This was a time of relative inactivity for the French. In the north, with the Duchies of Saluzzo and Savoy having been suppressed and occupied, “Army B” moved to the central position of Pavia, threatening the Venetians. In the south, the Spanish having marched off to retake Barletta, “Army A” immediately began a siege to retake Naples. The French soldiery, much in arrears of pay and suffering greatly because of it (the French were hit on both turns by "Point d’argent point de Suisse" campaign cards), demanded restitution on the threat of mutiny and mass desertion. The French exchequer only just managed – to their last florin – to fully meet the demands. The French war chest is empty!
The Venetians successfully concluded their siege of Modena. With the French making ominous threats against their newly gained possessions, intrigue in the Doge’s palace and unseasonable weather in central Italy, they abandoned their planned attack on the Papal army at Pesaro and redeployed to the Po valley (Modena and Bologna).
The hand of God came to the Pope’s rescue immediately. His army at Pesaro was threatened by the Venetians with imminent attack. The worst weather (bad weather "ruse de guerre" card) to be seen in years came to the army’s rescue. The delay gave the Pope enough time to stir up intrigue in Venice (timely draw of an intrigue "ruse de guerre" card) and deflect Venetian attention. The army at Pesaro withdrew to Rome. The Papal army around Genoa again displayed its savagery and brought shame on the martial forces mother church (pillage campaign card). In an attempt to rectify the situation the Pope ordered a concerted effort to take the city; it fell, its population starving, after the longest siege of the wars. After securing the city the besieging army, siege train in tow, marched to launch a new siege against the Florentines at Pisa: the Pope had not forgiven their uprising! Sienna, fearing a similar fate to Genoa and Florence, breathed a sigh of relief when Papal envoys approached with an offer of alliance. The treaty was signed forthwith.
Black smoke - this was to be the last campaign turn to be played with Graham as pope. He is away to the USA on business for a few months and is unable to commit to regular attendance. Fortunately the campaign is over subscribed and a new player will step into the breach.
With reinforcements flooding into Sicily “Army B” marched to free “Army A” from its continuing siege of Barletta. Naples was under siege – how long would it hold out? Relieved of its siege duties “Army A” recruited as many local mercenaries as it could and marched to the relief of Naples.
Campaign Rules Update
Pike and plunder is a work in progress. After play testing, the map and revised rules, “Pike and Plunder – the final product”, will be released as a freebie. The map has developed a little. Here are some photos of what will probably be the final map printed as a 9 page poster (32” x 22”). The picture shows:
- Gold coins showing that the French armies have been paid.
- Dealer marker showing that Spain is “in the chair”.
- The Players' “Diplomatic cases” (left) made out of Hamlet cigar packets sprayed black and labelled. The players use these to store their "ruse de guerre" cards, battle hands and control markers in between campaign sessions.
- The note pad has the forces drawn for the relief of Naples.
Another shot of the map this time showing:
- The “2” siege marker on Naples.
- An ongoing siege at Barletta.
- A Spanish Diplomat at Gaeta
- The Papal army that withdrew to Rome from Pesaro.
- The ever present Venetian Fleet in the Adriatic.
A very tidy game - I hope you agree?
Coming soon - The battle for Florence between France and Spain (to be fought 14th November 07).
Written by James Roach.