Sunday, 23 August 2015

Italian Wars Campaign

I've had this idea in the back of my mind for many years, ever since I read a simple set of campaign rules in "Wargames Illustrated" Issue 4 back, I think, in 1985.  We will be using the map from that article.

My idea is that all of you take charge of one of the main Italian powers in 1500.  You can have someone else fight the battles (which could be me as Umpire or one of the other players) on your behalf if you are not able to make it to a game, but you are in charge of the strategic moves and decisions of your state.  Of course, I would rather you fought your own battles but the emphasis is on simple mechanics that allow the campaign to move without it becoming a job of work.

The moves would be transmitted to me by email as well as all correspondence between players.  I would update everyone through email again as well as maintaining a background story with news on the blog.  The Italian Wars are ideal for this simple multi player game as the level of historical deviousness will match anything we are able to employ.  Alliances shifted quickly as all the states worked against each other for their own interest.

The four powers will be Venice, Milan, Florence and the Papal States.  Naples was also an important power in 1500 but was wrought by internal weakness and fought over by Spain and France.  In our campaign I have it already under the control of Spain, leaving us with a convenient four states.

In addition, there will be three great powers looking to expand their territory in Italy.  They will each have a client Italian state which can call on this big brother to support them.  The Great Powers will be France, Spain and the Holy Roman Empire; the Ottoman Empire may also make a guest appearance!  Be warned though, the Great Powers will expect to get their cut first from any alliance and they have every chance of expanding at their clients cost.

All states will generate revenues to buy armies, mercenaries (Swiss, Lansknecht, Stradioti) or intrigue against the others.  All kinds of back stabbing and skull duggery will be allowed.

So, the Italian states will have the following attributes;

The Doge of Venice.  You can't see his hands because he has a knife in your back!

Venice; Starts the campaign as the leading power in Italy and the Mediterranean and in no need of a Great Power Ally.  Its navy is more powerful than any other Christian state.  It also starts with the most territory and the greatest revenue as it has an overseas Empire.  However, it is the state most vulnerable to the Ottomans.

Niccolo Machiavelli.  He's smirking because he's just screwed you over!

Florence; Its ally is France.  A cultural powerhouse in the Renaissance, its wealth is generated through its extensive banking interests (Even in Britain, an old 2 shilling piece was known as a Florin).  Its political influence is greatly increased through the machinations of its chief minister Machiavelli.

All the Sforza's love fighting.  Katterina's favourite fashion accessory are Stilettos!
Milan; A powerful industrial city and the centre of arms manufacturing in Europe, it is under the leadership of the warlord Sforza family.  Leonardo DaVinci is in charge of its weapons development!  Its ally is the Holy Roman Emperor.

Trust me, I'm the Pope!

The Papal States; Christ's vicar on earth and the Papacy still holds sway over all the Christian monarchs of Europe.  Assured of his place in heaven, the Pope can commit actions that only God will forgive! Spain is the chief ally of the Pope.

So, that is a brief outline of the campaign.  The objective will be to become the dominant power in Italy by 1525.  If that honour is taken by a Great Power then the objective is to ensure that your state is more powerful than any other Italian state.  The campaign can be declared at any point that the players have had enough and a peace treaty will be signed and a winner declared.  Also, if a Great Power is beaten in battle twice successively then the Great Powers will force a settlement on Italy under an agreement of "Utti Possidetis" or whatever any one owns they hold!

I would hope to roll this out in October so let me know whether you are all interested and if you have any preference for a particular state.  If you really want to get in the mood, watch "The Borgias" on Netflix.


  1. This sounds fabulous Ian. I'll reserve my choice now please by asking you if I may play with the Milanese.