Review of Maximilian Fast Play Rules

Maximilian is a set of fast play rules designed specifically for the Great Italian Wars.

Johnson, D. (1995). Maximilian: Fast Play Rules and Army Lists for the High Renaissance
. Biggleswade, UK: Gladiator Games.

Scale of figures:

  • Either 25mm or 15mm

Scale of game:

  • Nominally 1 figure = 50 to 60 men and 40 mm = 100 yards (in 15 mm)

Orders of Battle:

  • The rules provide Army Lists.
  • Each army is made up of 25 elements (including general) chosen from a defined set of elements. The French and Spanish both get 31 elements (including general) because they historically fielded big armies. If you don’t like the concept of a fixed number of elements, then the rules also include a points based system to complement their Army lists. .
  • Roughly speaking I’d say the armies equate to 200 AP in DBR.

Distinctive/interesting features:

  • Basically a DBA derivative, so based on elements, uses a PIP die to control movement, and a paper-stone-scissors style combat system.
  • Each army has a retreat point (1/4 to 1/3 of the elements) and a rout point (1/3 to 1/2). The retreat point doesn’t have an equivalent in DBx, but forces all elements to retreat backwards facing the enemy, unless held. The rout point is like the DBx break point, but without the possibility of holding elements.
  • Doesn’t have the troop grades of DBR, but has optional Elite, Mercenary, and/or Levy grades of the normal troop types. Mercenaries are common but have no impact on the game unless they are the majority in the Army List – in which case the army will accept less casualties before retreating or routing.
  • If winning a melee, several of the troop types will keep advancing and attacking – similar to impetuous troops in DBx. Unlike in DBx, such an element can attack up to three times in a single bound, assuming they contact something in each pursuit. If they push the same element back three times, the loser is destroyed on the third push back.
  • Swiss armies fight better (Elite) and move faster than the equivalent troop types, whereas Swiss mercenaries only get the movement bonus.
  • None of that DBx turn to face if hit in flank or rear – so it is possible for an element to be pushed back side ways, or even forwards (if you see what I mean).
  • Missile Foot combines the DBx categories of Bows and Shot, although there are a couple of special rules. Arquebus armed Missile Foot get a combat bonus when shooting at close range, and English with Longbow get more ranks shooting than other types of Missile Foot.
  • Missile Foot can be supported by Pikes behind.

Comments and oddities:

  • I like the fact they’ve tried to make a specific set of rules for the Italian Wars
  • The Army Lists lack minimums, so it is possible, for example, to have a Swiss army without Pikes or Halberds. Seems odd to me.
  • Aside from that they look worth a try.
  • They eliminate some of the curious distinctions between DBR grades of troops, e.g. Shot (O, I, F), and I think that a good thing.

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