Saturday, January 21, 2017

5 days to release... Pikemen in the Pikeman´s Lament

Swedish Pikes GNW

Not to may days left to the Official release of The Pikeman´s Lament rules, Seems like the books are on their way around the world in this very moment, at least to some comments. One copy have made it to Sweden so fare and you can read about Mattias at the Northern wargaming blog first impressions, but be aware he might be bias as he was one of my playtesters;)

I thought I would focus this blogpost on the Pikemen as their have been some discussion about their place in a "big skirmihs" game. If you expect me to present any historical facts about how pikemen fought in small groups you might be disapointed, sorry. One thing are for sure, you can´t have a Pike and Shot wargaming rules and leave the Pikes out, can you...

Danish Pikes Scanian War

12 points of Danes during the Scanian War

Sins the Pikes are in we might do the best out of them, Gamingvise they absolutely have their place as the number one close combat troop in the game, trained to repell all enemy least as long as they don´t shoot to much...

The pikeman’s main task was to protect the more fragile Shot against Horse as well as enemy Foot units, by either forming a pike hedge to repel Horse or to form up and make an aggressive “push-of-pike” while the Shot reloaded. Pikemen in close formation were very resilient and effective in melee against any opponent in open terrain. Good pikemen were just as useful in attack as in defence, so we have reflected this in the rules. Their close order formation makes it easier to Attack, and increases both Attack and Defence values, but also makes Pikes more difficult to move into position. The decision when to form close order can be crucial to your game plan.

Swedish Pikes in Close Order repell a charge of headless German Trotters...

Catholic infantry on the hill overlooking the Protestant infantry

Your pikeunits are indeed terrefying enemies in close combat but they may be were down by enemy Shooting, sins they have better armour than the shots they most often can withstand the enemy shooting untill they can form up in Close order and attack. A unit of enemy Shot are no match for a unit of your Pikemen in close combat...

BUT the cunning enemy commmander most often have got some pikes of their own to protect their Shots and to use to attack your Shot units in close combat... in that situation it can be crutual how you have your units possitioned on the gaming table as if you place your pikes a bit in front of your Shots as you keep the Shot units on their right and left flansk they will be better protected from enemy charges, this due to the 3" zone of control that the Pike unit have, making them the more or less the only unit that can be attacked. If your enemy uses the same trick to protect their Shots its time to let your Regimental guns do their work;)

Catholic battle line vs. Swedish battle line with Commanded shot sent out to harass the enemy.

Regimental gun

Dalecarlian pikemen and Officer

By the way, if you don´t like the use of Pikes in skirmish games, leave them out, its after all your game and you decide how to use the rules. Happy Gaming :)

Catholic and Protestant pikemen face of on a bridge

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

8 days to release... How to interpret the Troop Types

The countdown to the release of The Pikeman´s Lament rules continue... just 8 days now...

In this blog post I will explain a bit about how to think regarding Troop Types in the rules, there you also can find several sugestions of what the Troop Type can represent. During the playtest of the rules I at several occations have got questions regarding if there will be specific wars, or specific armies included in the rules and the short answer are no it won´t. not even Sweden during the TYW.

The aim with The Pikeman´s Lament, as it is in Lion Rampant, have been to include generic Troop Types that can be interpret in to about all kind of battlefield Tactics during the Pike and Shot era, as well as a bit before and after to if you want to push it.

So please don´t get to caught up in the names of the Troop Types, they are to give a good feal to the rules, instead look at them as Different battlefield tactics they can depict and shoose the one that you feel that best representing how your troops fought during that perod of historý.

That said you can well field Prince Rupert and his Royalist cavalry as the Troop Type: Trotters if you feel that they in the Mission you are going to play shall use a different tactic then their traditional dashing charge as Gallopers. It is all about how you want to use your troops in the game.

To further elaborate, I have included some Company examples and pictures using my Eastern Europe Cavalry that I painted up for our Polish War campain at the club. The minis are a mix of Fire Forge Mongol Cavalry and Gripping Beast Arab Heavy Cavalry and Arab Light Cavalry as well as a bunch of bits from my Pike ans Shot bitbox.

I field them as "Towarzysz pancerny" in service of the Polish King. At first hussars performed most services but as they grew heavier the need arose for a medium or lighter cavalry. The 16th century saw creation of lighter cavalry known as 'Kozacy' (singular 'Kozak' hence 'towarzysz kozacki') until 1648 and then known as 'Pancerni' from the 1650s on until the 1770s, 'Kozacy Pancerni' can be translated as 'Armoured cossacs') in the Kingdom of Poland or 'Petyhorcy' in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania - whose offensive armament included a shorter 'demi-lance' ('dzida') or 'rohatyna', bow and arrows, war-ax, sabre in the 16th century and a pistol or two, a carbine in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The lighter yet cavalry was created during the Muscovite Wars of the early 17th century, the most famous unit or type was known as Lisowczyk, after their commander Aleksander Lisowski, that fought in the 30 Years War as well. Along with these mentioned Polish or Lithuanian horsemen there were banners/companies of lighter cavalry drawn from Lithuanian Tatars (serving in their own banners under their precarious legal status), Romanian ("Wallachian"), Cheremis, Circassians (similar to Kozak/Pancerni) and Hungarians.

Based on the fact that they was armed and used in a diversety of ways I use to field them as Dragoons, Trotter or Gallopers all depending on what tactic I want to use during the specific Mission.

Most often I filed them as:

2 units of Dragoons @ 4 points each
4 units of Trotters or Galloppers @ 4 points each

This Company gives me a screan of fast Fragoons that will cover the advance of the Trotter or Gallopers so they will be able to advance forward the enemy and not get shoot to pieces before they can go in to action.

But from time to time filed them as:

4 units of Veteran Dragoons @ 6 points each

This Company gives me a force of very virile Light Horse that can harasse the enemy with good effect as they as Veterans performe Skirmish actions withour penelty. They can also be used to quite good effect in dence terraine to even out the advantages of Gallopers for example.


Sunday, January 15, 2017

11 days to release... Cavalry Clash TYW AAR

The count down to the official release date of The Pikeman´s Lament rules continue:) Todays blogpost will show you some pictures from a TYW cavalry engagement from our playtesting of the rules.

The aim for the game was to see how Trotters, that have close range shooting and Gallopers, that are pure close combat cavalry matched up...

OOB - Protestants

6 units of Agressive Gallopers @ 4 points each (Agressive imply that they have the Wild Charge rule and are better of in Attack)

OOB - Catholics

4 units of Elite Trotters @ 6 points each (Elite imply that they have a increased Stamina to represent their Elite Status)

The terrain might not have been the best for cavalry units but who can always decide where to run in to the enemy, this time it was a small German farm just waiting to be looted by the victorious side...

I won´t take a turn by turn AAR, just a recap of the big picture, hope you can see the different stages in the pictures below. Due to the dence terrain the Catholics taktic was to try to lure the Protestants in between the houses so theu just had to faceoff one of the Agressive Galloper unit at the time.

Trotters should ride up close to be able to fire and continue to fire untill the enemy either waver or charge due to the shooting. Trotters are good in Defence especially Elite;)

Gallopers should as quickly as possible move up to the enemy and engage them in a devastating charge, it can be good to have either a unit of Commanded Shot, that can soften the enmeny up before the charge of the Gallopers OR a second unit of Gallopers that can exploit the first units attack. By grading the Gallopers Agressive they will get an further edge in Attack BUT theu get hard to controll and can get lured in to rought going, indeed a double edged sword.

In our game the Protestant Gallopers could not at first make any good use of their numbers, but in the end they managed, with high losses, to grind down the Catholic Trotters and win the day.

The cotton in some of the pictures have no effect on the game, just for my estetik of the pictures;) Most of the minis are from Warlord Games Cuirassiers boxed set and the Pike & Shotte Cavalry plastic boxed set and a few of them are from The Assault Group. The lovely houses are from Perry Miniatures and was converted by my friend Mattias at Northern Wargaming.