Thursday, 19 August 2010

Beneath the Lily Banners

Being an avid collector and reader of wargames rules and a regular visitor to Barry Hilton's League of Augsburg website, I watched the progress of his rules for this period slowly develop. At the time it wasn't a period I had any real interest in, but I bought the rules anyway, hoping that they might be a good read and provide a few ideas. They did a lot more than that and in the couple of years since they were published I have built up a reasonable collection of figures - around 500 or so and counting. What was the attraction? Quite simply the games looked great fun. The mechanisms were interesting but simple so I decided to take the plunge. In the end I went for the Grand Alliance period (1689-97), rather than the slightly later Marburian conflict. This was mainly because the use of pikes, albeit on a smaller scale than the ECW or 30 Years War, added some interest to the infantry v cavalry combats. In fact the units can be used perfectly well for both. For those not familiar with the rules, infantry battalions are based on 3 stands (typically of 6 figures each). For units equipped with pikes an additional stand of pikemen is placed behind the central stand to denote this. I actually use half a stand with 3 figures as it saves on painting and does not "stick out" too much. The pikemen are not, in any case extra figures - almost all battalions in "Lily Banners" have 18 men - they simply serve as a marker. Cavalry regiments are mainly of 2 or 3 squadrons each of 6 figures. For someone accustomed to painting Napoleonic units of 24-48 figures each, this was another attraction of the period, as it is quite easy to build up a couple of armies in a reasonable period of time. This was particularly important as I was doing both sides. I believe that in the next couple of months a second edition is being published, which hopes to clarify and amend some of the rules. I look forward to seeing it.

In the next post, I will get some images up to illustrate what the units look like and how attractive the uniforms and flags are for this period.

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