Recently we play tested my S12 Fighting Across the River scenario for Tilly’s Very Bad Day (which I’ll post about soon). After the game Adam and I got to talking about the premise of the scenario and Adam encouraged me to take a closer look at some 17th century battles that feature a river crossing. In this post I look at four such battles and look for patterns in four factors: (1) crossing points; (2) forces present; (3) forces engaged; and (4) the battle result. The nature of the river crossings includes whether the river was fordable and how many crossings there were. A lot of men might have been nearby but only a minority were actively engaged, which suggests whether these battles were ‘nasty fights’ or ‘grand battles’. The result of battle is on the list because the defenders of a river crossings had a habit of ‘retreating once things get serious’.
I was just reading Michael Fredholm von Essen’s latest book on the Swedish army of the Thirty Years War (Von Essen, 2000), and it seems the Swedes sometimes had unmounted cavalrymen. Not dismounted, unmounted, i.e. they were horsemen without horses. Naturally I started pondering how to simulate these men in Tilly’s Very Bad Day.
This Tilly’s Very Bad Day scenario is based on Scenario 1: Attack on a Prepared Position from “Scenarios for all Ages” by Charles Grant and Stuart Asquith. It is a small game on a small table with small armies (in numbers of units). I described how I wrote the scenario in my post, Till’s Very Bad Scenarios for All Ages.
I’m looking for more small scenarios for Tilly’s Very Bad Day so I wondered how the “Scenarios for all Ages” of Charles Grant and Stuart Asquith would transfer. Although “for all Ages” the design of the scenarios is obviously for Horse and Musket so I think that transferring to Pike & Shot should be easy. To test this theory out I look at one scenario: Scenario 1: Attack on a Prepared Position. As it happens the scenario only needs very small levels of tweaking to get it to work for Tilly’s Very Bad Day. What follows is a bit of a blow by blow account of how I converted the scenario.
This scenario represents the Battle of Boldon Hill (24 Mar 1644) in the English Civil War. Historically Boldon Hill was a rather inclusive skirmish, fought in the enclosed fields between the Royalists and Scots Covenanter Armies. It was such a minor affair that some accounts of the Scottish campaign in northern England don’t even mention the battle. However, Vincent Tsao recently played a game of TVBD using the In Deo Veritas scenario for the battle, so I thought I’d see what a scenario specifically designed for Tilly’s Very Bad Day would look like. 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).
I have to say the skirmish nature of the historical battle means it is not really a good fit for Tilly’s Very Bad Day, which is designed for full field battles, but the scenario is small and that might appeal to some players. For it to work, as a scenario, one of the players has to go for it, and risk destruction in the enclosed fields. I have included an option, in the notes, for a scenario that is less historic but probably provides a better game.
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.
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. I’ve called my version “Populous, Rich, and Rebellious”.
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.
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.