Monday, 3 February 2014

What did you do on a snow day? (aka I created a monster!)

I introduced my wife to DBR (De Bellis Renationis) on Saturday. Now DBR can also mean "Damaged beyond repair", but in this case, no.
Beth and I have enjoyed Renaissance wargaming for years, but we'd had trouble finding a decent set of rules to play with. WRG's set were good and we enjoyed them, yet we still wanted to play a simpler set. So when our friend Martin introduced me to DBA and I reluctantly played and found them quite amenable to actual human play (although the rules could still use a good translation from Bakerese to standard English.) We tried the Renaissance version, DBR, and they worked too.
Now Beth loves her Cossacks. We tried to set up a Cossack army and I realized that Cossacks would not be a satisfying army for my wife to play. She's rather aggressive on the table and the light horse that make up the Cossack army would melt away when faced by anything heavier in a toe-to-toe fight which means they could probably only beat skirmishers and "hordes" (disaffected peasants with agricultural impliments or mobs of reluctant Ottoman fellihin.) I suggested some other Eastern armies. Poles? Transylvanians? No to both. Russians from the so-called Traditional Russian list? That did the trick. So she and I did up a 500º army for her and I did the same for late-TYW Swedes.
Her army was full of Dvor and Boyar (lance-armed, armoured cavalry of the type called Sipihi by the rules), some Cossack light horse, some Streltsi musketeers, foot Cossack snipers, and Western style Soldatski - pike and shot, and pistol armed cavalry. I took the late Swede army where all the cavalry are Pistols (fast) and the shot are only short ranged salvo-firing troops. The game started on Saturday in the falling snow and ice and ended Sunday before a dinner of sausage and perogies. (a favourite!)

Since the rules call the Swedes more aggressive (meaning more willing to fight outside their own country), I moved first. My wings were cavalry with the Swedish "light horse" (who aren't all that light) and Finnish Hackapelli on the right and German mercenary cavalry on the left. Infantry, cannon, and cuirassiers were in the middle. Beth deployed her Cossacks and Polish-style Hussars on her right, the Dvor, Dragoons, and infantry with cannon in the middle, and the HUGE mass of Boyars with Western-style pistol armed cavalry on her left. We both ended up advancing toward each other. (Did I mention that my wife is quite blood-thirsty in table top gaming?) The first line of Boyar hit my Swedes and Finns and I was cut to ribbons. On the other flank, my Germans bounced the Hussars and ripped up the Cossacks. Light horse cannot stand up to heavier troops in hand-to-hand combat. This exchange led us to realise that a pure Cossack army would be great strategically but wretched tactically. They could flank entire armies but couldn't stand face to face on the table... with this set of rules anyway.
In the centre, her Dvor ran up to hit my cuirassiers (two stands) and pike and shot. I had some shot, dragoons, and elite mounted jägers lurking in a small woods in the centre of my deployment area. They made her sweat a little but I took damage from her guns and her Boyars.

The armies approach each other. As you can see, DBR can be played on a fairly narrow table.
Since we were trying the rules and the armies, we dispensed with the Built-Up Area the rules demand.

Beth's Dvor advance toward the Swedish foot and heavy horse.
(lots of Essex and Minifigs castings.

My Swedish Cavalry gets ripped up by the Boyars. The Hackapells are already dead.
The dragoons and mounted jägers are in the foreground.

My German mercenary cavalry gets ready to meet the Cossacks.
We had no Polish-style Hussars for the Russians so Byzantine cavalry filled in. At least they're all Orthodox.
Dvor using Essex castings or they might be very old Mike's Models.

The Dvor engage my foot who have actually chased some away! The Swedish line is broken up now and it will take a lot of command-and-control "pips" to reorganise them.  It never happened.

Russian guns and Soldatski with Cossack snipers on the far left.
Gunners, shot, and pike are Minifigs, guns are Essex, and snipers are Essex Irish arquebusiers.
There's a few Donnington shot in the blurred right, like the guy with the halberd.
 To make a long story shorter, my right flank collapsed and died gloriously under the onslaught of all those Boyars. Beth's right -made up of Cossacks and Hussars- was slaughtered by my German horse although there was a lot of infantry, mainly Streltsi and foot Cossacks to hold the line. The centre was in dispute with my cuirassiers destroyed on the left centre, my dragoons mostly destroyed on the right centre, but the pike-and-shot were fighting on and holding their own against the armoured Dvor. Since I was in worse shape, I conceded the game and we cooked dinner.
I'm quite blessed that my wife is a wargamer. It's nice to have an opponent in the house. Now that she's found the army she has always wanted to play available to her, we'll probably be playing this more.
Yes, I have created a monster. Maybe I'll win someday too!
So much of the pike-and-shot, the artillery, and the pistol-armed cavalry can be used by many nations on many lists, we can change things up a bit. (I've also been working on some Montrose Scots Royalists for ECW, but don't tell anyone... especially Martin.)
More photos:

Dvor (who started life as Polish pancerni) mix it up with the Swedish cuirassiers.

With the demise of my right wing, the Russians began to turn the corner.
Boyers everywhere! The last line on the far right were the Western-style pistol-armed cavalry.

Not many Cossacks left to face the German cavalry, but that was the plan.
The rear rank -in black armour- are certainly Mike's Models/early Essex.

The view from the Cossack side.

The other end of the field. The line of Boyars on the far left were untouched throughout the entire game.

Swedish Dragoons hold the woods.

Russian Dragoons pepper the flank of the Germans.
A view of the Swedish infantry and artillery line.
Meanwhile outside...

A good day to be inside. This was Saturday. Sunday was nicer, but the street froze later into icy ruts.


  1. Thanks for the mention of my blood-thirsty nature. But did you mention that my former-Cossack figures were painted by me. Yes - I do my own painting as well as killing.

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  3. One of my favorite armies in the DBM list was Ottoman Turks, the later the better. But it did have a problem of survival against later 17th Century armies on the list. With earlier Ottomans I could beat up Hungarians handily enough, but imagine an army with 'Fast' and 'Inferior' Spahi, and your solidest troops are your Janissaries: 'Fast' Shot.

    Their greatest victory was over a 30YW Imperialist army. Of course I couldn't even dent it to begin with. But as the battle continued, my sipahi bouncing arop\und all over the place (fortunately without losing many stands), and the Janissaries' flanks being pressed back, the Imperialists began to lose their cohesion. Then Wallenstein charged an isolated stand - and died - whereat the Imperialists in their next PIP roll rolled Double-1 (he had two commands).

    Well, it was all over, pretty much, eh? The sipahi and light horse scampered through the widening gaps in the enemy line, beat back the Croats on the open Imperial right flank, and the Imperialists were in no shape to reorganise or retaliate.

    It was a classsic Turk vs European battle, though it has to be said, the Turks had a whole lotta luck!

    Women, if they war game at all, are apt to be uber-aggressive, get-tore-in maniacs. One might suppose that is due to their getting in touch with their masculine side. I don't believe that for a moment!


    1. Sounds like a great game! I have the figs to do Imperialists including Croat light horse. I'd certainly enjoy a game with you, if we lived closer.
      Yes, my wife is quite aggressive as a table-top gamer. I don't buy the "masculine side" stuff either. She was quite pleased to do up the Russians and came to realize that a pure Cossack army would not survive. She DID keep some extra Cossacks for an allied contingent when I began to rebase the bulk of the the huge Cossack force she had to make them into Boyars.

  4. One more convert. :-)

    Can't wait to field to put my TYW French (fast pike and shot with superior pistoles) or my TYW German Catholics (The standard on which all other armies are graded for the period) soon,


    1. I'm up for that. I could put together a TYW Imperialist/Catholic League army... including Croats. But now you've got Russians to worry about as well! Mwahahahahaha!