Monday, 14 December 2015

Seadogs and Spaniards

I kind of feel that I've neglected my Dutch revolt/ Elizabethan Gothic project for some time and I feel the itch to do some more. I've been hunting round the house to find pennies to mount more figures on and I've been deliberating (i'm not sure this is the right word - you know that thing we all do when we have a project in mind, we read books, look at google image searches, organise miniatures, consider rules sets etc. It's like being pregnant with an idea. You go around dreaming of what it'll be like when it's all grown up and you get ready for it's arrival, building a little hobby nest and making sure it'll have everything it needs) about the different areas of the project, terrain, rules, scenery etc.

It's mostly the fault of Osprey I think. As well as Dragon Rampant coming my way I also gave in and ordered Frostgrave (as well as Black Ops last month!) but what has me excited is En Garde! which is a swashbuckling skirmish game based on the Ronin rules they released a year or so back.

Now, I already own Ronin (do Osprey know their audience or what? 'Thats a nice rule set! 12 quid? Alright then, here's my money!') so have an idea of how En Garde! will play and it makes me think it might be right up my rennaisance alley way. They even have a section about playing the game with Fantasy elements apparently! So with that on the way it was time to start thinking about getting figures ready, hence looking for pennies to mount more troops on - both spanish and english/dutch. Think halberds and swords rather then the blackpowder armed troops I have done.

So the next random idea to pop into my head is whether to start building new terrain and what form this terrain might take. First thing that came to mind was a harbour side or dock, something like this from cianty's tabletop blog.

I thought 'wow! I could do the ships in the harbour and everything cos I've already got some ships!' Which obviously led me digging out the models and seeing what i had. Which it turns out is this...

One big ass Spanish Galleon
2 Golden Hinds (i'm not sure if this is the actual kit or not)
and 2 Santa Marias
Now with this much sea power it's only too tempting to do some naval games. Obviously the Santa Maria is a bit old to fit into the Elizabethan era but they could be used as merchant vessels or even dutch Flyboats if one was willing to suspend belief.

So this leaves me with choices, do I do a big old harbour or do I diversify into sea going shenanigans? Well I suppose I could do both. Raids on merchant shipping. Ganging up on a single vessel. Raid on a harbour. Escape from a dock. So many options! But this throws up more choices - I don't think En Garde! will have rules for fighting with ships so I could simply use them as floating bit of scenery, tied in the dock and simply being fought on. Similarly we could play a game where the two enemy ships have come along side and 'grappled' with the Spanish galleon and the fight would be on the decks of the ships, seeing if the boarders could be repelled or if the ship could be taken as a prize. Would that be fair to the ships though?

I already own Legends of the High Seas

and although it's a pirate game, the rules a flexible enough to deal with the removal of a century or two and the naval rules seem pretty decent, allowing lots of canon duels and swinging on ropes just like you'd wish for in a daring maritime action.

I also picked up my copy of Elizabeth's Sea Dogs by Hugh Bicheno

The book as an account of the sea borne mayhem caused by the Elizabethan sea captains during the period and goes into detail about their methods and the political situation surrounding them as they whipped back and forth across the Atlantic giving the Spaniards all kinds of grief. While I think about it I might drag another couple of Osprey books out, like 'Elizabethan Sea Dogs' as I'm a total sucker for Angus Mcbride illustrations

And 'the great expedition' about Drake's raid on the Spanish main.

So now you get an idea of where my head's at with this project. Expect to see things developing over the next year as I try stuff out and attempt to have some more games.

Toodle pip!


  1. You might like the Donnybrook rules as well - they are set squarely in this time period...

    1. Yep, I've got Donnybrook. They were the rules I was originally going to use when I started the project. When I've got enough figures painted I'll be going back to them.

    2. Ah, ok. BTW, there is a warband level version of the game hidden in the scenario section for Mordheim style games... :)

    3. Cool, I'll take a look tonight. Nice job of both them and Beneath the Lilly Banners. Lovely books.

  2. Lots of nautical stuff on the LoA site as well...

  3. This looks like loads of fun. Did you ever play any iteration of Sid Meier's Pirates? Was my favourite computer game when growing up, has exactly the right feel for games of this type


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