Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Napoleonic Sailing Ships - The Spanish

Another, smaller fleet from my collection of 1:1200 Napoleonic warships is the Spanish. At the start of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, Spain had the third largest fleet, after those of Great Britain and France. At various times, the Spanish were both allied or enemies of both of the two main protagonists, making their ships versatile from a Wargames perspective.


The 36 gun Frigate Santa Cecelia and an old, undersized 64 gun Ship of the Line, the San Juan.


Close up picture of the Santa Cecelia and the  San Juan


This  top down view gives a better idea of how the decks and Ratlines look. 


The next pair ate the 74 gun 3rd Rates San Leandro and San Antonio. As a wargames convention, I have chosen to give my Spanish ships dark red sides. There were indeed Spanish ships painted in that scheme, but certainly not the majority. it suits my purposes for ready identification, though - although the colorful Spanish pennants and flags probably do that even better!


This picture shows the reef lines on the sails well. 


The ships' bases are 1.5 inches wide by 3 inches long. 


Last are two heavy hitters - the 80 gun San Rafael, and the enormous 112 gun Real Carlos. The Spanuish fleet at the time of the battle of Trafalgar (1805) included the world's largest warship, the gun Santissima Trinidad. It was originally laid down as a 112 gun ship, but was later modified to carry a staggering 140 guns!


Larger image of these two imposing Spanish warships. 


The San Rafael and Real Carlos again. There is something impressive about these tall ships, even in miniature. I have been on several square rigged ships under sail, and they are very impressive from on deck as well... and also very finicky to handle. Tacking across the wind (Jibe) takes a fairly large and experienced crew,. as well as a seasoned captain to avoid the ship being caught "in irons" and failing to make the transition to the opposite tack!


The entire Spanish squadron of 6 ships.  Patrick O'Brian's tongue in cheek Spanish Frigate, the Cacafuego, is oddly missing!  :-)  A great series by the way, if not quite as action packed as the C.S. Forester Hornblower novels. 


They are a most suitable ally (or foe) to the French ships posted last month!


A modern depiction of the enormous  Santisima Trinidad at anchor.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Piquet/Field of Battle : New PDFs and Holiday Sale!

My freind, Brent Oman of Piquet, Inc has been busy adding new items to those available in pdf format, AND is having a big sale on PDF's for the next week. I'll let Brent do the rest of the talking:



To help make your holiday funds go a bit further, I'm having a sale on all of the rule sets in PDF form.  From now until the end of day next Friday (12/19), all sets previously $15 are $8, and sets previously $12 are $6.    I may, or may not, extend or change the sale date and our prices after the 19th.   So act now!

I'm also adding new sets for availability:


Band of Brothers, 2nd Edition
Peter Anderson & Ken Baggeley

Archon, 2nd Edition
Eric Burgess


Barrage!
Eric Burgess


Chef de PK
Jim Getz


Din of Battle, 2nd Edition
Eric Burgess


Field of Battle: World War II
Brent Oman


The half price sale prices for all items are:

Archon 2nd Edition:  $8
Band of Brothers 2nd Edition:  $8
Les Grognards 2nd Edition:  $8
Chef de PK:  $6
Grand Piquet: $6
Blunders on the Danube:  $8
Hallowed Ground 2nd Edition: $8
Din of Battle:  $8
Barrage with Point of Attack 20th Century:  $8
Field of Battle: World War 1  $8
Field of Battle:  World War 2  $8
PKowboys:  $6
Theatre of War:  $8

As always, please pay via PayPal to me at brentoman@q.com .

Brent

Such a deal!  And with pdf's, no worries about delivery before Christmas!

Peter

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Die Sighting, Too: Preliminary Review of Die Fighting 2, by Bob Jones

    My copy of the DVD for Bob Jones' new rules, Die Fighting 2 arrived the end of last week, and I have had a chance to peruse it thoroughly the past few days. I have run it on two computers running Windows 8.1, and my old machine running Windows XP and encountered no problems aside from the fact that I had to manually start the "movie", which is the hour long video presentation of the rules. The DVD is pretty packed with material!  Being a bit on the "old school" side, I started with the "Slideshow" of the rules. While designed to run with Quicktime (available as a free download for non Apple computers), it ran fine with the free Windows Media Player included on my machine. As you might expect (Bob was a TV producer in "real" life), the DVD video is very sharp visually and acoustically, and talks you through the rules, with examples provided by the "cast" of wargamers, most of whom are folks that I have known personally for 10 - 15 years. It is always fun to hear Adolfo's pleasant Italian accent as he explains rating the troops, or Ian's Scottish one as explains a cavalry charge. I laughed at the inside joke of having John Mumby explain the rules for terrain effects on movement as his troops attempted to traverse a woods.


Screen shot of Freddie and Greg explaining shooting in Die Fighting 2


    More or less the same presentation is also on the DVD as a PDF file, and as Bob says, the slideshow pretty much IS the rules. It is very well done and quite clear. Depicted below is a screen shot from the PDF version of the slide show; even after it is reduced to less than a 100 KB file, it still looks good, and it is sharper and more vibrant in the original.




    As I was already familiar with the original Die Fighting, I paid special attention to the many changes which certainly seem to have made DF2 a more elegant, focused, and fun rules set to play. I mentioned these in my earlier posting, and you can read about them in detail on the Repique Rules site as well. I am especially interested in Bob's planned set of Campaign rules, "Die Marching", and it is easy to see where many of the changes in DF2 will mesh very nicely with a campaign set. There are very useful guidelines for setting up your forces for pick up games, which look they'd be fairly fast and fun. I especially like Bob's idea of a "deck" of Historical commanders that can be drawn from at random, sight unseen, and then assigned to your various commands, subject to precedence (you cannot necessarily make the best leader the C-in-C). Also using the card deck system, each leader has ratings for an average day, good day, and bad day, and special rules can easily be added for specific commanders (Erzherzog Karl's tendency to epileptic seizures would be one obvious one, as well as a delirious Blucher), some of which might only be applicable on a "good" or a "bad" day. Otherwise the leaders are rated randomly by a die roll, and can include special characteristics such as "Inept", "Timid" "Fabian", "Headstrong", and "Foolhardy".   The rules for battlefield objectives have also been refined and create a simple mechanism for rewarding the seizure of key positions with variable amounts of Resource (red) dice. 

    There are five period specific "Templates" included as separate PDF files that can be printed out...  and all the pdf files including the slideshow can be copied to your computer(s), laptop, I-pad, tablet, etc - they now reside on my 2 home pcs and my new laptop for easy access and reference! The Templates as supplied cover Linear Warfare, Revolutionary Warfare, The Napoleonic Wars, Wars of Transition, and Colonial Wars. Taking the Napoleonic Template as an example, there are subtle modifiers for each of the 5 Major powers, earl;y and l;ate, as well as US, Canada, Spain, Portugal, and other Minor states. Obviously, these can easily be further modified by the gamer - say giving the excellent Saxon Cavalry a bit of a boost and their artillery a bit of a drag. These modifiers influence the rating of each of the major unit types i n the rules - Infantry, Cavalry, Artillery, and Command... as one might expect, as well as some modifiers to the roll for the size of each command. There are the expected guidelines on army composition for each of the above, intended for pick up games. Bob loathes army lists, and would be the first to tell you to feel free to change them as you see fit. 

    The Napoleonic Template also includes special rules for Horse Artillery, Skirmish movement and combat, , A rapid March Move (available only to the British, French until 1813, and the post 1814 Prussians), Mass Column rule, Cavalry Mass rule, Artillery Bounce through, Howitzer effects, Grand Battery Barrage, and some additional minor tweaks.  Finally, the Napoleonic Free Dice Table is the vehicle for most tactical, troop quality, and situational modifiers to movement, fire and melee combat, and Rallying... all on a single page. 

    Die Fighting deliberately leaves the question of how many men a "unit" represents open, but roughly a battalion or regiment of Infantry, a cavalry regiment, and an artillery company seem about right.  Thus a player's command, typically 7 to 14 units, would represent either a Division (battalions) or a Corps (regiments). There are no specific basing or figure requirements, as long as both armies are based fairly similarly and the various formations can be clearly depicted.The nominal ground scale is 1" = 25 yards and a turn represents roughly 30 minutes. The infantry firing ranges are perhaps a bit generous, but long range firing is generally foolhardy in DF2, so just because you can shoot from up to 300 yards away does NOT mean it is generally a good idea... just as in real life!

    In DF2, Bob has opted for a "short" sequence deck. There are six basic cards - Infantry Action, Cavalry Action, Artillery Action, Specialized Action (skirmishers, breachloaders etc reload, Engineering tasks take place, trains, boats and balloons act), Officer Action (Officers move, rally Disordered units without Black Dice), and the key "Four R" card - Rally, Remove, Restore, Retreat - on this card troops can be rallied, routers move, Officer (yellow) dice are restored, and the all important Resource (red) dice are replenished. Now Bob wouldn't want to make it TOO easy on the tabletop generals, so EACH side has their OWN deck, and each side plays one card at a time, alternating. Thus each side is acting on its own, random sequence vis a vis the enemy. But wait - even that seemed a bit too tame, so to change things up, a deck of 8 cards is used for each side (using 2 each of the Infantry and Cavalry Action cards), from which 2 cads are discarded, face down and un-revealed. In special circumstances, some other, additional cards can be added to the mix, usually for a single turn or event. Finally, there is the "Concede"card.

  Victory in DF2 is very clearly defined. There are three ways to win: 1) If at any time, TWO (or more) of the enemy's commands are completely without Red dice at the same time, they immediately suffer an Ignominious Rout. The units in the depleted commands all roll, and on a 1 or a 2 they are considered lost to pursuit. 2) If at the end of any Turn (run through both side's decks) a command has NO red dice remaining, that side suffers a Decisive defeat, and all units in the depleted command roll - on a 1 they are lost to pursuit. 3) At the start of any turn, a side may add the "Concede" card to its deck. When it does so it can no longer advance upon the enemy. When the card is turned, if all commands have Red dice remaining, the game ends and the army is considered to have successfully disengaged; no further losses are incurred. The application of this system to a Campaign or a series of linked battles is obvious!

    As in all of Bob's wargame rules, there are a great many decisions to be made in the course of a game of Die Fighting 2. Almost everything you do has a cost, and the outcome of your actions is seldom assured. You may fail to change your facing or formation, throwing your troops into Disorder. Your charge may fall short, or get out of hand so that your attack lacks cohesion. Terrain may be far more difficult to traverse than anticipated. You just may not be able to do what you want when you want to do it. One thing is for sure - if you try to do every thing with every unit in every command, at every opportunity you will most certainly go down to defeat in short order. Resources must be husbanded, and the army's efforts focused on the right commands, troops and sectors. The additional Resource Dice pool of the C-in-C must be allocated to his sub-commanders in such a fashion as to support the battle plan. 

   So, what are my final words on this non play-through (yet) review of  Die Fighting 2? The DVD is certainly an effective, economical, and innovative presentation of a set of wargames rules, and it is extremely well done - there is really nothing else quite like it out there! Congratulations, Bob! Most importantly, though, after viewing the slideshow and the video, and reading through the supporting materials, I can't wait to put a game on the table. There is no higher recommendation that that for a read through (or in this case, a viewing) of a rules set!

Peter

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Byzantium vs Sassanid Persia with Legio Quaternarius

Barry and I played out this game using my Legio Quaternarius rules in my basement a week before Ellis Con, as I was a bit rusty on my own rules. Both armies were happy to get out of their boxes and stretch their legs on the Field of Honor! I'll do separate posts on each of these two armies in the not too distant future as well. 


It featured me, playing with my Sassanid Persian Army (vintage Minifigs)


against Barry with my Later Byzantime army (25mm Garrison figures) I happen to love their castings for this army, the only army I have that uses these miniatures. I see they just halted all production as of last month.


I had the first move and advanced smartly. Note my LI archers and slingers taking cover in the woods!


Target Practice!


Barry's Byzantines advanced i  turn, concentrating on my left but 

This soon lead to a massive clash of armored Horsemen on the Byzantine Left.


and more cavalry charges on the Byzantine Right as well.


Overview shows the weak Sassanid Levy infantry holding back in the center, supported by their War Engines.One unit can be seen practicing their favorite maneuver - "Run Away!"


The Byzantines front line, consisting of light troops, was eliminated on their Left.


and they also didn't fare well on their Right either.


In the center, the much more heavily armed and better trained Byzantine infantry was threatening to sweep aside the motley Levy infantry of the Sassanids.



On their Move, Barry's Byzantines make a furious counterattack on  their Left.


$
Ain't pay back a B*$@#? The Sassanid right flank is devastated! The Varangian Guard with their "Two Handed Choppers" prove to be especially tough!


The Sassanids pull back on their Right to regroup, and try  to get their recalcitrant Levy to form something approaching a battle line...


whilst they finish mop up operations on their left flank.


Close up of the withdrawn Sassanid Left. The Sassanids then won the toss for the first move of the next turn.


That resulted in an all out attack on the Byzantine center, with all the Levy that could be coaxed into action, the Sassanid Elephant corps, and a devastating flank/rear attack by the victorious Sassanid Cavalry of the Left flank. The results are shown above.  Although his Right flank was still in excellent shape, and with the prospect of his own possible double move in the offing, Byzantine Emperor Barryleus II, opted to withdraw to fight another day, rather than risk total defeat.


    Barry and I fought this battle to a conclusion in about 2.5 hours. It was fun revisiting these rules that I had so many good times with in the past, and they still work well. After this game and the EllisCon game, I think the one thing they need is a system to mitigate the potentially devastating effect of the double move. Using a simple sequence deck and impetus, such as we is used for Pikette, would be one way to adapt Legio Quaternarius  further. I shall have to consider some additional experimentation!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Battle of La Bicocca: April 22, 1522

    I had originally planned to run the Battle of Marignano at Historicon 2015 for its 500th anniversary; however, on researching it, the battle seemed just too one dimensional for my taste, so I decided to switch it up a bit and try out La Bicocca, another Swiss defeat, which following on that at Marignano, shattered the legend of Swiss invincibility. James Roach, on his OlicanaLad blog, gives an excellent account of the background of the battle, the forces involved, and how he developed  his version of the scenario. I strongly recommend reading the two posts linked to above for this information, as well as drooling over James' beautiful troops and table! I have appropriated James' fine map from his blog post, and set up my table more or less similarly, 6 x 8 feet. I adjusted the OOB  (which follows) a bit to fit my own collection.







Scenario Special Rules:

Point d'argent, point de Suisse: 
Add two ‘uncontrolled advance’ cards and use an opposed D6 vs D6 roll - the Swiss must win or they must immediately advance and continue on to assault the ramparts. Do NOT remove the cards if they pass the test, but do remove them if they fail.

Potential French Flanking attack:  The entire body of French infantry and cavalry may attack the Right Flank of the position, but the Swiss and Black Bands may not. They must stay in front of the ramparts. 

Sunken Road: Class IV Terrain, Difficulty roll to Cross.
Ramparts: Class III Terrain, Superior Position for Fire and Melee
Artillery Platforms: Class IV Terrain, Difficulty Roll to cross, Superior Position for Fire and Melee, Artillery in them may change facing up to 90 degrees on any Engines of War Move, Infantry Maneuver or Deployment Card, This allows enfilading fire at attackers in the Sunken Road
Boggy Ground: The boggy ground is ‘probably impassable’. When the first Venetian unit contacts it roll a D6. On a result of 1 - 2 it is impassable (Class V); 3 – 5 it is very difficult terrain (Class IV); 6 it is ‘much drier than it looked’ – it is only difficult terrain (Class III).


Battle of La Bicocca, April 22 1522  - French Order of Battle


UNIT/description
RATING
FIRE
MELEE
MORALE
NOTES
Gendarmes #1
Elite Household EHC; Hvy Lance
N/A
Up 5
Up 2
metal bard; +2 BDV Fearsome!
Gendarmes #2
Elite Household EHC; Hvy Lance
N/A
Up 5
Up 2
metal bard; +2 BDV Fearsome!


COMMANDER
description
LEADERSHIP
RADIUS
Notes
Lautrec



NC  to Quality roll; Army C-in-C
(Left Flank Gendarmes)
C-in-C
Difficulty Die:

Class II/IV D6;  “Other” D6



UNIT/description
RATING
FIRE
MELEE
MORALE
NOTES
Gendarmes #3
Elite Household EHC; Hvy Lance
N/A
Up 5
Up 2
metal bard; +2 BDV Fearsome!
COMMANDER
description
LEADERSHIP
RADIUS
Notes
Chevalier Bayard



+2 to Quality roll
(Right Flank Gendarmes)

Difficulty Die:

Class II/IV D6;  “Other” D6


UNIT/description
RATING
FIRE
MELEE
MORALE
NOTES
Mtd Aquebusiers
Merc LC; Arq, Imp weapons
Up 1
Dn 1
Dn 1
Skirmish only!
Sk. Arquebusiers #1
Merc LI, Arq, Imp weapons
Up2
NC
NC
Skirmish only!
Sk. Arquebusiers #2
Merc LI, Arq, Imp weapons
Up2
NC
NC
Skirmish only!
Sk. Arquebusiers #
Merc LI, Arq, Imp weapons
Up2
NC
NC
Skirmish only!
Arquebusiers - A
Merc MI, Arq, Imp weapons
Up 2
NC
NC

Arquebusiers - B
Merc MI, Arq, Imp weapons
Up 2
NC
NC

Arquebusiers - C
Merc MI, Arq, Imp weapons
Up 2
NC
NC


COMMANDER
description
LEADERSHIP
RADIUS
Notes
Giovanni di Medici



+2 to Quality roll
(Black Band)

Difficulty Die:

Class II/IV D8;  “Other” D8


UNIT/description
RATING
FIRE
MELEE
MORALE
NOTES
Sk. Crossbows #1
Militia LI, X-bow. Imp weapons
Up 2
Dn 1
Dn 1
Skirmish only!
Sk. Crossbows #2
Militia LI, X-bow. Imp weapons
Up 2
Dn 1
Dn 1
Skirmish only!
Sk. Crossbows #3
Militia LI, X-bow. Imp weapons
Up 2
Dn 1
Dn 1
Skirmish only!
Sk. Crossbows #4
Militia LI, X-bow. Imp weapons
Up 2
Dn 1
Dn 1
Skirmish only!
French Pikes
Militia MI; Pike
NA
up1
Dn 1
36 - Pike Block
Hvy Artillery C
Militia Artillery; Heavy Guns
Up 2
Dn 2
Dn 1

Hvy Artillery D
Militia Artillery; Heavy Guns
Up 2
Dn 2
Dn 1


COMMANDER
description
LEADERSHIP
RADIUS
Notes
Marshal de Foix



NC to Quality roll
(French Infantry)

Difficulty Die:

Class II/IV D6;  “Other” D6


UNIT/description
RATING
FIRE
MELEE
MORALE
NOTES
Swiss Pikes #1
Elite Merc HI/MI; Pike
N/A
Up 3
Up 1
36-Pike Block;   +2 BDV
NO Auto-Rally; Fearsome!
Swiss Pikes #2
Elite Merc HI/MI; Pike
N/A
Up 3
Up 1
36-Pike Block;   +2 BDV
NO Auto-Rally; Fearsome!
Swiss Pikes #3
Elite Merc HI/MI; Pike
N/A
Up 3
Up 1
36-Pike Block;   +2 BDV
NO Auto-Rally; Fearsome!
Swiss Arq.  A
Merc. LI; Arq, Imp wpn
Up 2
NC
NC
Skirmish only!
Swiss Arq.  B
Merc. LI; Arq, Imp wpn
Up 2
NC
NC
Skirmish only!

COMMANDER
description
LEADERSHIP
RADIUS
Notes
Winkelried



NC to Quality roll
(Swiss Infantry)

Difficulty Die:

Class II/IV D6;  “Other” D8


UNIT/description
RATING
FIRE
MELEE
MORALE
NOTES
Venetian Pikes
Merc HI/MI; Pike
N/A
Up 2
NC
36-Pike Block
Sk Arquebusiers
Merc. LI; Arq, Imp wpn
Up 2
NC
NC
Skirmish only!
Arquebusiers #1
Merc. MI; Arq, Imp wpn
Up 2
NC
NC

Arquebusiers #2
Merc. MI; Arq, Imp wpn
Up 2
NC
NC

Arquebusiers #3
Merc. MI; Arq, Imp wpn
Up 2
NC
NC

Lanze Spezati
Merc HC; Lance
NA
Up 4
NC


COMMANDER
description
LEADERSHIP
RADIUS
Notes
Duke of Urbino



-1 to Quality Roll
(Venetians)

Difficulty Die:

Class II/IV D8;  “Other” D6

French Sequence Deck: Cavalry Move 2, Cavalry Maneuver 1, Infantry Move 2, Infantry Maneuver 1, Inf/Cav Move in III/IV 2, Engines of War Move 1. Engines Reload 1, Missile Reload 2, Elites Reload 1, Deployment 1, Heroic Moment 2, Melee Resolution 4, Leader Check 3, Courage 1, Milling Around 3, 2 Uncontrolled Advance (affects only Swiss), 1 Uncontrolled Charge (affects only Swiss and French Gendarmes)

French Morale Points: (count as 37 units for Army Characterization, Divisor 3)

French Specials (from Army Characterization):




Battle of La Bicocca, April 22 1522  - Imperialist Order of Battle

UNIT/description
RATING
FIRE
MELEE
MORALE
NOTES
Milanese Famiglia
Elite Household EHC; Hvy Lance
N/A
Up 5
Up 2
+1 BDV Fearsome!
Sk. Crossbows - A
Militia LI, X-bow. Imp weapons
Up 2
Dn 1
Dn 1
Skirmish only!
Sk. Crossbows - B
Militia LI, X-bow. Imp weapons
Up 2
Dn 1
Dn 1
Skirmish only!
Crossbows #1
Militia LI, X-bow. Imp weapons
Up 2
Dn 1
Dn 1

Crossbows #2
Militia LI, X-bow. Imp weapons
Up 2
Dn 1
Dn 1


COMMANDER
description
LEADERSHIP
RADIUS
Notes
Maximillian Sforza



+1 to Quality Roll
(Milanese)

Difficulty Die:

Class II/IV D8;  “Other” D8


UNIT/description
RATING
FIRE
MELEE
MORALE
NOTES
Spanish Knights
Elite Household EHC, Hvy Lance
N/A
Up 5
Up 2
NC to BDV (understrength)

COMMANDER
description
LEADERSHIP
RADIUS
Notes
Prosper Colonna



Up 2 to Quality Roll
(Spanish Knights)
C-in-C
Difficulty Die:

Class II/IV D8;  “Other” D6


UNIT/description
RATING
FIRE
MELEE
MORALE
NOTES
Spanish Pikes
Regular HI/MI; Pike
N/A
Up 2
Up 1
36-Pike Block;  
Spanish Arq #1
Regular (M) MI; Arq, Imp wpn
Up 2
NC
Up 1
+1 BDV; Elite Reload
Spanish Arq #1
Regular (M) MI; Arq, Imp wpn
Up 2
NC
Up 1
+1 BDV; Elite Reload
Spanish Arq #1
Regular (M) MI; Arq, Imp wpn
Up 2
NC
Up 1
+1 BDV; Elite Reload
Spanish Musketeers
Regular(M) LI; Musk, Imp wpn
Up 3
Dn 1
Up `1
+1 BDV
Spanish Sword/Buckler
Regular HI; Tr. swords, shld
N/A
Up 2
Up 1
+1 BDV; Up 1 vs Pks

COMMANDER
description
LEADERSHIP
RADIUS
Notes
de Leyva



+1 to Quality Roll
(Spanish Infantry)

Difficulty Die:

Class II/IV D8;  “Other” D6


UNIT/description
RATING
FIRE
MELEE
MORALE
NOTES
Landsknecht Pike #1
Merc MI, Pike
N/A
Up 2
NC
36- Pike Block
Landsknecht Pike #2
Merc MI, Pike
N/A
Up 2
NC
36 - Pike Block
Heavy Gun  - A
Militia Artillery; Heavy Guns
Up 2
Dn 2
Dn 1

Heavy Gun  - B
Militia Artillery; Heavy Guns
Up 2
Dn 2
Dn 1


COMMANDER
description
LEADERSHIP
RADIUS
Notes
Georg v.Frundsberg



NC to Quality Roll
(Landsknechts)

Difficulty Die:

Class II/IV D8;  “Other” D6


UNIT/description
RATING
FIRE
MELEE
MORALE
NOTES
Spanish Genitors
Merc MC; Jav, Tr Swds, Shld
NC
Up 2
NC
+1 BDV
Spanish Genitors
Merc MC; Jav, Tr Sws, Shld
NC
Up 2
NC
+1 BDV

COMMANDER
description
LEADERSHIP
RADIUS
Notes
Pescara



+1 to Quality Roll
(Spanish Genitors)

Difficulty Die:

Class II/IV D8;  “Other” D6



Imperial Sequence Deck: Cavalry Move 2, Cavalry Maneuver 1,  Infantry Move 2, Infantry Maneuver 1, Inf/Cav Move in III/IV 2, Native Mobility 1 (affects only Genitors), Engines of War Move 1. Engines Reload 1, Missile Reload 2, Elites Reload 1, Deployment 1, Heroic Moment 2, Melee Resolution 3, Leader Check 2, Courage 1, Milling Around 5

Imperial Morale Points: (count as 28 units for Army Characterization, Divisor 4)

Imperial Specials (from Army Characterization):


Jared was over to my house for a game the first time on Sunday to give this scenario a try. He is now quite familiar with Field of Battle, but as it would just be a one on one game I felt it was a good time to introduce him to Classic Piquet, using Band of Brothers 2nd edition. This scenario is a tough nut for the French player to crack,. even with the allowances above, so I had Jared play the defending Imperialists, while I took the French. We didn't roll up any troops or Leaders until we needed to know their ratings. Both of Our C-in-C's rolled up as Average. In the Army Characterization process the French wound up with 1 each extra Move in Difficult Terrain, Heroic Moment, and Brilliant Leader cards, and 42 Morale Points. The Imperialists wound up with one extra Heroic Moment card and 25 Morale points.



Setup: The  open Imperialist right flank, with the Milanese reinforcements having arrived just prior to the commencement of the battle to reinforce it. 


View from the Ramparts, with Spanish Genitors looking a bit outnumbered facing Giovanni di Medici's Black Band Arquebusiers in front, behind them the Swiss, and behind them the French!


Set up - view from the French right, with their unenthusiastic Venetian allies in the near ground.  Gotta love the bold heraldic banners of this era!


View of the fortified Bicocca manor House, and the boggy ground it overlooks.


Close up view of the French center.


Close up of the center of the Imperialist defenses.


The Manor House and one of the two the Artillery platforms.


The French Left flank forces.


The game got off to a fast start, with the Swiss almost immediately turning the Uncontrolled Advance card, and failing to pass their test to stand. The arrogant mountaineers shouldered their way through the Italian arquebusiers to their front, and on a second MOVE card, closed with the surprised Genitors. Being Medium cavalry, they could not evade the Swiss, but did manage to send not one but two rounds of their oft despised Javelins raining down upon the immense Swiss Pike blocks. This was surprisingly effective, with some added fire from the defending artillery. However, the Swiss shrugged off the Challenge to their morale, and seized the next available opportunity to engage in Melee. The outcome of this unequal action was never in any serious doubt, and both units of Genitors were routed with considerable losses. The Swiss were able to Move again, catching the routers seen above, and served them en brochette to a man!  This brought the the Swiss Pike columns to the edge of the deep, steep ditch. 


The hardy mountaineers, their blood up, proceeded to cross the deep ditch, shrugging off the considerable Difficulty of traversing it in good formation like the veterans that they were. 


Not surprisingly, they were met with a veritable hailstorm of arquebus fire from the well drilled Spanish Arquebusiers manning the  ramparts above them. Hundreds of Pikemen were mowed down, their blood seeping into the freshly excavated dirt of the ditch. Among the fallen was their commander, Winkelried. He had been furious that he missed the spoils of the Swiss victory over the French at Novarra, and had been the loudest voice insisting that the Swiss must either attack immediately, or depart for the Cantons due to the lack of their promised pay. Irony is so often handmaiden of Justice!


Shrugging off the loss of their Leader, the Swiss then charged up the ramparts. They were met with point blank fire from the defending Arquebusiers, and this time the left most column was not up to the Challenge, falling back in Disorder.


Sulfurous clouds o black smoke then belched forth from the Imperial guns, and the Disorder was of the left hand column was converted into Rout! Despite the heavy losses it had incurred on the approach, the central column beat back the Determined Arquebusiers opposing them, driving them from the ramparts, but the their Courage failed them at a critical moment, and they tumbled back down the escarpment in Disorder. The right most Swiss Pike block, however, routed the Spanish Arquebusier unit opposing it, and nimbly scaled the parapet. The ramparts had been breached! Heluetios ad Portas!


Alas, it was to be the high water mark of the recklessly brave pikemen of the cantons. They were counter charged by the opposing veteran Landsknecht pike block, their sworn and hated enemies. By push of pike and slash of Halberd, the Swiss were forced back in disorder. The Germans charged home once again and then routed their traditional foes, inflicting heavy losses! Meanwhile, the Spanish Arquebsuiers gave proof of their unequaled skill with their firearms, pouring another volley of lead into the middle column. Not surprisingly, when put to the Test, they routed as well!  The entire Swiss attack had been decisively defeated, a fate they had not suffered in over 200 years of warfare. Despite feeling sure that any hope of victory on this day was past, Lautrec ordered the Venetians of the right flank and the French on the left flank to move forward, while the Black Band arquebusiers moved forward in the center, more to cover the retreat of the Swiss than to seriously hope to contest the fortified bulwarks of the Imperialists. 


The rout of the Swiss continued, and the Black band now began to feel the sting of the Spanish firearms as well. 


The French Gendarmes made some progress with their flanking move, being careful to stay out of Arquebus range!.


Prospero Colonna's view from the defensive position and Giovanni di Medici's opposing Italians late in the day. The French efforts on the flanks were too little, too late, and after suffering more casualties from the artillery and Arquebusiers manning the earthworks, Lautrec decided to cut his losses, and commence an orderly retreat while he still could!


Maximillian Sforza, just lately reinstated as Duke of Milan, seen here at the end of the battle, stationed at the head of his Famiglia (Extra Heavy cavalry). The Duke was quite happy to have spent the day without firing a shot, moving an inch, and especially, without losing a man. After all, in the topsy turvy, cut throat politics of Machiavelli's Italy, your ally one month was likely to be your enemy the next! 


Commentators writing after fact observed that Lautrec's forces never fired a shot or a crossbow bolt the entire day. The rapid Swiss assault swiftly masked their powerful artillery, and left the supporting troops behind. For their part, the heavy losses suffered by the Imperialists in the few melees the Swiss were able to engage in were enough to convince the cautious Colonna not top attempt pursuit. 

Game notes: 
At he end of the battle, the French had lost 27 out of 42 morale points, while the imperialists had lost 23 out of 35. I am going to rework the scenario to work  Hostile Realms so as to make it more viable for a convention setting, and adjust the French deployments and defensive position slightly. I think I will also allow the French player to expend morale points to increase his odds of passing the Undisciplined Advance, but not allow removal of the card if they pass - I am thinking 3 Morale points per die type. base test is D6 vs D6, so if the French player spent 9 MP, they could bring it to a D12 vs D6 - not guaranteed, but better odds. obviously. the next card would still start at D6 vs D6 unless additional Morale points are spent. This may allow increased chances of delaying the Swiss attack to allow the French guns to shoot, the flank attacks to develop, etc., but with no guarantee, and at a cost (the Swiss are becoming progressively ore annoyed with the delaying tactics). The FoB like MOVE mechanics of Hostile Realms will also make it easier for other troops/commands to get into the action. Jared has already volunteered himself for a second playtest, and with Hostile Realms, up to three players a side would be viable.