Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wargame in Kobe

On Saturday I trotted up to Kobe for a game of The Perfect Captain's Spanish Fury with Pat and Luke.  After our last game day Pat had kindly offered to umpire a renaissance game for Luke and myself, and although it took five months to find a free afternoon, I think we were all agreed that it was a case of better late than never.

The battle was Mookerheyde (1574), which pitted a Dutch force under Count Louis of Nassau (Luke) against a Spanish force under Sancho de Avila (me).

The Spanish (red) were superior in quality, but the Dutch (blue) and their mercenaries had a slight edge in numbers, especially cavalry.

(Image captured from this Perfect Captain PDF here

In our game the Spanish had twenty turns to crush Nassau and his men.  Anything less would be a loss, so the burden of attack lay on me - just how I like it!

The heart of Spanish Fury is the orders system, which meant that how I brigaded the troops together was important. I split my cavalry into two commands, put the Spanish tercios together (S6 and S7) and left the Walloons on their own. This was not perhaps the wisest choice.

Luke had all his cavalry in one command and an arrangement I wasn't sure of for his infantry.

I put all my brigades under assault orders, so we immediately went racing across the turf towards the enemy. Nassau's cavalry seemed to have similar plans, but all his infantry bar one unit of landsknechts (R6) held in place.

(Initial advances)
As my infantry advanced it began accumulating disorder points from the enemy sakers, so I decided to march as quickly as possible and hope to rally the disorder before charging home.  On my left the cavalry fight was likely to be over swiftly and I hoped I could get the better of it.  Unfortunately, I didn't really pay attention to what Luke was doing (always a dangerous oversight!) and started rather poorly.

At the first onrush I managed to cleverly advance my unit of reiters within range of the guns of the advancing German foot, so we were a pretty ragged bunch by the time the melee combat with the intended enemy - the cavalry - actually began.

Elsewhere, the cavalry battle was reasonably evenly matched, with me winning one combat decisively, getting the worst of another and drawing the third. But it was the fourth that was crucial: my reiters routed after the gun work of the landsknechts (and I couldn't blame them!) leading to a furious pursuit which carried the enemy cavalry behind my infantry lines. My reiters kept running, but his did not: they rallied on the flank of my advancing tercio, just as it was about to confront the landsknechts.

The Count's reiters reform after their pursuit... on my tercio's flank!
At this point I was confronted with a stark choice: halt my infantry advance and go into hedgehog to see off the enemy or continue advancing towards the Germans and try to break them fast. I chose the second option.

Naturally, it was the wrong one: my tercio became horribly disordered in the charge, which negated its superior stats, and the landsknechts held without breaking sweat. In the meantime, the reiters had reformed and prepared to charge. I now realised that if they hit me I would break automatically, so all depended on them passing their waver check to charge.

And they did, without a care in the world!

They then hit my poor mismanaged tercio on the flank, breaking it in one fell swoop.  With my other two tercios badly disordered by enemy fire and the cavalry battle not going well, I conceded the game and slunk off to my side of the table with tail between legs and beer in hand.

So, how was the game?

Firstly, the result seemed to me to be perfectly reasonable. I did not plan my assault well, my cavalry advance was poorly executed and I failed to take into account Luke's intentions or counter them effectively.

There were a few things that did not seem entirely polished in the way that the various sub-systems of the game fitted together, but as I know very little about the subtleties of renaissance warfare I say that cautiously.

All in all it was a very enjoyable game and an excellent day.  Next time I will work more on tactics and rely less on dumb luck, but the early finish allowed us to chew the fat, have a glass of something nice and put together some plans for our next meeting.

To finish, here are a few shots of the game from Pat's perspective.

The early going with Luke in the foreground and me over there somewhere.

The cavalry get into position, with a little support from the landsknechts.

My tercio meets the landsknechts and is in turn met by the reiters...

The end of the affair!


  1. A good game. As you say, there were some holes in the rules, but nothing we couldn't fill in ourselves. I'd play them again, for sure, and that's good enough for me. Playing with counters did make me miss figures. Normally, despite being a figure gamer 95% of the time, I'm not actually too bothered with them, but there's something about 16th century warfare that suits figures - ostrich plumes in hats, for example! And how I envy Pat's apartment's dedicated games room, whereas my one has to accommodate a daughter's desk and two pianos...

    Cheers, Luke

  2. One word, Luke - Baccus!

    1. Never been a fan of Baccus. Mostly because the 1:200th scale his figures are is nothing like the "6mm" and 1:300th scale that he advertises them as. If he actually admitted they were 8 mm figures, I probably wouldn't have a problem! The way the guy tries and justifies his scale creep on his FAQ page is just laughable...

      " it is not my figures that are grossly oversize, it is that the objects of comparison are actually smaller than the perceived scale"

      Yeah, right...

      Cheers, Luke

  3. Excellent write-up, Aaron, though you were a bit too hard on yourself. Apart from being quite a good tactician, Luke also has an abundance of the quality most admired by Napoleon: the ability to roll sixes when he really needs them.

    I liked the way the battle played out enough that I'd like to play through some more scenarios with the SF rules (with my humble paper armies). But the rules are a bit fuzzy in places, and I'll post some of the questions that arose on the Captain's Yahoo forum.

    As always, a pleasure gaming with you gentlemen.

    1. Thanks Pat - will take a look at the yahoo group and see what the responses are. Certainly worth playing again, I think.

  4. I've downloaded several rule sets from the Perfect Captain ad never played any. It looks like it was fun. And yes, figures always add that extra, but better to game than wait.

    1. Yes, after plenty of looking, this was the first time I'd actually played, Sean!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...