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News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. Or follow me on Twitter @Balkan_Dave
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Sunday 6 January 2013

Pike & Shotte

Played my first full game today with Pike & Shotte, the Black Powder derivative for the Renaissance period.. Tested them with Ottomans against Polish, mid 17th Century armies.

For those familiar with Back Powder the basic mechanisms are very similar. Unlike Hail Caesar that has far more changes. The same basic command system although initiative moves are limited to 6". Distances are generally shorter, I suspect reflecting experience with Black Powder (BP). We like many BP players use the two-thirds play sheet for BP. The key change is the hedgehog formation to reflect the close working of pike and shot units. If you get it right, pikes protect shot effectively against cavalry in particular. Dragoons are also factored in slightly differently to reflect their proper role as dismounted troops in this period. The special rules allow for all the classic renaissance tactics like caracole, gallopers and mercenary units.

More than half the book is taken up with army lists for all the main conflicts. Starting with the Italian Wars and finishing with the wars of the Sun King. A short historical overview followed by the main troop types and a few scenarios. There is a points system for those who feel the need. The options in the army lists are a bit limited. For example, no light infantry musket skirmishers for the Ottomans or foot Croats for the Imperialists, but these are easily added in. You are unlikely to need any supplements to play the period fully.

The game played well. The winged Hussars are very tough in these rules but not impossibly so. They rolled over the Sipahis of the Porte on one wing, but were pushed back on the other after the Balkan sharpshooters weakened them. The Janissaries and Polish foot blasted each other to a standstill and the skirmish cavalry did just that, skirmished inconclusively.

Lovely production values of course, masses of eye candy - worth the price for that alone. I have played the full set of these rules over the holiday period. While there are a few points I am not happy with, generally they all give a good game, with plenty of command uncertainty. I reckon they will be my staple rules for 28mm figures pre-20th Century.


  1. I like the rules too, and they're likely to be my staple rules this year for the IW's.

    Always nice to see your miniatures on a table too.