Home Forums Renaissance Satisfactory Pike and Shot rules

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  • #77752
    Avatar photoSane Max
    Participant

    I think have more ECW armies in more scales than any other single era, but I don’t think I have ever found a perfect rule set.

    In most systems I have played, the pike and shot beat each other up rather indecisively, while on each flank the cavalry murder one another. whichever cavalry wing wins then heads inward, at which point the other player goes ‘yup, done for’, and the game is done. It may be quite realistic, but I wonder if soemthing is missing?

    I had a fun game last week using, of all things, irregular’s renaissance rules, which are about as old-school as you can get, average dice and all. I have promised my oppo a go at ‘Pike and Shotte’ and suspect he might hate them, but one can never tell… I will be reversing the sequence so firing is before movement, and have bodged the system so that pike and shot are a single unit, as that’s how our 6mm are based. I have some hopes.

    but, in your view, which system that YOU have played gives the best ECW game, and why? It can be ‘cos they are realistic, because they play well, or simply becuase they are fun. Let me know, I am determined to make the most of my 7, yes 7 armies in 4 scales…

    #77756
    Avatar photoOB
    Participant

    I suspect you might get a good game working back from the Marlburian amendments to Honours of War.  Pure supposition on my part.

    I’m currently awaiting the release of Brent Oman’s Give Fire rules for the ECW.

    Pikeman’s Lament is a load of fun and it is easy enough to create the stats for mixed poke and shot units.

    OB
    http://withob.blogspot.co.uk/

    #77758
    Avatar photoNot Connard Sage
    Participant

    There is no perfect rule set. I maintain that this is because no-one now really understands how pike and shot armies really worked back then.

    It’s entirely possible, from my reading, that no bugger back then understood how they worked either. Not even Gustavus Adolphus, he just got lucky. Until Lutzen obviously.

    Forlorn Hope comes close, but they’re an awful slog. Which may be accurate. So do Gush’s WRG set, but they’re so 70s. I feel Gush may have produced a better set if he hadn’t been constrained by WRG’s… ‘system’ for want of a better word. I always wondered if Barker had stuck his oar in.

     

     

    Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.

    #77761
    Avatar photoHwiccee
    Participant

    I would echo to some extent the thoughts of others on this period and topic. I certainly think there is no such thing as a perfect set of rules, the best you can hope for is ‘good for you/taste’. Also there is much that is not clear about warfare of the time, but is a lot clearer than when Forlorn Hope, Gush’s set and many others were written. While historically there is some truth to the infantry fight being a slog and the battle being decided by victorious cavalry.  But also many rules writers have a very thin and/or out of date idea about the period and so don’t tackle it the right way.

    In any case our group uses two sets. One for small actions with larger figures – http://www.wfgamers.org.uk/WWAE.htm. You command a ‘brigade’ or two per player. I think it is pretty good from an historical point of view, like Forlorn Hope, and doesn’t have the stupid separate pike and musket parts of a unit. It is not the most ‘user friendly’ set but suits our needs and gives a good game.

    Recently though we have been playing a lot more of the second set. This will be published early next year and is for big battles. It is a variant of these rules for 1680-1720, http://www.wfgamers.org.uk/resources/C18/Twilight/ToSK.htm, that will be called ‘Twilight of Divine Right’. These are for big battles and I think are very good for historical refights in a normal gaming afternoon/evening session.

    #79674
    Avatar photoSane Max
    Participant

    and have bodged the system so that pike and shot are a single unit, as that’s how our 6mm are based. I have some hopes.

    Hey! That worked really well! I will be playing all my P&S games that way in future. I always preferred my pike and shot to be one unit in other games, it feels right and is a lot less fiddly. And in previous games, faced with the choice of charging a unit of shot and a unit of pike, who are you gonna attack?

    Pat

    #79680
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    Good to hear that Pike and Shotte worked for you.

    I wonder if the predictability of games is because most rules of this (and maybe other) periods make victorious cavalry too controllable. It is rare for rules to make such cavalry pursue their defeated opponent, or simply mill around trying to reform. It is equally rare that the horses are too exhausted for further action. It should be hard (need a good commander) to ‘head inward’ onto the infantry. I guess most players don’t like units misbehaving (particularly if they are commanding the cavalry!). It would make for very different outcomes if, in most games, the cavalry were spent, one way or another, after they had clashed with the opposing cavalry, and the infantry had to resolve the battle themselves.

    I find Baroque fun, but it doesn’t solve the cavalry problem. I will be interested to see how ‘Twilight of Divine Right’ works, and also ‘For King and Parliament’ which are the forthcoming ECW varient of ‘To the Strongest!’

    RogerC

    #79780
    Avatar photoHwiccee
    Participant

    Good to hear that Pike and Shotte worked for you. I wonder if the predictability of games is because most rules of this (and maybe other) periods make victorious cavalry too controllable. It is rare for rules to make such cavalry pursue their defeated opponent, or simply mill around trying to reform. It is equally rare that the horses are too exhausted for further action. It should be hard (need a good commander) to ‘head inward’ onto the infantry. I guess most players don’t like units misbehaving (particularly if they are commanding the cavalry!). It would make for very different outcomes if, in most games, the cavalry were spent, one way or another, after they had clashed with the opposing cavalry, and the infantry had to resolve the battle themselves. I find Baroque fun, but it doesn’t solve the cavalry problem. I will be interested to see how ‘Twilight of Divine Right’ works, and also ‘For King and Parliament’ which are the forthcoming ECW varient of ‘To the Strongest!’ RogerC

    I think you could argue that most rules (I don’t know enough about Baroque or Pike and Shotte to know about them) have some form of ‘cavalry exhaustion’ in them. Certainly in the rules I assume that many of the cavalry  ‘casualties’ are individuals who are too exhausted to carry on or similar. The number of actually dead/wounded in cavalry actions wold be pretty small.

    On the issue of losing control of cavalry I think you have to have rules for this in this period and both sets we use do. I think most rules don’t understand this idea because they don’t understand that in armies always fought in two or more lines because of this. Again I can’t comment on Baroque/Pike and Shotte but in the rules we use this is vital. So in ‘Twilight of the Divine Right’ if you win a cavalry combat you have a very good chance of doing an uncontrolled pursuit. If you lose you fall back behind your support and rally behind them. This will in the early stages mean that the victorious unit will blunder into a fresh unit in which it has a good chance of losing. After which of course there is a good chance the fresh enemy unit will now do an uncontrolled pursuit & repeat the process. So cavalry melees often become completely uncontrolled and success will come to the player that manages to keep some kind of control or feed in fresh troops or just by attrition. At some point someone will win a combat and there will be no enemy unit in front for the victorious unit to blunder into. It is then likely to go chasing off a long way after the remnants of the defeated units. This tends to put them way out of the action and it will take them a long time to get back, if at all.

    #79796
    Avatar photoRoger Calderbank
    Participant

    That sounds interesting Hwiccee. I look forward to seeing ‘Twilight of the Divine Right’.

    When I talked about cavalry exhaustion, I wasn’t thinking of casualties, although I agree that some casualties could be exhausted individuals, but more an inability of a cavalry force to charge repeatedly without a prolonged time to recover. Many rules have ‘blown’ cavalry, but often the time that state lasts is short (a turn or two). My impression is that, most times, when cavalry have been committed to combat, they won’t be able to do much else except maybe pursue for the rest of the battle. Only good commanders can avoid that.

    RogerC

    #79797
    Avatar photoThaddeus Blanchette
    Participant

    the pike and shot beat each other up rather indecisively, while on each flank the cavalry murder one another. whichever cavalry wing wins then heads inward, at which point the other player goes ‘yup, done for’, and the game is done

    AFAICS, that is how pike and shot battles tended to work.

    We get slapped around, but we have a good time!

    #79801
    Avatar photoNot Connard Sage
    Participant

    the pike and shot beat each other up rather indecisively, while on each flank the cavalry murder one another. whichever cavalry wing wins then heads inward, at which point the other player goes ‘yup, done for’, and the game is done

    AFAICS, that is how pike and shot battles tended to work.

     

    I didn’t write that. Those are Sane Max’s words from his OP.

    Obvious contrarian and passive aggressive old prat, who is taken far too seriously by some and not seriously enough by others.

    #79859
    Avatar photoHwiccee
    Participant

    That sounds interesting Hwiccee. I look forward to seeing ‘Twilight of the Divine Right’. When I talked about cavalry exhaustion, I wasn’t thinking of casualties, although I agree that some casualties could be exhausted individuals, but more an inability of a cavalry force to charge repeatedly without a prolonged time to recover. Many rules have ‘blown’ cavalry, but often the time that state lasts is short (a turn or two). My impression is that, most times, when cavalry have been committed to combat, they won’t be able to do much else except maybe pursue for the rest of the battle. Only good commanders can avoid that. RogerC

    Roger,

    We think Twilight of Divine Right (TODR) works well but remember it is for big battles. I think a unit in TODR is what would be 2 to 4 units in Baroque/Pike and Shotte. So it is a lot less tactical than these rules.

    On the casualties/exhaustion I forgot to say that unit get ‘disruption points’ and only when they have more than 5 do they take ‘real’ casualties. I am thinking here of the other set we use which is more like Baroque/Pike and Shotte. In these victorious cavalry have a good chance of pursuing large distances and then when they stop they will have lots of ‘disruption points’ they have accumulated. Most players then hold with the unit as the rally off the disruption before attempting something else. This is also true just generally – i.e. units will often pause to rally off the disruption after heavy action.

    On the idea that pursuit will take a unit out of the battle for the duration I think this depends a lot on the exact circumstances and the way the rules work. It will for example be different for different wars as the troops are different. It depends on things like when the battle starts or night comes if doing a historical fight. Obviously there are lots of other possibilities. In most cases it is as you say likely that any pursuing cavalry will be out for the rest of the battle. But personally I think this is as much to do with the infantry battle being likely to be resolved before they have time to recover – i.e. I think the infantry fighting was more decisive than it seems to be in some rules. So the key factors for cavalry intervention in the infantry fight is a good commander keeping control of some part of the cavalry engaged or having a reserve to use when the rest of the cavalry pursues off.

    #81361
    Avatar photoOtto Schmidt
    Participant

    Wrote my own Renaissance rules.  I game in a much earlier period of the Italian and Turkish wars. Gave up on this pike/shot thing and just mounted them on the same stand. My units are HUGE. For example a Regiment of Landsknechts are 4″ by 9″ with 25 pike, 5 officers, color and musicians, and 36 shot on one stand.  The Swiss Hut, or block has  72 pike, halberd and shot on a single stand. Cavalry have 16 to 32 figures on a stand. All of these are large 28mm. The rules are 12 pages  single spaced  3/4″ margins, all rules, examples, illustrations and designers drivel in that space.  They work very well.

    #81392
    Avatar photoGuy Farrish
    Participant

    More shot than pike and in the same unit for landsknechts?

    In the Italian Wars?

    Hmmm.

    #81407
    Avatar photoMcKinstry
    Participant

    We’ve been having fun with Baroque. It’s been about 6 months since our last game but as I recall, once galloper/shock type cavalry takes a permanent casualty its’ impetus bonus is gone and the overall effectiveness drops pretty sharply. If that cavalry is impetuous it also gets worn down fairly quickly in one of those cavalry flank furballs.

    The tree of Life is self pruning.

    #81450
    Avatar photoOtto Schmidt
    Participant

    Dear Guy

    Yes.

    As I said, I gave up on separate basing for shot and pike as just too much trouble. Besides the numbers are irrelevant as everything is handled by units. So a whole stand of say 72 figures is either unharmed, degraded in some way, or eliminated. All units have five values, these are printed on the stand- Move, which a unit must roll less than or equal to  to move, Charge, which is Melee, which is the number of combat results cards I can deal out, To Stand, which is the value it must roll less than or equal to toss off a combat results card. Rally which is the number or less it must roll to rally, and it’s Fire value which is the number of combat result cards it can deal out when firing on an enemy in range, and of course– R for range it can fire. These values are printed on a small tab on the base of the unit. In addition some units are “terror units.” These are Swiss, Jannisaries,  Polish Winged Hussars ,and French Gendarmes.  Any unit facing them within one measure (abut 8″) has all its values reduced to 1. Some units are exempt from fear or terror units, like Landsknechts and Spanish Infantry.  The rules are for the period 1425 to 1580.  Terror units have no effect on other terror units (professional courtesy.)

    The reason is not only simplicity, but I want the units to look good on the table top. Seen to many battles where people blend and mix and match the stands into “bladey” units and “shootey” units. This means small stands with few figures which mean a lot of wear and tear from handling.  Gamers tend to use “the claw”, their hands, like a bucket loader and crush stands, spears, muskets colors and pikes. That doesn’t happen too much because I reinforce the figures, and leave the piano wire pike points razor sharp.  The stands are then so heavy and unbalanced that you hace to almost use two hands to move them.  For cavalry I will also run hard wire mandrels from through the base into the body of the horse to keep them from being bent.

    “Famiglia” or feudal troops are usually  M- 1, C-1, S-1, R-1, F-1, and D for distance 1,

    Contottierei or mercenary forces are valued from 2 to the.

    Swiss are M-5, C-5, S-5, R-5, F-1 and D 1

    Landsknechts are M-3, C-3, S-4, R-4,F-5 and D-1

    French Gendarmes are M-3- C-5, S-3- R-3- F-0 and D-0

    and so forth.

    All battles are part of a campaign/scenario generator system  where you always get Feudal or Famiglia troops, if you have the opportunity you can get Condottieri or Professional troops, and if God smiles on you the Swiss or the Landsknecht and other troops

     

    #81550
    Avatar photoGuy Farrish
    Participant

    Sounds interesting. I would agree that the separate basing for pike and shot elements is not necessary, nor particularly useful for most purposes in the 17th century.

    Prior to c1530 however I don’t see Pike and Shot operating sufficiently interdependently to justify basing them as one unit. Shot grew in number but operated at least semi independently, and usually only successfully when esconced behind some sort of fortification. I wouldn’t feel I was even vaguely representing the tactical choices commanders had if I arbitrarily lumped the two together in that period.

    Between c1530 and the 17th century there is a more flexible picture as shot numbers increase and tactical mechanisms between the two arms developed. By the resumption of the Dutch 80 Years War I’de be happy with permanently mixed bases, before that I’d be wary.

    Of course if your rules work to your satisfaction with those methods that is absolutley fine.

    I think I will continue to operate the two independently in the earlier period however.

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