In our first game since Covid-19 lockdown, Jamie and I played my Small Herbsthausen – A Tilly’s Very Bad Day Scenario. In Tilly’s Very Bad Day terms this is a small game on a small table with small armies (in numbers of units). The Bavarians (Jamie) heavily outnumber the French (Steven) so I was going to find this a struggle.
Summary: A quick game resulting in an rather spectacular draw. That is pretty much the best result the French could expect from the scenario.
When I first visited London, in 1989, I attended a wargaming club in North London. I forget where. The club night featured a renaissance game with Polish Hussars dominating the table. I was captivated. Now, years later, I’m revisiting the army of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (Rzeczpospolita). Poland was the biggest country in 17th Century Europe, nearly twice as big as the next biggest, France. Its army was powerful and combined elements of the east and west. The most distinctive component were the famous winged Hussars, but they also had good light cavalry, and western style pike and shot. And it was fighting the Poles where Gustavus Adolphus cut his teeth as a military commander. This post is about the army of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
I just bumped into Jasinski’s Examples of the composition of the Polish Army in the 17th Century. Perfect for getting a rough idea of what a Polish-Lithuanian army list might be for Tilly’s Very Bad Day. I converted each of Jasinski’s orders of battle to Tilly’s Very Bad Day using different nominal unit sizes. Then I combined those for a small game so there was a range for each troop type. That gave me a single army list with a range of options.
This scenario represents the Battle of Herbsthausen (5 May 1645; also called Battle of Mergentheim) using Tilly’s Very Bad Day. For the third time in a row Mercy’s Bavarian army smashed the French (this time under Turenne). Given the number of troops involved in the real battle, this is a small game on a small table with small armies (in numbers of units).
I tend to focus on the Thirty Years War in western and central Europe. Tilly’s Very Bad Day is written with this same focus. But there was a lot going on in the East. Russia, Poland and the Ottoman Empire were all big players. Even closer to home there was also the Hungarians and Transylvanians – sandwiched between the Holy Roman Empire and the Ottomans – and they could field large armies in their own right. So how can we / should we represent these armies in Tilly’s Very Bad Day? I don’t know the answer so figured we should do some “spitballing” on the topic.
Chris is really keen that we do a Campaign. Every time we play Tilly’s Very Bad Day he mentions this. So here it is. At least here are the rules. Unexpectedly I’ve chosen the English Civil War as the setting for the campaign, but only because I’m following the lead of Peter of Grid based wargaming – but not always. Peter’s ECW campaign system uses a simple area based campaign map to drive tactical battles and weaves in a bit of flavour along the way. Exactly what I’m looking for, but I feel obliged to change some things, of course. I’ve called my version “Populous, Rich, and Rebellious”.
Roger Calderbank and I collaborated on a small scenario for the Battle of Lutter (27 Aug 1626) using Tilly’s Very Bad Day. Lutter was, historically, actually a very good day for Tilly as his Catholic League forces defeated the mostly Protestant / mostly Lutheran army of the Lower Saxon Circle, led by Christian IV of Denmark in his role as Circle Colonel.
For Version 2 of Tilly’s Very Bad day I’m thinking of making some changes to the sequence of play. Most of these are to make implicit steps explicit. There is one more radical proposal (changing initiative). But much of the sequence of play remains unchanged, even though some steps have changed names. I thought I’d share a few thoughts on why it is the way it is and why I’m changing some things.
This scenario represents the Battle of Fleurus (29 Aug 1622) using Tilly’s Very Bad Day. Historically the Spanish defeated the Protestant Paladins Mansfeld and Brunswick, and destroyed the Protestant infantry, but did not prevent the Protestant horse from reaching the Dutch. Given the number of troops involved in the real battle, this is a small game on a small table with small armies (in numbers of units).
Jamie and Chris play tested the pre-publication version my Small Lutzen – A Tilly’s Very Bad Day Scenario. This is a small game on a small table with small armies (in numbers of units), and only normal Pike+Shot not Large Pike+Shot.
Summary: Scenario needed tweaking before publication. Swedes couldn’t win.