Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Gaining Control

Pietro di Calvacasa writes in his diary: OC 1549, March 28, Monday. On the road between Dicalla and Trocca. Canonnade is heard from the direction of Chielli-Forte. It is important to coordinate our march with the other half of the army, but it is also important that I lead the main contingent. Captain d'Arson is well versed in the art of sieges and I have complete trust in him. Currently our movement across the country is hindered by nothing, yet I fear that loyalist spies from the villages we cross would tell the Civita Maria garrison of our plans prematurely. This ruse de guerre we are conducting seems to have an easy chance of failure right now.

Calvacasa's three companies of foot, about 400 men in strength, march on the main road towards Civita Maria, passing one smaller fort. The fort does not have the range to fire its cannons on the road and is only guarded by one company of provincials. A small detachment of dragoons and militia is screening every possible path across the woodland to prevent messengers to Civita Maria and notify Calvacasa immediately if the provincials take action. 

A mercenary Varangian unit, the rest of the dragoons and the Glambrian storming party besieges Forte Chielli, lying on the Flossian border at the foot of the Alps, in order to secure the hinterlands. this fort is garrisoned by one company of provincial Cacciatori and a half-company of provincials. The fort has only one ancient cannon. The siege is led by Captain d'Arson and his highest priority is to convince the company commanders that his plan will work. They have only one day to complete the siege and only one small-bore cannon. Fortunately there is an excellent firing position facing the fort's gate and the garrison is understrength to watch over the entire length of the wall.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Bandit Attack

A small group of provincial infantry and dragoons were escorting a cart to Civita Maria, the central town of north-eastern Quattro Formaggi. Lately the highway had been festering with highwaymen. The two do not necessarily go together everytime, but on occasions when the provincial army is too busy preparing for war with the vile rebel Calvacasa, they have little time to smoke these criminals out of the woods.

Friday, November 13, 2015

An Unlikely Ally

A few days after crossing the Formaggian border to offer his services to his old friend the Count of Calvacasa, Captain Pierre d'Arson of Armagnac has been captured in a cavalry skirmish and carried off to The Rock, a small fort in the River Orlo estuary.

Filippo Scolari, the famed pirate of the Glambrian Sea, has decided he would free d'Arson. The pirates have an extensive network of informators, so they knew where to find the Captain.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Background for the Calvacasa rebellion 3. - Logistics

Now that we are past the theoretical build-up of the background for the conflict, it is time to examine how many figures, tabletop accessories and other material evidence I have.

First of all, the rules. I think Sharp Practice with maybe a modified activation system and Flashing Steel for smaller actions. Using Sharp Practice, figures would represent more men (so not a 1:1 ratio).

Then, a campaign map. Fortunately I have just the same, printed in 1710, that Count Calvacasa used during the campaign. It's a big 28"x20" map, detailed to the requirements of its age. The Count could track enemy movements on this map with ease and plan the movement of his own troops.

Terrain: by now I have almost everything required to a varied and good-looking battlefield. I have just completed some accessories as well. I could use more period buildings actually, but those are easy to make, especially with all the paper and scrap wood I have lying around. 
I also have two small ships suitable for the period, which calls for amphibious action and I'm currently building one corner of a period fortress. Only one corner with an interior space of 30x30cm because the gaming table is too small for anything more.

Figures: a quick tally shows that I have 
14+8+8= 30 cavalry painted, 26 unpainted
40+48+24+8+30= 142 infantry painted, a good many unpainted.
10+4 cannon, two mortars, 8 horses for the artillery train, two carts, 22 gunners.
3 command figures, 5 civilians.

All in all, a big enough collection to start gaming.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Background for the Calvacasa Rebellion 2. - Sources

This will most likely be the shortest link in the chain, where I will briefly explain what sources, historical examples and literature I will use as inspiration for my games. 

I have at hand, won in a giveaway at Canister & Grape some time ago, Master Featherstone's War Game Campaigns, which is just the book for such things. I have read it once but I thought it would be worth reading again.

I have a series of Ospreys, of course, on the various rebellions and revolutions that occured during the 18th century. One quite evident thing is that Calvacasa's war is feudal, if I am permitted to say so, in nature: a fight between members of the ruling class, and not an uprising of the people, or an uprising against a foreign govermnent like that of the Jacobites. This also rules out the historical background for the AWI and even more the French Revolution, which does not mean I cannot (ab)use historical scenarios from these conflicts.

What is closer to me locally and in history, and bears a resemblance on Calvacasa's status, is the Rákóczi rebellion of 1703-11. It coincides with the WSS and Great Northern Wars' political sphere. But while Rákóczi was a young idealist (and a great admirer of Louis XIV), Pietro di Calvacasa is old, bitter and cunning. Yet he must face the same economical and moral challenges. What troubles me about the period is the little literature available online. Guess I'll have to visit a library.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Pietro di Calvacasa

I found a figure to represent the man himself. It is a Zvezda GNW Russian artillery train driver on a Swedish horse. I have added a sash from green stuff, cut off the string of his whip to create a marshal's baton, and created a frilly lace from GS on his hat.

The base features some pieces of bark and a long musket. I have used a three color method on the bright colors of his coat, the rest had only one layer of highlights.

Another figure from the same set is converted to a GNW Saxon general who will most likely play a part in Calvacasa's opposition.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Background for the Calvacasa Rebellion 1. - Initial Q&A

In a series of posts, I am attempting to create enough background for both the readers and myself for this new project. This first post is a correspondence with myself on how and what I plan on doing in broader terms.

Q: Where and when does the rebellion happen?
A: Beatrice Schiavona grabbed the throne in 1531 OC, nineteen years before the Störkburg Valley campaign, which I consider being the current state of the world. Calvacasa's rebellion started one year earlier in 1549 OC, but there is very little overlapping in terms of campaign events between the two nations. 
One thing to consider is that the Böhnstadt court knows that the Formaggians are busy with their civil war, thus they can safely reduce the troopers defending the southern border and send them to fight in the west. 
Calvacasa's initial base is close to both the Flossian and Schultze-Böhnstadt borders, but he is not strong enough to ask for any aid against the lawful ruler of the country; and any other country's diplomats would be hesitant to choose sides. As a result, this is an internal affair in Formaggia, and my plan is to confine the campaign events to a relatively small area - I will tell more in a later post.

Q: Who is Pietro di Calvacasa?
A: Pietro, Count of Calvacasa is 49 years old, a seasoned officer of the wars on the continent. He has become known as a cavalry leader, first as a captain of Glambrian Dragoons in the New World, then a cavalry staff officer in various armies, rising to the rank of Adjutant General in the Duchy of Armagnac. He has two teenage daughters and one adult son from his wife Lucia, whom he met in exile. He is of a large stature but plain looks, and he prefers a simple coat instead of the laced uniform of a general. 
The town of Calvacasa is a part of the northern Quattro Formaggi countries. (The proper spelling of the country's name was changed when one day the Chancellorette mispronounced it, then immediately issued an edict that Quattri Formaggi is, in fact, the proper way to mention the Alliance.)
The Count's title is relatively new: his great-grandfather was a silk merchant favored by one of the Parmigiano courtiers, and he was the one to gain nobility through a series of deals. 
Pietro and his father, Marco were exiled when the Chancellorette, by sheer luck and cunning, won the leadership of the country and they were part of her opposition. They have lost all their estates on paper, but the family home and the surrounding settlements were so neglected that upon his return everybody greeted him with joy. This occured in 1548 OC, and in a few months he was already organizing his counterstroke against Schiavona.

Q: What are Calvacasa's motives?
A: Beatrice Schiavona is a competent, but unjust leader. The Alliance consists of multiple city-states and the central government is not dependent on the masses, just like most monarchies. The Chancellorette does not recognize the dangers of ignoring the people of the country; one of the dangers is the fact that a charismatic enemy may alarm enough countrymen to commence an open rebellion.
The Count knows the Chancellorette's personal failings, and although he denies he is aiming for the throne, his ultimate goal is to force his own terms on Beatrice.

Q: What are his strategic goals?
In short term, to gain territory in northern QF, all the while converting possible opposing military forces and recruiting and training fresh ones from the insurgency.
In long term, to gain total control of the north-eastern valleys of the country, and with safe hinterlands march out to meet the otherwise dispersed and weak loyalist armies.

Q: What are the focal points of the campaign?
A: First, the personal struggles of Pietro: in my recent reading, a recurring point was that victory is something soldiers demand from a leader. Simply put, Calvacasa has to win his battles in order to survive. I wish these struggles to be closely monitored and detailed during the campaign; I want Pietro to face the realities of war, something he had less chance to do as an officer and nobleman as he has as a leader of people. 
Second, the scarcity of manpower and resources: Calvacasa begins the campaign by controlling some natural resources, but his base is a woodland with very little food to produce. He has a small core army, around which volunteers are organized in essentially militia battalions. But his base is too small, and the loyalist Formaggian army can redeploy and concentrate.

Q: Who are Calvacasa's allies and adversaries?
A: On his side are a select few foreign officers and local civilian leaders. Some foreigners are specialists, gunners and engineers, while others are experienced field officers. But he has to promote trust among his own fellow countrymen, and his officer corps is too small not to include dilettants who may or may not risk the success of the entire campaign as the plot advances.
On the loyalist side, there will be immediate enemies as he advances on loyalist strong points neighboring his, and as the rebellion gains momentum, more experienced and powerful players will appear in the game on the enemy side. Expect a lot of mustache twirling and the slashing of blades.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

The Calvacasa Rebellion in 1/72

I have a lot of unused 1/72 tricorne figures and a lot more are on their way to me right now. Of course it would be silly to ignore the large amount I have in the nether regions of my plastic pile. I have recently begun painting a GNW Saxon army, too - these red-coated devils will most likely make an appearance in large scale skirmish actions. 
Thus was born the idea of a smaller scope, but larger scale series of games. What I mean is switching from 6mm to 1/72, but reducing the scale of the game from several thousand participants to probably a hundred or so at most.
Another thing to consider is I have switched to Win8 when my laptop failed me the last time (no Win10, thank you very much), and Cossacks does not run on it. I have to wire up the old laptop with WinXP to play the game. Originally I started playing the Rebellion out using Cossacks and I have progressed with it a fair deal, but I would have to start from the beginning - and let us admit that for a wargamer, a handful of figures on a table will always look better than any number of pixely warriors in a game.

After reviewing the available figures in my stash, I figured that right now I have
  • 40-odd Zvezda Prussian grenadiers. Not the best figures, or the best of Zvezda making, but with minor conversions (GS hats instead of mitres) they can be useful.
  • 30-odd Airfix AWI British Grenadiers, yes, those ugly ones. Used only as an emergency measure - I will shade and highlight them over their existing oil/shiny varnish coat.
  • 15 or so Zvezda GNW cavalry, one group painted as Saxons, some more remaining to be painted as Quattri Formaggi cavalry in orange coats.
  • About twenty Zvezda GNW Russian artillerymen painted in blue and grey coats, ready to manhandle any faction's guns. All I need is the guns themselves. There's also a very nicely painted officer figure.
  • Various pirate figures converted from the GNW artillery figures, quite good for smaller skirmishes, and their ship, which can come handy in itself.
  • Three Zvezda dragoons on foot, useful as skirmishers or whatnot.
  • Thirty-six Zvezda GNW Swedish infantry painted in three different regimental colors, one in karpus. The other two could be used in the Calvacasa Rebellion with ease. 
  • Command figures for the above.
  • Two boxes (above 80 figures in total) of Zvezda GNW Russian infantry, to be painted as Saxons, ordered and dispatched.

This amounts to a future collection of about two hundred figures, with some variety these would be more than enough to play a lengthy game out.

Possible rule sets include my Inter Arma homebrew, Ganesha Games' Flashing Steel (the dice activation system of these rules suits swashbuckling games the best in my opinion, not so much Napoleonics for example); Muskets&Tomahawks and Sharp Practice. I would also like to start a detailed campaign system to tell the entire story of the rebellion with all of its ups and downs.

In the meantime, I have ordered the beginnings of a fourth 6mm army (SYW French / Loyalist Glambrian) and mercenary/militia figures from Baccus and have brought the existing three armies with me to Budapest. I will start scheduling some games with friends.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Varangian Wars - Flank Operations

It is the year 1539 OC and the Siege of Sjelle is being conducted on the central island between the narrow sea separating the Flossian Union and mainland Gluteborg-Varangia. To relieve the central forces in the way of the Union assault, a small detachment of Varangian and Sjelle troops advances on the Flossian hinterland positions. The Flossian defense rests on the River Marknog, and the careful commander of the area, Brigadier von Luchs has built strong defenses.
The river is calm and slow, but grants that any unit that crosses it will lose its coherence. The water is also deep, so only cavalry can get through it in any place; the infantry has to use the bridge on the main highway leading to the center of the island, or the ford upriver. 

The Flossian defenses are strengthened by redoubts on both banks, two protecting the bridgehead. These five redoubts are manned by seven infantry battalions and four guns. Von Luchs also has cavalry support in the shape of three cuirassier squadrons.

Friday, August 21, 2015


I'm currently working on the structure of the blog: it's got a new shiny header and an icon too. A series of 'wiki' posts are also written, and some are already published and accessible through the 'Basic info' page.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Another flashback - the battle of Walsund

At the early stages of the Varangian Wars, although ultimately the war resulted in a draw and the Treaty of Glutemarknog, the Varangian army landed south of the Sjelle Islands, hoping to cleave through the Flossian heartland. It was a harsh November when the Army of Sjelle and a much smaller, but battle-hardened Varangian contingent marched on the small village of Walsund, only a few miles inland; the opposing Union and Böhnstadter armies soon arrived with a large contingent to force them back to the sea.

It was well below freezing point in the morning when the two armies took positions on two edges of the fields south of Walsund. The two lines of battle thus ran south to north. A road ran diagonally to both lines, connecting the village with the continental trading towns. The fields were broken up around the small houses, but were unattended for the coming winter. Walsund had some stone walls surrounding its main square, but otherwise consisted of only a pair of homesteads and a church with whitewashed stone walls.
The field was mostly open ground: three heights, two to the west and one to the east, rose out from the snowy plain. There were dots of woods and swampland throughout, and neither commander was sure these could be passed by the troops. The field's western edge was cut in half by thick woods and a quick stream crossing it. The stream was cold, but not frozen. A walled farmhouse was standing on the far Southern flank, and an inn rose on the eastern height. General Hvalbard Magnusson chose this spot as his HQ, although the ground before the height was the least perfect for defense.

The opposing armies turned out to be almost equal in numbers of troops. The Varangian left comprised of the veterans of the homeland. Four wings of cavalry, including the Life Guards, were posted there, but their commanders saw little opportunity to ride the enemy's flanks down as a large forest also protected the infantry. According to the Varangian tradition, the infantry was arrayed in two lines, and a lighter piece of ordnance was added to the force as a regimental gun. 
On the right stood the Army of Sjelle, sporting many captured weapons and uniforms: five battalions of infantry and four wings of cavalry. Only one cavalry unit was Varangian. The islanders' force was commanded by Lukas Verger, and Brigadier General Lars Aldstern of the Gluteborg court was posted  there to lead the cavalry. A Glambrian officer, Paul d'Essely, joined General Magnusson's staff, to be later given independent command of the Varangian cavalry on the left.
This arrangement was curious for the onlooker, because while the line of battle, starting on the left, took a traditional form, running northwards to the village its shape changed: in the centre, next to the inn, stood the light infantry contingent and three artillery batteries, and then, instead of a center infantry line, followed the cavalry under General Aldstern.
The Allied army's right, facing the native Varangians, was taken by the Flossian corps, with four units of cavalry including the Hussards Bleus, and four infantry battalions, including a veteran grenadier unit. Then came two units of hussars, as if creating a separate army with infantry in the center and cavalry on the flanks; then the Böhnstadter units, first three squadrons of cavalry, artillery on the northern hill, and the Jäger and line infantry mixed together and huddled up west of Walsund. The Flossian army was led by Elias von Strutzenheim, great-uncle to General Alfred von Strutzenheim (the one leading the Flossian army in the Störkburg Campaign), and the Principality troops had Marshal Eugen von Jazygia, nephew of the Princeps; or rather, would have had, had he not taken to an illness not named here to retain the good general's honour. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Reforming a destroyed army

While the victorious Schultze-Böhnstadt Heer walks a march of glory like ancient imperators of Rome, enlistment begins in the Flossian Union to bring up the ragged army to its original strength. 
These first troops now form a mixed division instead of the usual infantry and cavalry brigades: two regiments of foot with seven battalions altogether, three battalions of Jäger, three unit of Cuirassiers and Dragoons each. The captured artillery ordnance is also replaced by Rückelburg foundries. The council of electors also hired the famous Hussards Bleus, a Glambrian unit that has been 'touring' the continent since the Varangian Wars, recruiting only the most battle-hardened cavalrymen for a rich pay.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Böhnstadt Muster

His Highness the Princeps Erhard Berthold of the house of Jazygia, fresh recipient of the Great and Knightly Order of Schultze-Böhnstadt, awarded by the High Chamber of the Schultze-Böhnstadt Diet for his actions leading the Karrotenbad detachment in the previous war, reviews his troops which are present near Böhnstadt Castle.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Bloodiest Day

General Jacques du Villefort, Count of Suignac landed on Suillen with a large force. He had six battalions of foot, four cavalry regiments and two regimental guns in support of his first line. The frigate 'La Vengeance' provided support with its heavy guns.

Sunday, May 17, 2015


A barren rock north of Île-de-Suillen saw a small action as a group of Formaggian frigates attempted to lure the Glambrian frigate escorts away from their ferry's path. The forces were roughly equal in size, with three larger and two smaller frigates on each side. 

Thursday, April 30, 2015

A small town in Quattri Formaggi...

Brigadier Charmant mustered his troops at the Formaggian shore after a series of successful raids against the seaports. He's had three galloper guns, five battalions of skirmisher infantry and three large hussar squadrons, the famous Hussards Bleus included.

He had good reconnaisance - despite his old age, he was a cunning light infantry officer, just the man the Glambrian court needed for the job. Therefore he knew well that Condottiere Lasciato was marching against him with five battalions of line foot, four guns, three dragoon and one cuirassier units - whether they were oversized squadrons or small regiments, he could not tell.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Suillen Shelf

It was the beginning days of the invasion of Île-de-Suillen. A large number of Glambrian troops embarked on all sorts of vessels, mainly Glambrian East India Company frigates hired by the crown, to retake that small spot of land in the middle of the sea. 
The wind favored the attackers, and in a short while they were in sight of Île-de-Suillen. A fast-sailing cutter emerged from the isle and sailed towards the Formaggian shores: the Formaggian Western Fleet was alerted. The Glambrian navy successfully intercepted the intervening enemies while the transport ships, too weak to put up a fight against a ship of the line, continued their way under full sail.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Île-de-Suillen Campaign

We are taken back in time again, on this occasion to the Formaggian invasion of the Glambrian Île-de-Suillen. The island is currently under Formaggian control, but has originally been part of the Glambrian crown's lands. A fleet carrying a large amount of troops starts an invasion. The (usurping) Chancellorette Beatrice Schiavona has, by now, consolidated the Formaggian hinterlands, so she has a sufficient number of loyal troops available. 

Île-de-Suillen (Isola de Suillen) is almost halfway from both the Glambrian and the Formaggian shores. It has a strategical importance as a naval base. The Glambrians feel that despite their latest failures against the Protestant Duchy of Armagnac, their cooperating army and navy could capture the island; another reason the government wants it back is that it could serve not only to control the surrounding seas, but as a base for an island-hopping operation against the island of Luprec that is under the Duchy's control.

Île-de-Suillen in the centre; the Glambrian (purple) shore to the west, the Formaggian (yellow) to the east.

If you visit the 'Basic info' page you can see that there is no result stated in the chronology tied to this event, so the series of battles will decide the canonical version. The fort on the map is in Glambrian colors, but we'll see about that.

I'm going to use the 'Flossian' 6mm army for Glambrians and 'Schultze-Böhnstadt' for QF. Naval action will be fought with my fresh 1/4800 scale fleets.

Battle #1.
Takes place near the Western Suillen Shelf
Engagement: Naval
Rules: Kiss Me Hardy

A full-on engagement between two large fleets of ships of the line. The Glambrians have better ships and crews while the alerted QF Navy has more vessels.

Battle #2.
Engagement: Land (Irregular vs. Regular)
Rules: Maurice
A brigade of Glambrian units lands on the western shore of the Formaggian peninsula to divert troops from the relief of the island. They are almost completely irregular units that intend to plunder the coastal towns and cause chaos to tie the Formaggians down. However, their area of operations is limited so they must stand battle against a regular QF force. 

Battle #3.
Engagement: Naval
Rules: Kiss Me Hardy
A unit of well-trained Formaggian privateers (on frigates) plays their own trick against the Glambrians as they lure the frigates part of the blockade away from the island so the relief force could land.

Battle #4. 
Engagement: Land + Naval support
Rules: Maurice
Île-de-Suillen itself is protected by a small fort. Despite the efforts on the seas and the mainland, a Formaggian brigade reached the island, but a storm forced them to disembark further to the north - now they must reach the fort in time and lift the siege.
Most of the Glambrian navy sailed away to chase the privateers, but a heavy frigate remains to provide support (activated as an artillery formation of 3 cannon).

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The battle of Snowy Village

As the campaign season ended, old General von Hohenspitz went home to see his family. After he'd told everything about the current campaign, he had sat down with his grandchildren to tell the story of a battle during the War of Störkburg Valley.
'I had been but eighteen years old, a Fahnlein in the Prinzess Angela Cuirassiers, very close to promotion. It was a clean, cold December morning when we approached this small village on the western border, lying in a small plain between two hills. We had seen General Kraufer's troops in the distance and they looked they'd be giving battle. The village at that time had been very silent - not a soul to be seen on the main square. '