Monday, 16 March 2015

Renaissance Principles of Wars Amendments

The battle of Pavia - a game I would like to put on in the future.  Mark, do you think those Leven castle walls would do for Pavia in the background?
I got whupped again by Russ on Saturday; the Swiss pike are very tough!  However, we had a few good ideas to make the game run better and it made me think that I ought to get the amendments I use published - I guess no-one is ever pleased when they're told they can't do something that I've change in the rules.


In the 18th century it was very unusual to fight battles that had as an objective the annihilation of the enemy army, and so we usually fight our battles using objective points as each side tries to gain the upper hand and turf their opponent out of a strategic position.  Not so in the Renaissance.  Two armies on a battlefield usually meant they wanted to kill each other.  Therefore, our objective in a standard game is the destruction or forced retreat of the enemy.


+2 general within 8" and in line or in front of unit.
+4 general attached (in addition their 6 strength points also add into the units morale).
+1 for each steady friend on the flank of a small unit (ECW/30YW squadron, detached musketeer unit, artillery battery or leader).
+2 for small artillery battery with friendly infantry in rear support.
+1 unit on attack orders.

Units that route will force a morale test on other units of the same or lower class within 8".  However, a unit will not test if it has already tested that turn.

All small units will test morale with a D10 - a roll of 10 will be a worse than result.

All leaders will be Class 5.

Army Morale

All armies are able to issue attack, engage, hold or retire orders.  However, if a formation loses 50% of its strength then it immediately drops to hold orders and can only receive hold or retire orders.  In addition, no formation in the army can operate more aggressively then engage orders.  If a second formation loses 50% strength then the whole army drops another level of aggression to hold orders and if there is a third formation that drops to 50% then the whole army will adopt retire orders.

If an army loses it's baggage then it will also drop a level of aggression and every unit will make a morale test.

If the army loses it's CinC then it will also drop a level of aggression.


2 pips to group move infantry and/or mixed group.
1 pip to group move cavalry.
2 pips to group move tercios if the commander is in base to base contact with each unit.
Otherwise 1 pip per tercio.
1 pip to turn face for any unit.
1 pip to echelon/wheel tercio.
1 pip per 45 degree pivot for light artillery (but not if fired).
2 pips to unshake a tercio.
Leaders must unshake themselves first.


Artillery with rear touching infantry unit can evade (+4) to the rear of the unit on a successful morale test.  or for 1 pip in the movement phase the crew can move to the rear of the supporting unit (abandoning the artillery).  If supporting infantry break contact with the guns then the crew is lost for the duration of the game but does not count as lost strength points to the army morale.  Otherwise they may reattach for one pip. Abandoned artillery does not hinder movement or line of fire.

Light artillery units once deployed cannot be limbered but may be pivoted if not fired.  Heavy artillery units once deployed cannot be moved/pivoted.

A defending army (which starts the game deployed 18" on to the table) must have its artillery deployed.

Mounted Crossbow

May dismount and fight/move as skirmish foot for the same strength.  They remain dismounted for the rest of the battle.  This counts as a change of formation and costs 1 command pip.


After firing pike/musket units move may move at speed 3, tercios at speed 2.


Formations must have attack, engage, hold or retire orders.  Units must obey the requirements as indicated in the rules and at least half the formation must obey its order before an individual unit can react to a situation outside these orders.

A formation must be ordered to a terrain objective or an enemy formation.  When a formation is on hold a banner marker is placed next to the commander or on the terrain objective and units may operate within 9" of this marker.

On attack orders the commander is attached to the centre lead unit and the formation will move in a direct line towards the objective.

On engage orders the commander is with but not part (i.e. a star result does not lead to a casualty test) of the centre lead unit and the formation will move in a direct line towards the objective.

On hold orders the commander may move anywhere within 9" of the marker.

On retire orders the commander is attached to the rear unit of the formation.


Leaders are a fighting unit and are therefore a legitimate target.  They are 4 strength points and are class 5. They fight as the lead troop type in the formation they command.  They may attach (and must attach for attack orders) to a unit and will add their 4 strength points to that unit.

On a star result roll a D6.  1-3 miss, 4,5 wounded deduct -1 pips on subsequent command rolls.
6 is dead.  Two wound results is also dead.  Leaders are replaced in the following turn by rolling a D4 and consulting the rule book.

Death of the CinC will result in the army dropping a level of aggression in its orders.

Line of Fire/Target Priority

Straight ahead with a 30mm left and right band for all units. Exceptions are  skirmishers which have a 45 degree angle from the centre of the unit and  tercios which have a 360 degree arc.

The proportion of the unit that has arc can fire i.e. 2/3rds of the unit has arc then 2/3rds of strength can fire.

Casualty priority is against charging units, then nearest, then densest.  Multiple casualties in a beaten zone are shared out using this priority.


Unit uphill is 1 shift right in melee.

An artillery unit that rolls a 6 loses 1 strength point.

Pike units do have a flank but Tercios do not.

Units can evade/retire from a melee.

Elite units if they win a melee but unnaturally pass their morale test will advance 2" and become shaken.

Shaken elite units will still automatically charge an enemy within 2".

Elite units can evade/retire from a melee.

Well, that's it.  Sorry there is a lot there but I thought it best to put in writing all the amended rules and house rules we have been using for some time.  There are additional rules for the ECW/30YW but I will cover them in a later blog.  Please let me know if you have any disagreements with the above.

"I fully agree with these amendments and shall burn all transgressors as heretics" Pope Julius II


  1. Thanks for this Ian, now it's officially posted on the blog no one can say they were never told!

    Post game on Saturday I read the rules again. Check out page 24 on continued melees

    3. Steady class 2 or higher cavalry may choose to pass through ANY class 1 troops they are in melee with who do not rout or retire. They will do this in their next movement bound, but they move at speed two counting as passing through slow terrain.

    Also Pike are not allowed to interpenetrate any other troops (page 27)

    Funny how we have played these rules many times and keep finding more stuff!

  2. Will copy and print these amendments and slide them in my rule book

    Grazei mille

  3. Also found out that it actually costs 3 pips for a c in c or general to absorb an order and it is only ever 2 if the C in C is good with a * in the army lists.

  4. Crikey,you have been busy

  5. It is scary the amount of new information we find in those rules. 3 is a lot to change orders but changing orders was unusual during a battle and most of the leaders are at least d6. Cavalry passing through allows the retainers to follow on and mop up which is really good.