I persuaded Adam and Chris to play my S12 Fighting Across the River Scenario for Tilly’s Very Bad Day. Although this is a generic scenario, the armies were from the Thirty Years War. Chris was the Blue player, the attacking Swedes. Adam was the defending Red player, with the Imperialists.
Recently we play tested my S12 Fighting Across the River scenario for Tilly’s Very Bad Day (which I’ll post about soon). After the game Adam and I got to talking about the premise of the scenario and Adam encouraged me to take a closer look at some 17th century battles that feature a river crossing. In this post I look at four such battles and look for patterns in four factors: (1) crossing points; (2) forces present; (3) forces engaged; and (4) the battle result. The nature of the river crossings includes whether the river was fordable and how many crossings there were. A lot of men might have been nearby but only a minority were actively engaged, which suggests whether these battles were ‘nasty fights’ or ‘grand battles’. The result of battle is on the list because the defenders of a river crossings had a habit of ‘retreating once things get serious’.
Last year I collected a Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth Army for Tilly’s Very Bad Day. They are what got me interested in the Northern Wars. Actually it was the Gustavus Adolph’s campaigns against them that got me interested – he formed his military ideas in the Livonia fighting the Commonwealth before sailing to German for the Thirty Years War.
I thought I’d share some photos. Rather than have a separate painting guide I’ll give painting guidelines here.
The rules for Tilly’s Very Bad Day include a generic Army List for the Thirty Years War. I wanted to explain the army list a bit so copied it here. And having copied it, I couldn’t resist tweaking it. This list applies to all western and central European armies i.e. those of Spain, the German Catholics (Bavaria/Catholic League, Austria/Imperial), the German Protestants (Palatinate, Brandenburg, Bohemia, Saxony, etc), Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and France.
I invited Chris and Adam over to play test my version of S01 Attack on a Prepared Position Scenario for Tilly’s Very Bad Day. This is an adaptation of a scenario from “Scenarios for all Ages” by Charles Grant and Stuart Asquith. My scenario is Thirty Years War with Spanish attacking entrenched Swedes in high ground.
Summary: Short and intense. A much better game than any of us anticipated. It was a close run thing with Swedish (Adam) breaking the Spanish army (Chris) just as the Spanish horse broke past the Swedish line and were going for the baseline. We all agreed it would be good to play again with some minor tweaks.
I like the way John Fletcher (2005, 2006) assigns explicit abilities to the generals of the South American Wars of Liberation. In Liberators QPR generals are classified on a five rating scale from abysmal, through poor, average, good to excellent. And then he gives come generals extra abilities e.g. improved initiative. So how would that work in Tilly’s Very Bad Day for the generals of the Thirty Years War?
Peter of Grid based wargaming has sparked some interest in using the children’s board game Snakes and Ladders as the basis for a wargaming Campaign. The snakes become tribulations and the ladders are campaign successes. So I have made up a board for a Tilly’s Very Bad Day Snakes and Ladders campaign based on Peter’s board for the 18th Century.
There is no skill in playing this campaign system as, like the children’s board game, random dice rolls lead to success. If you are lucky, you will win. For me this makes a Snakes and Ladders Campaign most suited to solo play where the goal is to provide narrative for the game. I’m not really a solo player myself, but I know some Tilly’s Very Bad Day players do play solo and I hope this will appeal to them.
Jamie and I thought we’d have another go at S140 Dominant Hill – A Tilly’s Very Bad Day Scenario. Our first play test was a blast and we both had ideas for how to play it differently. Once again Jamie was Saxons as the Red Army and I was Imperialists as the Blue Army. Tilly’s Very Bad Day of course.
Summary: Another great game. Five game turns. 1.5 hours game time. Tense and gritty, with a decisive result. We will play it again.
Roger Calderbank play tested my S140 Dominant Hill – A Tilly’s Very Bad Day Scenario and gave it a thumbs up, so I thought I’d have a go. Jamie came over and took Saxons as the Red Army and I took Imperialists as the Blue Army. Tilly’s Very Bad Day of course.
Summary: A great game. Six game turns. 1.5 hours game time. Seemed balanced but ended in a decisive result. We will play it again.
I was just reading Michael Fredholm von Essen’s latest book on the Swedish army of the Thirty Years War (Von Essen, 2000), and it seems the Swedes sometimes had unmounted cavalrymen. Not dismounted, unmounted, i.e. they were horsemen without horses. Naturally I started pondering how to simulate these men in Tilly’s Very Bad Day.