Sunday, February 14, 2010

Pike and Shot: the Battle of Ceresole

The other night we played a historical game of Bob's as-yet unpublished Pike and Shot rules as part of his Might of Arms 2 playtest. Just the other week I got my own copy of the first Might of Arms rulebook, so I was eager to see the mechanics in action
again. Sinc Bob was playtesting these rules mind you, there was a considerable departure from my copy, but the gist was there, and I was long for the ride anyway. It was a good looking table.

From the title you might have guessed the genre. We played out the Battle of Ceresole, here's a blurb from Wikipedia: The Battle of Ceresole (or Cérisoles) was an encounter between a French army and the combined forces of Spain and the Holy Roman Empire during the Italian War of 1542–46. The lengthy engagement, which historian Bert Hall characterized as "marvelously confused", took place on April 11, 1544, outside the village of Ceresole d'Alba in the Piedmont region of Italy; the French, under François de Bourbon, Count of Enghien, defeated the Spanish-Imperial army of Alfonso d'Avalos d'Aquino, Marquis del Vasto.[1] Despite having inflicted substantial casualties on the Imperial troops, the French subsequently failed to exploit their victory by taking Milan. -Wikipedia

The last time I asked Bob for a quick blurb about a game we played, less than a paragraph or so, he ended up giving me two pages worth! I didn't want to impose this time, and in classic Mik fashion as of late, my "game report" will be largely pictorial in nature!

I said the table was beautiful, and it was. There's just something to be said for seeing a hundred minis or so, arrayed out in nice infantry blocks, fully painted, and on good looking terrain. Andy was trying out his new terrain mat from the Terrain Guy, and it was very nice. It gave a good 'carpet' to battle on, and matched the flocked hills perfectly. Bob's armies, historical 15mm, were fully painted and seeing all those pikes were cool.


I've said in the past I always do the 'unthinkable' on the table, making me the perfect play tester? Well I did it again, my two stands of skirmishers should have been dead or gone by this point in the game, but no, they were canny! They snuck around a huge pike block, they harassed some cavalry, then ran on and finally set their sights, literally, on the flank commander and his bodyguard. Well there really weren't any rules for such a thing, but they shot, then charged and engaged the enemy in melee. Bob devised rules on the fly, by the end of the battle he had some concrete ideas to deal with such a situation.

Clashing unite galore

Scads of troops

The slow crawl of my fatigued and shaken units

Some shots of the spectacle

Ken's troops

Furious fights break out everywhere

I pleaded for Andy to take this pic of my cannon lined up to shoot, but after the rolling the dice, I was completely off the mark and failed to cause any hits! Still, it was kind cool to look down the barrel, yell "fire", and see the cannonball arcing through the air.

This was my right flank, they didn't last too long!

Moments before the charge...

I didn't take notes during the battle, but I believe these are some of Ken's troops lined up with a couple of cannons. Bob and Ken were on the same side, and Andy and I took the other. My dice rolling was abysmal, but I still had a blast with the game. The flank I was responsible for got rolled up pretty well however, leaving Andy to shoulder most of the work. Kudos to both Bob and Ken for the win, it was a pretty decisive victory when the smoke cleared.

I've got to brag on Bob for a minute here. This was a medal he received for a game he ran recently at the Siege of Augusta. I didn't even think to ask what game he was running. We had practiced a fantasy scenario a couple of times, but that didn't make the cut. I don't know what did, but kudos to Bob with walking away with a realistic looking medal!

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