Because with FoG-R, whatever else you may say, you sure get a lot of rules.
We had a good turnout for the game as well, with Will, Phil & two Chris', plus me.
Well, we all know the saying that a little learning is a dangerous thing and never was it more true of a game. I had a slightly disappointing time and I have no one else to blame but myself for thinking I understood how things worked and then finding out they didn't. Still, more of that later.
Our early arrivals were Chris K and Will. Chris joined me with the Huguenots, and Will took the Spanish. At this point we were awaiting Chris A & Phil, who actually understand the rules.
Chris K took one look at my authentic early Huguenot set up and declared it just wouldn't do, so we shifted the Gendarmes from the centre over to my wing, and supported them with some Reiters. The centre was now held by a large Landsknecht keil, supported by Huguenot shot on either side. The left wing was held by Reiters and "Arquebusiers on Nags". Let's call them dragoons for this game.
Will was happier with the authentic Spanish set up. He had two tercios in the centre, supported by artillery with gendarmes of varying quality on the wings supported by mounted shot or light foot .
Chris A and Phil were soon with us, so off we went.
I had the right wing and immediately advanced with the intention of getting to grips with my Spanish opposite numbers. I had my chaps "en haye" (all in one line). What I didn't realise that under FoG-R "en haye" includes having some of your elements in a second rank to fill in later and reduce your vulnerability to shooting. I was advised to do this by Phil on my first turn, but I ignored him because it didn't look right. Big mistake.
Chris K went out wide with his horse to turn the Spanish flanks.
The Spaniards pushed slightly forward in the centre, and were happy for us to come at them. This is an observable tendency for anyone with tercios. Me, I'd move them into the middle of the table and dominate the board. Sorry this picture is a bit out of focus.
The Spanish opened up with their artillery, as they had my gendarmes in their line of sight.
I occupied an orchard with my landsknecht. Yes there are some crossbow men bulking out the numbers.
Into the valley of death move my gendarmes. I'm about a turn behind here, as I forgot to take a double move in turn one. Chris A is opposing me, and reckons he's got me surrounded by shot, and his gendarmes strongly supported by a tercio. I'm not bothered at this point as I have enough room to hit his gendarmes and overwhelm them.
Chris still stands and waits. I divert my Reiters to shoot off those musketeers in the ploughed field (you can tell it's a ploughed field as someone is ploughing it). BTW The musketeers are light foot, but I've not got any Spanish based like that.
On the other flank Chris K has seized the village with his dragoons and is enfilading Will's gendarmes ("Celedas").
Chris A has turned his musketeers to get a final shot at my gendarmes (I've lost a base by this point). I've still got enough to hit his gendarmes all along the line and have an overlap however.
Will has moved his tercio up to seize the middle of the table. This draws Phil's keil forward to pin it in place, whilst we work on the supporting troops.
This is when the wheels dropped off for me, and my "little learning" let me down. Apparently I couldn't slide or wheel or do anything with my gendarmes to line up with their opposite numbers, but had to charge the tercio as well. This is because you can't wheel if it means you end up contacting fewer opponents. I understand why the rule is there, but honestly, would gendarmes charge a steady tercio when they can mix it with their social equals? And doesn't an overlap fight anyway? Well, it does, but it doesn't count for these purposes. As I said, FoG-R has a lot of rules.
Not too serious initially as I won the impact phase. I'd have won it by more if I'd not had to fight the tercio.
Elsewhere things are going better as we rough up Will's horse.
Anyway, back to my gendarmes. I lost the melee phase in spades. Hits on the tercio were effectively wasted (it's so big) and I was outscored in the cavalry battle, with Chris hitting with most of his re-rolls, getting 7 hits to my four. The meant I got outscored by two hits and then rolled 1 for my death roll and also rolled stupidly low for my Cohesion test. Unit virtually annihilated and broken in one round of combat. Not happy.
On the other hand I did shoot up the light foot with my reiters.
The next shock was that apparently pursuing gendarmes can just stop and wheel and charge another unit in the flank. As young people would say "WTF???". I'd believe it if I was told we got this bit of the rules wrong, but books were consulted, and it seemed at the time that we didn't.
So I lost my reiters (not a surprise as they were charged in the flank by superior cavalry). Luckily, I'd still got a single unit of light foot standing out in the open.
On the other flank a failed CMT (Complex Manoeuvre Test) meant Chris' reiters were fighting in a narrower formation than they might have wanted.
So, yes, we'd lost my flank from a position of strength on deployment. Way to go me.
In the middle Phil was lining his troops up to take the isolated tercio apart.
Due to game time pressures Phil charged the tercio with the keil earlier than intended., but things generally went in his favour.
I started to get the rule systems sorted out, and was able to get quite a few elements shooting at the rear of the pursuing Spanish gendarmes, but alas couldn't hit them. Didn't follow why they had to pursue now, when they didn't earlier. Lucky really, or they'd have stomped all over my foot.
Those tercios are tough, as they fight all round and have no flanks or rears.
The fight over by the village was inconclusive, but Chris K was bringing up his dragoons to help out.
At this point we'd been playing for over four hours, so I called an end to it. Unclear which side was winning. Everyone declared themselves happy with the afternoon's entertainment, and much was learnt about how FoG-R works.
FoG-R isn't a bad representation of renaissance warfare, and gets a lot of things right. It's possibly a little too random in some areas, and there really are a lot of rules to make it work properly. You have to know the rules to get a realistic result rather than playing the history rather than the game. There was nothing wrong with what I was trying to do with the gendarmes, but my execution wasn't correct under the rules. And my dice rolling was poorer than my opponent.
Well, that's probably it on the game front for a while. Back to work on Monday in the City. We'll see how that pans out before I plan anything else.