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.


  1. Great figures and good looking game

  2. Sound like you all had a good time despite the dice rolls and as Colin says it looks a great game.

  3. Wonderful looking game. I too remain a fan of Black Powder, although I haven't used them for while as I am developing my own rules.

    I used to do this period in 15mm using DBR. Had some great games and loved the colour and spectacle, along with the varied troop types and tactical options. Your work in 28mm of course means the colour and spectacle is magnified tremendously.

    A great advert for the hobby, I hope more people visit.

  4. That is a tremendous amount of figures and an inspiring game. Thanks for sharing!


Honour Guard of Cesare Borgia.

Honour Guard of Cesare Borgia.