Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Italian Wars playtest!

Roughly 5 months after starting my forced march, I put two 48-point armies on the table to try out unit profiles for my Fornovo 1495 scenario that I will run at Enfilade! in just a few weeks.  The unit profiles a mix of unit types from both Pikeman's Lament and Lion Rampant, since the Italian Wars, especially the early part of the era, does bridge both high medieval warfare and the kind of pike-and-shotte tactics and weapons best represented by the Thirty Years War and English Civil War.   I played the French, with three units of elite gendarmes heavy cavalry (mounted men-at-arms from Lion Rampant with the 'drilled' option - expensive and heavy hitting, but with the compulsory follow-up rule from Pikeman's Lament added on), three units of elite pike (as stated in Pikeman's Lament), a unit of doppelsoldners (foot sergeants from Lion Rampant with the 'offensive' option), and four units of arquebusiers (commanded shot from Pikeman's Lament).  Gabe played the Italians, with four units of Elmeti heavy cavalry (elite gallopers from Pikeman's Lament), four units of elite pike (as above), a unit of halberdiers (same as above doppelsoldners), and three units of arquebusiers (as above).

Since I was more interested in trying out profiles and the balance of unit strengths and weaknesses in relation to each other, I chose a simple "first side to lose half their points loses the game" scenario.

The basis ebb-and-flow of the game was the French gendarmes beat up on the Italian elmeti, but only succeeded in reducing most of them to half strength but not destroying them outright. Gabe was able to backpedal his elmeti to safety and not take the points loss.  The battle between the foot had the feel I wanted, with the arquebusiers being annoying but not too effective.  The pike with 'elite' added was a day-of decision and worked really well - it gave the pike blocks the effectiveness they needed in order to represent them as the 'kings of the battlefield' at the time.

The result was a terrible defeat for the French (the result of some unlucky morale checks more than anything), with the Italians only loosing a single unit or two!

P.S.  The only unit profile I was not satisfied was the doppelsoldners/halberdiers.  They lacked the punch to realistically challenge elite pike in close order (pike would have a defense value of 2+ in such an instance!) and just came off as lesser infantry.  Next playtest they will be profiled as 'fierce foot' from Lion Rampant - a lot of offensive punch but low stamina, plus a little extra range on movement so they can close with the enemy a bit closer...

P.S.S. For this playtest I didn't even use all the figures which were table-ready!  The Fornovo scenario proper will have nearly double the number of units on the table!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Italian Wars Cavalry

On Saturday I finished flocking my Italian Wars cavalry, which completes the "February and March" sections of my Italian Wars painting schedule (although that schedule does not accurately reflect that I ended up painting 30 Elmeti and 30 Gendarmes and not the 18 of each original envisioned).  These 72 cavalry were completed between February 11 and April 7th, about 8 weeks.  I have painted 228 Italian Wars figures since December 1 of last year, and 288 figures since last June, and have reduced something over 20 full bags of Old Glory miniatures to just 1 (a pack of Spanish genitor cavalry) (not including the next batch I am now starting).  Since part of this project was not only to paint up armies for a game at Enfilade in May, but also to significantly reduce my 'lead mountain', I am obviously very pleased right now!

The Italian Elmeti (Old Glory condottiere) by were super easy as the horses are not armored and the riders are wearing plain plate armor without even plumes for decoration.  The Elmeti armor may be a little old fashioned by the Italian Wars but I want them to be visually distinctive from their opponents.  The French Gendarmes were the big time-consumer this time around, since I was going for a rainbow effect of several combinations of colors on those. All figures are Old Glory except two of the Stradiot light cavalry which are by Perry.  I also started but did not complete three commander figures. In the 'assembly line' painting process for painting these, three individual figures just got skipped over repeatedly - I have added these to the next batch which has quite a few command stands in it as well.





Up next:

8 artillery stands with crew.
12 mounted crossbowmen.
6 or 12 light cavalry for the French.
Assorted mounted command stands.
4 baggage wagons.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

War Griffon completed!

Well, not completely done - I still need to sand and flock the base.  And it turns out I (repeatedly) forgot to paint the little chinstrap on the rider's helmet.  But this is otherwise varnished and everything.

I got this figure maybe 2-3 years ago. The rider's sword arm (a separate piece) was missing, and repeated attempts to source a cheap donor model to part out for a spare gauntlet-with-weapon were not successful. More recently I've been hankering to play Dragon Rampant again, but with larger armies ("big battle" style such as we have been doing with Pikeman's Lament and Lion Rampant) and using some of the scenarios from our historical games (such as our Middlewich game).

I'm not really a big fan of the Empire and Bretonnia lines by GW, with the exception of a few select items (this griffon rider, GW's older flagellants, some of the older Empire Knights), but I do like Black Tree Design's "Helsinians" line (formerly made by Harlequin) - mainly because they have a look to them that is not Empire/Bretonnian (although their 'Averaign' line, by contrast, looks very Bretonnian).  I have enough figs from the Helsinian line to make three units of foot, plus a unit of flagellants/fanatics, and also the old GW Empire War Altar model, so that should make a good core army.