How Men of Quality Resolve Differences

How Men of Quality Resolve Differences
Poodle attacks - an ugly but inevitable part of any 17th C. British Civil War, "Oh! The Shame of it All!"

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Neil Thomas "One - Hour Wargames" rules: Pike and Shot Review


The Rules.
The rules come in a series of nine, from ancients to WWII.  The fourth set are the Pike and Shot  rules.  NT chose a focus that is a bit more into the continental side of the channel and more in the Renaissance than the ECW, but the rules can be easily adapted for more ECW nuance.  As with all the rules, NT picked four representative unit types, in this case: 

  • Infantry [mixed pike and musketeer battalion, ratio not specified], 
  • Swordsmen [sword & musket wielding men, armed with small shields, axes and other edged weapons, moving fast and discharging firearms at or just before charging], 
  • Reiters [armored, mounted pistoleers, using shooting to weaken an opponent then charging home, much like classical ancient cavalry], and,
  • Cavalry [fast-moving sword swinging shock cavalry acting much like medieval knights, even if armed with some pistols, often called gendarmes but cavalier in later periods].  
There is no morale system.  All units have 15 points of casualties they can take and then they are destroyed, being removed from the table immediately.  The casualties represent actual wounded but more fatigue and disorder than anything.  There's no way to remove casualty points [again, easily changed!].

The turn sequence for each side in one Turn is IGO-UGO: 
  1. Move [includes moves to contact, aka Charges], 
  2. Shooting
  3. Hand-to-Hand
  4. Eliminate Units.
Move.  Infantry 6", Swordsmen 8", Reiters 10", Cavalry 12".  Turns on the Unit center, of any amount, are permitted at the beginning and end of the move.  Charges are just a move to contact, with up to a 45 degree turn at the start, none at the end.  However neither Infantry nor Reiters are allowed to charge until out of ammo.  Quite interesting, since this demonstrates a doctrine of closing after the enemy has been somewhat weakened pretty well.  It is all simple, and pretty much forces you to think a turn ahead with your charges. 

Terrain is simple - Woods are only passable by Skirmish, the rest by everyone except for obvious things like rivers and marsh that no one can pass.   Woods are only passable to swordsmen [here representing an auxiliary infantry] and there's a 3" bonus for moving along a road without contacting the enemy.  Mounted cannot stay in a town but may move thru it.

Interpenetration.  No Units may pass thru any others.

Shooting.  Infantry and Reiters only, 45 degrees off front, and 12" range [the pistol range equaling the musket is explained by the evolutions of the Reiters, a rank trotting forward to fire then wheeling back to the main body].  Both may shoot at the end of movement.  Both use a d6 to inflict casualties. Units in woods or town halve the casualties.  When either shoot, they roll a second dice and run out of ammo on a 1-2, so a 33% chance of running out of ammo each turn of firing.  There are no rules to reload [again, easily made for scenario]. 

Hand-to-Hand.  Each side attacks during their turn only.   Infantry and Reiters at 1d6, and Swordsmen and Cavalry at 1d6+2, which makes a huge difference!  They can eliminate a Unit in two turns rolling well.  It takes at least three turns for Infantry and Reiters to eliminate a Unit.  Simple math, interesting results!  

Units defending an obstacle like hillside, woods, town or riverbank, take half casualties. Infantry halve casualties from either mounted Units [representing the pikes], while mounted take half casualties from Swordsmen.

Units may only be attacked by one unit per facing: front, rear, either flank.  Units may turn to face a flank/rear attack if not simultaneously engaged on another facing.  HtH ends with one side being eliminated. 

That's pretty much it!

As already indicated, there's plenty of space to easily add in some modifications for the ECW, the main challenge would be to not foul up the rule system with needless complexity, nor spoil the simplicity with unneeded details.  I can certainly see adding in a "Commanded Shotte" or perhaps "Dragoons" that acts as swordsmen without the melee bonus, but can shoot as well as infantry.  Mounted dragoons would be a waste of time - one would just use a weak cavalry unit instead.  Lots of possibilities, and I definitely want to do some playing with these when I'm done some Units!

4000 Posts! Updates, Neil Thomas Rules

"It is with great pride, pleasure and joy that we acknowledge the visitation of over 4000 guests to this our humble site on the concerns of this great British conflict.
Hooray.  
We do beseech you to return at your earliest opportunity.

Well, it is true that this blog has been often on my mind and rarely under my fingers.  But my gaming time has been limited, resulting in some consolidation of blog material and focus, plus I've been doing some work to observe the 100th anniversary of WWI.  

This blog will expand into the horse and musket era.  Most likely into the American Revolution, or American War of Independence, or whatever it may be called these days. Living in the locations of most of the 1777 campaign has got me thinking about 40mm for that campaign, also. But no decisions made yet.  I just feel that the ECW is the start of horse and musket in terms of rules and mentality rather than just the end of the medieval and renaissance.  Altho If I can be distracted into renaissance it will be here, also!

Recently, I've gotten some new impetus for gaming in general from Neil Thomas and his "One - Hour Wargames" book, and I couldn't resist "Ancient and Medieval Wargaming" either.  The first playtest is finished for the Dark Ages rules in 1HW, and can be found in my medieval blog, "Spear to the Strife" here: 
Actually, it is developed into a three-part post, with lots of pics and details.  As well as links to reviews by other NT fans and their blogs and batreps.  Quite good stuff really/!  Is it for you?  Maybe - best to read up and find out!

I've done some upgrades to this site, including adding some great blogs to the list, and changing some of my lists into link-lists to facilitate your visit.  I hope it helps.  

On the 40mm ECW front, I still need to finish cleaning, assembling and gap-filling more 40mm ECW, no doubt about that.  I've a cav unit, and some command, not a lot.  But one needs to get to it to get it done!  I haven't spent much time at the hobby table since our move into a new house, and I need to figure out how that will work in my new schedule.  I've managed to get in some games of the NT rules and plan some for DBA 3.0 as well.

Meanwhile, I've been playing a bunch of the NT rules, and the ones for Pike and Shot are really looking quite good.  Definitely giving me some forward momentum to progress with two sides of about 6 Units, which is what the 1HW rules use per side, with a max of ten units available to roll off from on the "army lists" provided.  While I don't think they're exactly "ECW Flavorful" they are evocative of the period and well deserve some playtests.  

The DA rules I've played about five times, and they are more nuanced than appear at first read.  Yes, I'll still experiment with some changes, but I'll be open to finding out that they're not needed or too complicated!  That is more than can be said for wargamers who change rules before they've even tried them out - which truly annoys me I might add.

Anyway, a summary of the NT Pike and Shot set will be along shortly.