After the first run out two or three weeks ago we returned this Monday to Neil Thomas' Pike and Shot rules. This time round it was the turn of my Elizabethan English and their Spanish contemporaries to be retrieved from their boxes for a rare run out.
These armies are a mixture, mostly, of Essex & Irregular with some Dixon and a few others thrown in. As we were playing a post-Armada landing game I had to re-write Neil's English army list to exclude the Irish units.
The Spaniards had a couple of Tercios (double sized units), some lancers, hargaultiers and reiters. The English had two units of demilancers, some border horse and four regiments of trained bands. Both sides had a solitary artillery piece. Three players turned up so I joined in on the English side rather than umpire (and in that statement is revealed one of the problems in the game, but more of that later). Note as we were using 25mm figures we used inches instead of centimetres as measurements.
Did I mention they're elite?
I sent forth my infantry to save the situation, but it was all over before they got there.
And then the game finished.
Well, I don't like it as much as the Ancients version. I suspect it hasn't had as much development, - after all the rules are in the "Introduction" book, - it doesn't have its own standalone version yet. It is a game system that makes the players subject to outrageous turns of fortune and it still feels really "ancient" in tone. The solution for mixed weapon units is clever in its way but doesn't ring true. Cavalry combat goes on too long, as well (although that can be fixed with a tweak to the number of dice rolled).
We could probably fix it all. Phil remarked that there were a number of decisions in the rule design where Neil Thomas has done exactly the opposite of what he would have done and whilst I wouldn't go that far there are some perversities.
The game is also heavily beholden to the troop classifications in the army lists, and some of the issues you get from this you have to put up with. Spanish Tercios should be elite, and they should be bigger than everyone else (probably). However this does give a really difficult problem to solve for any attacker unless he's got a lot of artillery and probably some Swiss. Or he's really lucky with his musketry.
I have one last scenario to play through before I consign the rules to the "done that" pile. That's with my early Tudor Henry VIII and their Francis I French opponents, which I'll hopefully get done in the next few weeks.
We ended the evening with a wide ranging discussion on the nature of the Battle of Bosworth (Phil has new book and has spoken to some people) whilst I mused on the demise or otherwise of the English heavy cavalry mount during the medieval period and we discussed the nature of kingship in the pre-modern era.
All good stuff.