Monday 28 September 2020

Italian Wars rematch, first half

Saturday was a busy wargaming day. First of all I hosted a virtual Italian Wars game. The new lockdown rules meant that I couldn’t have anybody round to help move the troops (we could’ve all gone round to the pub but I can’t have one person in the house! Bonkers logic Boris! Katherine very kindly offered to help move troops but she actually spent the time monitoring the technology, and enjoying and laughing at the banter and occasional hysteria of the players. Richard, John and Neil were the French and Conrad, Paul and Nigel the allied Spanish, Papal and Florentine army, hereafter referred to as the League. The Venetians from last week would’ve tipped the balance too far against the French so they were deemed to have got peeved over something and taken their ball home.

The table looking along the League line from their left. The river can be crossed at half speed.
And the French line stretches off into the distance, as seen from their right wing.

The aim of the game was for the League to attack and capture the French camp. In doing so they’d release the kidnapped Florentine soccer team ( see here) netted by the French on their way to a tough away fixture in Milan. Obviously the League had to defeat the numerically inferior but (largely) qualitatively superior French. The  League were also induced to attack vigorously as for each BUA they captured they’d receive 1D3 back in lost stamina points to use as they saw fit. (What I didn’t say was that if they then subsequently lost a BUA they’d loose the extra stamina points. Tee hee). The French were disadvantaged by having -2 on their leadership levels in turn one and -1 in turn 2. We were using Pike and Shotte, which are not the best but are the easiest to handle remotely. I have a very few house rules, e.g. I give crossbows closing fire and mounted crossbows and arquebusiers’ range is reduced to 12”.  The troop characteristics are also different to the rule book, and are based on some produced and kindly given to me by James Roach (Olicanalad) with a few changes of my own.


So here we go, with the photos hopefully supporting the narrative. They should be in the correct order but sometimes they rearrange themselves when uploading to the blog.

The League centre. It stayed that side of the river until turn 3 when the Spanish attacked. The Papal troops were facing lots of Swiss so were less keen to advance.
The League left held by a large unit of Lansdneckts.
The French right comprised several units of Swiss pike.

Neil's Swiss advanced quickly towards the Papal troops and were getting very close to the river, driving the League skirmishers back before them.
The four Spanish Colona in the centre failed to pass their command rolls until turn 3. 

On the French left, the two units of Argoulettes were outnumbered by swarms of Spanish Ginettes and some Italian mounted crossbowmen. Behind that lot were some Florentine Condotta cavalry and militia crossbows and heavy infantry.

The Spanish and Neapolitan gendarmes were quick to cross the river.

Papal gendarmes cross the bridge in the face of lots of Swiss.

After a slow start the Spanish in the centre raced across the river and assaulted the church, which was held by a unit of French arquebusiers. The Spanish Colonas finally make it over the river!

The leading Swiss block is huge. 64 figures. Is it really big enough? No.

Three blocks of Papal pike with Spanish artillery that had been taking potshots at the Swiss..

On the French left, a huge block of Lansdnechts advanced against a unit of Italian crossbowmen which evaded and in doing so unmasked two Italian multi-barrelled light guns. Amazingly the guns didn't cause many casualties (just one if I remember correctly) on the pike block, but did disorder them.

Conrad's Spanish gendarmes crossed the river ahead of their infantry and charged a unit of Gascon crossbowmen. Not surprisingly the crossbowmen were broken but they did cause a few hits on the Spanish who withdrew to safety rather than sweep forward.
The Gascon crossbowmen were last seen here.
King Charles VIII of France, as he looked (apparently) at the Battle of Fornovo, but not as wet.

Two Colonas assaulted the abbey. Amazingly the garrison was made of some hard nosed French and the Spanish were unable to break in.
Spanish and Neapolitan gendarmes poised for another attack.

The French pike charged the Spanish but failed miserably and were forced to retreat.
Richard’s French pikemen recoiled after loosing to the Spanish and had become shaken and disordered
Richard then ordered his other unit of French pike to charge the Spanish on the other side of the Abbey. Again they were defeated by the tough Spanish, and this time they broke and ran. 

On the French left John's gendarmes advanced to clear away the enemy light cavalry. The French light cavalry had been driven back by the Stradiots and weren't in much of a hurry to get stuck in again, contenting themselves with covering the flank of their gendarmes buddies.

The main body of French gendarmes began to advance (or trundle) in the centre.

No, its not Mission Control, quite. After lunch we kept loosing broadband, probably due to everyone in Middlesbrough downloading something to watch on tv later in the evening! My wife kept things going throughout the day leaving me to run the game. Isn't she wonderful! 

The other unit of Gascon Crossbows advance behind the flank of the Swiss.

John's huge Landsnecht block had been holding its ground but while he went off line for five minutes Richard ordered them forward.

The French Landsnechts on their left  facing a load of angry crossbowmen and two cannon.

I love this village I put together from a random selection of 'Hovels' resin buildings. 

Seen from the League perspective the French Landsnechts look pretty menacing.

Neils Swiss on the extreme right failed several command rolls, which when you only need nine or less is pretty bad luck!

Sadly at this point mid afternoon the internet finally won so we agreed to pause the game and restart it on Friday. It's still very much in the balance. The League left was unwilling (probably wisely) to move against the Swiss, but  the Swiss were coming to them instead. In the centre the Spanish were across the river,  and the three large blocks of Papal pikes were rooted to the ground. The abbey was under attack by several Spanish Colonas but the French defenders were holding, although their supporting units had taken a battering, and two had broken. The French gendarmes had begun to trundle forward to plug the gap. On the French left their light cavalry were hanging on providing support for more gendarmes, while the Landsneckts were in danger of being shot to pieces of the Italian crossbow men and artillery could bring all their weapons to bear, and there was also the danger of Spanish and Neapolitan gendarmes at the Landsnecht’s ‘three o’clock’. As we left the game the Landsnecht two-handed swordsmen were about to charge the guns and the French Gendarmes were trying to charge and break through the Genitors to get at the Italian gendarmes.

A good game so far, visually pretty damned good imho, and not too bad from my perspective in moving the troops and offering equal amounts of advice to both sides while my wife manned NORAD to keep things running when t’internet got dodgy. Thanks to all the players and the missus and I’m looking forward to resuming in a few days time with those who are able to join in.

Then at 4.30 uk time I joined the Virtual Wargames Group for a global chat about wargaming in general with some great 'show and tell' photos as well as a presentation from one of the members. A great way to finish the day.

End of part 1.


  1. See, I told you that you didn't know quiet 😉 Nice looking set to, and I agree totally about "Boris'Rules".

  2. Truly a wargaming spectacle! Well done!

  3. Such a joy to behold! The Italian Wars are probably the most colourful conflict I've seen on any table.

  4. Such a brilliant looking game again Colin. And it's really good to see the technology working in a way that gives a great game.


  5. Your Italian Wars collection is very inspirational, like John Roache's between you you make me want to finish my 15mm collection.....They will be done. Please keep up the great content.