Field of Glory Renaissance in Farnboro 2012
Later Imperial Spanish vs ECW Royalists
Farnboro 2012 was yet another opportunity to wheel out the rather accidentally purchased 28mm mostly Warlord Games Renaissance army I'd constructed in a flurry of plastic soldier buying not seen since Airfix was the recipient of much of my pocket money whilst at school. The competition was intense, in that it was a rather spectacular 4 games in one day - but this was tempered by the fact each game was only 1 & 3/4 hours long, and the armies were a rather daunting 500 points each. And the movement units were stretched to 40mm instead of one inch, meaning troops could be at each other at close quarters almost from turn one.
Rules hint - this is a non-standard set of measurements adopted by the Farnboro club. Terrain is measured in normal 1-inch units, and the flank zones remain 12 inches wide, everything else is done with 40mm=1MU. And artillery is always removed, not counting as captured ...although this is as much about both speeding up the game and stopping Horse being "stuck" on enemy artillery they overrun as anything to do with the 40mm MU aspect.
I had chosen a Later Imperial Spanish list, on the basis that it had some Elite infantry units - standard 6-man Pike and shotte, but called Tercios just to confuse the enemy. I had figured that with only 500 AP to play with many of the other armies would opt for a (short) wall of average troops, and my Elites would be able to overwhem them, and also do so without the need for help from one of my two generals. The rest of the army was 2 more Pike and Shotte units, some guns and dragoons, a unit of Cuirassiers , another of less good cuirassiers (armoured, average, compulsary..) and finally 4 carbine-armed Croati, to fill up space and make up the points. The lists from this and all the other games at Farnboro can be seen here on the FoG:R wiki.
The first game saw the Spanish taking on a highly mobile ECW Royalist army - deploying a load of units of Royalist Cavaliers in column, with 40mm movement they could be anywhere quite soon. The table had lots of terrain, most notably one of thise rare but exciting "hills in the middle that look worth fighting over". My army intended to pivot forward on my left, over the hill, and bring the Terco's Viejos into action against anything they could find.
Here is a short video review of the Later Royalist ECW Army by our tow resident experts
The initial spanner in this evil masterplan was that the dastardly Royalists had cleverly included a unit of 4 Dragoons in their roster, which made by 3-man unit look rather underpowered when it came to the "potential ruck in a barn" scenario that they were now facing on my left
The Royalists moved first, and my army watched in amazement as the full meaning of switching to 40mm move distances became immediately apparent - the Royalist foote were almost upon us before we had even thought about putting one foot in front of the other!
Everything was sweeping towards my left flank, and already I could see one of my Tercio's - and especially the other unit of Pike and Shotte on my right - struggling to get back into the battle
This was the scene from the circling helicopter after the first Royalist turn - the Royalist Foote has pushed forward (including a shotte-only unit next to the large barn), and the Royalist Cavaliers are revving up to charge through the gaps in the line
The Spanish army rolled forward itself - claiming first dibs on the hill, and creating an embarassing traffic jam on the left with only two units of Horse. The Croati are wandering behind the Spanish lines, weighting up whether they have any realistic chance of getting to the Royalist baggage before the game ends (not easy without a spare General to give them extra moves) or whether they might just be better off looting the Spanish baggage instead?
The Tercio on the right distains the possible advantages that being uphilll may confer on it, relying instead on it's innate Eliteness and the sartorial elegance of yellow and black slashed sleeves to bring it a victory for the forces of Catholicism against the infidel Royalist Foote .
The Spanish Horse are dangerously confident - it is rare to find a shotte -only unit to attempt to ride down, but the fates have conspired to deploy one right in front of them. As long as the enemy do literally nothing other than stand there and be a tempting target this could be a good day to be a Corballos Corzazo ineed.
Rules hint - There is a + POA at impact for being Mounted vs units which are entirely made up of medium foote in the open.
The two armies get to musket range, but with the hill in the way the initial exchanges are limited to the few bases at either side who have clear line of sight. Unbelievably, the hill is having an effect on the game!
Surprise! The Tercios of Spain clamber up the hill and look down upon the Royalist Infantry - now masters of all they survey, the Spanish Infantry are at the peak of their confidence and the peak of the hill. Even a base loss of one of the Elites nearest the camera cannot daunt them now.
Despite having 33% more figures per shooting base than the cheapskate Royalists, the (average) Spanish Warlord Games infantry lose out badly in the initial musket exchanges, perhaps proving that the extra cost and weight of metal figures compared to their own plastic is one which is repayed on the gaming table by improved performance
Both sides are losing bases from shooting along the line, notably on the Royalist side their 4-man Dragoon unit is now reduced to match the Spanish unit of three. The lines are now closing everywhere, and it seems the entire Iberian army is set to make one simultaneous charge
Rules hint - Aveage Dragoons in units of 4 can of course put out 33% more shooting than a unit of 3, but still break on the same losses, 2 bases. At long range they will shoot with 2 dice vs the 1 a 3-man unit gets, so are twice as effective. You pays your money and takes your choice!
They're in! Cuirassiers and Tercio's Viejos steam forwards into the Royalist line of foote in a wave of Catholic fury!
The Spanish Dragoons have also driven off the Royalists who scuttle back into the village - but perhaps it is a strategic withdrawal to allow the first of the Royalist Cavalier units more space to enter the fray? Just out of shot lurk the Spanish Average horse, hoping not to be involved in any actual fighting...
At Impact things go spectaculary well for the Elite and Superior Spaniards who roll a bucket-load of hits - and rather poorly for the average (or perhaps sub-par) Royalist pedestrians who roll rather fewer. Will the Spanish be able to take advantage of this early bonus, or will luck swing back the other way as is often her want?
The Royalists lose bases and replace them with markers signfying various states of lost cohesion - a rather crappy exchange in all honestly, but one which the Spanish have no complaints about
But it is far from one-way traffic, as a mercenary unit on the Spanish team has taken a pounding from the Royalist shooters, and is now Fragmented, one base from autobreaking - and right in the middle of the Spanish line. The cleverly won commanding position on top of the hill will count for nothing if they are swept away, and will expose the heart of the Spanish army to an evisceration as undoubtably hordes of Royalist Cavaliers will come pouring through the gaping hole and wreak havoc. One of the two Spanish generals carefully weighs up the pro's and con's of trying to bolster their morale. Succeed, and the unit will still be almost certain not to survive an enemy charge, however the General himself may get sucked into the defeat and put at risk. Do nothing however and their defeat is guaranteed....
Talking of guaranteed defeats, the Caballos Corzas Cuirassiers have broken through the pike-less Royalist resistance and there is a general collapse of Royalist fortunes on the Spanish left as the Tercio also breaks its battered opponent, and pursues
Rules hint - pretty much everyone has to pursue at least once
As predicted, a Royalist Cavalier charge sees the German Mercenary Foot Regiment flee the field in panic, the only saving grace being that the Royalist Cavaliers roll short and do not make up much ground in their charge. The Spanish General had wisely declined to get involved....
A Short Instructional Video Explaining Cavaliers
With casulaties streaming in, the field hospital in the Spanish camp was working overtiime to keep up, whilst some of the early deserters from units who had gone DISR a little too easily were placed in the stocks for punishment...
As the Spanish left ploughed forward the Royalists found themselves with only Royalist Cavaliers left to play with - not ideal opponents for Elite Pike and Shotte, or for that matter Heavily Armoured Cuirassiers . Both Royalist Cavalier units went DISR, as the Royalist front line evaporated so quickly that they burst through their colleagues in rout, a panic so intense that some of their "B for Broken" markers were left behind in the confusion.
The Tercio welcomed the chance to get up close and personal with the Royalist Cavaliers and their floppy hatted lives of priveledged Protestantism, which meant naught to the hard bitten Catholic campaign veterans of the fields of Flanders (and those adjacent fields also belonging to some of the other neighbours of Homer Simpson)
Finally, the second Tercio was in combat as well - perhaps without the spectacular successes of their "we hit every time" comrades in arms, but at least they weren't being shot.
The Average Spanish infantry unit (in red coats in the foreground) were still somewhat stunned by how quickly the game was progressing, and without a General to spare they had been left languishing on a flank, crawling towards the action with painful slowness
The Royalist Cavaliers on the Spanish left were putting up a brave fight, but base losses were mounting and chances were that they would soon run out of bodies to put in front of the Corballos Corzas. The Elite Tercio was by now DISR and down to 4 bases, but neither fact was especially worrying to the Tercio who still had 2 bases to go before they would get concerned, and with only 3 dice hiting against them this might take some time to occur
The other Tercio however was in a rather tougher situation - now engaged with 2 full Royalist Foote units (and being hit by 8 dice per turn), as well as somewhat struggling to put their 60mm bases onto the rather steeply banked terrain piece they found themselves straddling, they faced the prospect of losing a base per turn, which would mean they ran out rather sooner than their compadres, and they started to fear that they not last the game
The Spanish Caballos Corzas Cuirassiers reduced their opponents to a single base, breaking them as the Spanish Tercio next to them simultansourly picked up another marker signifying that it had dropped to Fragmented. The game was swinging in the favour of Spain, but it was by no means a clear cut battle for the Iberians to win from here.
In Spains favour, one of the Royalist foote units facing the other Elite Tercio in the middle had now suffered 2 base losses - one more and they would break. The Tercio was at evens factors (POA's in new money) with the Royalist units, but the addition of a General meant every "miss" on their dice (1, 2 or 3) would get re-rolled... which was a pretty cool situation to be in. And ultimately this is what proved decisive, with the Royalist unit breaking first - taking with it the battle. A big win for Spain!
The Result is a 15.6 to 4.4 win for the Later Imperial Spanish
Click here for the report of the next game or read the post match summaries first;
Post Match Summary
Hola! I am the King Of Spain, and I hereby claim a magnificent victory for Catholicism here in Englands not so green and decidedly unpleasant land. Whilst my domestic economy may currently be on it's knees, at least we have experience in this situation having spent the entire booty of the Spanish Main and the looting of the Americas on a particularly fine dinner for Isobella and myself, as well as a new pair of shoes sometime in the late 1500's. This means we are due reparations in kind from the ungodly Royalists, and indeed this is what we clearly received here in this game.
As planned, my plan went perfectly to plan. ¡Qué problema! - well, for the Royalists anyway! The ability of the Elite Tercio's to win without the intervention of a General was proved beyond doubt, although whilst this is slightly dissapointing as one who strives to achieve success through personal Generalship and claim the rewards and honours this might bestow on oneself, at least the army did well.
I must admit to being somewhat susprised by the struggles of some of my mercenary men. Qué difícil was it to stand on top of a hill eh? Clearly beyond the abilities of the Germans, and so even though the travails of the Eurozone do not appear to fall on their shoulders, this is clearly a good thing as if they were to come under pressure, as they did today, they would surely crumble like a stale piece of tortilla in the face of conflict.
So, great victories for the Tercio, great victories for the Caballos Corzas, and a good set of points racked up already. Muy Glorioso ! ¡Cuántas puntas!
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
A King you say? Wel, if I were to be asked were you fit to govern, I would say, No, not e'en to live based upon this shambolic performance. Taking an army with just 2 Generals is like starting a game with one hand tied behind your back, although in your case this might actually be seen as an advantage as it would prevent you moving all of your troops, and so only the errors of deployment would hurt your prospects, and those of performance and execution would be greatly reduced
You had the enemy by the scruff of the throat, with a massive advantage on your left - and so what did you do with this tactical boon? You continued to advance in a neat and tidy line everywhere else instead of reinforcing success where you found it - an elementary mistake of epic proportions. Did you not see, did you not feel the ebb and flow of battle swinging in your favour as the Horse found a perfect target? It is as if four of your five wits went halting off, and left the whole man governed with just one - and not a good one at that.
Victory was yours, but you remain even when garlanded with the plaudits of success a pernicious and indubitate beggar. Let's hope you have more forgiving enemies next game against which to test your mettle lest it be found wanting in defeat as much as it has been today found wanting in victory
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