Friday 31 July 2020

Revisiting the Renaissance (1490 – 1515)

To asses which armies to focus on I decided to test a number of historical pairings that were involved in the Italian Wars, principally, the French Ordonnance, the Medieval German and the Italian Condotta. Standard size armies were used in the test but the primary goal is to build double size armies. 

Six games were played with each pairing as this would generate enough variation in deployment, terrain and combat opportunities. This generated some surprising results.

French Ordonnance vs. Italian Condotta
All six games were quick lasting an average of three or four turns (25 min.). Both sides made use of their mounted arm and artillery to score three victories. There were a few games where infantry played more that a support role and launched their own assaults. Doing so, they frequently prohibited the artillery to be fully employed. Condotta crossbowmen were 4Cb and not DBE in these tests. 

French Ordonnance vs. Medieval German
Surprisingly most were one sided games, the French scored five devastating victories. The last two games, the German swapped their 3Bd for a knight to help their mounted force. This produced a better match in game five forcing the French to earn their victory. The German sole win caught the French Ordonnance in an imperfect deployment. The lack lustre performance of the Germans might change by doubling their command size. 

Medieval German vs. Italian Condotta
The Imperial side won the first match followed by three defeats including the loss of a general in game four. The combination of Condotta artillery and crossbow played havoc with the Imperialist shredding their pike block. Game five, the Imperialist, amassing all their cavalry in one division surprised the Condotta to squeak by with a narrow victory. To repeat their success, the Imperial troops used the same deployment, but the Condotta countered this by neutralising Imperial support troops with artillery and crossbow leaving the Italian mounted to win a decisive victory. One the whole, matches required double the amount of time (50 min.) to reach a decision. 

After 18 games, I paused for a day and searched the internet for other conflicts set in the years 1490 to 1515. This next match was very interesting. 

Kalmar Union vs. Swedish
Like the French and the Condotta, these were brisk and fun games. Both sides had equal number of mounted troops (three elements), but infantry compositions had slight differences to make each game interesting. The Danes had artillery, pike, spear and fast blade to meet the blade and crossbow of the Swedes. Tight games with many troops locked in combat for several bounds with the victor edging the opponent out by one.

Further testing will continue with Poland, Lithuania, Muscovy, Livonia in the east and Portugal and Spain in the west. Certainly after another week of test I should have a better idea of which armies I should focus on and paint up flags. 

Thursday 30 July 2020

Refurbishing the Late Medieval collection (new project).

Back in 2012 I began actively collecting a number of high medieval or renaissance armies and those postings can be found by clicking on the Index scrolling down to the year 1400. Unfortunately, DBA 2.0 and 2.2 did not work well leading to a collapse in interest for the period. The collection was subsequently sold as many other ancient armies.

Playtesting DBA 3 three years later did rekindle my interest for the ancient period, but less so for the later medieval era. Introduced to the Witcher series of books, that opinion changed as I could visualise doing the campaigns between Nilfgaard and the Northern Kingdoms. Pursuing the idea further I bought figures for the period, developed a set of campaign rules, designed maps and playtested. Unfortunately club members had not a clue what the Witcher was about, so the project was shelved. 

Two examples, Redania

Having completed the refurbishment of the Arab armies and further the conversion of the Colonial Sudanese more Muslim armies I began looking at other possible projects within the collection.

It was during this time I had viewed a 10-part presentation of the Italian Wars on the internet. This was interesting as all the participants in the war I could assemble from the dormant collection. Looking at the clothing colours, all were generic and could pass for any Western European army. Excluding the elves and dwarves I had 155 elements to play with, but now a decision had to be made, which armies? 

Next post, the solution.  

Wednesday 15 July 2020

The Tuareg 1000 AD

The Tuareg are the latest addition to the collection of Muslim armies and like the others this also of double size (24 elements). Camelry and infantry are conversions from the collection of Colonial Sudanese and the ansar provide the majority of figures with a small number of Fuzzy to represent Iklan skirmishers (negro serfs).

The DBA 3.0 army list for the Tuareg (III/70) has been revised such that a larger number of mountain tribesmen (3Wb) can be fielded in larger numbers as an option to an all mounted force.  This worked well as I could stretch the number of camel mounted figures to build two commands.

In addition to the usual filing and repositioning of weapons all the figures required veils. These were made with Milliput as were the saddle cloths and tassels for the noble lancers. Two such elements were done for the Almoravid and are pictured below. Photo one displays the effort so far and the next step is to fix the figures to plinths.

At the time of writing, all the figures are painted, but shields are needed for all the infantry figures and these will be made with Milliput. Check the link to view examples of Tuareg shields.

A few test shields were made laying each shield flat to be shaped and scored on non-stick paper. I will need about 30 shields. 


The shields took longer than expected as many needed trimming to reduce their size. These were given to the hill tribesmen that fought with the Tuareg and both commands consist of an equal number of camel mounted and tribesmen. The additional elements represent the slave troops that fought along side the camel warriors.