LION OF THE NORTH
Fastplay Rules for Combat during the Thirty Years War
by Michael Peters
by Michael Peters
Lion of the North try to reflect the tactical combat of the Thirty years war, but can easily be expanded to cover other conflicts around the mid-17th century. The rules aim to give a quick game with simple mechanics, that can be easily memorised. (Long lists of die roll modifiers are therefore avoided, instead different dies are used.) They have evolved during some time, and use some crucial ideas borrowed from other rule sets, among others the ubiquitous DBA.
All figures are put on bases or stands, standardized according to type:
|Type||Base Frontage x Depth||Number of Figures|
|Infantry||40mm x 20mm||4|
|Cavalry||40mm x 30mm||3 (2 if light)|
|Artillery||30mm x 35mm||1 gun + 3 crew (2 if light or regimental)|
|General||20mm x 20mm||1|
|Baggage||90mm x 60mm||2 wagons + 2 or 3 or more|
This is a suggestion for 15mm figures, but neither the base size nor the number of figures are crucial, as long as the players use identical sets, as combat is by stands.
B. In a tabletop game, scales can only be flexible approximations, and in these rules 1cm equals some 8-12 meters and 1 turn equals some 15-20 minutes. One stand with infantry or cavalry represents between 200 and 500 men, and one artillery stand represents a full battery.
3. GAME SEQUENCE
At the start of the game the players determine who will be the First and the Second Player. The actual Game Play Sequence is determined by drawing Cards from the Gameplay Deck. (See 13. The Gameplay Deck.) At the start of each game turn, the gameplay deck is shuffled, and when all cards have been drawn, the deck is reshuffled, and another turn starts.
4. COMMAND CONTROL
A. To move a single stand or a group of stands the player must expend Control Points (Cpts). When the gameplay card calls for the player to move his stands, he must first roll a die, to see how many CPts he gets to use this turn. Movement of the general, however, is always free.
B. A group is any number of stands, of the same type (only foot or horse or artillery or only foot and artillery: note that foot and artillery are the only types that can be combined in one single group), whose bases form a single, unbroken frontage, and whose edge/s are in full contact with the next stand or stands. Each stand in a group must move parallell to or follow the first stand in the group that moves, and move the same distance or make the same wheeling motion. (A group moving by road, through a gap or across a bridge or a ford must off course move in column.)
C. It costs 1 Cpt to move one stand or group, unless the general is either dead or in base contact with a enemy stand, or the moving stand is over 40 cm from the general, in which case it costs 2 Cpts. The general alone always move without any Cpt cost.
D. Force March. If a Player spends 1 extra Cpt on a unit, that single unit may move double its normal movement. (Triple moves or force marching whole groups for extra Cpts is not allowed.)
E. Discipline levels. Armies have Discipline levels: they are either Steady, Regular or Unruly. The discipline level influence the rallying of disordered stands and the effects of losing the baggage train. It also determines what type of die the player uses when rolling for Cpts: if the army is steady he gets a D8, if army is regular a D6, if army is unruly a D4.
ARMY LISTS FOR THE THIRTY YEARS WAR 1618-1648
THE SWEDISH ARMY
During the Early stages of the Swedish intervention.
80-90% Regular Cavalry
20-30% Heavy Guns
70-80% Medium or Regimental Guns
Comment: The Swedish Reiters - Cuirassiers really - were phased out pretty soon after the landing in 1631, and given lighter equipment and mostly converted into Regular Cavalry. This type of Cavalry fired off their pistols in the initial stage of the attack, but then used their swords in direct attack, which regularly defeated the German Reiters, who at this stage often were outgunned by the detachments of musketeers supporting the Swedish horse. (When it comes to esoterica like Laplanders riding raindeers, such units were never used in Germany, and not anywere else for all that matters.)