Aut Cesar, Aut Nihil, Wargaming the Borgias.

Aut Cesar, Aut Nihil, Wargaming the Borgias.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

The Borgia Armies First Outing.

Today saw my inaugural game using my small Borgia contingent, as John and I traveled South to North Yorkshire [doesn't sound right does it ] to enjoy the hospitality of Jim Sweeney.
 I have managed to paint a few units since I decided to re build my Borgia army, and these joined to Jim and his friend Pete Johnson's armies, made for a very large Pike and Shotte battle.
 Jim wanted to fight against John, with me on his side, which I think was a sort of complement, but as the game unfurled I wasn't quite sure.

Part of my command, looking imperious,and very static.
 Anyway, using a well worked plan, of Jim's which consisted of a two minute discussion, I thought I would take the bull by the horns and attack Pete with two lovely units of Stradiots.
Using the marauder rule, light cavalry can move away from its commander and harass the enemy.
 However as most wargamers know, a clear rule of wargaming is, newly painted units are s###e,
 and always do badly.
 I thought I had done every thing right, I had got the drop on Pete and led a charge, supported by my second unit of Stradiots. A move later both units have retired, in a 'Spent' state, and were to spend the rest of the game attempting to reform.

Below is a photograph of the said stradiots, riding to mediocrity.
Jim opts for a drab, veteran look, I opted for a bright militia look. Both were rubbish.

The great thing about Blackpowder and all its spin offs is the command rules, nothing can be taken for granted, and what seems expected, and easy to do invariably falls foul of  fubar. Its fair to say that the dice Gods were not with me in the first half of the battle, Divisions would not advance, simple moves never came off, and Pete could save with impunity.On Jim's wing, the opposite was occurring  John couldn't get things to happen,while Jim seemed to have fixed dice. Nothing seemed to fail.

                                     Part of Jim's command, prior to its advance.

Luckily for me, Pete had a few problems of his own, and couldn't exploit my ineptitude as he wanted. Saying that he was able to get a very large pike command to advance ominously towards my Romagnol infantry.
 Three blocks of Pete's command, advancing on my static Italians.

As you can see, I was a bit isolated.

One of my Romagnol units, feeling a bit isolated and vulnerable. 

                                   The front of the Romagnol command, waiting for an order.

Another of the nice features of the Pike and Shotte rules, is the 'blunder' result, when a commander thows two sixes in his command phase. I managed this three times! Using a table, one has to throw for a new order, mine all caused units to veer away from their intended target. I was lucky, as later in the game, Pete blundered his only unit of Gendarmes to retire.
 I should stress, that this does not detract from the historical feel of the rules, but causes commanders to think a lot prior to attempting a move. Nothing can be taken for granted.

As witnessed below, when John and Pete, acting in conjunction, flanked Jim's advancing pike.
 What isn't shown is that I had a very large pike block sat on the flank of Pete's unit. What should have been a devastating flank attack in turn, failed miserably, as my pike failed an order.To be fair, Jim's luck held, and not only did he survive, but he killed Georg von Frundsberg in the block used by John, and routed the units.

The death of Frundsberg, who can be seen with his personal standard of black and yellow behind his pikes.

 Two close ups of Jims beautiful command figure, for Georg von Frundsberg .............................
 [ Deceased ]
 Things seemed to be looking up for me, as I was able to send in my gendarmes against Pete's weaker cavalry. Yes you have guessed it, Pete routed both units. By the end of the game,I had seen six seperate charges fail dreadfully, and only one succeed.

 I think it was fair to say that my cavalry command was very poor overall.

 As previously stated, things have a tendency to even themselves out during a wargame, and my command luck changed, whilst Jim's failed [ Totally] On top of that Pete started to suffer from mounting causalities as my arbelesters and arquebusiers played havoc on his troops. His centre collapsed, and his large pike attack failed badly. Jim however had suffered a similar fate, as his entire cavalry command also melted away. Luckily we persuaded John that a draw was acceptable, and we agreed to let his troops off the hook.

 What a great way to spend a day. Good crack, lovely figures, and a brilliant way to be inspired to paint more units.  

John's small contingent of gendarmes painted especially for the day.

 Pete's commander, having a right laugh at Cesare.

Pete gloating, whilst John wonders what Jim is going to do next, yes he was right, eat another sandwich!

Voted the most useless commander, Cesare Borgia. He will return.

Monday, 1 April 2013

March, a busy month.

With my wife's and my birthday falling in March, followed by an early Easter, the month seemed very busy. Luckily,I managed to squeeze in a bit of painting time,between socialising and my grand children coming to stay.
  You finally realise just how wise Nature is. Bringing up children is definitely a young persons thing, dont be fooled by these people advocating putting off children until you are in your 40's and 50's they are talking guff. I have just seen my grand children off, and my wife and I  looked for the nearest settee to collapse onto.
 I digress. I was lucky enough to hit the Foundry sales on E Bay, as they try to re organise their business, which had clearly taken a bit of a hit.
 Some people didnt like the renaissance figures  that were added to the range after the loss of the Perry twins. Me personally I dont mind them, and to be fair some are very good.
 Foundry were also off loading a lot of their old Citidal range of late medieval  range of figures, now these I have always liked. They may be a bit smaller than a lot of current ranges,but they are very fine figures.
 At half price,there are no grounds for complaint. So like all sad wargamers,you buy more than you need, saving the mountain for that rainy day.
 These figures,I picked up off Ebay, unpainted and unloved. I especially like the figure cowering in the grass at the back.
 Part of the Foundry sale,were the old Citidal armoured pike, now conscripted into my Borgia army as mercenary pikemen.
 In Pike and Shotte, the infantry bases are 40mm square, and are normally meant to have four figures on them, personally as long as it looks alright,I mess around with the numbers,and see how it looks.
I think the pike block still looks fairly intimidating.

Flags,from Pete at Pete's flags, still the best Renaissance flags around.

Perry Stradiots, enlisted into my Borgia army as mercenary light cavalry.I wasn't certain about the shield designs, and went for a turkish look, as they were copied from the turkish light cavalry originally. A lovely figure to paint.  

This command group was from my spares box,which is full of alsorts of diverse figures.
 And finally a couple of Pro Gloria figures, consisting of a prostitute and a drunken landsnect,with pig,
[ thats the animal under his arm, by the way]
 So quite a productive month,as I also managed to paint half a SYW infantry unit, some new terrain boards and a tank! Talk about diverse interests. How can anyone be bored with wargaming.

Honour Guard of Cesare Borgia.

Honour Guard of Cesare Borgia.