Friday 14 December 2012

A Test Battle with 'Pike and Shotte' Rules

I guess you can read and re-read rules and be convinced they are going to work, but ultimately there is only one way to find out and that's to try them out with an opponent to control the enemy forces.  So this was it, I had staked a lot on these working, my massive re-basing project which has gone on furiously since June of this year, was set on using 'Pike and Shotte' as my rule system.  It wasn't such a gamble, I felt, because I had used 'Hail Caesar' and was convinced on first playing that they could be adapted to the English Civil War with some modifications (this was before I knew that a suitable Renaissance book was in the offing).

A small play-test as a solo game gave very satisfactory results, but one tends to just line the troops up and let them go in such situations.  This time I needed to look at how they worked with a thinking opponent who would do the unexpected (and the expected...and still beat me!). So in November my regular opponent, Ian, came over to try out the rules.

We only had about 3 hours to play, so I went for minimal scenery, with just a few hedgerows and small woods and we also used Ian's 4Ground ECW house with an enclosure.  I have to say how impressed I was with the house. It's amazing how just one item can really set the scene and say 'English Civil War' period.  I will have to paint up my random Greek stone columns for my ancient Greek armies (when I get round to them!). I was Royalists and Ian played Parliament.  The picture above shows my Royalist centre attacking Ian's centre (photo is from Ian's side).

Because of the short time scale I took fairly random pictures as a reminder of the set up and of the game, rather than with a view of giving a full battle report.  Above is a picture from Ian's side of the board.  My plan of occupying the enclosure with dragoons and putting fire into the infantry combat went out of the window as my poor command dice left my units reacting to my orders very slowly.  Ian, however managed to steal a march on me and got his small unit of dragoons into the enclosure to put traversing fire on to my cavalry wing.  I do like how the rules cover order giving and order results. Very simple and effective with plenty of scope for orders not being obeyed instantly or in the way you wanted.  The traversing fire rule was simple too. From being unsure if there was such a rule, we found it and used it, in about 60 seconds. All nice and's just a pity it was my troops on the receiving end of it!

Another shot above from behind the Parliament centre.  My Royalist assault had become thoroughly disordered before making contact due to Ian's good fire dice.  I was forced to break ranks with my central unit (Green Colours) and send the pike on a do or die mission to break his line.  I hit his musketeers with a determined charge and a mighty struggle ensued.  My pike won the combat every turn for about 3 turns but his musketeers held on grimly and survived each break test...just! This forced the combat to continue each turn. Please excuse the units without the basing being finished.  These are work in progress but were needed to add to the numbers for the game.

Above: Essex's Orange coat's making the Royalists think twice about charging.

Above: The lovely house by 4Ground,with Ian's small group of determined dragoons fending off my cavalry and dragoons.

Another view of the house and my cavalry riding by.  You might have noticed the two storage boxes saying 'AWI Continental' and 'AWI British' behind...oh yes...I am working on other things too. I have too many gaming periods of interest if anything, though I know I have only shown Ancients and ECW in my blog to date.  I would like to make progress with my AWI army in 2013, especially as I now have the 'Black Powder' rule-set too.

Well the battle was very enjoyable, with the rules declared a great success. I didn't achieve my battle objectives and was severely disordered in the centre. I also lost a brigade of cavalry on my right so Ian was in the better position when we ran out of time.  The rules have a really good feel about them and there wasn't a single thing I disliked..other than perhaps the ability to move 3 turns then fire into the face of the enemy.  I had read of this aspect being a little odd in other review so amended the rules to say that a maximum of 2 turns of movement then fire is permitted. So 3 moves will not allow fire to be given as well.  This seemed to be a simple solution that worked perfectly and prevented anyone from sprinting up in formation and letting loose at point blank.

All being well, we shall be playing the rules again this Sunday night.  I'm just finishing a dragoon command stand as fast as I can...nothing like a little incentive to aid the painting process :-)


  1. Vey nice pictures and figures!

  2. I'll be interested in your further experience with P&S!

  3. Fantastic looking game - fabulous figures and terrain. The action looks really good too. Hmmm, now I'm thinking this may be the set of rules for Sengoku Samurai - as well as Imjin War. Happy Holidays, Dean

    1. Hi Dean, It's funny you should mention Samurai, because near the end of this battle I opened a box and placed on the battlefield a couple of units of so far painted but unplayed with Samurai. I then said to my wargaming friend 'You know what would work well with these rules, don't you?' We both were of the view that these rules (with some very minor amendments) would be superb for them. Best wishes, Jason