I tend to use my blog to put up pictures of my recent painting projects but I thought today I’d just include a few pictures and a quick write up of a large game I ran last night, for a change. Six of us got together to play at a local store and I brought out my English Civil Wars figure collection of 15mm toys. So we had a fun game of Pike and Shotte on an approx an 11 by 4 foot table. I like to host occasional multi-player game every few months and this was one of them. The fall is always a Check Your Six game and that will again happen this year as well. As normal when running such games I’m not great at taking consistent photo’s but here is a brief description and some shots of the tables and figures.
The game lasted approx 3 hours and was a simple scenario – the two Royalist players were defending their baggage train which was trying to get that across the table and escape. They were defending that from the fores of 2 Scottish and a Parliamentarian player. A simple but effective scenario with the Royalists outnumbered but doing a fighting retreat.
Pike and Shotte have some quirks – one of which has muskets and pike count as separate units who can (if you roll the command target number) help each other in defense vs. mounted troops. This works but is unusual for games of the period which tend to lump those troops together. That said it’s not that bad and like the Black Powder and Hail Caesar rules also from Warlord, they do work well for fast, big games with loads of troops and decent amounts of movement on the table.
These are not competition rules but more for gentleman players of game. They really work quite when when you want to put a lot of toys on the table and push them around a bit, rolling dice. A referee who knows the rules is important or big games like this as well to keep everything moving and help sort things out and I enjoy doing that – so that’s what I did here.
The command and control rules are fairly easy to remember, plus the combat is fast but not always too deadly so the rules provide a game which is challenging for the players but not too taxing either. The rules themselves have also a wonderful selection of 28mm eye candy pictures and a great introduction background for those new to the period.
All I do is change inches into centimeters, and use 8 cm wide as the frontage for a unit. With those modifications the rules work well with my collection that is all based up for DBR/DBA-RRR.
An example of the command rules was when the first Royalist move pone of their commander blundered and his whole foot line move backwards away from the enemy ! They got themselves all mixed up with the cavalry which was behind the line of foot trying to act as a reserve. A commander distracted a bit perhaps…
The units in this period don’t move that fast and so even with such an event there was time to sort of this though without too much impact. Luckily for him.
The game moves fast though and soon the battle lines were closing – the Royalist commanders took an aggressive stance and moved towards their opponents- this also provided the baggage more space.
As with many big battles this turned into multiple smaller conflicts, with the different commands (or sections of a command) facing off against each other. The Royalists had more powerful horse than the Parliamentarians, but they in turn had many more foot units, and an extra commander so in theory the game was reasonably balanced. As it happened though the central Royalist cavalier units played a deciding roll as they ‘tempted out’ their weaker opposition to a fight – which they lost. As was mentioned to all player the Scottish cavalry were the weakest on the table but they took the offense early in the game.
Below you can see the left flank where the Scottish cavalry were trying to hold their own against the Royalists. As with the real battle in the early and even middle part of the war the question was more how long would the Scottish and Parliamentary horse last vs. whether they would win, unless they had a lot of advantages in numbers and terrain/support troops. Holding out long enough to allow their infantry to get stuck in and causing enough damage to keep the victorious cavaliers from being a factor in the rest of the game was their aim. The Infantry units should be more than capable of dealing with the Royalist horse though in a fair fight to their front.
The Scottish cavalry in the middle of the table decided to move through and get in front of their infantry – while the forces closed. This was while their cavalry on the flank were not looking in a good spot as mentioned above. The Scots on the flank did last a few turns of combat but their loss allowed the Royalist to get around the back of the infantry units – eventually. They did manage to hurt the Cavaliers quite a bit taking them out of being a threat till their commander could rally them
In the center between the two commands the other cavalry battle happened and the same result occurs for the Parliamentary forces. But these Scottish units went down quickly causing little damage to the Royalist units. Thee Scots strength in numbers of infantry were not utilized while their horse tried to match with the Royalists.
A single remaining Royalist cavalry units held out vs. 2 whole Scottish Pike and shot units. Some very bad command & shooting rolls from the opposing Scottish commander meant the infantry in that area just did not make headway to exploit the weakened Royalist center. Mean while the Royalist forces reformed after the cavalry battles occurred in the center and on both flanks. By this time the infantry lines had engaged in musketry fire with each other – the occasional disruption and their commanders waiting for a localized advantage delayed them getting into hand to hand.
The attack of the Scottish horse units in the center had been a risky move by their which it seemed may have failed, especially as they failed to exploit the holes it created in the Royalist center with their infantry.
The Royalist lifeguard cavalry buoyed by their success in the center against the Scots then charged a unit of Parliamentarian musketeers. These tried but failed to find protection with the local pike block- they failed their command of 8 or bellow on 2 dice. This would have made the combat very much in their favor but by not getting into the safety of the pike block they were in a lot of trouble. In fact during the whole game no musket unit succeeded in that save/roll – and the results showed it! As expected the Parliamentarian musketeers were ridden down and this opened a gap for the Royalist to go through and then turn to tackle the remaining infantry units from behind as well as the front.
That and the earlier failure to exploit the weakened Royalist center were the deciding factors it seemed. With Royalist horse now around one flank and through holes in the center of the Scottish/Parliamentarian infantry it did not take long for them to cause issues. After a few turns further Scottish and Parliamentarian units were suffering or being broken. The failure of the Scottish and Parliamentarian musketeers to find protection with their pikes did not help. So soon the game was over with their army broken and the Royalist baggage intact. So that was how the game ended.
Overall, everyone had fun and the game was completed and the result clear in 3 hours. So we packed up then went out to celebrate the game with a nice meal at a local dim sung restaurant. Definitely a fun evening and a worth while gaming evening, even though the Scottish and Parliamentarian players had some runs of bad dice rolls which rival my luck when playing!