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    Chapter Master sigur's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
    Vienna, Austria

    Sigur goes historical - The Thirty Years War

    Hello people! I'm Sigur, I build/paint miniatures and for my latest project I decided to do something historical. Hadn't really dabbled into that before I have to admit but have always been interested. In recent years, and to no little extent I blame the Meeples and Miniatures podcast for that, even more so. There is just SO much going on in the world of Tabletop Wargaming at the moment and this seems to go double for historicals.


    For the longest time I've had an interest in the Thirty Years War (TYW) mostly because of the kind of warfare of the period being in a transition phase from what most people would call medieval warfare with the classic swords, armoured knights, longbows and so on to the mass line battlesof the Black Powder era with the musket or rifle having become the weapons to dominate the battlefields. Then, there is the scale and madness. Historians are known to call the war "the very first world war" or "one of Europe's history's grand tragedies". Over the course of a third of a century the territorries which now are Germany, parts of Bohemia, parts of the Netherlands and some more were completely ravaged and bled out by mercenary armies and warbands either plundering and looting whatever they liked or being allowed to do just that by contract for their services.

    TYW order of battle in a nutshell

    It was the time of the great military enterprisers. Kings and Emperors wouldn't have standing armies but hired mercenary generals who brought ready-made armies with them already. This brings us to the next interesting thing: There was a handful of larger-than-life personalities, each of them with a huge reputation and dramatic stories. Wallenstein, Gustav(us) Adolph(us), Mansfeld, Tilly and so on.

    Gustav II. Adolf, King of Sweden and "Lion of the North"

    Today there are numerous accounts of horrible atrocities committed during the course of the war, mostly against civilians. Towards the end of the conflict whole of Germany was a battlefield and death was prevalent. In the end, no winner emerged but the Peace of Westphalia shaped the future of Europe for the centuries to come. The Thirty Years War is one of those historical events which show the utter destructivity of prolonged war in which no quarter is given.

    On the moral implications of historical wargaming I suggest looking into Episode 2 of the "A View from the Veranda" podcast in which two chaps who know what they're talking about discuss this very interesting topic.

    As a wargaming period, the Thirty Years War is strangely underrepresented it seems. That's mostly because of the UK being so pivotal in Wargaming but never having been directly involved in the TYW. Instead, there was the English Civil War. Obviously a subject closer to UK rules and miniatures designers, outfits, tactics and equipment were very similar to what was going on on continental Europe, just on a smaller scale. The battles of the TYW had huge armies for the time which naturally requires lots of miniatures. The ECW gives a similar experience and tactical challenges but with fewer models required. However, as a period to wargame, I just find TYW more interesting and grand a spectacle.

    17th century wargamers officers

    What's next: The general fashion was big beards, even bigger hats and pretty glorious trousers.

    So what am I going to do with it

    A few months ago I gathered that Warlord Games, makers of fine 28mm plastic and metal miniatures, were to release a set of rules to cover the 16th and 17th century called Pike&Shotte (because pikes were important back then and shooty things were as well, see). Once the rules were released I got them. They are a variant on their prior release Black Powder, written by Rick Priestley, with some fundamental changes though. Both systems themselves are loosely based on Warmaster so it was going to be good. If you're interested in a review and the battle report of a tiny test game, look no further!

    After long and tiresome consideration I decided that I wouldn't go with the very pretty and affordable 28mm plastics Warlord sell (if you're interested in what those look like exactly check out mrtn's plog on the same subject) but instead go with 10mm scale models. In my opinion this scale is better suited for the mass battle look I wanted to go for. Apart from that units in Pike&Shotte are potentially very mobile so I felt that going with 28mm my 6'x4' table would get a bit cramped.

    Because there is no way in hell I'd find somebody else to play 10mm TYW with me I decided to do two armies. One of the practical things about the period is that there were no uniforms as such, equipment was essentially the same on all sides and whole regiments would change sides several times during the course of the war so if needed I could just turn the bunch into one big army. I wrote up two army lists (P&S is using a points system and army lists and all that familiar stuff), one for Catholics (Imperials) and one for Protestants (Swedes and Saxons).

    This is the first army project in years I do for myself rather than commission work and my plan is to do it as time- and costeffective as possible (although I'm afraid that I blew the second objective already. ). To help me getting the minis assembled and painted I signed up for the Tale of Historical Painters. These tales are great things to keep the motivation up or, in the case of lack of motivation, the monthly deadlines are a necessary kick in the hinder to get something done.

    What happened so far

    After researching miniatures manufacturers, figure ranges and so on I placed some orders...

    ...realized I needed more stuff...

    ...and ordered some more which has yet to arrive. But once that's here I got everything I need (for now).

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