 1502 where the Spanish lose disastrously to the French. The Mallet and Shaw account mentioned Spanish reinforcements, like the 21 April 1503 battle, so I got terribly confused and thought this was an alternative version where the Spanish lose. Eventually I realised Mallet and Show are describing another battle entirely, fought in late November or December 1502, but at Seminara like the other two. In fact, I just had to turn the page and Mallet and Shaw explicitly called this encounter the “second Battle of Seminara” and a later battle the third. Other sources table about a similar encounter about this time but at Terranova (Prescott, 1962, 2016b) and the two may be the same battle. In fact the encounter at Terranova is more plausible as an account given it just involves reinforcements not the “combined Spanish forces”.