Forum Replies Created
November 18, 2020 at 12:44 pm #183056
Great question. Please see my experiences below…
First things first. The best tip is to just go do it. This is what we did. At first just Robert and me due to COVID. With the two of us not more than 26 km apart we normally visit each other for a game. But as we both regularly visit our mothers too we didn’t want to risk it. At some point the idea of doing something via FaceTime just popped in our minds and off we went.
After a few such games we realised that it doesn’t matter if we are 26 km apart, or only 1 km, 2600 km, 26000 km or whatever. Rene moved to the US years ago and we only see him when he is back in NL. FaceTime bridges the Atlantic easily and so now its the three of us. The obvious thing we need to remember is the time difference, but with a bit of planning that works out fine.
The setup we use is one in which the game table is at one of us. Let’s call him the facilitator. This means that the facilitator must have sufficient miniatures for two armies. We are in the fortunate position to have that in several periods. This being said, however, we do cut back on unit size a bit in order to achieve it.
Another reason for cutting back is the game table. On-line may take a bit longer than usual, although as you get the hang of it this will improve, and it helps if you are able to pause a game and leave it standing for some time. For us that means our regular game tables don’t work and we found a solution in spare bedrooms, or similar, that can only hold smaller tables. To make things fit we cut down table and unit sizes and use centimetres for inches.
In preparing for the game it helps that as facilitator you setup the game table well in advance and take a few pictures. Ensure to also make an all including top view straight from above, a view from heaven as probably our historic counterparts would say. This helps the players getting a good view on the starting situation. So share these in advance. Also when you pause a game make sure to take pictures and share with the players so they can contemplate their next moves. This adds to a wargaming experience. Utterly unrealistic of course, but fun to do.
At and during the game it is best that the facilitator uses a mobile device with both a front and back camera. I use an iPad, but any modern mobile device will do the trick. Don’t worry if sometimes you have to lay down your mobile device, and so cover the camera for the players, when having to move units around. Just pick it up when you’re done, zoom in on what you’ve done… and you’re done.
Players best use a computer or laptop of some sort as these tend to have bigger screens which ensures a good view on what is shown via FaceTime, or any other online conference App. This also means the player are likely to use a desk, which helps them keeping drinks and bites within reach… Oh, and the rules, army list, scenario, etc. of course.
In our setup the facilitator shows the game table and moves the units around as indicated by the players. When die rolls are needed we normally have the players throw their own dice at their desk and mention, or even show, the result. This works fine. Alternatively the facilitator can roll the dice, but in our experience the facilitator does not tend to have a lucky hand…
Finally, we only have used the Black Powder, Pike & Shotte and Hail Caesar rulesets so far, and will probably continue to do so. These support on-line gaming very well. In my opinion mostly because of the command and control mechanism. As a player you need to first clearly and concisely tell everybody out loud what your order for a unit is, and then roll the dice to see if it succeeds. This is perfect for on-line where the players’ only means of getting to move their units is telling out loud what they want them to do. A good ruleset for on-line wargaming is a set with a game mechanism that strongly supports open communication amongst players… and spectators.May 4, 2019 at 9:04 am #161173
Added them to mu blog at: https://janwillembootsblog.wordpress.com/pike-shotte-army-lists-for-the-dutch-revolt-1568-1609/April 11, 2019 at 8:30 pm #159865
We use separate pike and shot units. For me that is key to the period. I have two stands per pike block, with each 6 figs two by three deep, and three 4 fig two by two stands per shot. Its all 15mm.November 16, 2018 at 6:15 pm #150316
Well, I now have only one datapoint. This being the first. Being a trained scientist I need to say that. In addition, due to my Dutch infantry breaking on first notice the Tercio pike blocks weren’t really put through their paces. Having said this, however, I must say that I am pleased with this result. Looking those juggernaugts into the face was impressive. They pose a problem you need to solve… somehow. I will certainly continue to experiment and play around with this.
I also think of it like this. At the battle of Nieuwpoort the Spanish deployed with “only” four pike blocks. If we play these only as large units then the 16 pike blocks of Maurice will turn this into a very unbalanced game, for a battle that was a very close run thing.August 26, 2018 at 10:42 am #144396
In answer to Corso. I only went as far as combining 2 normal pike blocks because that already felt big. Having said that when considering that in the early days a Spanish colonel could have as much as 6000 men, at least in theory, under him and comparing that to the 1500 men Montrose had at the battle of Aberdeen… That puts stuff into perspective. So we could even go as far as combining 2 large pike blocks.
One thing I would like to add is that I realize that I am looking with post-17th century eyes to a 16th century unit. In that period they were the guys to beat and the Dutch and later the Swedish pulled their hairs out in figuring out how. Note that Nieuwpoort was a very close call.
I am frankly not in favor of adding special rules related to weapons if it isn’t for the main weaponry of that unit.
Using a units of shot for the garrison may work, but one may also have the garrison move away from the pikes in mid-game, and it is my understanding that they were more integral to the pikes than that. Hence my proposal for just adding shooting dice. given the pike block 360 degree shooting capability, but with a max of 1 shot per side. For the sleeves it might even be an option to allow 2 units of large shot per tercio pike block… not sure how that plays out.
On the control side I would allow veteran tercios to be elite 4+ and the old ones could be eager or reliable, but not when in a state of mutiny, which wasn’t uncommon.
Reading the comments and back what I wrote I feel that the SQUARE rules is my ultimate hobby-horse in this discussion. A tercio could deploy in a number of ways but this needed to be decided before the battle. One advantage of the Dutch and Swedish system is in-battle flexibility. So giving the Spanish an either-or choice with plusses and minuses would model this.
Finally on the frontages. I think as much as can be fitted per the rules. So a two-block tertio could be hit by 2 pike units.