Musing on Commander Ability in Tilly’s Very Bad Day

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I like the way John Fletcher (2005, 2006) assigns explicit abilities to the generals of the South American Wars of Liberation. In Liberators QPR generals are classified on a five rating scale from abysmal, through poor, average, good to excellent. And then he gives come generals extra abilities e.g. improved initiative. So how would that work in Tilly’s Very Bad Day for the generals of the Thirty Years War?

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Alternative Chacabuco – A Live Free or Die Battle Report

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Chris, Adam and I had a go at Live Free or Die. The scenario was Alternative Chacabuco so a Liberators game using my Live Free or Die house rules for Big Base Liberators. Chris was the Patriots, Adam the Royalists and I was rules interpreter.

Summary: The game system defeated us. After hours of play we were no where near a conclusion so we gave up.

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Live Free or Die House Rules for Big Base Liberators

Andrés Ferrari suggested I have a look at Live Free or Die: Tabletop Battles of the American Revolution. Not because I play the American Revolution, but because he thought these could be adapted to the South American Wars of Liberation. So I got the rules and now I have to figure out how to play them with my kit. The big question are my Big Bases but there are a few other points worth touching on so, where appropriate, I compare Live Free or Die to Liberators QPR because this is what the scenarios refer to. Using the concepts discussed here I have I’ve also written a Alternative Chacabuco Scenario for Live Free or Die.

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Alternative Chacabuco – A Live Free or Die Scenario

I’m on a roll. A Liberators roll. Jamie got me started but this scenario is because of Andrés Ferrari. He suggested I look at Live Free or Die for Liberators. I needed a scenario to play test it on and John Fletcher’s Alternative Chacabuco (13 Feb 1817) is my go to scenario for trying out rules for this period. This is my conversion of John’s scenario to Live Free or Die.

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Alternative Chacabuco – A Liberators HoTT Mass Battle Battle Report

Adam, Chris and I had a go at my Alternative Chacabuco Scenario for Liberators HOTT. The South American Wars of Liberation are becoming a bit of a theme in late 2021.

Summary: Good game. Infantry slog felt like an Napoleonic style infantry fight. Columns pushing through lines in a bloody and extended battle Cavalry fight was brutal and heroic, more Lord of the Rings than South America, and took too long.

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Alternative Chacabuco – A Liberators HoTT Mass Battle Scenario

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I already have a Alternative Chacabuco Scenario for Liberators HOTT, based on the Alternative Chacabuco scenario from the Liberators Supplement by John Fletcher (Fletcher, 2006). But that is for a typically small HoTT game and today I wanted to play a big game of Liberators HOTT. A “Mass Battle” in HoTT terms. More elements. More figures. More players. More fun.

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Semi-Official errata for Liberators QPR

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The Liberators 1810-1830 Yahoo Discussion Forum included Errata for Liberators QPR in the files section. With the demise of Yahoo forums these have disappeared. Since I refer to them in my Clarifications of Liberators QPR, and John Smith asked about them on the Liberators Facebook page, I’ve reconstructed the errata here based on the handwritten edits to my copy of the rules.

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Small Kircholm – A Tillys Very Bad Day Battle Report 2

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Following our first play test I thought I’d make some tweaks to my Small Kircholm scenario and try it again. In this play test the Hussars are just Superior Horse and there are five Hussar units, not six. Chris bravely took the Swedes for a second time, hoping to benefit from his experience in the first game. Adam took the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In Tilly’s Very Bad Day terms this is a small game on a small table with small armies.

Summary: A really good game. A better game balance than the first version. Both players played well with particular credit to Chris for quickly compensating for the crippling Swedish deployment. But the Poles took the day, again.

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Small Kircholm – A Tillys Very Bad Day Battle Report 1

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I’m still keen on playing with my brand new Polish-Lithuanian Army so when Chris came over I suggested we play Small Kircholm. The scenario was very draft and I expected to find that it favoured the Poles too much. In particular the experimental Hussar rules were probably a touch too punchy. In Tilly’s Very Bad Day terms this is a small game on a small table with small armies.

Summary: Poles rolled over the Swedes in three game turns. Scenario needs tweaking. The experimental Lancers were a super troop type – and we don’t need that kind of thing.

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Swedish versus Polish – A Tilly’s Very Bad Day Battle Report

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The easing of Covid-19 restrictions allowed me to get my brand new Polish-Lithuanian Army on table. Chris, Jamie, and Adam came over and we played Swedish versus Polish using Tilly’s Very Bad Day. This was a pick up game with pre-generated army lists and terrain chosen via Terrain Cards. It was also the first time we played an Eastern Army.

Summary: A really enjoyable game. It see sawed but eventually the Swedes won the infantry battle and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth won the cavalry battle. Pretty standard outcome for these historical opponents. In this case the Swedes caused enough damage to take the overall victory. But it was a very near run thing.

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Snakes and Ladders Campaign for Tilly’s Very Bad Day

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Peter of Grid based wargaming has sparked some interest in using the children’s board game Snakes and Ladders as the basis for a wargaming Campaign. The snakes become tribulations and the ladders are campaign successes. So I have made up a board for a Tilly’s Very Bad Day Snakes and Ladders campaign based on Peter’s board for the 18th Century.

There is no skill in playing this campaign system as, like the children’s board game, random dice rolls lead to success. If you are lucky, you will win. For me this makes a Snakes and Ladders Campaign most suited to solo play where the goal is to provide narrative for the game. I’m not really a solo player myself, but I know some Tilly’s Very Bad Day players do play solo and I hope this will appeal to them.

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S140 Dominant Hill – A Tilly’s Very Bad Day Battle Report 2

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Jamie and I thought we’d have another go at S140 Dominant Hill – A Tilly’s Very Bad Day Scenario. Our first play test was a blast and we both had ideas for how to play it differently. Once again Jamie was Saxons as the Red Army and I was Imperialists as the Blue Army. Tilly’s Very Bad Day of course.

Summary: Another great game. Five game turns. 1.5 hours game time. Tense and gritty, with a decisive result. We will play it again.

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S140 Dominant Hill – A Tilly’s Very Bad Day Battle Report 1

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Roger Calderbank play tested my S140 Dominant Hill – A Tilly’s Very Bad Day Scenario and gave it a thumbs up, so I thought I’d have a go. Jamie came over and took Saxons as the Red Army and I took Imperialists as the Blue Army. Tilly’s Very Bad Day of course.

Summary: A great game. Six game turns. 1.5 hours game time. Seemed balanced but ended in a decisive result. We will play it again.

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