Saturday, April 16, 2011

Why the Italian Wars?

So why the Italian Wars?
Up until now I have pretty much been a Napoleonic gamer with brief forays into other periods. During one of these said forays I got ineterested in Italian Condottiere and did some searching on The Miniatures Page.
During this i discovered some threads on the Italian Wars and through them links to some web pages. When i saw the colour and gorgeous models i was hooked.
These three sites are primarily my inspiration for the period;

As you can see some gorgeous stuff and mainly Foundry (sculpted by the Perry's)

So I had a new interest but it went on the back burner until I had a good read of James Roach's Pike and Plunder campaign rules.

I read them and it mention a Warrior Pope, this peaked my curiousity. While being a non religiuos type myself i have always enjoyed the history of the Catholic Church and its rituals etc. So looked further into it and discovered there really was a Warrior Pope who lead armies into battle and his name was Julius II

I dont know why but i have always liked the idea of Holy Warriors, I love the idea of Warrior priests in Warhammer and always loved the Templars and Hospitallers as warrior monks. Not to mention the Buddhist warrior monks of Japan. Needless to say this was right up my alley so i began in my obsessive compulsive way to read whatever i could get my hands on about Julius and soon fell in love with the period 1490-1513.

The Borgias, Julius II, Gonsalvo, Emperor Maximilian, Louis XII of France and Henry VIII. What colour!
It was about now that also discovered Stuarts army for Henry VIII and the absolutely gorgeous figure he had done of him.

 I had been actually looking at doing the War of the Roses (which I still will do at some point!) but now I was completely sold on the early Renaissance and began collecting and painting as well as getting the good Cardinal to paint vast reams of figures.

 8 months later and I am at the point i am now. I am also working on my own version of Henry VIII as a strapping 22 year old like Stuart's for the 1513 invasion of France. Plus a unit of Yeoman of the Guard.
 I am pinching all of Stuarts ideas and some of his banners! Thanks mate!

Papal Army sheet

Princes, popes


A Black Powder Variant

Army Roster Sheet
Army Name: Papal States

Commander-in-Chief: Pope Julius II

Command Rating: 6
Aggression:MediumDecisiveness: MediumIndependence: High

Main Ward:
Commander: Francesco Maria I della Rovere, Duke of Urbino

Command Rating: 7
Aggression: HighDecisiveness: MediumIndependence: Medium
Swiss PikeInfantryPike, Sword8-36Large Unit, Steady, Ferocious charge, Determined Charge.
Swiss GuardInfantryHalberd7-24Steady, Elite, Stubborn
HandgunnersInfantryArquebus2243First Fire, Skirmishers
HandgunnersInfantryArquebus2243First Fire, Skirmishers
13 – 2 - 142

Commander: Francesco II Gonzaga, Marquess of Mantua

Command Rating: 7
Aggression: HighDecisiveness: MediumIndependence: Medium
Mounted CrossbowCavalryCrossbow5243Skirmishers
Lanze SpezzateCavalryLance8-25Lancer, Ferocious Charge, HC +d3
CondottieriCavalryLance8-34Lancer, Ferocious Charge, HC+1
Condottieri Cavalry CavalryCavalryLance8-34Lancer, Ferocious Charge, HC+1

Rear Ward:
Commander: Cardinal Leonardo Della Rovere

Command Rating:6
Aggression: MediumDecisiveness: MediumIndependence: Medium
LandsknechtInfantryPike8-46Steady, Large Unit
HandgunnersInfantryArquebus2243First Fire, Skirmishers
13 – 2 - 142

My Black Powder Variant

I am a big fan of the Black Powder rules. I like simplicity in a rules set. I like to play the game and not the rules. Having said that I like some granularity to rules, i like to feel like my unit is different etc and i have favourite units. Unit rules in BP are good for this. So here are my amendments. A note on the last three points. I play at a club where they like casualty removal and no markers on the field of play so this amendment is to make it more attractive to them. When playing others who dont mind the BP rules as is I remove the last three points and use the Stamina etc as normal.
Keep in mind this is a work in progress and i am well and truly open to ideas and changes!
The ranges are at 66% of normal BP ranges as we use this ratio to use a smaller table!
I give the generals quite low command ratings like 6 and 7 to reflect the fact that in this period there wasnt the command and control of later periods. I will post up my Papal army sheet later as an example.

Princes, Pope and pikes- a Black Powder Variant

All rules as per Black Powder with following exceptions.

  • The only formations are attack column, march column and skirmishers

  • pikes can form one more formation called the hedgehog which cannot move and they count as having no flanks or rear(therefore according to the following rule cavalry could not charge them at all in hedgehog). In hedgehog pike count as in square for all purposes (so while in hedehog cavalry cannot charge them unless they are disordered or shaken) except hand to hand where they still count in attack column.(Full attacks etc)

  • Pikes are treated as Infantry in square by cavalry to the front (so they cannot charge them if they are not disordered or shaken unless in hedgehog as above)

  • Pike always get the combat result bonus for square against cavalry even if cavalry are fighting them on a flank or the rear.

  • Pike always count as supported from the rear by the first 3 ranks after their first rank and if they are actually supported rear they can count extra support contrary to normal rules . In other words pikes can claim up to 6 supports- 3 physical units and their own support up to 3 ranks.

  • As commanders in this period were warriors and had fighting bodyguard their attack bonus for joining units is +3.
  • Arquebus only have 8” range.

  • Cannon cannot move after initial deployment except to pivot

  • Crossbows and longbows have a range of 12”

  • cannon have range of 36”

  • Brigades are called wards or divisions and still have the same break rules. Pike units count as 2 units for calculating the size of a brigade.

  • Casualty removal-units no longer have stamina. Casualties are removed instead. When the unit reaches half strength it is then shaken.

  • Rallying now only removes shaken and doesn’t recover casualties. A unit at or under half strength that has been rallied will again become shaken if they lose any more casualties. Once shaken, a unit must take break tests for all missile casualties.

  • In hand to hand combat the modifier to break test is excess casualties over half of the unit taken in total. Example: a unit that is under half strength by 3 models will take all break tests at -3 from now on until they gain new casualties and then the modifier increases to how many models they are now under half strength by.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Photos from the club game

Here are some photos from last Sundays game at the club.....managed to get a piccy of myslef in the red shirt in the background of one of them! :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

First Battle report

Played a game over at my mate Keith's last night.

We used Black Powder with my own amendments for the period.

Figures are all 28mm and mostly Foundry and Perry, majority painted by my old chum Cardinal Biggles , some painted by my friend Thoran Braune and the rest painted by me.

The year was 1507 and Pope Julius II has demanded that the Doge of Venice hand back the Romagnol lands that rightly belong to the Papal States.

In response Venice hires Niccolo di Pitigliano a talented Condottiero to raise an army and march south to meet the Papal enemy.

Julius himself dons armour and ably assisted by his nephew and professional soldier Francesco Maria I Della Rovere, Duke of Urbino, his Holiness leads his army to meet the hated Venetians.

The armies glare across at each other, Papal army on the left and Venetians on the right

The venetian commander orders the Halberds forward

In the middle the Venetian paid Landsknecht stride forward to take on their arch enemies the Swiss

As if to rub the Pope's nose in it the Venetians order the Romagnol Pikes forward, men recruited from the very lands under dispute!!
The venetian Battle line...the Romagnol are very distinctive in their red uniforms!

Enraged the Pope issues a "follow me "order to his Swiss guard and ctahc the Romagnol in the flank. the result wasnt pretty!

The result was a big Papal victory with all of the venetian Pike blocks routed or destroyed.

Great fun!!

Welcome to my blog!

Welcome! The intention of my Blog is to chart my experiences gaming what has become my favourite historical period- the Early Italian wars. In particular the armies and campaigns of the "Warrior Pope"-Julius II. At a later point I shall post up good photos of my units which are in 28mm and are all mainly Foundry and Perry figures. There is some Old glory in their too. A vast majority of the figures were painted by my chum Cardinal Biggles, whose painting services i thoroughly recommend. Others were panitng by another mate, Thoran Braune and the rest by me! The overall intention is to eventually run a campaign in Italy in the first decade of the 16th century. Over the last week i have played two games one at my club using Bad War rules and the other at a mates place using a variant of Black Powder. I must say the Black Powder variant gave an extremely fun game and i think I may be going with these rules from now on! I will post up a battle report from last night later today.