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This evening I played through a ridiculously simple scenario to test a few of the basic concepts of SPP. I view this through the 30 Years War lens, rather then the later English Civil War, but at this scale it should make no difference.

On the Catholic Imperial side we had a group of 8 pikemen, and two groups of 5 musketeers each. Each had a Leutnant leader, and a Hauptmann commanding the entire force, in a group with a flag bearer (Fähndrich) and drummer (Trommler). Opposing them over boggy ground behind a hedge in an orchard were the Protestant rebels of a group of 6 musketeers and a second of 5 musketeers.

Without relating a blow by blow account the following photos show the progression of action. The Imperials stumbled with poor Activation rolls and were slowed by the swamp (Close terrain). The Protestants kept up a harassing fire but were unable to really cause damage due to the slow reload rate until the Imperials were within killing range.

Once close, the lethal fire caused the first setback for the Imperials, causing their left to retire and thus gaining their first terror marker.

In the centre and right however the going was better and the Imperials closed to the hedge.

Close range fire and then melee gave the Imperials a slight edge as flanking men leapt over. However, close range fire from the rebels downed the pikemen’s Leutnant. The Feldwebel promptly took over, but the moral check was failed.

Two out of the three units were now pushed back and had terror markers in place, so a general morale check was called. Alas, the Hauptman could not hold his force, and they fled.

Overall, the battle played out as it should. the mechanisms seemed to hold up. The detail of morale chance and general morale check need to be settled. So too do the specific details of fighting man-to-man over obstacles. Lord of the Rings has some fine examples that can be referenced here.

This game had the correct feel for the period, I felt. On more than one occasion I cursed the slow reload of matchlocks. Similarly the scale felt correct: I was vitally concerned with the health of my Leutnants, and when they fell I suddenly became deeply interested in what characteristics my Feldwebels might have. The Hauptmann (that’s Captain to you) correctly felt like an ‘ace in the hole’. More work needs to be done here. I want him and his retinue to be a mobile reserve: a metaphorical guards regiment that once committed turns the battle but once committed is out of control.