Download Tilly’s Very Bad Day – Fast Play Rules for the 30 Years War

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.

Tillys Very Bad Day - Logo
Tillys Very Bad Day – Logo


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”.

Tilly-67 Massed Swedish Horse
Tilly-67 Massed Swedish Horse

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”.

Although I’ve got the Thirty Years War in mind “Tilly’s Very Bad Day” should be applicable to the Eighty Years War and English Civil War.

Download Tilly’s Very Bad Day

You can download Tilly’s Very Bad Day as a PDF.
Tillys Very Bad Day - Download

And if you want the QRS for Tilly’s Very Bad Day as a Download (PDF).

Buy a paper copy of Tilly’s Very Bad Day

Tilly’s Very Bad Day is available for print-on-demand from 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.

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Version 2.0 (29 February 2020)

Substantive change. See release notes at Version 2 of Tilly’s Very Bad Day

Version 1.3 (26 September 2019)

Richard (doctorphalanx) and John Mumby did more proof reading. Corrected more typos and unclear intent. Fixed the wheel diagram. No substantive changes.

Version 1.2 (09 September 2019)

After proof reading by Richard (doctorphalanx). Corrected typos and clarified intent. Added a shooting example. No substantive changes.

Version 1.1 (03 August 2019)

After proof reading by Vincent Tsao. Corrected typos and clarified intent. No substantive changes.

Version 1.0 (27 July 2019)

The first publicly available version.

42 thoughts on “Download Tilly’s Very Bad Day – Fast Play Rules for the 30 Years War”

  1. I adore your hard work. I’m quite lazy myself, and/but curious, so I wonder, what’s wrong with: Warlords Pike & Shotte, DBR, Tercios or the Twilight rules from the Pike & Shotte society?

    • There are many sets of rules out there. Typically they haven’t worked for me because of some or all of these problems:
      1. They are confused about the scale of the game. They talk about brigades and simulate them with battalions with a stand being a company.
      2. They believe the convention of pike and shot units with pike in the middle and shot on each side was universal. This was a formation, and common, but the combatants of the period used many others. These other formations are basically useless under many rules. For example, the famous Swedish brigade had shot behind the pike. That isn’t going to work under most rules.
      3. They are too complicated.
      4. Rules writers consider the Spanish infantry worse than their peers. The convention is that the Tercios were in decline and need to be useless in the game. And the Spaniards as individuals were no better than their opponents. And because the Spanish retained the arquebus long after other nations abandoned, they should be penalised.
      5. They use individual figures.

      My solution to the first two problems is the abstract up. My unit is a brigade and I don’t care what happens inside the brigade.

      In terms of complexity, I confess that Tilly’s Very Bad Day has, well, expanded as we play tested and I fiddled. Sorry about that.

      From my perspective, and those of contemporaries, the Spanish tercios ruled the battlefields of this period. They did not win 100% of the time, but there are many factors involved in any particular battle. None-the-less the Spanish infantry were universally considered superior to those of other nations, and I think rules should reflect this. Of course, I’m biased.

      I like bases and dislike individual figures. Bigger bases the better.

      In terms of the other rule sets you mentioned, I should start by saying that different people like different things. The most popular set of rules for WW2 is Flames of War, but it just doesn’t work for me.

      I have played DBR. It didn’t provide what I wanted for the period. If I’d gone the WRG way, I’d have used a DBA variant. I still see enormous potential in DBA like games.

      I confess I didn’t consider looking at Pike & Shotte because Warlord are about 28mm figures I don’t do 28mm. In hindsight this might have been unfair bias. A quick google suggests they would be worth a try.

      I have mixed feelings about Twilight of the Sun King series of rules and scenario books. I wrote the original Twilight of the Sun King rules and have, against my wishes, lost control of their development. Andrew Coleby, my co-author in the first version published by the Pike and Shot Society, may feel the same. I do not even own a copy of the various books that have come out of the Pike and Shot Society, even though they are based on my work. You might understand that I would resent paying money for them. So, unfortunately, I cannot comment on “Twilight of Divine Right: From Defenestration to Restoration”. It might be great.

      • I played DBR some years ago. My two seconds of fame came from being among Phil’s acknowledgements. I quite enjoyed them: the support rules effectively made pike and shot units and the recoil rules effectively functioned as disorder. Still, the head to head rolls, lists of factors and the contortions of the arbitrary doubling put me off them in time.
        I play Volley & Bayonet and I like rules that put a premium on manoeuvre rather than process. Re Pike & Shotte: I don’t much like the Black Powder command system it uses – though I can see it’s utility for solo games and for adventure scenarios. Pike and shot form separate units within what amounts to a brigade, so low level tactics are possible. For your mixed pike & shot big bases, there is a pike company rule that’s used for the late C17th.

  2. Hey Steven, sorry for the slight off-topic (maybe on-topic if we consider this post to be about “rules written by Steven” instead of the 30 Years War):

    Did you ever manage to have an “alpha” version of your Deep Battle rules that we could test? I’ve been following your posts about that subject with great interest, and read your comparison of operational wargame rules — and how they fall short — and I’m very keen on playing any rules you write. The reason is that you obviously know a lot about WW2 wargaming, and your love of Crossfire means you understand successful rules must be abstract and simple enough that they don’t “get in the way”. (For example, I was just watching a very cool report of the Battle of Kharkov done by the Little Wars TV guys, using the Fistful of Tows 3 rules and… wow, I never want to have to read those rules, let alone play them. Hundreds and hundreds of pages just to push toy soldiers around? No, thanks.)

    I know your rules are half-written (or possibly entirely inside your head), so consider this an encouragement to write them down, even in draft form. Also, could I ask you to consider how to scale them to a 3×3 (actually, 90×90 cm) board? At this time it’s the largest board I can muster.

    Again, sorry for the off-topic! I wish there was a more convenient form to contact you about general wargaming topics 🙂

    • Hi Andres. That is a fair question. All that excitement last year and then … nothing. Actually I have two complete drafts of Deep Battle with competing mechanisms. I’m just not happy with either. And then I got distracted.

      My experience with Tilly’s Very Bad Day has taught me something. I should stop fiddling and publish. Because there is a temptation to tweak forever. So I’m make you a promise … I’ll publish Deep Battle before the new year.

      In terms of 3′ x 3′ table for Deep Battle, I reckon it’ll be fine. For smaller campaigns anyway.

      • It is said that the enemy of “good” is “perfect”. Publish ’em.

        By the way, I’m one of the fans who kind of ran away with Twilight, though I had nothing to do with the new versions. Sorry they don’t comp you with copies.

        • Hi Vincent, good to hear from you. I admit, I now regret your offer of a big Twilight version. 🙂

  3. More on-topic: even though I don’t wargame the TYW, I must say I’m impressed by the presentation of these rules. Color pictures, lots of diagrams, concise rules, clearly worded. No small feat for a free one-man ruleset. Kudos!

  4. Hi Steven

    Thank you for providing this. I like the scale, potentially compact battlefield and approach, and look forward to trying it when I get time. I’ve been on the lookout for TYW rules for ages.


    • Richard, I recall our detailed discussions about 30 YW and basing from a couple of three years back. I hope these rules provide some satisfaction.

      • Yes, indeed! I looked at Tercios and then at Twilight but never got round to actually trying them. I wanted a set that could use very small bases (featuring 2mm blocks) but in which the unit of measurement would not then be too fiddly. TVBD looks promising.

        I note you haven’t got bogged down in differentiating pike and shot or horse ‘types’. I appreciate that these may have been over-emphasised by other rule-writers.

        I also like your one base per unit decision. Don’t see the point of using more.


        • How big would you bases be for 2mm blocks?

          I’m going to blog about my rationale on horse shortly.

          I toyed with differentiating pike+shot by the ratio of shot to pike. I will probably blog something about that. But basically I didn’t see it as core to the game.

          re one base per unit. Well, don’t tell anybody, I do like 2 bases per unit as it gives a lot of flexibility in showing formation for either brigades or battalions. But that is more a Napoleonic thing. I didn’t think I needed it for 30 YW. One base is enough.

          • The Irregular 2mm blocks are tricky as they don’t come in quite the range I’d like. You can either go small with one block on a small base, maybe as small as 20mm, or go big with multiple blocks on larger bases. Whichever way you go the bases need to look reasonably filled.

            I had originally favoured going small, but I’m now mindful that multiple blocks remind everyone that it’s a brigade.

            Although formations aren’t differentiated under your rules, a decision I respect, I’d want to ‘depict’ Eighty Years War Tercios, later Tercios and Dutch and Swedish brigades differently, and I’ve spent many happy hours playing around with the options in a drawing program.

            One thing that has suddenly occurred to me is the possibility of depicting an early Tercio as one Pike+Shot and 4 separate Shot.

            I agree that 2 bases per unit works very well for Horse and Musket.

          • I’ve never actually seen 2mm blocks so I struggled to visualise it. But I do think the idea of simulating brigade formations on a stand is really cool.

            The tercio wasn’t, of course, a battlefield formation. The hapsburgs formed infantry tercios and regiments into squadrons on the battlefield. (The Spanish cavalry formed into “battalions” on the battlefield; go figure).

            By the middle of the 30 YW tercios/regiments were quite small and sometimes it took 2 or 3 of tercios or regiments to form a squadron.

            Even accepting the early tercio/regiment/squadron/whatever was big, it probably is not 1 Pike+Shot and 4 Shot in Tilly’s Very Bad Day because that would be 5-10,000 men depending stand-to-men ratio. Nobody ever did that.

            My view on it is start simple. The Hapsburgs talked about squadrons but they were about the same size as protestant brigades, so I just treat both as a Pike+Shot unit.

            If you think something more is necessary for the early war squadrons/tercios/regiments, I have an idea about a double based Pike+Shot unit with a longer flank (of course), more resolve than normal, and more ability to shoot to the flank. All around defence seemed to be one of the attractions of clumping more men.

            But the other advantage of hapsburg, and Spanish in particular, squadrons was the ability to peel off manga for separate duty. During the battle. At Nordlingen the Hapsburgs won the infantry battle by detached a lot of shot infantry from squadrons in a quiet sector and deployed them to the fight. That is what the Shot troop type is for in Tilly’s Very Bad Day. For this battle I was thinking of a bunch of Pike+Shot for the Hapsburg squadrons, but in addition give them some, not many, detached Shot units to allow on table reinforcements. Say 1 Shot for every 4 Pike+Shot (the reverse of your proposed ratios).

  5. Nice effort . You should take a look ADLG-renaissance (via FB group). Fast play and has sufficient granularity (pistol cav, carbine cav) also has some nice period flavour traits like a Salvo ability for the Swedes. We played Breitenfeld type game in an evening for a good TYW feel. These look to be a further zoom out as we had ~6 pike Blocs/tercios a side.

    • Zei, thanks for the suggestion. I have ADLG (although not the ADLG renaissance mod). I’ll have another look.

      I have decided to combine pistol and carbine cavalry into a single troop type called horse. I’ve a number of reasons for this which I’ll blog about shortly. The short story is all horse could charge. All horse could shoot. Although there were two official troop types concentrating on these two roles (charge, shoot) a unit’s behaviour on the battlefield did not necessarily align. Some shock cavalry shot and ran. Some shooting cavalry charged, get recognised for this, and promoted to the shock category. I think the differentiator was the men not the weapon. But more on this soon.

      I thought about salvo as it is a famous differentiator of the Swedish. Part of the military mystique around Gustavus Adolphus. I decided to ignore salvo for Tilly’s Very Bad Day because it was mechanism that would have had an effect company level but not brigade. Put more plainly I don’t believe the Swedes had superior firepower at brigade level. By the way, although the convention was the Swedes were unique in using salvo, I read (yesterday as it happens) that other nations including the Spanish adopted the technique. So by the end of the 30 years was it was universal, meaning part of the tool kit, although not necessarily universally applied, not even by the Swedes.

      I’ve a long held ambition to play Nordlingen 1634, but Breitenfeld is close behind.

  6. I have added Version 1.1 (03 August 2019). This is the result of proof reading by Vincent Tsao (thanks Vincent). I’ve corrected some typos and clarified the intent of some more ambiguous phrases. There are no substantive changes so if you have version 1.0 then you don’t need 1.1 but 1.1. is better. 🙂

  7. Steven

    No reply link in your last post in our previous exchange – maybe that option runs out after a while? – so I’m starting a new response.

    Here’s an idea of what 2mm can look like:

    Personally I wouldn’t want to go that busy, but you can see that 2mm can look very realistic, and no bendy pikes!

    The addition of a deeper, larger formation for the early period would probably be a good idea. I like the idea of depicting EYW Spanish in Bastioned Squares even though I know that was only one tactical option.

    For later units I’d have TYW Catholics as a single deep S-P-S formation, Dutch in two S-P-S units and Swedes in three S-P-S units, but I’d try to get the ‘figure count’ on each type of base about the same, except for those larger units should you introduce them.

    In the meantime I plan to make some MDF counters. (MDF might also lend itself to creating simple 3D geometric blocks.)


    • Nice idea there. Modelling the lower formations on a base for the higher formation adds flavour without complicating the simulation.

  8. I’ve uploaded a new version (1.2). Richard (doctorphalanx) kindly did some more proof reading for me and asked some pointed questions.

  9. I have uploaded a new version (1.3). John Mumby and Richard (doctorphalanx) kindly did some more proof reading for me and asked more pointed questions.

    I am amazed at how many little problems keep surfacing. Wow, editing is hard.

  10. ‘Wow, editing is hard.’ Amen to that but keep it up as long as you can and thanks again for sharing.

  11. Regarding the comment about 2mm, above, I have the same views. I’m currently committed to building armies for TYW in 15mm scale, originally aimed at ‘Twilight of Divine Right’ but maybe now for TVBD. I’ve got to say that after I’d seen Roundwood’s stuff I was sorely tempted to sell the lot and start again in 2mm. The aesthetics of both are equally appealing, each in their own way.

  12. Hi Steven and thank you for a great set of TYW rules! I finished my first read-through yesterday and can’t wait to playtest it! One question came to mind even after the first reading though, regarding the (low) efficiency of secondary shooting units.

    Let’s say for the sake of argument that two full-resolve P&S units, A and B, are positioned next to each other, facing the same way. To their front is an enemy unit X which they both shoot at during a shooting step. The enemy unit is within range and to the front of both P&S units. As I understand the rules, one of the P&S units will be designated primary shooter and contribute 4d6, while the other will be secondary shooter and contribute only 1d6, i.e. a quarter of its nominal firepower. It does not matter if A or B is primary/secondary, and if their roles are switched, so are their firepower contributions.

    My question is: how come one unit loses 75% of its shooting efficiency just because another unit is also engaging the same target in this particular step? Is it purely a matter of making the game more playable and not making combined shooting attacks over-powered, or am I missing some other rationale?

    Thanks in advance,
    Anders Molin, Sweden

    • Anders, you are exactly right. In two ways …
      (1) that is how the situation you describe would work. 4d6 from A and 1d6 from B (or the other way around) making 5d6 in total.
      (2) this rule is purely to balance up line versus chequerboard. Early play testing had lines winning every time because they could mass more fire power. This rule reduces, but does not eliminate, that advantage.

      • I rather like it just to keep combined attacks from becoming too powerful. I have noted that in many otherwise excellent rules, getting a certain amount of firepower ensures serious damage to the enemy, a little too certain for my taste. I would crib this rule for later horse and musket games.

  13. Hi Steven, can I clarify the meaning of Note 2 of Table 1 in TVBD? The current wording is:

    (2) Horse hit on: 6 when in difficult terrain; 4, 5 or 6 when charging the flank/rear of pike+shot, or charging any other units; 5 or 6 otherwise.

    I think I get this except the ‘4, 5 or 6 …’ part. I’m not sure exactly how to interpret this. I think you mean to say:

    (2) Horse hit on:
    6 when in difficult terrain;
    5 or 6 when charging pike+shot in front;
    4, 5 or 6 when charging pike+shot in flank or rear;
    4, 5 or 6 when charging any other units,
    5 or 6 otherwise i.e. when fighting any units without charging (which would include fighting Pike & Shot in front).

    Also, I take it that “6 when in difficult terrain” means regardless of opponent type or charging status?



  14. Hi Steven,

    I am really interested in these rules – they actually make me want to go out and start collecting a new army… I’ve never gamed this period before and I’m attracted to the idea of being able to fight whole battles in a reasonable time frame.

    Couple of questions/thoughts on v1.3 of the rules before I start buying lots of 2mm pikes…

    1. Any reason why Shot are worse at shooting than Pike+shot? Resolve is lower (3 vs 4) but chance of hitting is the same on 6. One thing you can do if you don’t want them to be as good as hitting on 5,6 but still be better than just 6 is either allow re-rolls of 1 (as in Warhammer) or allow ONE roll of 5 to also count as a hit (as in Blucher)

    2. I would reverse the sequence of play order so Phase 1 is Defender and Phase 2 is the Attacker. This means that Attacker has the advantage of moving second and therefore be better prepared for the Charge phase. Alternatively maybe have an initiative roll each turn and the winner of the roll gets to decide who moves in phase 1 – with perhaps a bonus for historically good commanders?

    3. For the command check roll, instead of rolling for hits, the odds are very similar if you just, say roll less than or equal to resolve.

    4. Interpentration: Horse of light horse cannot interpenetrate Dragoons? And Dragoons cannot interpenetrate other Dragoons?

    5. Charge examples p28 interrupts: Example D. Surely the Imperialist pike+shot cannot interrupt the Weimarian pike+shot as the Weimarians are the attacker and so charge first.

    Thanks in advance,


    • Dave

      Thanks for your questions. Very thought provoking.

      You are right, in v1.3 the shot are worse than the pike+shot. I mused on this in Making (commanded) shot more effective in Tilly’s Very Bad Day. Pike+Shot and Shot have the same Resolve in v2 (Resolve = 4).

      An initiative roll per turn has now been suggested by a couple of people. I’m considering it. I put the attacker first because they have the imperative to attack.

      Yes, I could do the command check roll differently as you suggest. But as a design principle I wanted to have one dice rolling mechanism for all rolls and stick to it.

      Good spot on the Dragoon interpenetration. I’ll address in v2.

      You are right the Attacker charges before the Defender. But, charge cancelations happens before charges. So the Weimarians charge is cancelled before they get the opportunity to charge (figure 14D in v1.3).

  15. Did a solo run through. Couple of suggestions you might be interested in:
    1. Unsure what the point is of 3.3 point blank shooting. It seems to exist only really for cases where a charge happens and the opponent forgot to shoot in their turn. Instead, why not make it useful – if a point blank shooting inflicts a hit the charge is halted (i.e. driven off by firepower). This then motivates the player to “keep their powder dry” for charges.
    2. Optional evade rule – I’d make it so all mounted troops (including dragoons) in clear terrain can evade pike or rabble or shot. As the rule is written now, horse cannot evade pike in the clear, which seems wrong. In addition, I think shot would be able to avoid pike in the clear too.
    3. I don’t think horse attacking pike at the front should hit in melee on 5,6. This makes them the same as pike versus pike. The pike was specifically to keep horse away, but if I hit on 5,6 I have no motivation to keep my horse away from a frontal charge on a pike block. Maybe make it so nothing hits pikes on anything better than a 6 from the front?
    4. Needs to mentioned in movement section that you cannot move if you are stuck in melee from last turn.
    5. Melee dice section has a typo – last sentence is about shooting.
    6. Melee dice – maybe add +1D6 if the unit had a charge counter? Gives some advantage to being the charger.
    7. Criteria for rally back in 3.5 – isn’t the 4th bullet point impossible?
    8. The term “Rally back” – is this a historical term? “Rally” implies regaining cohesion, when actually it’s not a rally but a retreat.
    9. Section 4.3. should use the same wording as 4.2 for the 2nd sentence.
    10. I have some more fundamental ideas about the turn order, but maybe save them for later!

    Appreciate this seems like a massive list of criticism, but it isn’t – I really do think these rules have a lot of promise – hope you find the above useful.


    • Dave

      Thanks for giving the rules a go and for the feedback.

      Thanks for mentioning typo in “Melee dice section” and in the Morale section. Fixed in next version.

      Truth to tell we have never ever used point blank shooting. We found players shoot before that step or charge. So for version 2 I have removed this rule. One small victory for simplicity.

      The way I think about it, Horse don’t need to evade foot, they charge them to pin them in place. So if a Horse Unit is facing a Pike+Shot Unit, both might declare a charge but the foot units charge is cancelled and only the cavalry go in. This isn’t necessarily going to go well for the horse, but seems to play alright. I could make horse even more disadvantaged when charging the front of pike+shot but our play tests suggest this isn’t necessary. We find Pike+shot are much more robust than horse. Did you find something different?

      > 4. Needs to mentioned in movement section that you cannot move if you are stuck in melee from last turn.
      Fair point.

      Charge declarations are simultaneous, so there are no real counter charges, just mutual charges.

      Version 1 allows elective rally backs (“Otherwise a unit may rally back”). We never made use of this clause, and I now think it offers more choice than a general had, so I have removed this from v2.

      “Rally back” is a term from later periods. It matches the behaviour I’m trying to simulate with horse as charging and, if not successful, rallying back behind their supports to recover and have another go later. Not so much the defeat in melee as what happens as a consequence. I could use another term, “Recoil” is what DBx calls this but when talking to my mates I often say “bounce”, but don’t see a reason to change this in the rules.

  16. Played another game. Couple of minor points first, then a major suggestion…

    1. Light horse should pass their out of command roll on a 5-6, not just a 6, since they were intended to operate more independently and out of command range.
    2. I had a strange issue in the last game where there were 2 defender horse charging an attacker horse which itself was charging one of the defender horse (no-one was flanked)… but the angle of the approach meant that as the attacker moved first in charge, only one of the defender horse could charge.
    3. I had shot in front of pike as a “forlorn hope” – a historical deployment. But because nether pike nor shot can interpenetrate one another, it was just an annoyance as it blocked the friendly pike behind it & ended up being caught by the enemy pike in front of it. Seemed ahistorical – maybe allow shot to interpenetrate pike?
    4. Can you shoot into a melee? Rules do not say you cannot – seems that with the depth of formations in this era that this should be allowed, but probably needs clarified.
    5. I had one unfortunate unit hit on 2 flanks – assume this adds +2D6 to the melee roll. Rules unclear whether it is 1 per flank (and rear?) or just 1 irrespective of number of flankers (which would then be a disincentive to stick a unit into a flank if it could be used elsewhere).
    6. The above melee – the unit at the front was a pike reduced to just 2 resolve, while one of the flanking units had a resolve of 4. The rules state that you use the resolve of the front unit to determine the number of D6 rolled, which seemed a shame as that unit only had 2 while the flanker would have been 4. Should the rules change so it is the strongest resolve determines the number of D6 rolled, while others just add 1 D6?
    7. Related to above – what if the different units give different chances of hitting. I would prefer my resolve 2 pike to provide 2D6 than the resolve 3 shot, since the pike hits on 5,6 and shot only on 6. This, of course, is a non-issue if you stick to the frontal unit must be the one whose resolve determines number of dice (although what if there is a unit to front AND back, or units are ONLY on the flanks).
    8. I found it hard to keep track of which unit had taken its turn in melee – I’d suggest make it simultaneous, or possibly semi-simultaneous with chargers hitting first then everyone else.

    *Major suggestion*: One thing I found most odd was the turn order – player A moves and then player B fires. This resulted in careful and a bit “gamey” moves – such as moving a unit up to just outside the 4 TUM range in order that the opponent would have to enter the shooting zone first.
    The alternative is that everyone fires after each move, which can be done in 2 ways:
    1. Player A moves, both players fire (player B first, then player A, or simultaneous). Then player B moves and both players fire. This will increase losses from firepower.
    2. Player A moves, then player B moves, then both fire (either simultaneously, or non-movers first).

    As an option to help break up the movement a bit, let me know what you think of this suggestion:
    Player A moves as many units as they want until they decide to pass or else fail to move a unit via a failed command roll
    Player B then does the same.
    The players then alternate moving unit(s) until both pass (or fail command rolls).
    Then charge declarations
    Then shooting – where a resolve hit can also cancel a charge
    Then move chargers and do melee

    Again, apologies in advance for all this!!!

    • Thanks for your further observations Dave. I always appreciate feedback.

      These are some of things you’ve raised that I’ll think about including in v2 (only a week or two away):

      – I like your suggestion to make command checks easier for Light Horse. I’m tempted to be even more generous, say 4-6 to make Light Horse more valuable as battlefield assets. The caveat on any change in this space is that the command radius is itself generous so command checks are rare.

      – I understand your suggestion about shot interpenetrating pike+shot to help them operate as a “forlorn hope”. The caveat it that a shot unit represents 1-2,000 men so this is a giant forlorn hope. I ignore small forlorn hopes completely e.g. in my Small Lutzen scenario where the Imperialist shot don’t feature in the scenario, although the commanded shot are mentioned in the historical account. Each of these units was 3-400 men and if the unit scale is 2000 men they are too small to simulate. I’m generous and included these units in the Large Lutzen scenario because a unit scale drops to 1000 men per unit and I rounded up.

      – You are right that shooting into melee is allowed in the rules. Shooting when in contact is not. I’ll make this explicit.

      Regarding your strange charging situation
      – charge declarations are simultaneous so the defender could have adjusted to get both charge the enemy unit
      – the attacker’s units do charge first however “Mutually charging units meet half way” so they would have stopped part way because of the (nominal) countercharge
      – So I suspect all three of your horse units would have charged and contacted. But hard to tell without a diagram.

      Regarding a unit hit on two flanks
      – melee dice are awarded to units in the melee
      – primary fighter gets resolve plus modifiers
      – secondary fighters EACH get 1d6 (so I think the answer to your question is 2d6)
      – which one you make the primary is always player choice and depends on the context. Your example of a resolve 2 unit to front and a resolve 4 unit to flank could mean you should choose the unit on the flank. But, as you say, the to hit factors also make a difference, for example horse behind the flank of a pike-shot hit on 4-6 but when in front they hit on 5-6.
      – clearly there is some confusion here and I’ll look at the rules to see if I can make them clearer.

      In version 2 melee is resolved across the table, starting from the attacker’s right. It helps keep track of who has fought and who hasn’t.

      The rules deliberating use the sequence “I move, you shoot” (and then swap). The tactic you highlight as “gamey” is exactly the situation I’m trying to simulate. I want the side moving into range suffering. Version 2 introduces a time limit for the attacker so more often than not it will the attacker that is taking the pain.

  17. I like the look of these but I’m currently based much wider (3 * 60mm per regiment = 180mm) using 28mm figures. Would you foresee issues with that basing system?

    • I have designed the rules so that you can use whatever unit frontage you want. Admitted 180mm is quite wide. With that frontage a small shallow table would be 2.7 metres by 1.8 metres. Which is big but manageable. What size table do you use?

  18. Just reading through the current version of the rules (as of 7/4/2024) and I was looking at the Morale Step. When a unit routs it causes a 1 point loss of Resolve on a friendly unit. If that 1 point loss causes the friendly unit to rout, does that then cause another 1 point loss on another friendly unit? And so forth (so if your units are all at one Resolve you could rout an entire command via a cascade)

    • Hi Kaptain. I’d be honoured if you gave Tilly a go. The rules have been unchanged since Version 2.0 (published 29 February 2020). So the copy you’ve got has had a lot of play testing.

      In answer to your question, yes, routs cascade. Which for a weak command will be devastating.

      I’m toying with a new version of Tilly’s Very Bad Day, although there is nothing massive in there. Perhaps a Version 2.1. Perhaps in 2024. But I’ll have a look at the morale rules to ensure the cascade is adequately reflected.


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