Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Great Italian Wars - To the Strongest

Our group has been playing around with Simon Miller's (aka Big Red Bat) "To the Strongest" Ancients rules for a while now. I don't really have ancients miniatures, so I make do with others, or Medievals. But, I DO have a large and growing Renaissance Italian Wars collection. What is
Renaissance warfare really, other than Ancients with firearms? Most generals of the time were rediscovering the great generals of antiquity and trying to emulate their tactics.
With that in mind, my French and Swiss & Italian mercenaries took on a Neaplolitan/Imperial Spanish force. Some troops were subbed in from my War of the Roses armies. Billmen were used for Swiss halberdiers, old crossbows for new, etc. Nobody from my group knew the difference...

This time we used Stratgatems for some underhanded maneuvers. After fielding our Cavalry as one big mass, our "Take the High Ground!" card allowed us (French) to send or horse two squares forward before any moves.
The game started with huge cannonade turn by the Spanish. Despite needing 8 or above to hit, on top of just activating, the Spanish artillerymen blasted two units of Swiss crossbows to bits, and disordered a unit Pikes.

I must say, the Spanish grasped a key feature that really let them use their Deep Pike formations to full effect. Deep units can't share a square with any but lights. This allowed their skirmishing arquebusiers to move with them. They could fire, then retreat behind the pikes when danger threatened. This allowed them soften up their foes before impact. Also, not allowing non-deep units to fight back against those charging pikes made choosing lesser targets a tactical factor.
The "push of pike" felt right as those big units of Landsknects and Swiss duked it out in the center.
The game ended, though, when the flanks gave out.
A great game to play, and one that was visually stunning IMHO. The rules worked great for the period. I need better terrain, and this game gave me the urge that I have been needing to paint the hordes of crossbows and knights I need inspiration to push out.


BigRedBat said...

Cor- that looks fantastic! Beautiful armies. I so wish my ancients units could have flags like those.

I'm pleased that the rules worked so well. I am in the early stages of thinking about a pike and shot set, when I have my thoughts down on paper I'll copy you in. It'll be a week or so.

Preacher by day said...

That does look very impressive. I imagine it'd be quite the spectacle in the flesh.

Curt said...

Just came across this. Wonderful stuff! We're just getting into the Italian Wars and I'm delighted to see someone has adapted TtS for the period. Well done.