On Friday, I was invited over to my friend Ralph's for a playtest of a pike and shot game (Battle of Lutzen, 1632) that he will be bringing to our club's February Game Night. Above Left, sharp eyed observers familiar with the battle will pick out the Imperial positions to the left and Protestant to the right, with road and ditch between them and Windmill Hill on the Imperial right. Above right, the fired town and the battery on Windmill Hill as seen from behind the Imperial position (hard to pick out, but there are flashing LEDs under the cotton in the town: a nice effect!).
Above: the pike and shot era is always a visual treat, but any game with Ralph takes it up a notch, with first rate terrain and superbly painted figures. This was a scaled down version for two players, mainly to check out some rules systems for the era (this being the first foray of these home-rules into the Thirty Years War). The game night version of the game will feature enough figures for six players and be even more of a sight to behold--a reminder of why we play miniatures.
Above Left, a closeup of the Imperial left wing cavalry: cuirassiers screened by Croats. Above right, the Protestant array, with the Protestant left wing cavalry in the foreground. I took the part of the Imperials in the game.
Above Left, the Imperial "forlorn hope" musketeers holding the ditch at the start. Above Right, their ground-level view looking towards the Protestant array: Yikes!
Above Left, in the role of the King of Sweden and Captain-General of the Protestants, Georgus Adophus contemplates his left wing cavalry. Above Right, the scene from behind the Imperial right wing cavalry early in the game: this wing would see lots of action, with the Imperial dragoons and cavalry shielding the battery on windmill hill from the Protestant left wing cavalry.
Meanwhile, on the Imperial right (seen from behind the Imperial cavalry, above) the action would be more deliberate, with the Croats harassing and slowing down the Protestant horse while the cuirassiers held their ground and threatened from behind.
Above Left, Georgus Adolphus maneuvers the Protestant main body while Ralph looks on from his "control" chair on the edge of the action. Above Right, the Protestants have seen off the forlorn hope and are at the ditch...
...eager to discuss the tenets of Protestant Doctrine, the Scots are the first to cross...
...while the Lombards, equally eager to advance several finer points on Catholicism, look on...
...after a brutal exchange of views, the Scots are obliged to retire and reconsider their arguments.
At this point, it was getting rather late and we had achieved the aims of the evening's playtest, both in terms of what Ralph needed for his rules and upcoming game and in terms of playing with toy soldiers after a long week, so we called it a night. Thanks to Ralph for hosting and to George for the "push of lead" from the other side!