Saturday, 8 November 2014

Pike & Shotte -- Hakkaa päälle!

My last blog entry bemoaned the ways of DBR. So this week, Martin, Mark, Derek, and I tried Warlord Games' Pike & Shotte for the Pike-and-shot period of wargaming. I will say it made quite a difference. We didn't rebase anything but used the same figures as we used for DBR. An infantry regiment consisted of four 4-figure stands of musketeers and two 4-figure stands of pikes. Cavalry was arranged in three stand regiments, most of the stands being 3-figures, but my cuirassiers were four on a stand and stayed that way. Guns were kept as they were and any cavarly stands with flags became command stands. Pike & Shotte requires a general for each "battaglia" or brigade, and we made our battaglia three regiments strong, although the heavier guns were in separate battaglia with their own commanders.

Martin and Mark commanded the German Imperial troops while Derek and I captained the Swedish army. Since this was our first time our with these rules, we did not have the special rules for named commanders like Gustavus Adolphus or Count Tilly.

Derek and I elected to attack and moved first. Derek's cavalry - two regiments of harquibusiers and one of cuirassiers - rolled a great command role and was allowed a triple move. The general of my harquibusiers and Hakipells rolled higher than his command rating and the cavalry on the Swedish left just sat there! (Command and control is the name of the game for these Warlord Games systems.)

Martin's Regiments in his infantry Battaglia with their 30 foot long pikes (according to the scale.) 

Mark's Blue regiment and the Red regiment flanking it.

Derek's cavalry and Infantry. Many of my infantry troops were done up for an Irish Confederate army from the English Civil War, the troops of Owen Roe O'Neill.

My infantry Battaglia - the Blue regiment in the centre, the Green regiment to it's left, with the Yellow regiment in support.

My cavalry arrayed on the left flank.

Mark's cavalry battaglia - German cavalry tends to be heavier in the game, with heavier armour and carricole tactics, while the Swedish harquibusiers/"light horse" are gallopers and more "hell for leather."
The infantry on both sides advanced slowly. Martin opposed Derek's cavalry with his Croat light cavalry and a unit of harquibusiers. His dragoons went immediately to the forest on his left flank, becoming his usual "tar baby" to annoy anyone passing by. Mark came up over the hill at his front and formed "hedgehog" with two of his infantry regiments. It appears my cavalry unsettled him for a time. My three horse regiments were threatening him but they kept missing their command rolls and so were quite slow in advancing.

Murderer's Row again - Martin's siege guns and heavy guns in two batteries. Effective but not as devastating as in DBR.

Derek's medium guns with a number of light guns attached to the infantry battaglia. 

Mark's Red regiment in "hedgehog." When threatened by cavalry, the shot would take refuge under the pikes, which would keep the cavalry away. On the table, we clustered the shot stands around the pike stands.

Getting close to "push of pike"

The Yellow regiment moves up to it's place on the far left of the infantry line.

The German Imperialist cavalry faces the Swedish and Finnish cavalry.

The Finns and the Swedes in a cavalry melee with the German horse.
The single die signifies that the Finns had taken three casualties.

At one point, Mark's Red regiment came out of hedgehog and reformed the line to oppose my Yellow regiment which had charge one of his other infantry units. The flank of the Red regiment presented itself to one of my harquibusier regiments, so I hit them in that flank.
My flank attack on the Red regiment took out the right sleeve of shot and disorganised the pike. In the on-going melee, the pikes repulsed and destroyed the cavalry. But the damage was done. Mark's cavalry eventually destroyed my other harquibusier regiment and threw the Hakipelli back. My Yellow infantry regiment fought one of Mark's infantry and both units were hammered badly.

The Yellow regiment fights hard against Mark's left-hand infantry. The dice show how many casualties the unit has taken... because I forgot my casualty caps in my haste to get to the club. (I was the first one there anyway.) The stands turned sideways designate that the unit is disorganised, which limits their ability to move and receive orders. They also melee at a disadvantage.

My Blue regiment attempts to turn the flank of Martin's centre units.

Martin's Croats way out on the left flank. They spent their day making faces at Derek's cavalry.

Here is Derek's cavalry, sending a strongly worded letter to the editor regarding the rudeness of the Croat light cavalry.
We closed up about 3:00pm or so, calling the battle a close one. My left flank was gutted but my infantry was still relatively solid. Derek's infantry was the same while his cavalry was almost totally unengaged. Mark's cavalry was in good shape but his infantry was in serious trouble, with one regiment destroyed and the other two hurting. Martin's infantry was alright, but it was heavily engaged with Derek's troops. The cavalry just looked at each other with Martin's horse regiments falling back each time Derek's advanced. Martin's dragoons came out of the forest to dry-gulch one of Derek's regiments and then fell back, asking not to be thrown into the briar patch.

We found Pike & Shotte to be a great set of rules. They seem playable with very little "cheese". Some of the add-on rules (such as the ones for leading personalities of the era) will add something to the game without terribly upsetting a balance. To me, the table has the right "look." Although the rules are for 24-28mm figures, they work pretty well with 15mm figs, providing you use metric and move centimetres rather than inches. I am happy to say that I think I have finally found a set of rules for the period that is playable and enjoyable. I know no set of rules is perfect and these rules might not be to everyone's liking. (Casualties are not removed from the board and I know that bothers some folks. Casualties appear to be more of a morale factor rather than a exercise in accounting... ...unlike the Newbury rules that requires a chartered accountant/CPA to work properly... ... my opinion, which is not necessarily that of the management.)

I'm looking forward to playing these rules again.

Mark's other foot regiment in hedgehog, with a light gun attached.

The German heavy guns with a general on foot behind them.

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