Piquet, Band of Brothers Medieval/Renaissance Supplement, 2nd Edition (1200-1600AD); co-authored with Ken Baggaley
Piquet is a set of multi-period wargames rules by Bob Jones, first released in 1996. It consists of the basic rules and concepts, which are more or less applicable to all periods, called the Master Rules, now in its second edition, and various period specific supplements. The second edition is a substantial improvement over the first, with much better physical and graphic quality, better explanations of key rules and concepts, and some new rules that generally improve the system further. This discussion concerns the Medieval/Renaissance supplement, "Band of Brothers", or BoB for short. The first edition of this supplement was released in March of 1998, and the revised and greatly expanded 2nd edition was released in 2006. Band of Brothers, 2nd edition, is available direct from Piquet, Inc.
Basic Piquet Rules and Concepts
Troops in Piquet (phonetically abbreviated PK) are generally organized into units of 4 stands each, except for artillery which have 2 stands. The number of figures per stand varies from 2 to 4 for infantry, and 2 or 3 for cavalry. This determines the number of "hits" a stand can take before it is marked as a casualty; however, the hits do not carry over from one part of the turn to the next (but do add up if more than one unit fires on and scores "hits" on the target in a short period of time. Thus it is more the decline in combat effectiveness rather than actual numerical losses which determines stand loss. It actually doesn't really matter if you do mount your figures the same as called for in the rules, as long as all the troops are based with the same frontage. Therefore most gamers would, for 25mm figures, probably use 60mm frontage WRG-Gush or DBR mounting. So, little if any remounting should be required for those with existing Renaissance armies.
PK uses a sequence deck to govern the actions that your troops may or have to take. There are over 20 different kinds of cards in the Band of Brothers module; individual cards each for infantry, cavalry, and artillery movement, for reloading/firing, for melee resolution, for major morale checks, for maneuver, for formation changes, for wasted time, for odd events and stratagems, for fire and retire, for movement in difficult terrain, for uncontrolled charges and advances, for requiring troops nearby to the enemy camp to pillage it, and many more. The key concept is that, with a few key exceptions, the player can only do what they have the card showing for. If they want to move a gendarme unit to counter an enemy threat but they don't have a cavalry move card up, tough luck! It can't be done until you turn the card. Each side doesn't just turn the cards in turn. Each side's commander rolls a D20, the high roller gets the difference in pips as "impetus" to spend. Each impetus turns a new card, or allows an entire command group to act on most cards (Firing, though, and out of command units require one impetus pip per individual unit per action). When duplicate D20 rolls occur, OR one side goes through their entire deck (each army's deck is different in composition, and can easily be tailed to meet the needs of an individual scenario as well), a turn is completed. Thus the flow of events is quite unpredictable, with a marked tendency to ebb and flow!
Cavalry units are allowed to spend a morale chip (see below) and force an enemy unit to check morale (in effect, they have issued a charge threat). Also, cavalry units of the non-initiative side are also allowed to "opportunity charge" during their opponent's initiative against units that they do not need a "Melee Resolution" card to initiate combat. This would typically include disordered and routed units, flanks and rears, and, in some cases, skirmishers on foot. This "opportunity charge" also costs stored impetus to execute, which is in limited supply.
Each individual unit in PK is assigned its own basic degree of battle worthiness, depending upon a random roll, which is modified to a degree depending upon the army it belongs to. This will give the unit a base die type to use varying from a D4 to a D10. This die type is then modified according to the unit's weaponry, armor, and quality rating to give varying final values for fire, melee, and morale ranging from a D4 to a D12 +3 or more. Most PK mechanics involve competitive die rolls for melee, fire, and morale checks. The unit's basic firing die type (for example) is then modified by the range to the target, the target's formation, armor, the firer's formation, morale status, and more. These modifiers are summed up and applied to the starting fire die value to get a final die type. For example, a unit of Arquebusiers with a base fire value of D6 that has modifiers adding up to Up 2 shifts 2 die types up from a D6 to a D10 (steps are D4, D6, D8, D10, D12, D12+1, D12+2, etc.). The D10 is rolled and the score compared to a die roll by the target. If the firer exceeds the target's roll, the difference in pips is the number of "hits" scored on the target. If the hits suffered equals or exceeds the number of figures per stand, one or more stands are marked as casualties. In some situations (melee and morale), if the die roll is double the opposition's, the opposition is routed; if tripled routed unralliable. This results in a pretty wide variability in combat, from devastating damage to nothing significant. Obviously, with a D4 against a D12, there's still a small chance the D4 will not only beat the D12, but beat it badly!
PK uses "morale chips" to model the morale/cohesion reserve of the army. They are VERY important. Morale Chips are lost for a lot of causes - each non skirmish stand lost as casualties, each routed unit, each attempted rally, each morale check you require of your opponent's troops, etc. The army only starts out with so many (determined randomly but based upon the size and quality of your army).When its out of chips, an army is much more vulnerable to morale failure and command disruption. Also, for every unit in the army that is routed or eliminated, on the following turn one of the (generally good) Sequence Deck cards is discarded. Thus, as the army suffers disruption, its ability to act gradually deteriorates. Eventually, retreat becomes the only viable option.
In all PK games, the same process that generates your morale chips can also give boosts to your troops abilities (army effects) and/or give you access to one or more stratagems. These later include hidden ditches, unexpected fords, hidden snipers, reinforcements, weather conditions, feigned retreat, and many others. There's MUCH more to the basic rules, but those are some of the key rule concepts.
Band of Brothers - II Edition
Piquet BoB2 uses 3 levels of disruption - Unformed (new from the first edition), which represents potentially transient minor disruption of the unit, Disorder, a much more severe state implying loss of control and cohesion, with loss of both ability and will to fight, and Rout, which is pretty self explanatory. While Piquet uses a "stand loss" mechanism to reflect permanent degradation of the unit's capabilities, there's no need to actually take the figures off the table - in fact the rules suggest that this not be done, but rather that unobtrusive markers be used to indicate stand "loss". See also the above. The only times a unit has to be removed from the table is when they disperse (lose all "stands") or retreat off the table. The new Unformed status, derived from Archon2, allows finer distinction in unit status, and often comes up as an effect of skirmish fire, a result of much voluntary interpenetration, and the status for victorious units after melee that do not pursue their foes - pursuers still suffer disorder after melee.
The organization of troops is for the most part as in standard PK. There are some larger formations, though. Certain well trained/superior pike units (mostly Swiss and Landsknechts) can be formed up into Pike Block formation. Pike Blocks have from 8 to 17 stands, with 9 being typical. One stand may be a "Forlorn Hope" of polearms or two handed swordsmen, which may be committed prior to melee against another pike unit in an attempt to disorder it. Pike Blocks have notably improved combat ability - in fact they are all but impossible to defeat in frontal combat, except by another Pike Block or a Tercio. They also have greatly improved morale, but increased missile vulnerability. It also moves at double speed its first move of the game, and maybe more if it can keep the initiative. Tercio (or Bastioned Square) formation has from 2 to 8 stands of arquebusiers and from 4 to 8 stands of pikemen. The arquebusiers can be arranged at the corners of the pikes, or around the edges - it has no effect on game play. Tercios have no flanks, and is also almost impossible to defeat in melee, except by another Pike Block or Tercio. It also gets improved combat and morale. It is even more vulnerable to fire than a Pike Block, however. . In the second edition, these larger formations are now treated as a single unit, which removes the ambiguity sometimes experienced when using these units in the first edition rules. Inferior pikes (early Spanish, hastily raised Italians, and some others) must deploy in battle mass, 1 unit at a time, 2 stands wide by 2 deep.
Some units are designated Fearsome (examples - Swiss Pikes and Polearms, French Gendarmes, Turkish Janissaries, Elephants and any troops armed with firearms that cause losses of a stand or more) These units trigger special morale checks on your army upon the appearance of a sequence deck card called "Courage!".
Missile weapons include simple bow, advanced bow, longbow, crossbow, early handguns, arquebus, musket, pistol, sling and javelins. They all have different rates of fire (determined by various kinds of sequence deck cards), ranges, and effect modifiers. For example, muskets have superior range and effect, but slow reload times. Caracoling Reiters are covered, and use of the Fire and Retire card can produce a very historical type fire effect for them and horse archers. Fire by skirmishers generally causes disruption only, rather than permanent casualties. In some ways, this actually makes them more effective against large deep formations like Pike Blocks and Tercios. It's best to screen these formations with your own skirmishers to keep them from being disrupted.
Mounted troops are now restricted to fire at Medium range or less, ensuring that they will be outranged (and usually out shot) by their foot brethren. Hand firearms now only ignore the effects of armor at Point Blank and Short ranges. This seems more in keeping with the data presented in Bert Hall's Weapons and Warfare in Renaissance Europe and elsewhere. It also retains some game utility for the horse barding that persisted into the middle of the 16th century. Fire at mounted targets counts the armor of the horse rather than the rider. Barding developed in large part in response to the development and increased usage of effective missile weapons, as did the Hundred Year's War practice of dismounting heavily armored knights on the field of battle
The section of the rules covering War Wagons gas been revised and expanded (I now have a Hussite army!). Artillery is divided into Light, Medium, Heavy, and Organ guns. As was the case historically, these units are slow to reload and far more effective when firing at targets of deep pike armed infantry than linear formations.
Melee weapons include Pike, irregular sidearms, trained swordsmen, polearms (including 2 handed swords and axes), spear, and mounted heavy and light lance. The Weapons Interaction Table from the first edition has been deleted and replaced with a few key modifiers on the Melee Resolution table. There are no evade rules per se, but the Melee Qualification Table regulates how easy or difficult it is to close with another unit and bring it to melee. For example, EHC can't force LC or skirmishers into melee, which effectively creates an evade mechanism in most appropriate circumstances.
BoB2 contains new Pursuit rules which make sense and are useable. The original version in the Master Rules was so difficult to interpret that we never used them. The present rules are once again based upon Eric's work on Archon2. The Cavalry Morale Challenge has also been revised to make the heavy guys much more threatening to unsupported missile troops.
Leadership and the handling of Commanders have changed substantially from the first edition. For the most part, leaders will be attached to a unit, and will exert an influence on that unit's combat characteristics. They'll start in control of their units, more or less, but that control will become progressively less efficient as the chaos of battle proceeds. The army commander may or may not be attached to a unit - there are advantages to each. By the Italian Wars, the overall commander would often but certainly not always or exclusively direct the battle from the rear. As BoB2 covers 1200 - 1600 AD, obviously leading from the front was clearly the norm for the earlier part of the era, at least in most armies.
BoB2 also includes a simple introductory set of Renaissance rules, sort of a cross between Piquet and DBA. These are designed for play with armies of just 12 stands plus a gun. This is a great way to get started with Renaissance wargaming at a very reasonable cost for figures and with very limited painting time.
Another addition to BoB2 is "Beat the Drum", which offers a variety of different ways of selecting your forces for a given battle. Finally, BoB2 includes greatly expanded Army "lists", designed to be very user friendly.
An on-line system for generating the armies using "Beat The Drum" isnow available .
Organized into Campaign Musters, "Beat The Drum" covers the following:
The Last Crusades: The Holy Land and the Near East (1171-1291)
Crusaders, Latin Empire, Byzantine, Turks, Saracens, Mamelukes, Georgian, Bulgarians
The Devil's Horsemen: Eastern Europe and the Mongols (1200-1280)
Mongols, Poles, Hungarians, Russians, Teutonic Order, Prussians, Cumans, Volga Bulgars
The Conflict of Empire and Papacy: Europe in the High Middle Ages (1200-1356)
French, Italian, Sicilian, Papal, Imperial, Lowland, German, Swiss
The Rise of England: The British Isles in the High Middle Ages (1200-1328)
English, Welsh, Scots, Western Isles, Irish, Norse, Anglo-Irish
The Hundred Years' War: Western Europe (1320-1455)
Early English, Early French, Italian, Free Company, Later English, Later French, Condotta, Burgundy
La Reconquista: (1400-1492)
Iberian Christian, Granadine
The Rise of Muscovy: (1400-1600)
Muscovite, Polish/Lithuanian, Cossacks, Mongols, Teutonic Knights
The Hussite Wars: (1419-1435)
The Twilight of Chivalry: (1450-1480)
Burgundian, Low Countries, Italian, French, English, Swiss
The Last Plantagenets: The Wars of the Roses: (1455-1487)
Yorkist, Lancastrian, Ricardist, Tudor Expeditionary, Pretender, Early Tudor, Scots
The Great Italian Wars: (1494 -1560)
French, Spanish, Hapsburgs, Ottomans, Venetians, Florentines, Milanese, Papal States
Late Ottoman Expansion: (1500-1600)
Ottoman, Hungarian/Transylvanian, Austrian Habsburg, Venetian Colonial, Wallachian/Moldavian, Kinghts of St. John, Persia
The Peacock Throne: The Indian Subcontinent (1500-1600)
Mughals, Rajputs, Afghans, Marathas
Wars of the Reformation: Western Europe (1500-1609)
English, Scots, Irish, French Catholic, Hugenot, Spanish, German, Dutch, Maurice of Nassau
All of the above would be nice, but of little importance, in my opinion, without the core features of Piquet :
The ability to easily customize the sequence decks both for different armies and for the unique circumstances of a particular battle;
The "Fog of War" generated by the ebb and flow of impetus, the randomization of the Sequence Deck, and variable unit base die types;
The game's focus upon the occurrence of decisive events and their sequence, as opposed to a focus on attritional degradation of the enemy;
The large number of decisions required of the player as the game progresses, something not always apparent to players new to the system;
And most importantly, the inherent rollercoaster fun of playing the game (and explaining all the decisive moments in the battle report afterwards)!
Here's hoping you enjoy exploring wargaming in the Late Medieval and Renaissance eras, whether with Band of Brothers 2nd edition, or otherwise!
The Battle of Cerignola, April 1503
I fought this battle solo as an initial playtest of the (1st edition) Band of Brothers PK supplement (1200-1600). I had already played a number of games with the Napoleonic supplement. It was not expected that this would be an even scenario! Each army had 18 units, for the most part generated as per the PK army lists, with some modifications due to the actual combatants engaged that day. The Spanish commander, Gonzalo de Cordoba, had been awaiting the arrival of the French army under the Duc de Nemours. Gonzalo had his troops widen and deepen a creek which ran across the field, and the earth excavated was used to create a hasty earthworks in the center of the position. Behind the middle of the creek was a low hill with vineyards upon it. The village of Cerignola lay still further back (off the table). Historically, the French were unaware of these preparations. Still the men were tired after a long march on a very hot day, and Nemours wanted to wait until the following day to attack. However, the French captains repeatedly urged him not to delay, and ultimately Nemours relented and ordered the attack. In PK terms, the creek, earthworks (2 feet long on the 6x8 table), and hill were all rated Type II (mildest obstacle etc. type) Terrain. The French added the following extra cards to their TAD deck - 1 Pillage and Loot, 2 Uncontrolled Charge, and 1 undisciplined advance cards. This would make it hard for the French not to press the attack as was done historically. The Spaniards added 1 crushing missilery, 1 Pillage and Loot, 1 ineffective missilery, and 1 Superstitions and Omens card to their TAD deck. The TAD decks otherwise contain Milling Around (wasted impetus) and Courage! (Morale checks for units engaged in combat or within 1 move of Fearsome units). In addition, as Gonzalo was rolled as a poor commander, a command indecision card was also added to their sequence deck, and a card had to be discarded from the sequence deck after the shuffle - in BoB, the sequence deck always has 26 cards. The base Spanish deck had 21 cards, the French 22, so the Spanish had to add in 5 TAD cards each turn and the French 4. As discards for routing units, etc. occur, they will be
replaced by more TAD cards!
The forces engaged were as follows:
France: (548 pts total)
6 Units Swiss Pikemen, Regulars, Leather Armor, Helmet, "Unique" (+1 to all
die types!), Fearsome!, Phalanx formation preferred (40 pts each)
1 Unit skirmish Arquebusiers, Militia, Helmet only (21 pts)
3 Units skirmish Crossbows, Militia, no armor (18 pts)
1 Unit Light Gunnes (Reg) (18 pts)
1 Unit Medium Gunnes (Reg) (24 pts)
2 units Gendarmes, Guard, EHC, Plate, Bard, Lance, "Unique", Fearsome! (48 pts)
1 Unit Mounted "Archers", Regular, HC, Composite Armor, Lance (no bows) (32 pts)
1 Unit Stradiots, Regular, MC, Leather/Shield, Javelins/Mace (21 pts)
1 Unit Mounted Crossbowmen, Militia, LC, Helmet (21 pts)
1 Unit Mounted Arquebusiers, Militia, LC, Helmet (21 pts)
Spain (584 total pts)
2 Units Spanish Pikemen, Regular, Composite armor, must use Battlemass
formation (early Spanish pikes were considered decidedly inferior) (40 pts)
2 Units Landsknecht Pikemen, Elite, Leather Armor/Helmet - as they were newly
arrived to the army, they are also restricted to battlemass formation. (40 pts)
1 Unit Sword and Bucklermen, Regular, Helm/Composite armor/Shield (28 pts)
1 Unit Skirmish Musketeers, Militia, Helmet only, "Unique" (24 pts)
2 units skirmish Crossbowmen, Militia, Helmet only (21 pts)
4 units MI Arquebusiers, Regular, Leather armor/Helmet, 2 units are rated
"Unique" (32 for regulars, 40 for unique)
1 Unit Light Guns, Militia, no armor (18 pts)
1 Unit LC Mounted Crossbowmen, Militia, Helmet only (21 pts)
1 Unit LC Mounted Arquebusiers, Militia, Helmet only (21 pts)
2 Units MC Genitors, Natives, Leather/Helmet/Shield, Javelins and sword. (21 pts)
1 Unit Spanish Knights, Guard, EHC Plate, Bard, Lance, "Unique", Fearsome! (48 pts)
1 Unit Italian Elmeti, Reg, EHC Plate no bard, Lance (36 pts)
Note that any musket or arquebus armed unit that eliminates one or more enemy stands by firepower then receives Fearsome! status.
The deployment rules were followed. The Spanish rolled low and had to adopt an Unbalanced deployment. They stationed all their LC/MC on the right flank along with 1 unit of crossbowmen, and deployed the central element with the gun and 3 of the 4 arquebusier units in the center (mostly behind the earthworks), and the Musketeers and remaining crossbow units in skirmish on their far left flank. Gonzalo took personal command of the 2 lancer units, which were stationed behind the Spanish left center. Because of the lack of a left flank command, the Spanish lost a D8 (rolled a 3) morale chips.
The French adopted a Balanced Deployment, with the Stradiots, HC "Archers", and Mounted Crossbowmen on their left, the Artillery, Swiss Phalanx, and skirmish missile troops in 2 lines in the center, and the Gendarmes, screened by the Mounted arquebusiers on the right. Both sides chose to use a baggage train behind their centers. This adds 1 Morale chip per turn it remains on the field, but there is a loss of D12 MC's if it retreats off the field, and half of your remaining MC’s if it's eliminated. Both sides got about the same number of morale chips (23 and 21 -3 = 18 respectively), and no special cards were drawn from the characterization deck.
As a comment, throughout the battle, the French had a decided advantage in impetus
rolls, but they didn't roll well in combat - a lot of 1's!!!
As an introduction, this battle report is done in a narrative semi-fictionalized style (shamelessly copied from Ken Baggaley!) that I hope you will find entertaining. When the report mentions that 2 captains, nobles, file leaders, or what have you were killed, in game terms it means that that many stands were lost. I'll interject rules notes into the historian's account when appropriate. And now, for the battle........
Although both armies were tired from the hot day, the French captains incessantly
complained to their commander, the Duc de Nemours, about their eagerness to come to grips with the impudent Spaniards. Although he preferred to rest his troops and reconnoiter the position overnight, he ultimately gave in to their demands and ordered an all out attack. Gonzalo de Cordoba was pleased to see the French advancing as planned, and he smiled to think of the excellent targets that his crack arquebusiers (the core of his army, really) would have that day. However, he and his troops were somewhat apprehensive about the weakness of his left flank, whence he could see the ferocious French Gendarmes approaching. He began to maneuver both his Lancers towards the left flank to protect his main position on the ridge (ed. note: Due to his deployment roll, Gonzalo was not allowed a left flank command, and the central command is not allowed to contain any cavalry. PK does, however, allow the C-in-C to command a "personal guard" of up to 2 units. The Elmeti and Knights were therefore placed under his command to provide some left flank cavalry.) As the French rumbled forwards, clouds of Ravens flew from the copses of trees that they passed. The Spaniards took this as a favorable omen, and their resolve was considerably stiffened! (ed. : the Omens! card came up, and the Spaniards lucked out with a net gain of 4 morale chips.) The Spanish left flank skirmishers, however, were still nervous about the ever nearer Gendarmes, and fired ineffectively at the covering French light horse who did not deem it worthwhile to reply.
Instead, they became enraged (ed.: an uncontrolled charge card was turned!), and began to
ford the stream, eager to disperse the annoying Spaniards. Suffering the loss of 2 of their captains to crossbow bolts, the Mounted Arquebusiers continued across the creek to combat the Spaniards. Their crossbows useless, the Spaniards none the less fought ferociously, while the cavalry horses slipped on the slick banks of the creek. 2 more French captains were killed in the fray (ed. : thereby eliminating the unit from play), and the remnants were finished as an effective force that day. Meanwhile, the French continued to advance, even the French Guns trying to close to effective range (ed: the undisciplined advance card!). The light Spanish artillery pieces continued their ineffective long range fire at the advancing skirmishers.
Next, the Gendarmes advanced and began to ford the stream. The crossbowmen were able to reform and inflict light losses on the advancing French Gentry. The infuriated Gendarmes continued to advance on the Spanish skirmishers, but this time the missile troops made the sensible decision not to try to repeat their feats of valor, and the musketeers and crossbowmen both coolly but rapidly withdrew. (ed. : as the musketeers and xbows were in skirmish, all the EHC can do is push them back UNLESS the skirmishers are disordered or taken in flank.) As Bayard called to his elite cavalry to begin wheeling into the flank of the main Spanish position, the Gendarmes as one surged forward to the attack once again (ed: another uncontrolled charge card!), pursuing their social inferiors with all the intensity of a lord heading to a tryst
with a milk maid. The nimble skirmishers again withdrew, but were beginning to think of calling it a day (ed: they were almost to the back edge of the table by now!), when the Spanish knights appeared from behind the ridge. In short order, the two armored juggernaughts were heading for one another, with the Spaniards holding their heavily encumbered horses back from full speed until the last 10 yards. The sound of the impact was heard clear back to the village of Cerignola! The combat swayed to and for indecisively, but ultimately the Spanish burst of speed disordered their French counterparts. (ed: the 2 units had identical stats, and identical modifiers, and rolled a tie. In this situation, there is a list of comparisons to make to determine who gets the edge and disorders their opponents. In this case, the only factor was that the Spanish had initiated the charge!) As the melee continued, the advantage fell increasingly to Gonzalo's troopers, and the French were forced to retreat across the creek, suffering the loss of 2 great nobles.
The French however, still had their second unit of unmarred Gendarmes to discomfit the
Spanish left. Meantime, the French Infantry was closing on the creek, and long range crossbow fire laid low the Spanish battery commander. Grandee Diego Garcia de Paredes, commanding the Spanish center, deemed it time to show the French what some really well aimed arquebus fire could do, and released all of his subordinates to fire with deliberate effect. The results were crippling, and the French missile troops all but ceased to exist (ed: fairly short range and very hot dice by the Spanish vs. cold for the French.) A similar fate met the advancing French Stradiots as they reached the creek on the Spanish right.
The French were badly shaken by these events. After all, they had now lost almost 20% of their troops (ed: and all their morale chips! They had to take a nasty army morale check called a Major Morale Check, and failed with their C-in-C), whereas the Spanish losses had been trivial. Several French Units, including the precious Gendarmes, started to head towards their encampment. (ed. : i.e. they failed their individual unit morale checks big time!) Seeing that the day was going against him, Nemours ordered the Compte de Allegre, commanding the center, to call off the attack on the Spanish earthworks. (ed: i.e., in playing the French, I would have called it a day at this point!) By now, the center consisted mostly of the medium guns, and the untouched Swiss Phalanx. The Swiss, receiving the order to withdraw, flatly refused. (ed. : Uncontrolled charge card again!) "Mein Gott, diese schpanisher feuermachers bei uns alle gebraten werden!", bellowed Heinrich Uberfall, bannerbearer of Freiwald. (ed. : translation of pidgin German: By God, we'll make those Spanish fire-makers into a barbecue!) As they had so many times in the past, the indomitable Swiss pikemen surged across the creek and up to the breastworks, their pikes leveled in proper "shishkabob" form. Nothing less than their reputation as the unsurpassed footsoldiers of the world was at stake! "Por Dios!", muttered Don Diego, watching the imposing phalanx sweep forward toward his post with the Spanish second line.
Using clubbed arquebuses, rocks, knives, and a few remaining weak shots, one of the veteran Arquebusier units actually defeated it's portion of the phalanx, 4 Swiss banner bearers perishing as they literally fell like dominos down the slippery embankment. Capitan Brazofuerte fell in the melee on the Spanish side. (ed. : The arquebusiers were at a serious but not overwhelming disadvantage, and their roll tripled or more that of the Swiss. This indicates a Rout, but units in a Phalanx don't rout from melee, but instead the entire unit is eliminated. The
defenders also automatically lose a stand "due to the intensity of the combat" in this special circumstance) However, as their frustrated Swiss brethren came up to avenge their neighbors, the arquebusiers had no more miracles to call upon, and were themselves put to rout with the loss of 2 more capitans. The light guns managed to get off a weak blast of nails, pebbles, and other debris, momentarily staggering their opposition (ed. : their melee roll actually exceeded the Swiss, but just by one or 2 pips, and not double or more that of the Swiss,
thereby disordering the Swiss, but causing no losses.) But thereafter, there was no denying the inevitable, and the brave cannoniers were skewered to a man! Finally, the remaining Swiss easily put the unloaded arquebusiers to their front to rout. Perhaps the Swiss encyclopedia of victories, dating back a century and a half, would have yet another chapter added to it!
Battle crazed, the Swiss continued on to attack the Spanish second line! The routing
arquebusiers were completely dispersed, but the phalanx began to break up into 3 separate units, each pursuing its own battle, instead of fighting as a unified whole (ed.: that uncontrolled charge again!). Without its vital cohesion, the phalanx suddenly started to look more vulnerable. "Madre de Dios, FUEGO!" screamed Don Diego Garcia de Paredes to the sole unit of arquebusiers in the second line as the Swiss charged them. The grim Swiss tried to shake off their losses, but the unnerving effect of the point blank volley and the climb though the vineyards disordered their ranks (ed. : this time the Spanish scored only a few casualties, not enough to remove a stand. However, the Spanish commander played a morale chip to force the Swiss to check morale, and they barely failed, becoming disordered.) In a moment, the proud Swiss were in full retreat back down the slope! The central portion of the phalanx was counter charged by the Spanish sword and bucklermen. As Machiavelli himself was to observe, disordered pikemen are at a serious disadvantage to the nimble swordsmen, who slipped under the pikes and decimated them! The right hand portion of the phalanx fought it's Spanish counterpart to a standstill, but finally decided to retreat with the rest of its formation as it became clear that the Swiss attack had failed to break the Spaniards. At this point, the remnants of the French skirmishers, who had been sorely harassing Spanish leftmost pikes were finally repulsed by fire from the re-aproaching Spanish musketeers, and the French also began to withdraw from the largely inactive Spanish right flank. All in all, it was a great victory for the Spaniards and their general, henceforth known as "El Gran Capitan".
Because of the scenario, the chances of the French winning were poor, but hey, this was a solo game and a refight of a famous Spanish victory, so that didn't really matter. It was a good thing the Spanish were on the defensive, because they didn't get the impetus very often. The optional uncontrolled charge and undisciplined advance cards gave the French little choice but to attack quickly anyway!
In summary, it was a very fun battle (seldom are PK battles boring unless the impetus rolls go ridiculously one sided) and seemed to give reasonable feel of Renaissance combat. I strongly recommend these rules if this kind of game appeals to you. Competitive gamers probably will NOT like these rules, however! The impetus and sequence deck concepts make them great for solo play also.