Field of Glory Renaissance in Oxford 2010
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Oxford Doubles 2010 - the bare, drying out bones of a once continent-spanning series of epic encounters in the BHGS Doubles series, now a 2-day competition but slowly getting back on it's feet. For 2010 I had elected to duck out of the FoG Ancients scene and enter the "Beta testers" FoG Renaissance doubles ... although a slight lack of teams had turned it into a 900 ap singles, casting my erstwhile partner Mr Van Tol out on his own. I'd elected to take Thirty Years War Catholics mainly on the basis that I already had a list drawn up, and also because it had a lot of different toys to play with (always good when trying out new rules!)
In the absence of a FoG Renaissance Wiki (just yet anyway) the lists can be seen here
For once, even the terrain was interesting, with a huge impassable lake cluttering up the table, and a number of hills and fields for both sides to fight over.
|In FoG:R the terrain is broadly similar to FoG:AM, however Agricultural and Developed have been combined, there are other "Renaissance-y" features such as walls to pick from, and there is more choice in the number/type of "compulsory" items.|
I had deployed my 4 guns last, allowing them to pick their targets
|Guns deploy up to 15MU into the table, and fire 24MU - so they can be shooting the enemy even after the first move!|
Other than that my substantial 17BG 900 AP army was anchoring its left flank on a wood whilst piling almost all the cavalry on my right - facing Swedes, I knew their fearsome volley and charge tactics would cause problems for my more traditional infantry, so I was planning on hanging back and hoping my artillery could pick off enough of the blighters before they got to grips with my men at close quarters..
The Swedes had obviously cut down the trees for their pikes from a local forest at the wrong time of the season, and so when the sap dried out the wood had warped somewhat alarmingly.
|The Swedish Brigade is in a "Swedish" formation of 3 pike bases and 4 shot. Only Swedes can use this formation - it is specified in the army lists and signifies what combat capabilities they have. The Battalion gun is merely a marker to denote that this unit has the added firepower of an embedded gun.|
By contrast the Catholic army was a very catholic mix of troops, mostly o unknown origin (I'd bought shed loads of Renaissance stuff in a bring and buy back when Roll Call was held in Dunstable and never quite worked out what manufacturers they were from!) From the vantage point of an anachronistic helicopter, the Catholic host was arrayed across the field waiting for the oncoming Swedes..
The most notable part of the Catholic line was an allied Spanish Tercio (yellow sleeves and blue trousers)
Sensing an opportunity to force the Swedes into an outflanked advance, the Catholic cavalry wing pushed forwards.
|The "checkerboard" arrangement of units is because in FoG:R "battle lines" don't really exist in the same way as in FoG:AM - instead you have "Brigades". If a Brigade is to move more than once all units in the Brigade must be in command range but must also be at least 1 base width AWAY from any other unit in the "Brigade" to do so. On the right of the above picture you can see a general (reddish flag) commanding a brigade of 4 units of Catholic horse all moving together. This neatly creates that textbook Renaissance checkerboard look and feel - at least in the early phases of the battle.|
The Swedes crept up carefully
As the Catholic right wing advanced, they split up to send a force round the large lake and engage some Swedish cavalry trying to sneak round unnoticed.
In the center the Catholics had lined up alongside their guns, and were preparing themselves for impact.
The Swedes were somewhat outnumbered, which is what you'd expect for superior shock infantry vs average bog standard Catholicians..
The catholic refused left flank was a hinge in the line, which the Swedes had clearly identified as a weak point - a lot of blond-haired infantry were piling towards waiting Catholics. However the Catholic artillery was doing its deadly work - both Swedish formations had lost a base already !
|Moving fast in checkerboard is cool - but then you still have to sort yourself out for battle once you get close to the enemy. An interesting conundrum when to do so...|
On the right however things were still settling down quite nicely, a cavalry superiority all over the shop. It was very much a waiting game, with the Swedes the ones who would gain most benefit from getting into combat, and the Catholics prepared to slug it out with a protracted exchange of fire so their greater numbers might count..
As they advanced, the Swedish units started to lose bodies to the telling fire of the Catholic guns - and even more as they came into range of the Catholics muskets...
|There is no "-1" for shooting casualty tests in FoG:AM if you are shot at by gunpowder weapons. This means every hit could be a base removed - if you are unlucky!|
Supported by their General, the Catholics at the hinge opened fire and reloaded as fast as they could as the snarling Swedes closed in at a fair old pace..
Back on the right, the Catholic cavalry, seeking a slight advantage had charged home - but they were unsure how the commanded shot would impact on the game..
|the Swedish cavalry get 2 dice per base and fight in 1 rank - just like knights in FoG:AM. Unlike FoG:AM knights however, their weaponry and armour is not necessarily that different to those of the Cuirassiers and Demi-Cuirassiers they are facing - oddly enough creating more variety of troop types in a period where on the surface there appears to be less...|
With the Swedes closing in on the hinge, the battle was finely poised. The Swedes had taken plenty of casualties on some units, but the Catholics had also lost 2 bases along the line and had units at both ends disrupted (Donnington casualty markers again!)
On the right the Swedes were more outnumbered - a battered unit was facing the daunting prospect of taking on the 14-base Spanish Tercio, whilst a fully intact unit was still facing the best part of 2 pike/shot combos - and in each case the Catholic cavalry were lurking in the wings.
|The Tercio can be up to 16 bases - this one is 6 pike and 8 shot. The shot elements can shoot all round as long as they have line of sight, so essentially 4 bases forwards and - were there a target - 2 more to each side. When bases are removed the floorplan of the Tercio remains the same - even if this leaves bases unconnected. This one has lost 1 pike and 1 shot base.|
With an inconclusive first clash, the two sides cavalry forces squared off - the Demi-cuirassiers were disrupted, but in a war of attrition the heavier armour of the Catholic Cuirassiers could well help the Catholic side wear down the 4-strong unit of Swedish horse..
|The Commanded shot "protect" the Swedish horse bass they are adjacent to, giving them extra POA's as well as gaining them themselves. Together the shot and horse are far stronger than separately.|
Disaster strikes! The "average" Demi-Cuirassiers lose and break - just as the Cuirassiers beat up the Swedish horse and cause a base loss, but then fall disrupted in response to the rout themselves! Swings and roundabouts all round...
The battle was now joined in the middle - a Catholic unit complete with batallion gun marker is charged by the Swedish pike and volley formation....
|Embedded guns are just a marker - so why not mount them on pennies ? Tres cool!|
With the Swedes at double-plus at impact (yoiks!) the Catholics almost inevitably lose - but roll fantastic cohesion test dice and retain their good order after the impact phase. But, with 2 bases now gone out of 3 before they autobreak, things still look very dicey for them...
The Swedes capture the Catholic gun battery, and another rather thinned out Swedish formation charges home against Catholic pike and shot.
The Catholics are proving remarkably resilient - although with rear support fairly easy to provide, and with the odd general too their chances of failing cohesion tests seem significantly reduced compared to FoG:AM.
After careful consideration, a Catholic general decides to leave the Demi Cuirassiers to their fate and lets them rout away - instead he joins the Cuirassiers and bolsters them as they start to chew up the more lightly armoured Swedes, who are losing bases and cohesion rapidly. Meanwhile a unit of Harquebusiers moves up to engage in a shooting match with the 2 shot - who promptly kill a harquebusier base!
Everywhere the Catholics are fighting gamely as the Swedes crash home with great advantages, but a stout Catholic line mans they are generally rebuffed - or at least the Catholics are not losing cohesion !
The depleted Swedes charge home against the Tercio, which shuffles its pike bases up to form a coherent front line whist its shot sleeves remain on the original floorplate. Nearby both sides struggle to fit their cavalry into the frame for combat...
Now rampaging Swedes break through the left wing of the Catholic line - but simultaneously a Swedish Brigade also breaks - as the Catholics pursue, they lose heart and become Fragmented (a 2-man dead base) on seeing their friends destroyed and their own flank hideously exposed.
|Most infantry are in 6-base units. Average units autobreak and are destroyed once they lose 3 bases. With everyone shooting, they will have probably lost one or more bases before they get into combat. You will see a lot more units autobreaking from base losses than in FoG:AM !|
As battle ebbed and flowed, the Northern German Renaissance helicopter news service brought this impressive aerial shot of the battlefield - at the top a red-clad Swedish Brigade is breaking through and threatening the flank of some Catholic Harquebusiers whilst a Catholic brigade breaks through just to their right - further down the line the Catholic line is faltering, with 2 units at Fragmented status and several others losing bases. The two outnumbered Swedish unts facing them are generally undamaged...
Elswehere, the Tercio was using its sheer size and weight of numbers to grind down the attacking Swedes and filtering in more bases to the combat..
Finally, with the Swedish infantry now broken against the anvil of the Tercio, the Cuirassiers charged home against the robust protected Shot and Cavalry combination. A dubious risk, but with the Tercio also throwing its not inconsiderable weight into the fight the Catholics were still confident...
The Tercio was confident, but the other end of the line was collapsing like a deck of cards as Swedish foot rampaged through teh utterly destroyed Catholic lines and fell upon the unsuspecting Harquebusiers who had been loitering behind. The one Catholic unit to break its opponents started to consider whether it was safe to turn about and return to the fray or whether they were better off hightailing it up the field towards Sweden !
But the unit (at the top left of the picture) were brave souls, and they were dressed in red, which is always kind of cool, so about face they did, hoping that the Harquebusiers could hang on long enough to allow them to deliver a devastating attack into the Swedish rear.
|Infantry in FoG:AM cannot turn and move in the same turn. So no ridiculous Roman Swarms, no magical maneuvering pike phalanxes, just proper ungainly blocks of foot doing stuff carefully and slowly.... and a trifle more realistically. Hoorah!|
And, as the Tercio got bogged down in a lengthy fight against yet more knight-like Swedish horse, the rest of the Catholic army started to return, and set itself up for another crack at eth Swedish army even as almost all the initial Pike and Shot units collapsed. . Even the routing demi-cuirassiers had been salvaged by the action of the CinC.
The cavalry melee was still swirling, as the two units of high quality troopers fought on, avoiding death by only a sliver of good luck...
As the anchor unit of pike and shot hung on grimly through remarkable waver test throws, sheer weight of casualties eventually caused them to break as they fell beneath 50% losses
The Swedes were now streaming through the once solid Catholic lines towards the Country House baggage camp. Three units of Swedish shot were pursuing the broken Harquebusiers and a routing pike and shot unit, whilst the two catholic units to survive the onslaught wobbled in their wake, wondering what to do. The Catholics had also lost their guns and their Dragoons - unit losses were piling up fast.
But, from the flank, spare units of Catholic and Spanish cavalry hove into view...
The Tercio was still grinding on - this time some Swedish cavalry fell foul to its embrace - leaving the commanded shot uncommanded and alone...
Unbelievably it looked like both sides were trying to lose the cavalry melee - the Catholics had gone fragmented, as were the Swedes - and the Commanded shot had been vanquished as well... would the Harquebusiers be able to outflank the Swedes in time..?
With the hourglass running down the exhausted remnants of each side were still struggling to get to grips with one another back in the center - but, highlighting how fantastic a straight death roll on shooting can be, the Swedes shot at and broke the Catholic pike block in the middle of the picture by inflicting one more base loss to take them to auto-broken. And, just out of camera shot, the Cavalry battle on the flank was then all set to decide things.
With the last dice rolls of the game, the Catholic Cuirassiers lost against disrupted enemy - and broke - taking with them the Harquebusiers who suffered a double drop in their reaction to their friends rout! A devastating defeat for the forces of Catholicism, but a battered Swedish army certainly knew it had been in a real scrap.
Post Match Summary
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
Thou cup runnist over with the bitter bile of defeat, and yet you and ye legions seemest to appropriate such a debacle as evidence of Divine endorsement? I fearest for thou sanity dear comrade in arms ...
Instead of praise, I come to sayest that thou doth takest my breath away with thou incompetence.
Far into yonder future, a Great Captain by the name of Napoleon du'Bone wilst sayest "Put all your guns in a effing big artillery parks and point hem all at the same thing, then press the button marked "bang"" and thou neededest to learn yonder lesson, and mighty pronto 'ere some other Captain sticketh one upon you big time with the self same idea.
Thy guns wert split, and - Gods Blood! - even worse, yonder battery of the left part be totally fricking unprotected. So, the part of your plan of the most premium import, and it be leftest to dry out on end of yonder washing line, without even a petticoat to protect it's modesty? Hardly Catholic werst it?
And thy cavalry! Gods Teeth! Where thou hads't the greatest advantage in numbers which only a Catholic approach to birth control could offerest, and behold, thy Regimentes of Horse are stacked, as if curls of hair on a fine ladies head, but do it BEHIND all of thy Regimentes of Foote, hopeless - but with their modesty intact and their swords ne'er bloodied. And then they achevest almost nothing - what a surprise.
However, even though thou wert in peril of thy life throughout this debacle, 'tis a great joy to beholdest a game of such animation, such uncertainty and such excitement. E'er before the day had risen, the arrangement of thy men in a checkerboard fashion werst a beauty to behold and brought great joy to my old mans heart.
And as the battle emerged, mewling and spitting as if 'twere a pup just birthed from its ma in some forsaken stable, the interest wast maintained through 'ought e'en as the devilish Swedes advanced, every single round of shooting brought with it the prospect of plan-changing losses for either side - and every combat was poised, with the opportunity for great gains by the forces arrayed so intrepidly and gloriusly at break o'day.
I lookest forward with a heart light in optimism for enjoyment of warfare in this era - e'en if I hold but a faint candle for the emergence of something akin to basic competence in that beating cowards heart that is bedecked so well in yonder military finery and lace that passeth for a uniform and which hangest in your wardrobe.
FoG Renaissance will be out in September
It looks to have most of the buggy bits from FoG Ancients ironed out, and with less skirmishers and more people shooting in the Renaissance era, it is a lot more about beating your opponent by removing bases rather than making them fail reaction tests!
Order on Amazon here
FoG Reports Pageloads to date.