Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Lützen, 1632 - a 2mm battle of the Thirty Years' War




During November, I’ve continued to finish off my collection of figures and terrain in 2mm scale for the battle of Lützen in 1632. Sharp-eyed readers of this Blog and Twitter (following @RoundwoodsWorld) might remember that I ran a playtest of the battle in June, at Evesham. Since then, I’ve finished off the Baggage Trayne for both armies, done some additional troops of the Weimarian corps present at the battle, finished off the various commanders present in the battle and also play-tested the rules a little bit more.



Last night, I ran the game at Lard Island for the St. Albans club. Rather than a description of what happened in the game (a very even-handed encounter, with the Imperial forces just about on the top by the end), I thought it might be interesting to bring out the themes which came through last night’s battle. 




Ethos and aim: As you might recall, my intention (along with that of the game rules co-creator, Curt Campbell from the Analogue Hobbies Blog) has been to create a wargame focused on re-creating iconic 17th Century battles in a manageable space, and in a compressed time period (something around 2 to 3 hours wargaming time). I also want to try and capture the visual impression and “feel” of a 17th Century battle on the table top. As I mentioned in an earlier Blog post the visual aim is to try and recreate the “battle paintings” of Sebastian Vrancx and his pupil, Pieter Snayers, in which the battlefield is laid out before the viewer of the painting. Units are clearly seen, and their formations, but individual details are often sketched in. The impression is of the formations in the field, not of individual soldiers. I’m hopeful that the photographs below show that we are slowly getting towards a war-game which looks, even in a small way, similar to the fantastic pictures which Vrancx and Snayers painted.




Portability: A huge merit of the 2mm scale is that it’s portable. The whole game packs down into three boxes, which include terrain, and four terrain boards.  (More about making the terrain and the terrain boards is coming in a future Blog post). Set-up and pack-away time is reduced, making the scale perfect for a club-night or convention game.



Did you bring your spectacles? Yes, 2mm is a tiny scale to look at figures. But, if we’ve done our work correctly, it is the mass of troops in the army, and the battle formations, which are catching your eyes, and not the tiny individual soldiers. Of course, it is sometimes hard to resist the odd figures in a terrain diorama, like these Imperial courtiers watching the battle unfurl from the snow bound hills above Lützen. 



The Council of Warre: The game rules we have been working on start with the players on each side deciding the deployment of their respective armies in a Council of Warre. This involves allocating brigades to named commanders, and locations on the battlefield – the left and right wing, the main battle, the reserve (a key component of 17th Century large battles) and troops sent on "Discoverie" (the wonderful early 17th Century term for reconnaissance).

Decisions made in the Council of Warre will affect not only the way each army deploys on the table, but also the command and control exerted by the army commanders during the game. Last night’s players seemed to enjoy this planning phase, moving units in and out of Wings, Reserve and Discoverie for some time before coming up with what they felt was an optimal deployment for the battle. Hopefully, this is an echo of the Council of Warre which took place before many major battles of the period, with commanders jostling for resources and commands.


Keeping a reserve - One of the other key elements in the rules is the concept of a reserve – how large it is, the time in the battle when the reserve is deployed in the battle and the consequences of that deployment. We’ve tried to create a balance between wanting to use the units comprised in the reserve as soon as possible in the Field, and the morale benefits for the whole army in the reserve being held back until a decisive moment. 

This is hopefully achieved by inter-connecting the moment when the reserve is deployed with the subsequent impact of battle events on an army’s morale status. The earlier the reserve is deployed, the more troops a general will have to fight with - but greater the chance that casualties suffered following the reverse’s deployment will adversely affect the morale of the soldiers still fighting.  After all, once the reserve has been committed and they're taking casualties, what else is left....?



Cards: I like the idea of 'games within games'. It's a different dimension to the tabletop, and can create colour, theme, challenges and rewards in abundance.

Card management in fine games like Dux Brittaniarum, Maurice and Longstreet have really opened my eyes to the possibility of what might be achieved using activation and ability cards in an army level game. With this in mind, key actions in our Thirty Years War battle rules are permitted using Activation Cards – such as rallying units, reforming brigades, withdrawing shattered units, deploying reinforcements, re-supplying artillery. The cards interact with special abilities of the commanders on both sides. 

The cost to use a “ferocious charge” card for a cavalry commander such as Count Piccolomini (whose special ability of “Cavalier” reduces the cost for certain aggressive cavalry moves) would be less than the cost for an infantry commander to use the same card. It’s early days, but the players last night seemed to enjoy that aspect of the game even if I didn't do a great job of telling them what some of the cards were actually for!





Combat and formations – one of the aspects of the game which needs more work is the impact on formations of close fighting (such as push of pike or firefights at close range). Taken together, the infantry fighting last night did seem to ebb and flow like the real engagement, which had turned into a really tough infantry slog by the late November afternoon on the day of battle. 

Last night, we saw an Imperial Tercio trundling forward slowly, being difficult to manoeuvre, but relentless in its advance. We saw Swedish brigades deploying a marked advantage in firepower (at least the initial salvo). And we saw brigades being slowly worn down through “disorder”, being “shaken”, then “shattered” and finally “lost” (with coloured markers denoting each stage). So I think it's reasonable to think that we're heading along the right path. 

More difficult were the fiddly rules for things like interpenetration and push-backs. There’s much more work we need to do in looking at the books in this regard – both 17th Century works such as “Pallas Armata”, and modern commentaries like the books of Stuart Reid, Pavel Hrncirik and John Tincey.

Saturn is in quadrature to Mars in Scorpio – one of the things I tried to do before the game was to play a mini campaign by email, featuring just Dougie (Wallenstein) and Panda (Gustavus) as the commanders of both sides. The mini-campaign was a very simple “decision tree” campaign, introducing the big-picture strategic choices for both armies as they raced through southern Germany in the Autumn of 1632. 

I'm hoping to write it up in full and post the mini-campaign here on the Blog in the resources section for those interested. I like staging these mini-campaigns before a wargame.  True, they take a little extra work, but they certainly add some depth to what might otherwise be a one-off battle.  I tried to reflect the strategic choices of the two commanders during the mini-campaign in some tabletop top consequences.  For the Swedish forces, their focus on the mini-campaign on gathering allies was rewarded by a slightly increased number of Weimarian troops available to the Swedish allied commander, Duke Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar.  For the Imperial forces, their requests for a the recruitment of engineers was rewarded by the presence of Count Andrea Marmaladi on the tabletop (who you might just remember fondly from the "Warhammer Siege" rules), and the construction of a small redoubt in the middle of the Imperial line.


One of the elements I tried to build out in the mini-campaign was the role of astrology, superstition and the fascination with  the occult which seems to have been a feature of Wallenstein’s world outlook, as well as many at the Imperial Court in the early 17th Century. I think this was lots of fun, helped build the theme for the game - there’s definitely more to do in this regard as we refine the rules. I ended up making a set of cards just for Wallenstein, each one of which summarised a possible horoscope for the day of battle - Saturnine, Jealous, Rash (and so on) - each with a small impact on the tabletop.

The Thirty Years War was a conflict involving many remarkable, colourful, sometimes quite strange army commanders and noblemen. Somehow reflecting that in either the battle rules or the campaign setting is something I think people will enjoy.


I hope that’s enough of an insight for now. I’ve a few more 2mm posts to come this year, mainly relating to building 2mm terrain boards and Baggage Traynes. And also, in due course, there’ll be more from my 28mm Laarden project, including some book reviews and more figures. So, stay tuned!


74 comments:

  1. Absolutely superb Sidney! It's amazing to see this project come to fruition after those heady days of discussing such weighty matters as rules mechanics, status markers, formation sizes and thematic renditions of history (all helped along with several bottles of plonk).

    I look forward to hearing the full 'butcher's bill' of the rules' reception at a later date. ;)

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    1. Thanks so much Curt, for all your help and encouragement.... as well as co-authoring assistance! It's good to bring the project to this point, with the end in sight as we work to finalise and play-test the rules.

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  2. The whole project just screams quality, a marvellous thing Sir.

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    1. Thanks so much Michael! Greatly appreciated.

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  3. Fascinating stuff. Really good read

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    1. Martin, thanks so much for the kind comment.

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  4. This is all excellent and very inspirational, love to try this for ECW. Can we have another look at how you base your units, what models you use etc

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    1. Thanks Paul. We've moved the project forward since Evesham, and I'm hoping you'll be able to have a go at playing sometime next year. I'm planning a couple more blog posts on the figure blocks (all from the Irregular 2mm Renaissance range), converting the figure blocks, painting and terrain building. Thanks so much for suggesting something you'd like to see - very happy to do that any time.

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  5. It looks absolutely fascinating and the table looks great. I studied the TYW as a student, not so much on the military side, but still taking it into account, so this project interests me a lot.

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    1. Hi Carole, and thanks for the message. I'm hoping in later blog posts to spend some time looking at some of the themes of warfare and battle in the Thirty Years War, and how we might recreate these on the tabletop. Hopefully you'll enjoy those.

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  6. It's great to see this project coming to fruition Sidney. The 2mm figures en masse certainly convey the look of a proper battle :)

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  7. Wow! Looks magnificent and it certainly does recreate the look you wanted, top marks ol' boy!

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  8. Sadly enough, I'm most intrigued by that pre-game phase involving astrology and its impact on 'command'. I feel there's the real period flavour, as much as I marvel at your skill and dedication to emulate battles of the Thirty Years' War in both 'look' and tactics. Probably up to the introduction of telecommunication battle must have been utter chaos, with fortune as THE decisive factor - thus little wonder military men of the 17th century pinned their hope on the science (no superstition!) thereof. In turn, after some – more or less serious – period studies I don't buy anymore into those depictions of geometrical formations on perfectly tidy battlefields. Perhaps wishful thinking by generals who had little to no actual control over their troops once battle commenced. ;)
    Despite these grumpy remarks, you're a real inspiration! Thanks for sharing your creativity!

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    1. Not sad at all!! One of the fascinating things about the 17th Century is the continuing influence of superstition, belief in magic, and the relevance of the occult - all alongside the more familiar themes of devout religious observance. I don't think the army commanders of the time were in any way exempt from this. Wallenstein's an obvious example of someone who's very fatalistic and consults his horoscope with almost obsessive frequency, but he's far from the only one.

      I agree that a battlefield would have been a place of complete chaos. Lützen is a very good example. You only have to look at the circumstances of Gustavus' death to realise that, at the sharp end, combat was nothing like the sometimes-antiseptic images painted by Snayers, or memorialised in the woodcuts of the Theatrum Europaeum.

      That being said, part of the idea behind the rules is to try and create battles of the Thirty Years War which blend two things. One the one hand, the images in the commanders' eyes of how they wanted battles to be remembered (immortalised through paintings commissioned by commanders, and letters written by them). And, on the other hand, attempting to try and recreate the mechanics of how armies fought, and why some armies were successful in battle more than others.

      I really very much hope you'll stay with us for the project, and thanks so much for commenting!

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    2. Thanks for taking the time to reply. Really don't want to spoil the party, you're doing such a great job.

      It's just that historical wargaming seems so heavily focussed on describing battles/combat through doctrine, technical detail and 'the general's view', while re-reading our sources reveal other aspects and prerequisites as equally, if not more important factors. Of course, to deploy your troops (or whatever Lady Luck left you with), then to determine the victor by casting one or two dice doesn't necessarily make for an enjoyable game. But I feel it's the most 'realistic' representation of what commanders of this and other periods were able to do and actually did expect from giving battle.

      In essence, I don't think that in the long run some armies were more successful than others because of superior tactics but because they made best use of whatever ressource they had, be it manpower, luck or even their 'public image' (if an opponent believes in your invincibility, you are!). But how to simulate this in traditional wargaming, i.e. with figures on the tabletop? And where to start, where to stop?

      That's one reason (of many) why I've ressorted to small scale skirmishes and 'fantasy' battles. Until perhaps something comes along which finally distances itself from that 19th century understanding of war, battle and military history in general. Astrology cards could be a piece of that puzzle. :)

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    3. Thanks so much for commenting again. You’re touching upon something which is very important in 17th Century warfare. One of the fascinating things about the Thirty Years War, the Eighty Years War and perhaps the English Civil War was that contemporary military commanders, and military writers, were acutely aware of exactly the problem you raise. They considered actively whether there was a formalistic, tactical, formational solution to the problem of the inherent chaos of war. The reforms of Prince Maurice of Nassau, and of Gustavus seem, at least in one light, to suggest that there was some form of tactical, formational-based, solution on the battlefield. But, at an army-level, you could argue that other factors were just as important - effective reconnaissance, intelligence, careful deployment - none of which are governed necessarily by tactical formations in the Field.

      In other words, contemporaries seemed to THINK there was a tactical solution. Whether there actually was such a solution is far less certain.

      Fast forward to 2016. One thing I’ve found is that wargamers really enjoy thinking about the relative merits of different tactical formations and systems, and evaluating whether those differences determine success and failure in battle, or whether they have any relevance at all. Players are genuinely interested in the perceived, or possible, differences between Spanish tercios and Swedish brigades, between caracole or galloping horse, between deeper (possibly Spanish-style) formations and thinner “german” or French battalia. A war-game for the Thirty Years War which fails to offer those comparisons is, well, perhaps missing out on part of the fun of making those evaluations in a wargame.

      And sure, one of the places where we want to go with these rules is to offer the chance for you, as a player, to make those comparisons between the formations of the period following your experiences on the tabletop. Call this the “Baroque Mode”.

      But I also would like (if possible) for the rules to offer a different Mode - maybe think of this as the “Simplicissimuss Mode”. In this Mode, war is chaos, and the actions of the armies the Field are ruled by far less intricate factors than the ratio of pike to shot, or the deployment of the sleeves of shot for a Spanish Tercio. In the “Simplissimuss Mode”, commanders are influenced by their prejudices, jealousies, political aspirations and by the orbit of the planets. Battles are won or lost through the macro-influences of army deployment, intelligence of your enemy, hunger, the ravaging of territory and religious hatred. And, to a greater extent, through chance.

      One set of figures, one set of rules, but with two different modes.

      I think that both rules modes would give a great game. Both give a (very personal, and no doubt prejudiced) impression of (some elements of) the Thirty Years War. Combining both in a ruleset would be something I’d like to do. That way you can enjoy the battle between different tactically-focused armies deployed in their respective formations, but also then contrast those games with something darker, sharper and more chaotic.

      How does that sound?

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  9. I am so looking forward to seeing this finished, Sid. I foresee a tour of Swedish gaming events next year.

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    1. Thanks Thomas, for the comment and all your great support. We will definitely finish, and nothing would be more fun than bringing the game over to Sweden one day.

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    2. Imagine running a demo game here:
      http://livrustkammaren.se/sv/evigt-liv-i-historien
      Yes, on the left is the buff coat Gustavus wore in the battle.

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    3. Beyond doubt, that would be very special!

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    4. They do a shed-load of activities to spread history. Finish the game and give me a shout and I'll contact their PR person.

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    5. Looking at Thomas link, I just remember the great collection hosted at the Royal Armoury in Madrid's Royal Palace. In this link you can see a short video
      http://museomadrid.com/real-armeria-de-madrid/

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    6. Great work, Benito. Sweden....Madrid - two places i really must visit (again)!

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  10. That's what I call ultra-high quiality testing!
    Impressed with the cards, units and terrain
    It is not a period I'm familiar with but I'll follow the progress with interest on the consideration and respect for the two gentlemen behind the project (Curt and Sidney)

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    1. Thanks so much, Benito - particularly because this isn't the period of your first love! Hopefully there's still going to be a lot to interest you in the period and rules, not least because in later play-tests we'll hopefully be introducing Spanish and Flemish Tercios and the army of Cardenal-Infante Fernando de España.

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  11. Looks very nice, huge, and very impressive!

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  12. Your 2mm troop stands certainly do evoke the images from TYW paintings and woodcuts. Your basing lends a chill to the atmosphere too. Game components are stunning and look to be production ready to me.

    Impressive results!

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  13. Really like your project Sid. For me the more decisions (and consequences) in a game the better it is. Randomness of dice, cards, whatever, just make players think faster.

    Formations or the lack of are just an indication of force cohesion. Even in CoC or SP2 the ability of teams and groups to work together is a type of "formation". At skirmish level things just look more chaotic.

    I think people in all periods are influenced by their views on "magic", superstition, or technology. Nice to bring these into a period in a "human" way.

    Looking forward to more on your game. Lutzen is a particularly interesting campaign and battle.



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    1. Charles, thanks very much indeed for commenting. I love the way you're thinking and comparing two (at first sight) very different scales - army and skirmish - and looping that back to the choices to be made by the players in the game. I've always enjoyed randomness in my games - both as a player and an umpire. Balancing too much and too little chance and chaos is one of the real pleasures of playing and creating wargames.

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  14. And just in time for the anniversary! This looks incredible, a truly inspirational post with a very good pitch in favour of 2mm wargaming.

    I'm particularly intrigued by the idea of rules for reserves. In computer games and wargames alike, I think this is the biggest inaccuracy as it's usually ignored completely. I tried to recreate this in my games with big penalties for exhaustion, coupled with long recovery times, to encourage players to hold units back. I'd be really interested to see how you dealt with this.

    Beautiful work!

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    1. Just in time for the anniversary - indeed! This was one date I really wanted to play the game on!

      Thanks very much for the kind comments. The creation and use of the Reserve, and the consequences of when it is used, is one of the mechanics at the heart of the game. The more I read from the military manuals of the period, the more I was convinced that this was one factor that most military writers agreed on was potentially decisive in the Field.

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  15. Lovely looking game Sidney and very well thought out!

    Christopher

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  16. Great looking game which succeds at recreating the look of the woodcuts and prints of the period, I find the idea of applying astrology fascinating and absolutely appropriate, waiting for fortuna to smile on you.
    Best Iain

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    1. Hi there! And yes, the woodcuts and prints of the period where something we were often looking at in trying to get the right "look" for the game. I'm really glad you like the idea of astrology playing a part - I'm sure that'll be a part of where we finally get to, at least in part of the rules.

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  17. Nice write up. Great looking game. Id like to learn more about the mini campaign you use.

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    1. Thanks A.P. That's very kind of you. Don't worry, I'll be posting the mini-campaign here before too long.

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  18. Love this project !!!

    Very nice Also to read about it in the right month :)

    Dis you have a Gustaf II Adolf cace on the 6 November?

    If you pass by stockholm i can bring you to the swedish armoury to see the Kings equipment from Lytzen as well as his horse Streiff :) some gaming to ofcourse.

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    1. Hey Michael! I am SO glad you like what we're doing! I wanted to do the game on the 15th November - ideally I'd have liked to be gaming the skirmish at the Rippach (which was on the 15th November), but that's more of a 28mm skirmish than an Army-level action.

      As for your very kind invite to the Swedish armoury - I'd absolutely love that one day, especially if some wargaming is involved!

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    2. Sounds greate Sidney, Sweden are bes during the late spring and Summer. in 2017 tha Swedish Army Museum are puting on a Wargaming exebition to.

      Indeed Rippach is more of a 28mm skirmish than an Army-level action, so I actually have included "sample armys" for it in the Pikemans Lament :)

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    3. The Rippach would make a great skirmish game in 28mm. Very much looking forward to seeing it when I get my copy of "The Pikeman's Lament".

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  19. I enjoyed painting my ACW 2mm figures but I have found the last batch (the supply train and limbers) a bit of a chore. This article and your previous ones on 2mm have inspired me to try and finish them.

    I agree with your techniques and they align with mine. The key is to have a black background as you mention and paint the figures brightly. (And yes, the 72PA was a zoave unit but I think it might have been blue, not red) http://littleleadwarriors.blogspot.ca/2014/10/progress-on-my-2mm-acw-troops.html


    For those of you who want a close up shot of the cavalry, which is harder and slower to paint that the infantry blocks, here's a pretty extreme closeup: http://littleleadwarriors.blogspot.ca/2014/02/acw-really-really-miniatures.html

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    1. Hi Siggian! Thanks for commenting. really pleased I've helped you to get re-inspired. I actually really enjoyed the limbers, wagons and baggage trayne bases (on a 60mm x 60mm base). I'll try and remember to post them here. I completely agree about the black background and the impressionist style of figure-block painting. Your figures look wonderful, in particular the tiny flags of the various regiments - terrific work!

      The close-ups look amazing, but you've pulled off the great trick of making the units look great en masse as well. Great stuff!

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    2. I finally completed all of my 2mm figures. I have no idea how or when I will use them but they are done.

      Sure, I could just use counter or chits, but there's a pleasure to having something 3D. Add in the colour and...

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  20. Just stumbled on your blog. Superb and inspirational. I have run 6mm Battle of Lutzen (and other Thirty Years War) participation games at conventions here in the US--working along similar lines (the next step will be to put my rules together in share-able form and publish on my blog). Encouraging to encounter another who shares the mania.

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  21. Thanks so much, Ed - very pleased you enjoyed the various posts. I'd love to hear more about your experiences running Lutzen, and other TYW battles in 6mm. Definitely some common ground there!

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  22. That looks and sounds great. You've really captured the 'look' of a seventeenth century battle. The winter terrain is great too. I must give this 2mm thing a try!

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    1. Thanks very much! I tried various terrain types, but I felt that the winter terrain worked really well to bring the figure blocks and formations to life.

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  23. Love your take on that particular period. Beeing no 'big battles' gamer myself I can still imagine me having a closer look at your ruleset.

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    1. Thanks Nick! I thought of your "sepia"-style painting several times when running through the game in my mind's eye, trying to get the 'look' right for the scale of the action and the figures. Very much hope you stay tuned and that you enjoy what's coming up shortly with the 2mm TYW project. Best regards!

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  24. Really amazing and a great idea! I;m looking forward to more!

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    1. Thanks Cory, very pleased you're looking forward to more (and don't worry, there is more to come!)

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  25. Very inspirational as is all your work Sidney. I spend a fair amount of time in the 6mm range and thought that would be the lower limit, but this has me about to kick off another scale. Can you share any of your shopping lists regarding armies, terrain and logistic elements? I see that Irregular has an offer for purchasing an entire army which they will compose for you. Did you go that route? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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    1. Hi Tom!!

      Sorry to be so tardy about replying! (Combination of craziness at work, and then Christmas).

      I really should put something on the blog about building armies in 2mm scale, as it's very easy. Irregular Miniatures (who I can recommend wholeheartedly) do some very useful "ready made army" packs. You get a large amount of figure blocks in the army package for just £12.50. I bought a couple of the Thirty Years War armies for Curt when he was visiting and they looked to be very good value.

      I went a slightly different route. I started out with an order of battle for Lutzen, and worked out how many bases I needed (brigades and squadrons/regiments of horse), and then worked out how many figure blocks I needed to purchase. I also wanted the later version Tercio of the Imperial forces, and the Swedish brigades to have a distinct "look" (which would help distinctiveness on the tabletop), and I was not sure I would get that with ready-made armies.

      Once the craziness of Christmas and New Year is over, I shall post my "shopping list" and do a blog post about army building, with some photos of the armies we've built. I should have done that already, but don't worry, it'll be coming!

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    2. Hi Sidney -- Happy New Year! Thank you for the reply and comments on your army building process. I look forward to a post at some point, but you've already given me a few things to think of before I rush into this.

      Best,

      Tom

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  26. Splendid stuff Sidney! I'd be really interested in seeing the rules develop, I've always been fascinated by C17th warfare and ECW in particular but no ruleset has quite got the big battle feel right yet ( for me at least). The idea of a council of war phase is inspired and if the rest of the rules are half as good I think you're onto a winner. 3 questions if I may; 1. Will these work for ECW also? 2. Will they work for 6/10/15mm figures? 3. When are you hoping to publish these? May the auguries be auspicious!

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    1. Hi Dave, thanks so much for the kind comments! Very glad to hear about your interest in 17th Century wargaming!

      Creating a 'big battle' set for the iconic battles of the 17th Century is one of those wargaming Holy Grails. There's no 'Blucher', or 'Sword or Spear' or 'Bloody Big Battles' set - at least not yet. I've always wondered why that is. Perhaps it is partly that the mechanics of combat at the unit-level has been interesting enough to keep rule writers busy. Part of the idea of the rules we've been working on is to try and tackle army-level games head-on.

      As to your questions:

      (1). The rules should work for ECW, although you might want to swap the scales of the bases out from being brigades to regiments. That being said, the larger battles of the Thirty Years War are perfect for the 2mm scale: the number of units at Lutter, Brietenfeld, Nordlingen and Rocroi would make recreating the actions in even 15mm scale a major project.

      (2). I guess that the rules would work for 6mm, 10mm or 15mm figures - you'd just need a lot of figures. Part of the aim of the game I wanted to create was to allow us to play iconic battles in an evening's gaming on a reasonable sized table with figures which didn't break the bank. But that should not limit other scales of figures.

      (3). When are we publishing? I'm not sure when, in what form, or even if it's a publication (or just making them available here on the blog). Whatever we end up doing, I'd hope we would be finished play-testing during the first half of 2017, and that we'd 'publish' in the second half of 2017. I'm planning a few more playlets games in early 2017, and I'm hoping to blog more about the project and the thinking behind the rules as we go through 2017. A few people have asked for playtest copies of the rules as they stand now, and I'm happy to send those out to people on a one-off basis if you're interested (especially before any major investment in 2mm figures).

      Hope that all helps!

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  27. Hi Sidney, thanks for taking the time for the considered reply, very much appreciated. I'm really interested in your approach, you've clearly started with a love of and grasp of the period and its unique flavour. There's no shortage of C17th rules from the mass market pike and shotte to speciality sets like 1632 and everything in between but as you say none quite captures the period in the way Sword and Spear does for ancients (I've even plsyed a S&S Renaissance variant in my quest!). None of these rules quite captures the transitional nature of western european warfare (to professional staff systems for example) and succumb to either playing as an ancients set with muskets or a sub napoleonic game? I'd love to help in any way I can and would be willing to try these out as you intended (in 2mm) as well as bigger scales, to satisfy my curiousty... I've more ECW figures in 15mm than i could possibly need, even for Marston Moor, i've also got some 6mm ... Thanks again for sharing your ideas and taking the time to respond.

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    1. Hi Dave - you're very welcome. Comments like yours are the heart and soul of any blog! Part of the difficulty for the Renaissance period is that there are a lot of different armies to attempt to cover, many of which are at differing stages of development from noble, private or post-feudal armies to professional, national armies. Add into the mix the different military mechanics (evolving firepower, army size, more sophisticated methods of army supply, provisioning and siegecraft) and it becomes pretty difficult to hit the target with a set of rules which captures the Renaissance really well.

      The way we're hoping to address the period is not so much to create a game based on what we know now, or think we know now. Instead, our focus is more on what contemporaries thought was happening on the battlefield - putting the extensive literature of 17th Century military manuals front and centre of the rules. That's why, for example, there's a focus on the Council of Warre, on Discoverie, on the use of the Reserve, on the maintenance of a second or third line of troops. Those were some of the features contemporaries wrote about and commented upon.

      I doubt that there will ever be a 'perfect' set of rules for the Thirty Years War, or the 17th Century. But that really doesn't matter to us. What we're trying to do is provide players with an experience of the 17th Century battlefield, and one based hopefully around things contemporaries found important (whether smaller "Dutch" formations beloved of Maurice of Nassau, or the ability to discern your fate in your daily horoscope, like the Great Wallenstein!)

      Thanks again for offering to be involved. My email is linked to my profile here on the blog, so feel free to ping me an email if you want to go further down this particular 17th Century rabbit hole!

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  28. Simply incredible, this sounds like an excellent approach, I particularly like the element of superstition - something that fascinates me in this period but have never really incorporated into games like I've tried to bring in personalities and political ambition as factors in canpaigns and command.

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    1. It's a great period, Kieran - plenty of field battles in Germany, Moravia, Poland, the Spanish Netherlands and France before the proliferation of Vauban and Coehoorn fortifications slow down the pace of warfare considerably. Oh, and there's plenty of political ambition among the participants if you were wanting to add that in, although so far we've not added in an "Assassinate Wallenstein" campaign card!

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  29. Hello.
    Stunning to see this gem! Looks massive when you scale down. I also recognize a real effort with terrain, cards and rules writing.

    ReplyDelete
  30. nice this blog.
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    ReplyDelete

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