Category: Eighty Years War

In the middle years of the 16th Century the Spanish Netherlands were wracked by secular and religious decent. The first open violence was the iconoclasm of 1566, however the convention is to give the date of 1568 as the beginning of the war, as this was the first year where armies fought open battles. The war ended in 1648, as part of the Peace of Münster, when Spain recognised the Dutch Republic as an independent country.


Making dragoons more effective in Tilly’s Very Bad Day

30YW-800 - Catholic - Dragoons

In my lost post on making under represented unit types more effective in Tilly’s Very Bad Day, I have a look at dragoons in the Thirty Years War. Under the rules their main competition is shot and light horse, both under represented troop types. Based on my previous thinking on those troop types I propose some ways to modify the rules to make dragoons more valuable/useful/effective.

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Making light horse more effective in Tilly’s Very Bad Day

30YW-797 - Catholic - Croat

In my week of musing on unit types in Tilly’s Very Bad Day, I thought I’d outline what light horse represent and contrast them to (heavy) horse in the Thirty Years War. I also consider some ways to modify the rules to make light horse more valuable/useful/effective.

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Making (commanded) shot more effective in Tilly’s Very Bad Day

30YW-805 - Catholic - Shot

We’ve been playing Tilly’s Very Bad Day for a while and it clear some unit types don’t make the grade compared to Pike+Shot and horse. Shot, dragoons, light horse and even cannons are all unpopular. So I’m going to run a short series of posts this week with the theme of making these unit types more effective. Not surprisingly I’m starting to form ideas for a major new version of the rules.

I start with Shot because I was just musing on types of (commanded) shot in Tilly’s Very Bad Day.

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Musing on types of (commanded) shot in Tilly’s Very Bad Day

30YW-802 - Catholic - Shot

Tilly’s Very Bad Day has a “Shot” troop type. I thought I’d explain my thinking behind this troop type including how it simulates “commanded shot”.

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Musing on Large Pike+shot in Tilly’s Very Bad Day

Swedish Yellow Brigade

In Tilly’s Very Bad Day all pike+shot are the same. But Tilly, after whom the rules are name, was fond of the older style big tercios and Richard (doctorphalanx) has been encouraging me to do something about this.

And Tilly wasn’t alone in the appreciation of big brigades. Gustavus Adophus invented the Swedish Brigade of the Thirty Years War and this was as big as Tilly’s tercios although the interior configuration differed.

What to do with the large pike+shot units in Tilly’s Very Bad Day?

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Terrain Cards – Random terrain placement for pick up wargames

Terrain cards - Example - Real Cards

In our recent game of Tilly’s Very Bad Day Chris observed that, as the defender, he could exploit the terrain placement rules to his advantage. This is my proposal to address Chris’s concern. These rules allow randomised terrain for pick up battles in any period.

The terrain placement rules described here borrow heavily from Terrain Cards for a ECW Campaign.

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Musing on Types of Horse in Tilly’s Very Bad Day

30YW-769 - Generic - Harquebusiers

I quite like Brzezinski’s (1993) analysis of cavalry in the Thirty Years War. He believes there were three types of horse (Arquebusier, Horsemen, Cuirassier) and I think unit quality can simulate these types in Tilly’s Very Bad Day. All three types could shoot or charge but typically a unit did one or the other; I leave this choice to the player.

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Spanish Painting Guide for the Thirty Years War

30YW-784 - Spanish - Pike and Shot

Since I’ve published Tilly’s Very Bad Day I figure I should update my painting guide for the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). Although the title refers to the Spanish this is the guide covers all troops in Spanish service whether Spanish, Italian, or Walloon.

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

Tillys Very Bad Day Logo

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.

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2017 Reflections of a Megalomaniac Wargamer and Amateur Historian

Megalomaniac 2017

I have noticed that my The Confessions of a Megalomaniac Wargamer and Amateur Historian of 2015 was literally a confession, describing my overly inflated ambitions and incomplete projects. But the 2016 edition was more a reflection on my progress against those goals. It has been a 23 months since the 2016 edition and it is time to revisit. But I’m going to split the reflection aspect from the confessions bit. So this is my reflection on the 23 months from the beginning of 2016 to the end of 2017.

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Pierre Picouet on Spanish Tercios from Pavia to Rocroi

Pierre Picouet Les Tercio Espagnols 1600-1660

I got a bit worried last week. Dr Pierre Picouet’s website on the Spanish Tercios had disappeared. But I quick email to the man himself and I discovered that the website had just moved. It is now at Tercio1617. What a relief. Pierre’s material is a must read for anybody with an interest in Spain, the tercios, the Great Italian Wars and/or the Thirty Years War. To celebrate finding it again I thought I’d do a small tour of the website.

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Basing Pike and Shot Figures for the 30 Years War

Swedish Yellow Brigade

Roland Davis has been painting for me again – some Swedes for the Thirty Years War. So I’ve been mulling over how to base them. Part of the answer is obvious – on big bases. The potential dilemma is what figures to put on each base given these are mixed pike and shot units. Here’s a few options I considered and a bit of a journey to get there.

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17th Century Cavalry – Investigations of a Dog

Royalist Cavalry

You know how sometimes something big is going on but you don’t hear about it. I feel a bit like that about Gavin Robinson’s blog Investigations of a Dog. The blog was active 2006-2013 but is, unfortunately, now closed. Luckily the site is still up and is well worth a look. It contains some marvellous analysis of certain aspects of 16th and 17th Warfare, particularly the use of cavalry.

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What is the origin of the term ‘Tercio’?

Early Spanish tercio

What is the origin of the term ‘Tercio’ – the name adopted by the large Spanish pike and shot units of the Renaissance? The word literally means a bundle, or a one-third part of something (Notario Lopez & Notario Lopez, 2012) but he origin of the term for a military unit is not known. There are, however, various theories.

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15mm Wargaming Figures for the Eighty Years War

15mm wargaming figures to use for the Eighty Years’ War and Thirty Years’ War. For the early period of the Eighty Years’ War the only figures I’m aware of are the Essex Miniatures Armada Period range.

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