Monday, February 20, 2012

Rough Planning

I've been holding off on additions to my 16thC armies, or indeed, completing the task of moving them from their too thin cardboard bases onto the pre-cut masonite bases from the appropriately named Rennaissance Inc. .  Partly this is because we already have lots of troops when Rob & I get together, but mostly because I haven't been sure what the next step is. Which armies? How many stands? and so on.

I think I had been subconsciously trying to tweak the rules to allow for armies twice the size of what I can field but at this point, on my table, the armies that took part in last nights game were about the right size and shape. The rules were not designed by starting with ground scale but working backwards from arquebus range, a scale around the classic 1"=10 yards is about right which probably puts all the games into the short skirmish somewhere category if one was fussy. Taking the ground scale, the base sizes and the density of pikes formed with an equal number of files and ranks, we come up with as many as 400 pikemen per stand if closed up or as few as 200 or less if maneuvering and/or considering the base depth to be exaggerated as usual, 250 seems like a nice round, convenient number. If we then assume that the light infantry represent 50 or so guys skirmishing with another 50 to 100 in reserve, or 125 on average and if we accept that the common ratio of arquesbus, in the 1st half of the 16thC, was around the 15-25% mark, maybe higher away from the main battlefields, then a ratio of 1 shot stand to 2 pike stands works about right. Since most cavalry formed very thin formations at the time, I'm going to go with around 50 men per stand to get the right balance of theoretical numbers to tactical or game effect. So much for translating historical situations where one can get something approaching historical numbers. For TT Teasers, 2 or 3 stands per scenario unit seems to work well. Actually, 3 stands per unit might have made my table a bit crowded but in any case, I didn't have another 6 pike, 8 shot and 8 stands of cavalry. I could have made up the infantry by deploying more English but  not the cavalry. Luckily 2 stands per unit seemed to work and seems like a good target.

The plan at one point had been to have English, French, Scots, Imperial and Turkish armies. So far everything I have can be fielded in a game set in Scotland during the 1540's when a substantial French force was present. It makes sense to add more Scots pike and more English so that I can do more of the same, but not enough sense to motivate me. Worse, my Scots pike mold is flawed and needs to be replaced which is why I put expansion on hold until I try my spin caster. Once I have a good mold with 2 or 3 Scots pike figures and I could cast and paint up 4 dozen or so more Scots in a month should I ever feel the need.

I rather enjoyed  not having the English form the bulk of either army so my new goal is to bring opposing French & Imperial armies up to that level for service in Italy. One of the benefits of the period is of course  that Landsknechts and various other mercenary troops can cheerfully fight for either side on any given day, and far behind the boundaries of either France or the Empire. So, as long as I have a core of identifiable troops and Generals, I can bulk the numbers with mercenaries which are allocated as needed for the game in hand.

The real divide in my armies, is between the small, well proportioned and dynamic Elastolin infantry, and almost everyone else.  I have mixed a few of the Elastolins in with my own figures and in the heat of the game will even mix whole stands, but since I have a number of kits on hand, I think I will do a whole block of Elastolins, 6 pike, 2 shot. I want 2 more stands of mounted arquebus/crossbow, 2 more of Gensdarmes and 4 of lancers. I also need to add a flag to my Imperial commander's stand. That's now my goal for this year, when that's done, I could use actual French and Spanish troops but I'll probably start thinking about  Turks again.   Gotta have some turbans somewhere.


  1. Ross, I must say you agonise over this sort of thing rather more than I do.

    Also - I'm beginning to think that whoever came up with this new blogger word verification thing may be in league with the Devil.

  2. Yeah, its actually a fairly recent thing. Something to do with the cupboards and shelves being over full I think.