Monday, March 21, 2016

Italian Wars miniature wargame

(Note: Part 2 of this article is posted here).

Recently I have been organizing and working with my 15mm Renaissance collection.  I had a decent sized collection - split about evenly between early 16th century figures for an Italian War type army (pike, arquebus, bombard, swordsmen, gendarmes), and a mid 17th century conflict (later Thirty Years War, or English Civil War - with soldiers in buff coats and breastplate, or unarmored, with pikes, early muskets, reiters with plate mail and pistol, and buffcoat cavalry with sword and pistol).  I have played games, and even written rules and campaigns, for both periods in the past (in the years before Gaming with Chuck existed, mostly).  A fantastic time period, full of all sorts of military pageantry and great history. Gaming With Chuck published an earlier article on Renaissance Wargaming, with links to great reference material.

In addition to the collection I already owned, I recently came into a large collection of 16th century types that really buff out my collection.  Hundreds of infantry (mostly pikemen, but also some with polearms and swords, as well as a generous amount of arquebus/musket troops).  Also many, many cavalrymen - mostly of the gendarme variety but also a solid number of reiters.  This really fills out my collection nicely, in the late 15th and early 16th century.

So I thought it prudent to set up and play a game, since I have spent so much time lately oohing and aahing over the figures.  Especially the new figures, but also how many different armies I can form, from the period, given the troops that I now own.

I set up a 4x6 table, with a river, a crossroads, and a small villa/farm - with a few gentle hills and some scattered, but small (probably sheared back) forest areas.  It  could be Northern Italy.  I find myself wishing for more poplars, and more houses with an Italian architecture (possible modeling projects for the future).  See Part 2 of this article, for pictures of the wargaming table, and the game in action.

This is the look I was going for - must get more poplars...
 Then I set out two armies.  At first I was considering the Terry Gore rules for Renaissance, and then I opted for the smaller, but very fun to play, Neil Thomas rules for Renaissance in his Wargaming: An Introduction (discussed and reviewed many times here at GwC).  What I did not have with me was a phone or camera, but I will be playing out the game over the next week or so, and I will post pictures of the game in progress.

The French army has the following units:
2x Units of Swiss Pike
1x Unit of Crossbow
2x Units of Gendarmes
1x Unit of Mounted Bow
2x Cannon

The third mounted unit (the Mounted Bow) is interesting.  It is named mounted bow, but by the late 15th/early 16th century they did not use their bows from horseback.  Instead they are lighter, less elite version of the knights (the gendarmes) - nobility mounted on armored horses, and carrying a military grade lance.

The Italian (Condottieri) army has the following units:
2x units of Gendarms
1x unit of Mounted Crossbow (should be two units, but I converted one to a foot unit)
2x units of Foot Crossbow
1x unit of Italian Pike
1x unit of Swordsmen
1x Medieval Bombard (primitive compared to the cannon)

The pikemen and swordsmen will not be a match for the Swiss in French service.  The Gendarmes are of a higher grade than the French Gendarmes, so that might be the key to winning.
THE Condottiero - from Da Vinci

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