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?
Following our first play test I thought I’d make some tweaks to my Small Kircholm scenario and try it again. In this play test the Hussars are just Superior Horse and there are five Hussar units, not six. Chris bravely took the Swedes for a second time, hoping to benefit from his experience in the first game. Adam took the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In Tilly’s Very Bad Day terms this is a small game on a small table with small armies.
Summary: A really good game. A better game balance than the first version. Both players played well with particular credit to Chris for quickly compensating for the crippling Swedish deployment. But the Poles took the day, again.
I’m still keen on playing with my brand new Polish-Lithuanian Army so when Chris came over I suggested we play Small Kircholm. The scenario was very draft and I expected to find that it favoured the Poles too much. In particular the experimental Hussar rules were probably a touch too punchy. In Tilly’s Very Bad Day terms this is a small game on a small table with small armies.
Summary: Poles rolled over the Swedes in three game turns. Scenario needs tweaking. The experimental Lancers were a super troop type – and we don’t need that kind of thing.
The easing of Covid-19 restrictions allowed me to get my brand new Polish-Lithuanian Army on table. Chris, Jamie, and Adam came over and we played Swedish versus Polish using Tilly’s Very Bad Day. This was a pick up game with pre-generated army lists and terrain chosen via Terrain Cards. It was also the first time we played an Eastern Army.
Summary: A really enjoyable game. It see sawed but eventually the Swedes won the infantry battle and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth won the cavalry battle. Pretty standard outcome for these historical opponents. In this case the Swedes caused enough damage to take the overall victory. But it was a very near run thing.