Pike and Shot Quads

Experiences based on playing Royalists and Roundheads (almost) once and umpteen goes at Breitenfeld in the late '70s. Having rashly decided to give Marston Moor a go with DBR condensed scale I set up and started the Royalists and Roundheads version for a swift overview. No scale is given but a quick count up suggests 50 odd metres to a hex and 110 men per strength point, although at these figures there should be 30% more Parliamentary foot than 3W give us. Royalists and Roundheads was seriously trashed when it came out so serious cropping of the die rolling was in order. The number of rolls was condensed by doing away with morale tests before combat and having melee fought as the defenders' roll followed by the attackers' (if still in place) rather than simultaneous rolls. Fire and melee combat consists of a die roll to see if anything happens followed by another roll for any effect. To cut down on this the results of both initial tables were taken to be a morale check (as printed) or a morale check with a die roll addition of the stated number (the number that was to reflect the number of steps lost). All step losses were ignored except that when a unit routs it is permanently flipped to its lower strength side (or eliminated if already reduced or a single stepper). Units rout by failing a morale test defined as rolling equal or more than their rout number on 2D6. This is easier than the "correct" roll of exceeding the morale number. To make routing a bit sharper, routing units must move at least 2 hexes towards their sides' bas edge every friendly move and can only recover (rolling under their morale number) if their command has muster orders. To ice the cake artillery is eliminated if forced to rout and is automatically eliminated if alone in a hex adjacent to an unrouted enemy unit at the end of any melee phase. Another problem quickly cropped up when playing Marston Moor because units cannot pass through other units unless they begin the game stacked together and all the big guns are at the front. Hence the Parliamentary advance will either have to take the guns with it or side step round them. An easy fix is to allow artillery to stack with other combat units. On to the game and despite the above fixes units refused to rout quickly enough. Most front liners are 8s and 9s which will pass over half their morale tests. This may not be so obvious in the smaller games where the units are not packed from edge to edge in several succeeding lines. With Marston Moor the Roundheads have to pound their way through. Having taken 3 turns to get nowhere inspiration was required.

 Out with Decision's new version of The Thirty Years War Quad, fine counters but the maps are not quite as pleasing as the old SPI versions. This quad used a wider scale to accommodate larger battles, nominally 175 yards per hex and 100 odd men per strength point (making tercios very strong units). The basic system was transferred mid-game and soon sorted out the battle in another 3 or 4 turns. 30 Years War used a mostly bloodless CRT that disrupts 1 or both sides (except at high odds). Combat is compulsory in ZOCs but disrupted units have no ZOCs and cannot attack. Disruption is recovered in an initial rally phase on a 5 or 6 (4, 5 or 6 with a leader present). Disrupted units cannot recover in an enemy ZOC and are eliminated if disrupted again except by artillery fire which can never eliminate anything. All this works in Royalists and Roundheads, artillery appears to have a shorter range if the Decision CRT is used but ECW artillery never did much good anyway. The command order counters become redundant, an advantage in that the "stand" ordered commands do not sit around like lemons until their leader rolls well or is helped out by the C in C. Commands are still useful as only leaders of the correct command can rally disrupted units (which cuts down on rallying) and the optional Decision command range rules are transferred (these are very similar to the 3W set). The old order counters had to go to avoid really messing up the Decision CRT. One rules problem is with charging cavalry which is handled differently in each of the 30 Years War battles. A compromise is to allow good order cavalry to charge other (any order) cavalry and disrupted infantry only. To be mean at least 1 Royalist cavalry unit must charge adjacent enemy cavalry units if the terrain allows. Charging cavalry suffer a disrupted result after combat, no other effect regardless of the CRT, this loss may not be used to part satisfy Dx results if other units are available. 30 Years War Quad units have all round ZOCs but do represent deep formations, cavalry 6 deep against the ECW's 3, ECW foot 6 deep compared to far deeper tercios and Swedish blocks. The ECW is better shown by having ZOCs extend into the front 3 hexes only and having units face a hex edge (they face vertices in Royalists and Roundheads). Allow units attacking through a rear hexside -1 on the CRT to encourage nipping around the rear.= The old 30 Years War system does not try to reflect the details of Pike and Shot warfare but does better than Royalists and Roundheads which tries and fails. The final result is broadly right and at least you get a result rather than get fed up as in the 3W system.