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.