Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Marignano 1515 - A Little More Detail

I have finalised the set up for the start of the game. As well as adding the terrain clutter to make the place look more lived in, I have made two changes to the terrain layout:

Looking from behind the Swiss 'up table' towards Marignano (top right). Swiss pike do look very scary, but they have a lot to do and some distance to travel to win. Their objectives are the tented camps three quarters the way up the table.

I have moved the river bounding the French left flank closer to the table edge to increase the size of the battle area to its practical maximum. This move, of almost 8 inches, has added much more space than you might think. It has, effectively, given room for the flanking cavalry to deploy properly. It also led to the addition of the same length of ditch and earthwork to the French front line entrenchments, so this line is also less cramped. I could have removed the stream but it gives a hard flank and the impression that the field was actually quite cramped. There should be another deep ditch running on the other flank but I don't have enough ditch to do this even if I wanted to.

I have moved Zuido somewhat further to the French rear than it should be to increase the depth of what I predict will be the main area of battle. This latter move might disturb some geographical purists, but the area between the ditch and the village of Zuido needs to be big enough to allow room for the French cavalry to manoeuvre. I'm also sure the unit footprints are completely out of sync with the ground scale anyway and this move goes some way towards making it closer to being right in the main battle area. The area to the rear of Zuido is now compressed, but as this is a distinct 'rear area' it can be artificially be expanded by the special scenario rules for French activation

I have moved the French troops about quite a bit in the last few days. I have tried to make the deployment look more like it does in the Marignano booklet published by The Lance and Longbow Society. I have also deployed the heavy cavalry in deep formation which will allow it to manoeuvre more easily - as the Swiss have little missilery this, I think, will work well for them.

The area between the ditch and Zuido, initially the deployment area for Bourbon's vanguard, will probably be the key battle area. It is now big enough for the troops to operate. Walls, minor ditches and trees have no effect on the game and can be moved about - they are just aesthetic clutter. Fields with crops, or that are ploughed or similar, are type II terrain features and cannot be moved about.

At Zuido, I have now deployed the Landknechts and Gendarmes of the French mainward with the infantry in the centre and the cavalry to the flanks. This should allow both elements to move forward and operate as they did historically. This command will operate and activate as an 'off table reserve'. Stratagem 1 and 2 cards have been added to the French sequence deck. On the first turn none are valid. On turn 2 only Stratagem 1 is valid. From turn three on, both Stratagem cards are valid. On the appearance of a valid stratagem the French player will roll army die Vs D8. If successful the mainward command activates fully. Until it does it cannot move, but it may shoot. The mainward automatically activates if a Swiss unit comes to contact with any part of it. Once the mainward is activated D'Alencon's rearguard may be activated.

D'Alencons command is now about as far to the rear as it is possible to get. After the French mainward is activated D'Alencons command activates in a similar manner except that only the Stratagem 2 card is valid. The rearward automatically activates if a Swiss unit comes with 12".

The Victory conditions are simple. If the Swiss have a unit in contact with a French camp at the end of turn six they win. The end of turn six is nightfall. They have 44 Morale points plus the following Sequence card: Army Morale 'stubborn' card (automatically pass Army Morale - replace 1 Army morale card). They have a D10 army die and sequence deck.

The Swiss have only these two units of Italian cavalry. This will leave the flanks of their pike squares vulnerable to attack.

Initially the French have a problem. Their shooting troops, including their pike square killing artillery is screened by their light cavalry screen under Flouranges. The Swiss can use them to advance unscathed.

I think the French might have to sacrifice the screen, by charging as they did historically, just to get them clear and get their artillery going.

Bourbon's heavy troops begin the game activated. There are not that many of them: Just 32 Gendarmes and 72 French pike to fend off over 300 battle hardened Swiss pike and halberdiers - so I don't hold out much hope for them. I think the French will be relying on Francis I getting the mainward activated.

The French will start the Game with 68 morale points plus the following cards: 2 Stratagem cards (extra card), 1 Command 'Deft Cavalry' card (automatically rally 1 cavalry unit from pursuit or vexation - replace Command card), 1 Ciao Bella card (Wild card - replace Lull card). They have a D10* army die and sequence deck.

So, I am set for Graham and Peter tomorrow. I think we will play with one Swiss and two French players. One French player manning each long table edge will help when moving things about. I really don't have a clue if this scenario format is going to work. It's a tall order to get this kind of unbalanced scenario to work anything like it should. We will see ...

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