On Saturday, Feb 17, I ran some demo games of the 30 Years War using DBA-RRR 1.21 rules in conjunction with the Lone Star Historical Miniatures (LSHM) historical game day at Multiverse Games in San Antonio . Though planned to run two 2-man teams, the demo ended up being the first twos games of 1v1 and the last game of 2v2 with late arrivals coming in on both sides.
First game was against our esteemed Lone Star Historical Miniatures captain, Charlie Torok. Charlie played the wily Bavarian led Catholic League (with an artillery piece) versus the French TYW.
It was not a pretty sight with the Bavarians gunning down 3 elements before the French could cross the river enforce. The final blow brought down the French 0-5 as their general (attached to pistols) engage the Bavarian knights (with general attached). Quick killed general.
Game 2 featured the Low-Country Spanish (run by James Amecucci) versus Dutch Rebellion.
James really likes the Low-Country Spanish (and is a TYW aficionado). In a close run battle, James’ Spanish decided to wait for the Dutch to close. As the Dutch finally came to grips with the end of the Spanish right wing, the Spanish General led his knights into the Dutch general led pistols (uh oh) … and yep. Quick killed the Dutch general (will I EVER learn to quit doing that!).
Game 3 I has started a demo with one gentleman (sorry I did not get your name), running the Bavarians when Ernie Calvillo showed up and wanted to play to (he ran the Dutch). I talked James into returning for a reenactment with the Low-Country Spanish. I took the forlorn French again.
Well, it is said those who can’t play, referee. So it should have been with me, as the Bavarians came in with their artillery, blowing the French out of the saddle. In a last ditch attempt, the French general charged across the river into … hmm … what would he charge? Oh yeah – frakkin’ knights! Ugh. Apologizes to Mike as the French routed off to the board to the winebar.
Great fun had by all. A great shop, and great owner at Multiverse Games, in San Antonio, Texas. You should go by and game there!
Victory Without Quarter
Battle of 1st Newbury
The Ratt Palace, Red Oak, TX
On Saturday, May 6, Steve Miller and I mustered our English Civil War (ECW) figures for a grand battle using Victory Without Quarter rules by Clarence Harrison. We were re-fighting the 1st Battle of Newbury, September 1643. We were joined by Greg, Frank, and another gentleman (I’m so frakkin’ bad with names) to help run our forces.
As you can see in the first picture, it was a battle ground worth fighting for (we nicknamed the battle the Battle of the Newcastle Brown ales for it all got consumed). That is the Earl of Essex’s carriage come to survey the battleground and placement of the Parliamentarian artillery before things got hot.
The mustered forces on both sides were some of the largest to date in the war. Parliament called out multiple regiments of the London Trained Bandes to bolster their forces. The King himself also came forward to view the battleground before their troops arrived in force.
The Royalist under Charles I were at their cream. All of their forces were either veterans or trained well. Prince Rupert of the Rhine was leading the Royalist horse on the left wing. Sir John Byron and Sir William Vasasour were handling the center and right respective wings.
Below is a map of the battlefield.
Parliament had its hands full. With all the trained bande units from London, they all would not obey anyone other than the Earl of Essex.
Special Scenario Rules.
To get the flavor of the battle, special rules were adapted for the engagement.
The Earl of Essex got both CinC and Brigadier order cards, as he controlled all the infantry in the battle. He could only issue orders based on the type of card. In addition, we used the optional rule that brigade commanders could issue order to the entire brigade if they all got the same order.
The Royalists were a bit more happily endowed with commanders, but were hamstrung in 2 ways. First, the CinC, King Charles I, once positioned on the field was not allowed to move. Any orders outside of his 12 inch command radius had to be delivered by courier.
Also, the Royalist were desperately short of gunpowder. So infantry units could only fire 3 times before they would be on permanent reload status (not getting the volley fire bonus for firing).
Secret special scenario rule (will explain at the end).
View from the Royalist left, Prince Rupert in the foreground, facing Stapleton’s trotters and the trained portion of the Parliamentarians.
At the opening, the Royalist were fired upon by the Stapleton’s trotters moving forward to fire in carcole. But these were quickly chased back by a charge from Caervon’s horse regiment.
Picture of the center showing the Parliamentarian artillery on Round Hill, facing the cream of the Royalist infantry. In the Parliamentarian’s in the rear on Brigg’s Hill were the huge number of Trained Bandes.
Stapleon’s other horse regiments under his command were on the far left wing of Parliament (shown below). These were on their own for this battle, as their commander was keeping a close eye on his own horse regiment on Parliament’s right facing Prince Rupert.
(Royalist foreground right wing, Parliament’s left)
On Parliament’s left wing, the trotters there came forward of their own accord to begin peppering the Royalist. The Royalist, moved forward slightly, and used the base of Round Hill to shield them from the initial cannonade fire. But the Parliamentarian gunners would not be denied long.
Closeup view from behind Royalist infantry, Col. Wentworth’s Regiment.
On Parliament’s right, one squadron of Stapleton’s own horse fled the field, while the other squadron held fast awaiting the turn of events which gave this unit the ability to have 2 orders given every time it’s card came up. This would prove telling.
Stapleton’s last squadron is in the top left of this picture, holding off Carevorn’s horse. Meanwhile Prince Rupert is attempting to dress the lines of Gerard’s horse regiment to pound the rebel infantry.
On the Parliament left wing, the fight was becoming a shooting match between the trotters and artillery versus the Royalist musketeers. Both were becoming shaken in the process, but the Royalist were starting to run dry of gunpowder.
It was a this point Parliament started using their good supply of gunpowder to effect. First Stapleton’s surviving squadron fired on Carevorn’s horse, shaking them. Then the Parliament infantry that had formed pike stand fired causing the unit to rout away, leaving Stapleton’s squadon in no immediate danger, and shoring up Parliament’s right wing.
Well … going to make a long story shorter, both sides fought like lions, but the veteran status of some of the Royalists were making their presence known. One unit of artillery on the hill was overrun by Sir John Byron’s own 1st regiment, but the other units held on.
And just as Parliament was breaking, the “secret” scenario rule came into effect. This rule was once ½ of all the Royalist units on the field had gotten to the “no longer able to reload” status due to how many times they fired, they ran out of powder. There were thus unable to pursue the routing Parliamentarians off the field.
On a sad note, only 1 of the 2 couriers sent by King Charles I made it to their appointed destination. The other was shot moments after leaving the King’s side. The King was heard to remark: “I guess that figures.”
Historically, Parliament faded away back to London, but the Royalists were unable to pursue them for many of the same reasons.
Great fun was had by all, and we enjoyed it immensely. HUGE thanks to Steve Milller for hosting the game at the Ratt Palace.
On Saturday, August 20, Steve Miller and I hauled in our troops to The Game Closet in Waco, TX to run a Victory Without Quarter (VWQ) demo using the scenario of the Battle of Beacon Hill, April 23, 1643.
Steve Miller commanded the Royalist, and I took the Parliamentarians. Vince Oradesky from the Austin group drove up to join us, and played on the Royalist side for the 1st of two games played. We did have many others dropping by to watch the action and get a look at the “deck pull” system that is the heart of VWQ.
The scenario has the Royalist deploying quickly on Beacon Hill, to prevent the advancing Parliamentarians from marching into Cornwall, depriving King Charles II of the muster of Cornwall.
Unfortunately for the Royalist, their forces are scattered, so the initial forces of just 2 regiments and an oncoming Lord Mohun’s regiment of foote must hold the ground of Beacon Hill until the more numerous royalist forces can gather.
But the situation is dire.
The Parliamentarians, lead by the ‘notorious’ firebrand, Sgt-Maj. General James Chudleigh, are in battle formation and approaching quickly. Their objective is to take Beacon Hill, and if possible, exit a unit of foote off the road to Lauceston (where royalist forces are trying to get to the battle). If they do, it is a decisive victory for them.
The Royalist, under command of Sir Ralph Hopton, do have the benefit of some hedges, which is slowing the Roundhead (Parliament) advance. With a forlorn hope of detached musketeers in the hedges below Beacon Hill, they must fight for time until help arrives.
Back to the game mechanics of VWQ, the rules and card draw system is specifically designed to imitate actions that actually happened during the English Civil War (ECW). These were amateur armies, lead by amateur generals at the beginning. ALL sorts of crazy things happened on the battlefield: Generals running off for no reason, troops changing sides, artillery exploding (oh yeah, that happened) by stupid gunners, weather!
The card draw system is a deck of cards (created by the players) with a card for every unit, every commander, with 2 reload cards, 2 artillery cards (they can fire or move), an event card, and an end of turn card. Additional cards can be added/subtracted based on the scenario you want to fight. Turns go until the End of Turn card is drawn.
Yes – I hear the screaming – YOU MEAN I MIGHT NOT MOVE MY TROOPS!
That is correct. As VERY often happened, generals had to deal with their troops just not moving or engaging the enemy, even when in a perfect position to do so! Or – they may charge out of their well fortified positions to engage troops in the open! There are times you can actually move/fight multiple times a turn with the same unit!
Your job in this game is to manage the chaos your troops, and the enemy, create for you while still getting the job done.
Another mechanic I do like is that combat is simultaneous. None of this “panzerbush” stuff where you move, fight and make the other guy suffer without retaliation. Here if you are shoot at, you get to shoot back at them (if your antagonist is in arc). If engaged in melee, you both fight and can inflict damage – again if in frontal combat.
OK – to back to the battle….
The Parliamentarians stepped out smartly, with all their units being able to advance. Unfortunately, the artillery was JUST out of range. And for some reason, the Parliamentarian officers, seemed to just stand around watching their troops move out without them! Fortunately the trotters moved right up in support.
As Parliament pushed forward, a well aimed volley from Col. Wear’s veterans (center below) shook Goldolphin’s forlorn hope and sent them reeling back toward the rest of their regiment on Beacon Hill.
But the area this happened, must have been haunted. Every single unit that fought on that small rise were shaken or routed. We started calling it, the Well of Souls.
The Parliamentarian push was on in earnest, with Col. Rosewell’s Parliamentarians routing Sir Greenvile’s regiment and dispersing them. The Royalist were all pushed backed onto to Beacon Hill. Godolphin’s regiment was shaken and trying in vain rally. Victory was in their grasp!
But then …
Disaster for the Parliamentarians! Hordes of Royalist horse all show up at the first opportunity!
The Parliamentarians were in shock as their assault faltered. Perhaps if they only had some time so recover and reform ….
MORE DISHEARTENING NEWS FOR PARLIAMENT! Royalist foote also arrives en-mass on the Parliamentarian left. With all this going on, Col. Wear’s veterans get shaken by the fire from Goldolphin’s rallied regiment and retreat back over the rise. They try to rally, but fail and rout.
At this point the bloody evil Well of Souls makes it’s appearance from the the cleared brush at the base of Beacon hill.
It was a true rout of Parliament. Royalists swept the field, routing all 3 initial foote regiments, 1 squadron of trotters, and capturing a light artillery piece that was moved up to support the assault.
Kudos to Steve Miller, who brought all the terrain with him. Thanks to the many who stopped by for a few, even pushed some lead for a bit. And BIG thanks to Rich, owner of The Game Closet, who was VERY accommodating!
Look for us again September 10th at The Game Closet.
Here are also some pictures of the cards made for this:
A complete carousel of all the pictures we took is here: