Saturday 3 October 2020

Italian Wars rematch, the second half, played behind closed doors

Yesterday (Friday) was supposed to see us finish this game. Sadly we were having trouble with live-streaming the event due to some internet problems so it had to be cancelled. 

Undeterred I decided to play it to a conclusion solo as I had a very good idea of each side’s plans.

If you remember (if you can’t click here) the French were being hard pressed in the centre and on the left wing but the Swiss on their right were advancing (ok, slowly and very non-Swisslike), cowing the Papal troops facing them into staying on their side of the river with the exception of some skirmishers. We’d left the game at the end of the French movement phase with a couple of charges to work out. The Landsnecht swordsmen had charged the multi-barrelled cannon that’d been shooting at the Landsnecht pike block. The closing fire was ineffective and the guns were overrun. The French gendarmes on the left had charged two units of Spanish Genites. One successfully evaded but the other failed their fire and evade test so were hit by the gendarmes, but got off lightly insofar that they threw high on their break test so only retreated in disorder, and shaken. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Here’s how the game played out.

Closing fire was hopeless and failed to stop the Landsnechts, and no surprise when the guns were overrun.

The French gendarmes on the left had driven off the covering Spanish Jinettes and were putting some pressure on the Florentines. 

In the next League turn the Florentine Condottieri gendarmes charge the French through the vineyards.

Meanwhile in the centre the two left hand Spanish Colonela we’re starting to take casualties off the French crossbowmen and artillery.

Perhaps foolishly the Florentine militia heavy infantry charged the two handed swordsmen. They lost the melee but passed their break test. They didn't in the next round of combat and were broken.

The Florentines are about to find out how good the French gendarmes are.

Back near the Abbey the Spanish gendarmes charged the shaken French pikes but miraculously failed to break them having missed all but three of their hits. The pikes survived the break test but were forced to retreat. The Spanish thought better of following up due to the proximity of more French gendarmes.
The French gendarmes then obligingly wheeled and with three moves charged the Spanish. I also rallied a point of the shaken French pike so that they could count as support for their high class comrades.

The French scored nine hits on the Spanish who only saved two. In return only one Spanish hit wasn’t saved. It therefore came as no big surprise when the Spanish managed a really poor break test, which with a minus four for excess hits put them in the box. Worse still, one of their supporting units tested for seeing the rout and threw a three so they joined their amigos in the box! What a turnaround!

The Florentine gendarmes only just lost the melee to the French but were forced to withdraw. The French performed a sweeping advance and hit the supporting unit of Florentines.

The Victorious French about to break the second Florentine Condottieri company. 

There was now a rather large gap in the League right wing, and one was developing to the right of the Abbey following the exit of two companies of Gendarmes.

On the League left neither their troops nor the Swiss facing them passed their command rolls so neither side made any moves. The Swiss were taking a few hits from the League light cavalry and arquebusiers.

The Spanish again won the melee attempting  to capture the Abbey but the French held on despite being shaken. Another round of melee would certainly see the French driven out. (It did)

The extent of the gap on the shattered League right can be seen here, being nicely filled by the French.

The fight for the Abbey from the French perspective.

The surviving unit of French Crossbowmen was well placed to wreak havoc on one of the Spanish colonella. They didn’t of course. 

I’d only played the end of one French turn then one full turn for each side, and the situation had changed very quickly. The battle was by no means decided yet though so the fighting continued on Saturday afternoon. (I was supposed to be playing in Hail Caesar game hosted by Steve but had a bad night so had taken extra happy juice to get to sleep, so was in no fit state to play. Steve encountered the same problems that we had as it seems that YouTube have changed their streaming platform so it has become impossible, so far as we can ascertain, to livestream with multiple cameras. Why did they do that?).

This afternoon I finished the game off. 
The Swiss finally got more than one move and charged the leftmost Spanish colonela.  Closing fire and the passing fire from the Spanish artillery did little other than to disorder them as they made contact.
 The Spanish were beaten but passed their test so were hanging on in there.

As an experiment I ordered the French gendarmes to charge the disordered colonela which had been taking fire from the French crossbow unit. I wouldn't have dared do this of they had been formed as the Spanish would have got double the dice! As it was the gendarmes took three hits as a result of closing fire but then smashed into the Spanish, inflicting heavy casualties while saving all the hits they received. The Spanish didn't break but were pushed back, shaken and disordered. 

A general overview from the League left wing.

The Swiss on the extreme right wing then charged the League Landsnechts who were crossing the river. By some fluke of the dice the latter took six hits to one against the Swiss and were broken. Ouch!

The Swiss also charged the Papal pike blocks and after getting three moves managed to cross the stream and hit them. It was a massacre and the Papal troops were broken at once. The supporting block to their right also tested and was forced to withdraw disordered. The Papal gendarmes seen on the bridge kept, rather wisely, failing their command rolls so went nowhere.

This was the dice score that precipitated the Landsnecht rout!

On the other flank the French Landsnechts were faffing about doing nothing as their general failed his command roll.

The French were finally ejected from the abbey so the victorious but exposed French gendarmes pulled back to reform. 

The Papal pikes took nine hits off the Swiss. No wonder they ran away!

The French Landsnechts were still standing idly by while the battle raged on around them.

The routing League Landsnechts. 

The League left is broken.

At this point I decided to call it a day and a significant French victory. The League wings were both caving in and the centre was beginning to crumble under the pressure from the French gendarmes. It was a victory of quality over quantity but only just. Maybe I should have given the League some more troops? Nah! At least there was room to manoeuvre (when the right dice were thrown!). The rules (Pike and Shotte, with sensible amendments) worked fine for a relatively large game. I think I shall definitely consolidate my six figure gendarme units into  12 figure ones. The Spanish colonela worked well as a multi-armed unit except when disordered and faced by gendarmes. Everything else worked well and I was happy with the way the game played out.

I am hoping to run another game next Saturday subject to the broadband issues being resolved and being able to create a fix for the Youtube stuff.


  1. Well done on being able to finish the game solo, as well as taking some lovely shots of your great looking game.

  2. I could look at your games all day Colin. Where do you get your reserves of enthusiasm and energy though, that's what I want to know?

  3. Super game, lovely collection of figures

    Nice to see the game finished to completion...

  4. Glad the game was fought to a conclusion and hurrah for the French left wing. It was looking less positive when I relinguished command. Well done. What a colourful period this is!

  5. A splendid looking game Colin...
    A very colourful period indeed and certainly one the works well with pig units...

    All the best. Aly