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.
During the Italian Wars, there were three battles at Seminara, in toe of the Calabrian peninsula. Most sources talk about the two Battles of Seminara on 28 June 1495 (Spanish loss) and 21 April 1503 (Spanish victory). Mallet and Shaw (2014) have an account of the battle of Seminara in late 1502 where the Spanish lose disastrously to the French. The Mallet and Shaw account mentioned Spanish reinforcements, like the 21 April 1503 battle, so I got terribly confused and thought this was an alternative version where the Spanish lose. Eventually I realised Mallet and Show are describing another battle entirely, fought in late November or December 1502, but at Seminara like the other two. In fact, I just had to turn the page and Mallet and Shaw explicitly called this encounter the “second Battle of Seminara” and a later battle the third. Other sources table about a similar encounter about this time but at Terranova (Prescott, 1962, 2016b) and the two may be the same battle. In fact the encounter at Terranova is more plausible as an account given it just involves reinforcements not the “combined Spanish forces”.
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.
During the Italian Wars, there were three battles at Seminara, in toe of the Calabrian peninsula. This is the first one (28 June 1495), where Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, known to history as the Great Captain (El Gran Capitán), suffered his only defeat. This battle was also the first field battle in the Italian Wars. The French gendarmes drove off Gonsalvo’s genitors, the Calabrian Militia panicked, and the Swiss pikemen (apparently) rolled over the lightly equipped Spanish infantry. This defeat forced Gonsalvo to rethink Spanish arms and tactics. Decisions that subsequently lead to the successes that made his name.
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.
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.
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.
Our recent game of DBA-RRR with 24 elements a side, shared between two players was great fun. But it did exhaust my supply of figures, as I’d collected enough for 12 point armies using all options. It also resulted in both army looked pretty much identical. Lots of shot, men-at-arms, and light horse. With as few pike as possible. I think more games with 24 point armies are quite likely in the future, but I’d like the army lists some real choices in what troops appear on table. So how should I arrange my 24 point army lists?
The Spanish surprised their French and Swiss opponents in the Italian Wars by putting arquebusiers behind a ditch and bank. So I thought I should make one. Or, more accurately, make some modular sections of ditch and bank so I can make any shape of fortifications. The modular features are using my Big Bases for use with Big Base DBA and DBA-RRR.
DBA-RRR has lots of army lists for the Italian Wars. I can field all the variations so the question is, which army lists will we use for each game. In our recent games we have arbitrarily chosen a date and that has given us the army lists. One night I went for 1512 (Battle of Ravenna) and another night Adam chose 1525 (Battle of Pavia).
I’d like to systematise the choice, preferably using a die roll or cards. So in this post I do a bit of analysis on the battles in the Italian Wars and line them up with the army lists. I have a particular focus on Spanish and French because those are the armies I have, but Swiss and Italians of various flavours do appear. My focus is also within the boundary of modern day Italy because that is the theatre that interests me most.
Given the upcoming year long campaign for Stalingrad, I thought I should do a stocktake of Crossfire forces for the Eastern Front. It turns out my collection is insane. Your average gamer doesn’t need this. If you are new to Crossfire then you can get by with a lot less figures; check out How many figures will I need to start playing Crossfire? For the first 10 years of my Crossfire gaming, I only had a reinforced battalion for each of Germans and Russians, backed up by a couple of Pz III Gs and three T-34s. That was more than enough. Then I got some more kit and played my Armour Fest with everything I had, but even that wasn’t really a lot. Much more than you need for a normal Crossfire game but not a lot in the grand scheme of things. Then, um, I guess I got greedy. It is kind of embarrassing.