Sunday, 2 December 2007

Campaign moves - 28th November 2007.

For these moves we switched to the soon to be released Pike and Plunder version 2. Game play rotated three times and both the Campaign deck (twice) and the Ruse de Guerre deck were reshuffled.

This was not a great time for the monarchies of Europe. Off map, Joanna, with her husband Philip Hapsburg, ascended to the throne of Castile on the death of Joanna's mother Isabella. However Philip died and Ferdinand of Aragon became regent when Joanna was declared mad (compulsory event). Almost immediately afterwards Ferdinand himself took ill and died. The King of France and the Doge of Venice also died of natural causes.

All this means that only the life of the Holy Roman Emperor (HRE), Maximilian I stands between Charles and his ascension to HRE which would mark the end of the campaign.

Having removed the French army from southern Italy, the Spanish took Gaeta by siege and Barletta after a revolt. This latter incident followed an interesting course of events. Firstly the Spanish failed to take Barletta by siege, attrition reducing the besieging army to the point where it could no longer maintain its siege lines. The new siege mechanism in P&P version 2 has greatly improved and, to an extent, simplified play. After reinforcement a new siege was begun. At this point the suspected treaty between France and Venice became wholly evident; the Venetians shipped in a garrison by sea to prop up the defence of Barletta. Just as attrition was beginning to tell again, Barletta fell to the mob (Prior Savonarola event) and declared for Spain. With the Kingdom of Naples firmly under its control, and with the blessing of the Holy See, Spain marched its main field army north and laid siege to Venetian held Ravenna.

Bankrupted by its war in the Kingdom of Naples, and reeling from the shock of its loss, France sought to consolidate its position in the north. But war, never far from the thoughts of France, was soon declared against Spain’s ally the Papal State. Its army descended on Genoa, and after a long, bloody and sometimes faltering siege it fell. Again the new siege rules worked very well.

The Council of Ten put much effort into naval and diplomatic affairs – the former with success the latter without success. By the end of this series of campaign moves Venice gained control of all the seas areas except the Ligurian. Then Venice found its newly acquired possessions in the Romagnol under threat from a two pronged assault from the south. The Spanish laid siege to Ravenna and a large Papal army massed at Florence. The Council of Ten were brought to emergency session. The forces of Venice first massed at Bologna and, before the Pope could strike fortified the place (Improved Fortification event) and garrisoned it, then marched to the relieve Ravenna.

Papal State
The Papal State, with a full treasury, began large scale projects of aggrandisement by buying influence chips (a new game mechanism introduced to Pike and Plunder version 2 to improve the pursuit of diplomacy) and reinforced and concentrated a large army at Florence with which to threaten the Venetians. This army marched to catch the Venetian army concentrating at Bologna. They were too late to catch them there, and fearing a long and costly siege at Bologna, followed them on to Ravenna. Here on an open plain in the Po Valley they committed themselves to God and battle.

Coming next
The Battle of the Shrine.

Written by James Roach.

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