I seem to be spending a lot of time reminiscing when in conversation with Richard Bodley Scott. The subject of “Godendag” reared its head, the superb annual get together for all true fans of 15mm Ancient/Medieval and Renaissance gaming. Next weekend the function room of the Glan-yr- Afon hotel in Usk ( the name roughly translates as mid-life crisis in Welsh), will be taken over by the best and the brightest in “serious” , and “not too serious” competition wargaming. Readers will no doubt be aware of which category I place myself in but I was sorely tempted this year to pick up the challenge once more of this most excellent jamboree of lead orientated entertainment.
Richard is of course infamous for his preference for ‘shooty cavalry’ I.e. mounted armies that rely on firepower. This is reflected in Richard’s favourite choice of wargames army, the Huns. To someone like myself who rates himself, and is rated by others, as an enthusiastic mediocrity in competition, Richard’s command of such troops is something to behold. In fact, the Huns were actually consigned to the “toolbox” because they bored our RBS, being so mobile they could effectively alter their deployment to counter any opponent’s plans. This is a feature of his gameplay. You see a wide deployment of seemingly isolated units and then they form up into lines pouring out devastating fire, from all angles. Although Richard did recount of a time under WRG rules when his Huns were a little overenthusiastic and charged to their doom against a Late Roman army.
Richard’s choice was the Early Eighty Year’s War Dutch army from the Late 1500s. As expected the army was a fiendish mix of small pike and shot units, ‘the new legions of the embattled Republic and heavily armoured horse with carbines. My opponents maxim of “never let an opponent get close enough to hit you” gave me my inspiration. My love of Fog Renaissance came from the advances of artillery. My usual choice of army relies upon heavy guns to blast my more skillfully manoeuvred opponent. This time I thought I might overpower him with old fashioned pike keils and gendarmes. My first mistake……….
The Catholic army gave me three units of ” Gendarmes” but outrageously categorised as “horse” in FOG! I chose two large units of Royal Swiss pike as my none too subtle attack force, supported by assorted lower quality Italian and French arquebus and pike units. My second mistake, only one medium artillery battery.
The terrain was quite featureless with Richard following the conventions of the time, chequerboard infantry units, with a majority of his horse on his left. My single battery on the right did force RBS to send his cuirassiers into echelon in order to avoid the flying cannonballs. Rather I concentrated my fire on the supporting Dutch infantry, to some effect. However, when the Dutch cavalry came into contact I found my “gendarmes” sadly lacking. My ” horse” put up a brave fight but they lacked the fighting élan of their earlier namesakes.
In the centre, my Swiss were up against the more numerous smaller Dutch formations. Their fire failed to hurt the pikeblocks but the skirmishing arquebusers in the lead did suffer.
On my left, I had refused the flank with my poor quality Italians and mounted arquebusers. Richard’s foot were flanking these at the close of the game but my disappearing right wing forced me to retire. His dragoons, with their new fangled muskets led me a merry dance.
The Catholics had enough. Another loss against the tabletop genius that is RBS. I think Godendag competition games are going to have to wait until next year. I shall be attending of course so will post photos next weekend. The game system does grow on you though. back to heavy artillery for me!