Saturday, 16 August 2014

Battle of Rome, 103 BC (fictional)

(We return to our mini-campaign with a game that Mark and I played back on 13th July)

Concerned at the Ambrones and Cimbri rampaging so deep into Italy, the Senate had ordered Qunitus Caecilius Metellus’ recently-raised army of veterans and recruits to be stationed outside Rome. Thus deployed, they were available to protect the City, making use of the time for the veterans to work at turning the new recruits into soldiers worthy of the title of Roman legionaries.

The state of alarm in the capital increased when Lucius Cassius Longinus’ small army, which had escaped Silanus’ disaster at Spoletium in the first month of 103 BC, arrived at Metellus’ camp. Shortly afterwards the triumphant Ambrones, full of confidence after their destruction of Silanus’ command, made their way towards the City.

Metellus immediately advanced. He met the barbarians on a plain north of the city. The latter deployed with their flanks protected by two small hills.

Metellus had deployed his forces in parallel lines. Longinus' small force in front, his own veterans behind them and Saturninus' partially-tgrained recruits in the last line. Longinus' men were to absorb the initial Ambrones' onslaught, which would then be broken by Metellus' veterans. Saturninus men, the largest of all the commands, was in support, available to defend against any break-through.

Seeing the large Roman force before him, Boiroix sent forward his slingers and archers, whilst holding his warbands at a safe distance.

(A six of spades turned up meant that Longinus' legionaries were not at their best that day).

The Ambrones' skirmishers got the better of the initial combat 'tween the opposing light troops.

Boiroix unleashed the first of his warbands,

while the Romans advanced steadily in their deployed lines.

The Ambrones' cavalry attempted to outflank Longinus' line, but were themselves flanked by Metellus' Roman cavalry.

Metellus' plan seemed to be working as more of the Ambrone warbands reacted to the advance of Longinus' troops.

Longinus' Italian cavalry took the first onslaught,
and were unable to resist!

To their right, Metellus' Roman cavalry fought an inconclusive mêlée with their Ambrone opponents.

That six of spades proved prophetic as Longinus' legionaries were over-run in the first contact (in Impetus a six for determination of permanent losses is not a good result!).

On the Roman left flank Metellus' Italian cavalry suffered a similar fate.

Longinus' command broken, Metellus' veterans prepared to receive the still-fresh Ambrone warbands (the plan had not worked so well after all). Saturninus' men provided depth in support.

Pressure mounted on the Roman right flank as Metellus' Roman cavalry and Cretan archers were broken, ...

... followed by one group of velites.

The warbands drove on to Metellus' veterans.

First blood to the Ambrones, ...
... who drove on to the first line of Saturninus' men. These were going to be determined this day (a three of diamonds meant that they were as good as veterans).

Further to the left, Metellus' men stood tall.

The Ambrones attacked along the entire Roman front, ...

and everywhere they were beaten.

Romana victoria! 

It had been a close-run battle. Both sides lost 19 points of demoralisation (VD), so the result was a marginal victory for the Romans. It was sufficient though and Rome was safe, for now at least.

Thanks to the veterans that the senate had withdrawn from Spain and Africa, firstly the Teutones and now the Ambrones had been defeated. There still remained the Cimbri who, while this battle was occurring, were attacking Caepio at the Second Battle of Spoletium.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Bon anniversaire mon empereur... and the Divine Julius goes 21stC

As most readers of this blog will know, today, 15th August, marks the Emperor's birthday.

If you don't know a lot about the great man, you would do well to tune in to the Napoleon podcast. Hosted by Cameron Riley, this podcast features a series of interviews with David J Markham, historian and President of the International Napoleonic Society.

Recently Cameron has turned his hand to another of the big names of history, and one of Napoleon's heroes, Gaius Julius Caesar.

This podcast now includes a 'premium' edition which features interviews with scholars of Caesar and ancient Rome. The first of these is with our 'own' Prof. Tom Stevenson of the University of Queensland, Brisbane. I was out and about today, so was able to listen to this marvellous interview in its entirety. Recommended.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Wargaming Waterloo 1815 : 2015 (1)

Our recent activities in ‘eras other than Napoleonics’ have unlocked some of the latent enthusiasm that we have for a range of historical periods. These will continue with one or the other of us taking the lead to increase our ability to stage historical re-fights or historically-based campaign games in periods from the Kingdom of Egypt to the American Civil War—and even beyond if Julian has his way! :).

We’ll be wargaming these periods ‘seriously’ and this has and will continue to provide much enjoyment, stimulation, interest (and learning), but will always be secondary to TOTE, ’the one true era’: Napoleonics!

As with so many of you out there in wargaming e-land, our principal project for TOTE at present is the bicentennial of the Battle of Waterloo. With our space and figures available we are planning to do this game at a figure scale of around 1:30 to 1:33.

Mark has completed a first-pass of the orders of battle for the game, so we have our 'work orders' to make up the lists. Mine are:
French & Allied
• Airfix Old Guard—two bats each for 3e and 4e grenadiers and chasseurs of Middle Guard
• Young guard voltigeurs (1e, 3e) and tirailleurs (1e, 3e) two bats for each
• Empress Dragoons (x 2—finish OG and YG units)
• Chevau-leger lanciers 1e and 2e
• YG Chasseur à cheval de la garde 
• YG Gren à cheval de la garde
• Old Guard foot artillery (x 6) two from YG foot artillery
• Cuirassiers (to make up the 12 regts, 1–12)
• Carabiniers (2 regts—Mark one, me one)
• Dragoons (2 regts, 2e and 7e)
• Chevau-legers lanciers (1e–6e: Mark three, me three)
• Hussars (7e & 5 e)
• Chasseur à cheval (1e, 3e, 4e, 6e, 9e, 12e)—me three, Mark three
• base/touch-up légère
• base/touch-up ligne
• base/touch-up foot artillery
• base/touch-up horse artillery

• Horse guards
• Base/touch-up infantry
• 11th LDG (buff with silver/white lace)
• Base/touch-up 1st KGL, 10th, 15th, 18th hussars
• 1st DG (Mark has the other three)
• Two sets of Brunswick jäger SK (6 figs)
• Base/touch-up 6 RA batteries
• Base/touch-up RHA batteries (up to 6)
• Dutch militia unit

Our good friend and honorary member of the ANF, ‘Marc’ is kindly weighing in with some Dutch-Belgians. He has posted photos of the first of his efforts, a wonderful rendition of the Dutch 27th jägers on his blog.

We look forward to adding our own bicentennial game of Waterloo to the many that are being planned around the world. To read about these, and many, many other games of the Napoleonic bicentennial on the Wargaming Waterloo 2015 blog.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Gå På!

I was first introduced to the Great Northern War and Charles XII of Sweden as a teenager when my father suggested that I read his copy of E.M. Almedingen’s The Lion of the North. I was captivated. Almedingen vividly, passionately and somewhat romantically relates the story of the reluctant boy-King, brought to the fore, to manhood and to the status of legend by a war that was not of his making, but was begun by neighbours, keen to take advantage of a power vacuum presented by the death of his father so as to exact revenge on the powerful Swedes.

Bringing home the body of Karl XII of Sweden by : Wikimedia Commons (res. reduced)

I was immediately interested to wargame the period, but time, budget and a desire to remain focussed on building our small forces of Napoleonics prevented me. In the 90s I first saw the new 1/72nd figures of the period; “if only they had been available in my youth”, I thought.

With the gathering of the ‘three amigos’ that became the ANF, and our focus on the ‘one true scale’, purchasing some of the lovely Zvezda, Strelets and Mars figures for this period was almost a ’given’. The trouble was, which rules to use? I purchased Polemos: Great Northern War a couple of years ago. While written specifically for 6 mm armies, they seem like a definite possibility, but our focus on the ‘main game’ of the Napoleonic bicentennial delayed painting figures and so any play-test.

Now, with the bicentennial approaching the climax of Waterloo, we have allowed our focus to slip a bit so as to engage some of the other periods of interest to us all. For the Lace Wars, Age of Reason have impressed us so far, as Julian has described. However, they are not really written for the specific nuances and idiosyncrasies of the Great Northern War. Enter GåPå.

(As Thomas Årnfelt, the rules' author, relates, “GåPå was the Swedish command phrase for infantry attack in the early 18th century, and also the term used to describe the spirit and tactics of the Swedish in English language literature.” Rumour has it that is it also Peter Anderson’s ‘war-cry’ following a particularly successful die roll, haha!!)

Having read a little about the rules, I ordered a copy of GåPå from Caliver Books, hoping that, this time, they would be a set that we’d use and not another of the many that merely decorate the shelves. My hopes increased when I saw the excellent series of posts reviewing the rules and describing a play-test on the blog Battle of Ramillies.

The rule book arrived in the post a week ago (thanks Dave!) and I immediately began to read them. I am most impressed. They are the kind of rules that get one excited about the prospect of playing a game (something that rules like Shako and Impetus did, but Grand Battery did not do).

GåPå have numerous aspects that are immediately appealing to me. There is no removal of figures, unit status being classified by up to three ‘steps’ (à la Fire and Fury). The quality of a unit is determined by one number, the troop quality (TQ), much like the MR in Shako or the VBU in Impetus. The rules use a flexible figure, time and ground scale to enable units, armies and battles to be scaled up and down (suggestions are made to get you started and/or to enable you to relate your existing basing). 

The rule book is clearly laid out and well written. Sections have colour-coded headings, ‘sidebar’ boxes provide a summary of key tests related to each section and links between them are clear and, most importantly, consistent! The descriptions of specific rules are enhanced by numerous examples and historical notes. The only ‘eye-candy’ are several tasteful, black and white vignettes from Lars-Eric Högland and Åke Sallnås’ marvellous books on the uniforms of the Great Northern War.

All distances are given in paces to facilitate the scaling. This also enables distances and ranges to immediately relate to ‘reality’. Suggested frontage of a base of infantry (nominally a company) is 50 paces; the same for a squadron of cavalry and battery of artillery (other than heavy guns, for which 75 paces is suggested). Three infantry bases commonly comprise a battalion and up to 12 squadrons for a regiment of cavalry (depending on type), but these are variable to represent differently sized units, especially in historical lists; e.g. the range is 1–7 bases for a unit of infantry. The number of figures per base may be adjusted to suit the scale of figures, budget and aesthetic preferences of the players and may even be different for different players.

Unsurprisingly, the suggested base sizes match exactly with those that we have settled on for Age of Reason. The suggested basing of four infantry, two cavalry and two to four artillerists and a gun model per base also match-up. This also means that we can use a ‘default’ ground scale of 1 pace to 1 mm, making measurements simple.

The capabilities of units are specified by their size, type and TQ. The size is simply the number of bases, which relates to the number of troops present and also determines the fire  points and close combat strength as well as the ’steps’ available.

Sixteen troop types are specified (six infantry, six cavalry and four artillery). The most common are those such as line infantry—the standard; assault infantry—grenadiers or Swedish infantry with pike & musket; horse—most European cavalry and dragoons; shock horse—Swedish and English cavalry, lancers or Polish hussars. Others, such as eastern horse, skirmishing infantry, skirmishing cavalry or close combat infantry are specifically to represent troops of the Ottoman armies or Jacobite infantry (the latter type).

TQ is scaled at six grades (rabble < green < trained < veteran < élite < fanatic). It is used to represent training, experience, élan and the professionalism of the officers. The majority of infantry fit into veteran (e.g. Swedish and English infantry) or trained (most regulars), with some being green (most Russian infantry). The upper TQ grades are reserved for troops driven by religious or other fervour and most guards, while the lowest grade is for untrained levy troops or peasants. The base TQ grade may be temporarily increased by having a commander attached, defending fortifications or by high fire discipline (optional rule), or reduced due to disorder, having a lower close combat value than opponents, testing for a single uncontrolled unit, being fatigued or fighting in condensed line.

TQ tests are used throughout the rules: uncontrolled unit test (discussed later in this post), reaction to being charged, impact of ‘hits’ from firing, close combat and rallying. Four levels of results are possible, ranging from decisive success to decisive failure. The outcome of the test is cross-reference with the troop-type and/or situation on a specific test table to determine the outcome. It all seems pretty simple and rather elegant.

The turn sequence incorporates a pre-battle section (determining the opposing forces, which side is the attacker and placing terrain), the battle section (sequence of play on the tabletop) and a post-battle section to determine victory and pursuit.

The pre- and post-battle sections are most important for fictitious games, but also makes the rules applicable for competitions (for those who like that sort of thing) and for campaigns. For example, the guidelines for setting up terrain prescribe what is required for fictitious battles, but also provides information that will be useful in designing scenarios for historical actions.

The battle section of the sequence of play has phases for visibility, random events (if played), initiative determination, orders (including movement), fire, closing (moves to contact other than charges—the latter being done in the orders phase), close combat and army morale.

As with many (most?) sets, the command and control system is at the heart of GåPå Army and wing (division, ‘corps’ or column) commanders are the only ones represented in play normally, but line (brigade) commanders may be added in larger games.

The initiative phase determines which side will execute orders/movement first and the number of order executions in each round. This is determined by a die roll modified by the army commander’s initiative rating. The winner decides which side will move first and how many order executions, one or two, each may use in sequence until all four ‘action points’ are expired (see below).

Commanders need to send orders to units or groups of units in order for them to remain under control and to act as the player desires. Command and control is by line of sight, so that commanders need to be visible and within line of sight of senior commanders to be in command and units within line of sight of their commander to be eligible to receive orders. Line of sight is blocked by terrain and units (including friendly ones)—hence the importance of the commander on the hill—but is also impacted by visibility. Under ‘normal’ conditions, visibility begins at 1200 paces, but this decreases, permanently, as the action (number of units firing) increases. Visibility is determined at the beginning of each turn.

Each commander has four ‘action points’ each turn (non-cumulative). Action points (one per order execution) are expended to issue orders to a unit or group that is visible, to move the commander, to put a subordinate in command or for a subordinate to act on his own initiative. This requires the expenditure of an action point and a roll against the testing commander’s leadership value, which ranges from 1 to 5, with success on a roll equal or below. Rallying units or making an uncontrolled unit/group test (see below) do not require action points.

So you can see that command and control will rapidly deteriorate as the armies come to grips—it may even be limited from the start in bad weather. That seems fine, but does it mean that we have the ‘pip’ effect of intense action in one part of the battlefield and nothing elsewhere? Arrrgh!!!!!!

Fortunately not. Two rule mechanisms work against this most-disliked of rules systems (by us, at least). Firstly, groups of units in lines or columns that are within about 50 paces of one another (depending on formation) may be ordered or act as a single formation. Secondly, units and groups that are not under orders are considered to be uncontrolled units and act as determined by an uncontrolled unit test.

An uncontrolled unit test is a TQ test, the result of which is cross-referenced to the situation in which the unit/group finds itself and the type of unit to determine the action. The result may be hold, advance, march, turn, cautious march, charge, pursuit, withdraw, flee, or retreat. The exact meaning of each of these options is clearly defined in the rules. Importantly, only a few are possible results in each situation.

Once again, this sounds reasonably simple, quite elegant and will produce some most interesting situations that are beyond the control of the X m ‘general’!

Finally, we come to determining the end of the game and victory and defeat. At the end of each turn, each side checks army (or force if several, separate contingents are present) break level. If the current number of units broken, fleeing or having fled the table, plus the value of any initially controlled terrain features that have been lost equals or exceeds the army break level (50% of the weighted total of the number of units—artillery halved, guards doubled, skirmishers ignored), that army or contingent is broken and the game is over. Prior to this level being reached, each side will go on to check wing morale and demoralisation (and similarly for lines, if in use).

Wing morale is tested when losses (broken, fleeing, fled) are 1/3rd or more of the initial level. If reached, a TQ is taken for each unit, based on a single roll, with failure resulting in the unit making a flee move. The test is done each turn when it is required, so this can get pretty nasty! Wing demoralisation occurs at 50% losses. Once reached, the command will withdraw from the field. This cannot be reversed!

With the end of the battle the level of victory or defeat is determined by points for losses of commands and terrain based on the type of battle that was played (determined in the pre-battle phase).

With these rules I'm excited about the possibility of finally doing some games of the Great Northern War, so I'm just gonna have to slip in some Swedish units while I do my Napoleonics in preparation for Waterloo (a post about this important wargaming project will follow soon).
I have slipped some Swedish units into my painting production line (if one can use such a term for my rate of painting!) These 3/4-completed examples from Mars were originally casualty figures (left hand to head) that I converted to pikemen; hence them not being Karl's most handsome subjects!

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Beneath the Lily Banners play-test

We took Beneath the Lily Banners (Second Edition) for a spin as the second of our tests of rules for the Lace Wars, and War of Spanish Succession in particular.
  • I re-set the table so that we had the same battle as for our test of Age of Reason. This in itself I regarded as a minor triumph, as I'd actually never done this before and desperately hoped James' photos would suffice for the job - judge for yourself by comparing with the initial shot for the Age of Reason playtest

We had all read through the rules and, while there did not appear to be anything that seemed outrageous or obnoxious to any of us, we did not get the sense that they would out-do Age of Reason (hereafter AOR). We were all not a little concerned at the large volume of eye candy most of which, while lovely to look at, disrupts the flow of the text and makes what could be a 20-page rule book extend to over 100 pages!

We did not want to prejudge the rules though, so a full play-test it was.

Wishing to play the rules in full, we rolled for our commanders. James threw a 1 for the French C-in-C making him, appropriately, a plodder. Mark managed a 5 for his Bavarian wing commander, who was therefore skillful and I rolled a 2 for my Austrian, making him competent. The implication of these ratings became immediately apparent.

Beneath the Lily Banners (BLB) uses a ‘pip-style restriction on units which may move in a turn. This is determined by a die roll each turn against the quality of the leader. The result of this is that from none to all of the units of a command may be given orders in a turn. Far from a means of reflecting command and control, this amounts to a prompting technique. If a commander is only able to get orders to 1/4 of his units, for example, these will be the only ones that may move, irrespective of current orders or the situation of the battle, and irrespective of any divisional or brigade structure. This is not a mechanism that we enjoy, or favour for such effects. The immediate effect was that the army, and indeed the brigades broke up from the first turn. Off went my Imperial right wing, under my selection of units to move, my initial move gave me the ability to move 3/4 of my units.

The French and Bavarians had barely got going as parts of my force advanced. The infantry move being 4" and not all forces moving every turn, it was quite obvious that many turns would be required to bring the action to a conclusion. BLB suggests about a ten minute turn time, to explain precisely this, but on the whole the ANF prefers larger but fewer moves to this kind of solution to the problem of command and control.

Here in the Allied centre not much had happened. My strategy was the same as before, to hold back the cavalry and see what could eventuate.

One minor problem associated with the large number of moves is that if sufficient photos were to be taken to provide a proper description of the situation of all forces in that particular move, the battle report would involve literally hundreds of photos. That is definitely not to say that the ANF fights its battles 'for the record' - certainly not I, as I can never remember enough! But it is to say that this account is of necessity rather fragmentary by comparison to my previous post on AOR.

Here the view from the French position on Move 3. Some advance by the Allies is discernible on the French right flank. But we have to remember, we are only half an hour into the battle.

A nice view across the battlefield from the Austrian right/Bavarian side of the table. The moving mechanics had been mastered by this point, nothing too hard there. Keeping the lines together was evidently to be quite a challenge, though.

The forces looked as if they were about to engage each other, and were certainly closer now in the centre. It was of course very unlikely that the French would be kind enough to refuse their centre as they had done when we'd used AOR. What would they choose to do? Not a great deal, when they found themselves with the ability to move only 1/4 of their force. Fortunately the Bavarians could usually do a great deal more as they had a much finer commander.

And here he is, amidst the Bavarian lines, standing firm against the odds.

On to Move 4, and I at least had already decided in my own mind that this was not a rules set with which I was especially comfortable. I've never personally liked 'pip'-based systems of command and control, the random nature of the resultant moving has never seemed particularly realistic, although I am of course aware that many others disagree.

A view across the lines for Move 4, with the rules open for good benefit to show we really were using them. You can clearly see the way in which the Bavarians have advanced well beyond their French compatriots (well, colleagues) and that even the French line looks rather ragged.

The same viewed from the French vantage point. The temptation for the French to advance is plain; but the command and control problem would be the only obstacle.

The Austrians had been able to position themselves in a relatively unified way to face the Bavarians. Four moves up, and no firefight yet. The guns were completely out of it.

The Bavarians had at least got themselves into a neat line with their cavalry drawn up in support. A fast learner, Mark!

By Move 5 we were really hoping for some action. To be fair, very little time either in reality or on the table had actually elapsed. In fact, if anything, if one were to take the 10 minute per turn idea literally, it was becoming evident that the action would be over within a much shorter space of time than historically plausible. Easily remedied, then, by extending the notional time period to say, half an hour - but then, what of the restrictions on movement for the troops?

As we mused these weighty questions, the Austrian right flank finally came into shooting range of the Bavarians, and battle truly commenced.

Here's how it looked forward from the French command vantage point - nothing much in danger, nothing much in doubt - nothing much of anything, truth to tell.

Here is a view from the French right flank showing the Austrians advancing, but there is evidently plenty of time to deal with the threat.

Now a shot of the real action, here come the Austrians against the Bavarian line.

That huge gap on the French right again. We are wondering whether a lot of the skill in any WSS battle consists in how you deploy initially - there just is not enough flexibility, even without rigid divisional structures of any kind, to shift forces around the table very much. Artillery are a fine example of the issue.

As with AOR, an extremely tempting manoeuvre is to swing one unit to the side, enabling the unit behind it to come into action. According to the BLB firing rules, both battalions were able to fire.

A much clear view of the same engagement. It's a particular situation that we will keep under close review as it can definitely influence the outcome of a firefight.

Move 8, my last move available, and something dramatic was about to happen.

Here we are: the Austrian infantry in the front line, despite having suffered very heavy casualties, passed morale to attack the Bavarian grenadiers. BLB insists on two morale tests, one to see if you do charge and another to see if you charge into contact, but our Austrians passed both despite crippling casualties at point blank range from the grenadiers.

You can see the remnants of the engaged battalion on the left.

And here they are in perfect view. Concern was mounting over this series of events by this stage, so James was kept busy with the camera.

So a more strategic view of the melee is available. Note the heavily reduced Bavarian line battalion also still sticking around for the fight.

Despite the ferocious firefight and melee on the Bavarian flank, nothing much had happened elsewhere. One of the effects of the 'pip' system not allocated by division but by unit, is that as things 'hot up' on a flank or particular part of the battle, pips are increasingly allocated to it. In other words, the disparity between events on particular flanks has a tendency to snowball.

This is nicely brought out in the photo below, the Franco-Bavarian left is heavily engaged - and bear in mind that we were only one hour twenty minutes into the action - say two hours at a stretch - whilst the rest of the army on both sides has hardly moved at all. James and Mark were however by this time deeply involved in the mêlée  and James' comments follow below. But as the time-honoured phrase has it, at this point I made my excuses and left.

James takes up the story: 

"So, a situation in which we would not expect an infantry battalion to enter mêléecharging a formed line of good quality troops, being reduced to 1/3 strength on the way inhad resulted, not in the breaking of the weaker unit, but a draw. This was not due to fabulous luck on the part of the Austrians, but average die rolls on the part of both sides. We did not think the melee should have begun, let alone ended this way". 

We now know that Beneath the Lily Banners are not for us. There is nothing particularly abhorrent about the rules, although, as I have pointed out above, the ‘pip-style restriction on units which may move in a turn via the number of orders it is not a mechanism that we enjoy, nor favour for such effects. They did not however, offer anything that, to us, is better than Age of Reason; and they did not seem much quicker to fight through either.

As a kind of thought experiment, Mark and James then looked at what might happen in the second round of the mêlée (move 9). Each turn, both sides may reinforce with one unit if it is within charge reach of the original mêlée. This is a free move that may be completed if a morale test is passed. They assumed this occurred and calculated what would happen next.

The severely weakened Austrian ‘élite battalion,...
ah yes, I forgot to mention above, the Austrian and Bavarian units that became involved in the mêlée in move 8 had earlier both improved their morale level due to a positive morale test, Austrians now 'élite', Bavarians 'guards' for the rest of the battle, hmmm...
So, said Austrian battalion was reinforced by a battalion of regular line infantry and was now opposed to the near full-strength Bavarian guard battalion, which was reinforced by a line battalion of their countrymen. The Bavarians received nine D6 and the Austrians seven. This produced five hits for the Bavarians (4 or above) and three for the Austrians. The difference of two meant that the Austrians lost four figures and the Bavarians two. The Austrian ‘élite battalion now eliminated, the line battalion took a morale test, rolled a 6 and so passed. The mêlée would now go to another round (move 10) in which there was the opportunity to reinforce with the next units in line. Thus we had a growing maul which would last for at least 30 minutes. Not quite our impression of the period.

It was great to have tried Beneath the Lily Banners, but they will not be troubling the scorer again at the ANF.

The next sets of rules for the Lace Wars period that we intended to playtest are Gå På 17001739 : Wargames Rules for the Age for Marlborough, Eugene & Charles XII. Later well try Polemos Great Northern War, but not until we have some troops for the GNW prepared. It might be fun to use a different set for GNW than WSS and 7YW. We are also considering trying Maurice and Lace Wars but we will read through initially and then decide. As with our Napoleonic wargaming, having found a set that we are comfortable with, that suits the period and the manner in which wed like to wargame it, we are not likely to hunt too widely for an alternativeexcept in order to appropriately match the specific nuances of the War of Spanish Succession.

To conclude, below are a few photos of the units involved. It brings me great joy to see these figures finally on the tabletop. While not the 'showroom' quality of many painters and bloggers out there, they are clearly what they are meant to represent and, over time, I'll work on adding more detail (and yes James, sticking the riders on the horses!!). I'm also pleased that we have been able to field two reasonably-sized armies of the War of Spanish Succession almost completely from my 'collection' (the exceptions from Mark's collection are immediately apparent). Some of these troops date back to the 1970s - I have a long way to go to bring them up to a better standard, but I am highly motivated to do just that.