Design Notes for Twilight of the Sun-King

When writing Twilight of the Sun-King (specifically the original 2001 version) I kept in mind these principles.

Keep it simple

When I wrote the rules my requirements were:

  • Simple – one or two A4 pages.
  • Quick, fun and exciting.
  • Only use d6.
  • No book keeping.
  • Use elements.
  • Cost effective with 6mm figures.

Simulation: the feel of the period

The setting is the War of Succession in Spain (1702-1713). This section lists a number of facts and thoughts about the period which input into the rules:

  • Spanish, French, Portuguese, English, Dutch, troops were involved and had different attributes.
  • Troops were divided into horse, foot, artillery, and dragoons. Dragoons were horse that would/could dismount.
  • Units were typically at 80% of their nominal strength.
  • Units deployed into line to fight.
  • Foot were organised into similar sized battalions. Spanish and English 750/600, French 690/552. Spanish and Portuguese tercios are slightly bigger – Portuguese 1000/800 (pre-1707) . A deployed English battalion was three deep with a frontage of 810 feet, and if French, four deep and 486 feet.
  • Horse were organised into similar sized regiments. French 432/345, English Horse 400/360, English Dragoons 480/384.
  • Each gun was serviced by 10+ men.
  • Units deployed into lines to fight, but approached in column.
  • Armies deployed in successive lines.
  • Battles had 2,000-40,000 men total.
  • Musket had an effective range of 50 yards. Artillery 800 yards.
  • At Blenheim the Allies had to “deploy” after crossing the river. Tallard was criticised for not attacking while they were deploying.
  • At the Schellenberg, the French had guns firing from woods.

Justifications + Explanations

Brigades were chosen as the tactical unit to allow grand tactical battles. They are assumed to contain 3-4 foot battalions or about 10 squadrons of horse.

Unit type Effectives
Horse ~1000 men
Foot ~2000 men
Artillery ~8 guns, 80 crew

Dragoons are neither horse, nor foot.

Poor visibility due to the fog of war made infantry vulnerable to mounted attacks.

Inspiration for original rules

Barker, P., & Bodley Scott, R. (1990). De Bellis Antiquitatis. WRG.

There is very little of DBA in these rules. Pretty much the only thing is the basing style.

Bickley, D. (1994). Charles, Third Earl of Peterborough’s campaigns in Spain 1705-1706. Wargames Illustrated, pp. 22-23.

Condray, P. (1992). The Portuguese Army during the War of Spanish Succession (1704-1715). Editions Brokaw.

Grant, C. S. (1986). From pike to shot. WRG.

Simpson, S. (1994, Dec). Rules for the mid-eighteenth century. Wargames Illustrated, 75, pp. 13-15.

This is where much of the inspiration and many of the rule mechanisms came from.

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