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