Friday 15 June 2018

Another Great Northern War Playtest

So as promised we tried another game of Olicana Lads 18th Century rules based around Piquet.

Bit different this time; the sides were more equal and we had more figures but the Danes were defending earthworks. The game was played on a 10 feet by 6 feet table at Steve's again (No photos of the biscuits this week sorry) we had 2 players for the Swedes. Chris Flowers and I, and Mark played the Danes whilst Steve translated the rules for us.

The Swedes are all from my collection whilst the Danes are all Marks with the addition of two regiments of my Saxon horse.
I like these earthworks, they have come in very handy numerous times

The table with Swedes to the left and Danes to the right
The danish order of battle was;

12 battalions of foot in 3 brigades drilled
3 field guns
7 regiments of horse (2 were Saxon) drilled
The Swedish order of Battle was almost all of my Swedish troops (just missing 2 guns):

12 Battalions of foot 4 guard and 8 veteran
6 Regiments of Horse veteran
1 Gun (Which fired once and missed)
Unfortunately for Mark whilst the game was fairly evenly balanced his luck with the dice and in particular the dominoes was really poor whilst ours initially could't have been better. This unbalanced the game a little which was a shame.

Chris pulled a double 6 whilst Mark pulled an 11, so we got our number plus his whilst he only got his highest side. So we go first with 23 chips to spend and he goes second with only 6. This couldn't have been a better start for us or a worse one for Mark.
The Swedish Guard

The Danish line
Due to the way the activation cards fell our cavalry was able to close really quickly with Marks and initiate melees before either sides foot had even moved.  Almost immediatly we routed one unit of Danes but failed to stop our Swedes charging off after them.
Swedish Cavalry

The Swedish Line
All this meant we got all of our stuff moving quickly forward with Mark having little chance to respond or hit us with his superior artillery.

Chris Flowers pulled this domino out 3 times!
Chris then managed to pull another double six and we had numerous chips to spend again. This time the foot all came out together and closed with Marks foot very quickly getting 3 moves consecutively. Marks firing caused some damage but not enough and we were lucky enough to get an officer card as we neared the end of our chips which we spent to remove casualties on damaged units.. This meant that Mark was now facing our Swedes at point blank range with virtually no casualties. It didn't all go our way though as we had one unit of Horse destroyed and another routed in return for routing one of Marks foot and one of the Saxon horse.

Routing Swedish Horse

These Ebor Swedes are lovely, unfortunately for me they are also dead
On marks movement card he marches one unit of foot up to short range and volleys my Karelska cavalry. Unfortunately he only causes one casualty.
The Swedish foot now get a melee resolution card and we pile in. Two Danish units are routed inside the earthworks and two more engaged outside them. Our officer card removing casualties from the Swedes had put Mark in a really tight spot. My Guard Brigade have just one unit facing them which they also promptly rout. In the full rules we get Morale chips that we would have to spend on this, but hadn't progressed to the morale rules yet. Trying these in a fortnight.
The Swedes storming the Danish defences

Another Swedish infantry move card and we close two units with the gun. We find out later we could automatically have initiated the melee and the next unit of Swedes close on the flank of the last Danish unit and again we realise we could have initiated the melee immediatly. For now though we volley them both and inflict a few casualties. Wouldn't you know it though. Marks artillery reload card comes out before our melee card and he cannisters Chris's Swedes causing 2 casualties.
The gun gets one last round of canister in before being overwhelmed

The Swedish Guard sweeping all before them
Two melees with the extreme right flank see Marks Danes smash the Swedes and rout one of our units. However in the next melee card we are able to destroy his gun and rout two more units of Danish foot. On the left another battalion of Danish foot and 2 regiments of Danish horse are also put to rout.
The right flank brigade had a much tougher time of it with one unit routing
At this point we reach the end of the deck and call it a day as its just after 10pm.

The game has gone badly for the Danes mainly due to the luck of the Dominoes and Dice. Other than that it has felt right in terms of how each side performed.

Having rallied the routing unit of Swedish foot the Swedes have lost 3 regiments of horse and nothing else. The Danes in comparison have 10 units either routing or destroyed, 4 horse and 6 foot.

We continue to find that the rules work really well. For 3 players it was fine (more than 4 might be a struggle) but we can certainly put more units on table comfortably.

It will be interesting to see how the army morale works. Again each side gets chips and loses them when units rout and can spend them to force morale checks on the enemy, we will see how this works out and share the results in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime I hope you have enjoyed the little write up. See you soon.


  1. Great AAR- thanks for sharing!

  2. Impressive battle, sounds like a great game!

    1. It was although I am not sure ark agreed through all of it.

  3. Great game Roger. I envy you for the good. I understand that you use the new rules? Where can I look at them?

    1. They are based on Piquet but not commercially available. I dont have a copy yet but when I do hapy to share them.

  4. Great looking game and enjoyable report. Look forward to seeing more

  5. Very nice game to read about.if the extremes of chips become too much an option,as in field of battle,is that both sides get the same number with the winner having the option of taking them first or second.makes the deck composition/command quality moe important.

    1. Thanks Clive, one to consider as we play test them further.

  6. Glad you enjoyed it. I never get on with card deck systems because I find them too arbitrary.

    With dice, each roll can be weighted, giving players more or less change, but with a deck, the whole game can be ruined if the cards aren't in a positive sequence. Plus add the totally random domino picking and for me it would feel like a game of roulette.

    But it's interesting to see how it worked for the period.

    1. I take your point, these are certainly not for everyone and most of our group will not want to play them. My feeling is that as Mark, Steve and I enjoy them we may find that we use these for one night games and something like Black Powder for big multi player games. Lets see when the dust settles

  7. I'm glad you've enjoyed the rules so far. I don't take credit for most of the ideas, as classic Piquet and FoB had done most of the work for me. As you say, they will not be for for everyone - Piquet, FoB and my variants are Marmite (you love it or hate it). For us they have proven, time after time, to give the most exciting and tense games and we invariably go back to them after trying out other rules for a while.

    The rules do work best with two to four players and games involving more players are better catered for elsewhere in the rules market, so I agree that something like BP would probably be a better route for multi-player games.

    All the Best,

    James (aka olicana)

    1. Cheers James, we havnt played the full morale rules yet, introducing these week after next so will see an update on here.

  8. Roger, I don't know how else to contact you, but I thought you might be interested in my warlord pike and shotte stats and amendments I'm using for my GNW games, in case you fancy trying them out. The pdf is here