The Great Deluge via TERCIO
One of my regular gaming buddies George (Father Georgi/Legend of Doom) came over and we decided to try and get his 28mm Renaissance Poles on the table. With a few days before he came over I managed to download some Swedish flags and converted some of my ECW command stands into suitable Deluge opponents!
Rob Grace kindly umpired a trial ECW game a while back for George and myself to try the Tercio rules . The game seemed to play to period and so George and myself decided to try them for the Deluge period and armies. George also managed to grab himself a bargain and get the update which covered the Eastern European Army lists including the Poles, Croats, Ottomans etc.
The Swedish army watches the advance of the Polish host (the flags come off and can be replaced with any others!)
The basis of the game is that each side deploys a rules chit next to each command. For our 28mm game we opted for 6 figures representing a body of horse (think Squadron size), 18 figures for a shot based unit (Haiduks or Swedish Shot), and 24 figures for a combined Swedish pike/shot unit. These sizes seemed to both look right and work well with the rule system. Players then dice to who gets initiative and players then take turns to activate a unit one after the other.
Each unit has stats for movement, melee/shooting, Stamina (the amount of damage it can take before it breaks/or becomes ineffective) and Courage (to what extent it is able to recover from 'Wear). 'Wear' builds up (from Melee and shooting hits) and once a unit suffers more wear than it is able it has to make a break test. If it automatically gets double more wear than it has stamina then it automatically breaks and is removed off the field of battle.
The Polish Cavalry Hordes amass on the field of battle
George commanded the Poles and I was shoved in front of the Swedish army. The Poles had a couple of Winged Lancer units (which are tough units to crack and pack a punch when they are allowed to charge in!, a couple of units of mounted Pancerni and some Cossack Light cavalry. He also fielded a couple of units of Haiduk shot and a unit of fancy looking Krakow Militia).
To face them the Swedes mustered 4 units of horse, 3 Pike and Shot Units and 2 artillery pieces.
The Swedish Right Wing
The Poles placed all their cavalry on their right and their infantry on their left. The Swedes, outnumbered in the horse stakes (no pun intended) placed all their cavalry on their left and anchored one of the pike and shot units on the right of these followed by the artillery and then two units of pike and shot were sent to hold the right wing.
The first few rounds were movement and shuffling into position. The Swedish Artillery however was pretty effective (lucky rolling on my part) and had already caused wear and tear to the lead Polish cavalry. Undeterred, General Georginksi stubbornly advanced along his line soaking up the lead storm. The Swedish cavalry looked nervous as the shining armour and fluttery feathery of the winged Lancers came into sharp focus in front of them.
Then the still of the morning erupted into a sea of thunderous hooves....
The Swedish horse made a bid to take one of the hills on their left flank where they might seek some advantage. The Poles in response sent in several units of Cossacks to contest that ownership. In the Melee that ensued the Swedish cavalry managed to avoid anything too nasty - while the poor Cossacks suffered more 'wear'. As the Cossack Cavalry lost the melee they also were forced back. The second Cossack unit waiting in support also suffered more wear by further accurate Swedish artillery fire.
On the opposing wing the infantry units closed to within shooting range and started to fill the field of battle with gun smoke.
Towards the end of the battle.
The Swedish artillery now turned its attention to the advancing Polish Infantry and added its firepower to that of the Swedish pike and shot blocks. While the Poles managed to create some wear on the Swedish troops one of their Haiduk units hit by artillery and musket fire simultaneously had to make a break test and General Georginski's luck failed him at the critical moment. They broke and fled the field - and caused the other Haiduk unit next to them to also falter. Gaining the upper hand on the right wing allowed me to reposition one of the Swedish Pike and Shot units over to support the left wing - just in the nick of time as the Polish mounted Winged Lancers units charged in.
General Georginksi unleashed one of the Lancer units at the repositioning Swedish Pike and Shot blocks. Luckily in spite of all the snorting, pointed metal and shouting they came off less worse than I feared. Whilst they lost the combat - they were forced to retire backwards.
Meanwhile two other units of Swedish Cavalry had might light work of the Cossacks and now threatened to outflank the other Polish Winged Lancer unit.
In a desperate gamble to swing the battle back to his own terms General Georginksi unleashed his mounted Haiduks against my reserve cavalry and punch a whole through my line.
The last ride of the Haiduks
The Haiduks cantered in and both generals took a sharp intake of breath (or was it tea?). The first round of melee proved even-stevens. The second went to the Swedes - forcing the Poles back. The Swedes then acheived the initiative and charged back into the Poles. It was all too much for them. With half the Polish army either in retreat or disarray the polish General ordered the general retreat.
The Polish Army had at last been bloodied on the field of battle. Defeated but not deterred. It would return.
The Rules themselves worked ok - I think the game play suffered a bit in terms of the flow as we had to keep checking things - but as the game progressed we managed quicker turns. For me the rules seemed to reflect the story of what was happening on the table - nothing unusually odd or unrealistic that can happen with some rules. I seemed to tolerate them more than George and i'd be up for playing them again. I think the more they are played the smoother the game.
Thanks to George for coming over and finally being able to command his lovely Polish host!