Category: Thirty Years War

In 1617 the fiercely Catholic, Ferdinand of Styria, was elected by the Bohemian Estates to become the Crown Prince of Bohemia and the heir to the throne. In May 1618 a group of Bohemian Protestants in Prague seized Ferdinand’s representatives and threw them out of the palace window. This event started the Bohemian Revolt and the Thirty Years’ War. The conflict soon spread across the Holy Roman Empire, and then the whole of Europe, involving Spain, France, Denmark, Sweden, and a number of other countries. The war ended in 1648 with the treaties of Osnabrück and Münster, part of the wider Peace of Westphalia.


Lutzen – A Big Tilly’s Very Bad Day Scenario

Table - Lutzen - Tillys Very Bad Day

This is a big Tilly’s Very Bad Day scenario for the Battle of Lutzen (16 November 1632). An outnumbered Imperialist army must hold a strong defensive position until reinforcements arrive. Historically this battle is where King Gustavus died, so was a key moment in the Thirty Years War. In game terms this is a big game on a big table with big armies.

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Imperialists beat Swedes – 2 Player Game of Tilly’s Very Bad Day

Tilly-105 Locked in melee

Adam and Chris played an Imperialist versus Swedish match up of Tilly’s Very Bad Day. Adam and Chris have a very different play style to Jamie and I so this game played out in an interesting way. Very gritty with one giant scrimmage forming. Eventually Adam’s Imperialists took the day. We were playing several draft rules for a major revision.

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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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William Guthrie on Tilly’s Big Tercios

Guthrie - 2000 man Catholic League Tercio - Square

Tilly (Field Marshal Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly) was fond of the older style big tercios. William Guthrie describes these unit in his book “Battles of the Thirty Years War: From White Mountain to Nordlingen, 1618-1635” (Guthrie, 2002). I thought I’d have a look.

There is a health warning. Guthrie’s books contain a lot of great detail. But they do get a bit a a thrashing from European experts on the Thirty Years War. That means some of the below might be open to challenge. Even with my limited insight I’ve spotted a couple of things that don’t add

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Spanish beat Swedes – 2 player game of Tilly’s Very Bad Day

Tilly-474 See-saw infantry battle - Left

Jamie and I played a Spanish versus Swedes match up of Tilly’s Very Bad Day. In a very exciting game my Spanish eventually prevailed. We introduced a house rule to make chequerboard more effective and both focused on this aspect of the game with some interesting conclusions.

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Painting Generals of the Thirty Years War

Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand - Adam Frans van der Meulen

Since I’ve published Tilly’s Very Bad Day I figure I should update my painting guide for the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). This is the guide for the Generals throughout the war, of whatever nationality.

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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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Spanish draw Swedes – 4 player game of Tilly’s Very Bad Day

Tilly-899 Swedish foot blaze away

In a very exciting game the Spanish (Jamie and Steven) just barely managed to deny the Swedes (Chris and Adam) the victory they thought well in hand. We really enjoyed our first game of Tilly’s Very Bad Day following publication. Again the rules proved themselves able to provide a fast and exciting game, with lots of flavour. We are still struggling to break deeply ingrained habits from DBA, e.g. bunching up, and the more we do this, the more we enjoy Tilly. And we still need to iron out the problem with chequerboard formations.

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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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Swedes beat Imperialists in play test of Tilly’s Very Bad Day

Tilly-70 Imperialist Harquebusiers

Adam, Chris, and Jamie came over for a play test of Tilly’s Very Bad Day. It was a good quick game, with considerable spectacle. There were lots of troops, and, yay. I’ve finally got my Thirty Years War forces on table. Although it was a reasonable game, we did come up with quite a long list of observations, suggestions, and tweaks to the rules. By the way, the Swedes beat the Imperialists.

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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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