I’ve been on the hunt for a set of wargaming rules for the Thirty Years War for a couple of decades. The hunt has taken so long that I’ve ended up writing my own. I’ve called the rules “Tilly’s Very Bad Day” in memory of the Battle of Rain (15 April 1632) where Field Marshal Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly, got hit by a Swedish cannonball. He, of course, subsequently died. I’d like to thank Brett Simpson for the inspiration to undertake the project and for play testing from the first draft.
Recently Brett Simpson pointed me at a simple set of rules for the English Civil War called Rupert’s Very Bad Day: Battle of Marston Moor (1644 AD): Fast Play Rules for Students by Matt Fritz. Rupert’s Very Bad Day relies on lots of bases and base removal so isn’t very friendly with my Big Bases and Thirty Years War units with both pike and shot on the same base. But I liked the simplicity, saw considerable potential, and really liked the name.
So I immediately began writing a version that would suit my pike and shot big bases for the Thirty Years War. My initial draft started very close to Matt Fritz’s work, and I remain heavily indebted to him, however the rules have evolved quite far from the original. The biggest similarity to the original rules is probably the name although even there “Rupert” became “Tilly”.
I have introduced more types of stand (light horse, pike+shot, rabble), single stand units (hence pike+shot), a new concept called “resolve” to replace stand removal, terrain including the option to allow infantry to “defend the hill”, distances based on base width, a more complex interplay of shooting and charging to reflect different national and unit attitudes to these combat options, increase purpose for commanders, optional troop quality (superior, ordinary, inferior, rabble) and hence an optional point system, and probably other things. Despite these additions, and the complexity they bring, I think the rules still allow “fast play”.
Download Tilly’s Very Bad Day
Buy a paper copy of Tilly’s Very Bad Day
Tilly’s Very Bad Day is available for print-on-demand from Lulu.com. This is cost price and I make no money on it. But Jamie pointed out that some folk would prefer to get a paper copy rather than PDF.
Substantive change. See release notes at Version 2 of Tilly’s Very Bad Day
Richard (doctorphalanx) and John Mumby did more proof reading. Corrected more typos and unclear intent. Fixed the wheel diagram. No substantive changes.
After proof reading by Richard (doctorphalanx). Corrected typos and clarified intent. Added a shooting example. No substantive changes.
After proof reading by Vincent Tsao. Corrected typos and clarified intent. No substantive changes.
The first publicly available version.