FRANCO SPANISH WAR 1635 to 1659.


1643 Mounted arquebusier

Mounted Arquebusier 1643


Last night we decided to take a break from Napoleonics and to have another game set in the Franco Spanish War of 1635 to 1659 using the brilliant Tercio rules from Liber Militum.  I have posted links to these already.

Once again we were really impressed by these although we have confined ourselves to the basic rules and have left out the Commanders’ characteristics. All the figures are from Totentanz Miniaturas and they are truly splendid.  The photographs definitely do not do them justice as I am  rubbish photographer and the lighting is overhead fluorescent strips.

We did not create a scenario as such so it could be called an encounter battle.  The Spanish have 6 Tercios and are facing 9 French ‘Reformed Battalions’ which are smaller  but more numerous.  The amount of cavalry and artillery on both sides is equal.

The rules mechanisms are simple and yet subtle and with careful study provide a great game.  The main emphases however are on the initiative and above all the order system.  This consists of order cards which have to be allocated to each unit at the beginning of every move and this not only commits that unit to a specific action but also lists their possible reactions to any enemy movement. It is a well thought out system and we have not felt the need to make one single amendment or house rule of our own. The only addition we made was to create a better playsheet than the one provided which we felt was essential.  The rules are so simple that we use only the playsheet for most of the time.

Although by the time of the Franco Spanish War the Tercios were losing their dominance of the battlefield they were still very formidable formations both in offence and defence and could see off both enemy infantry and cavalry with ease. They are of course slightly less manoeuvrable and more vulnerable to fire which is the only real way to defeat them so the French player will have his work cut out for him. All of these elements are well reflected in the rules.

The game is confined to a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 8 moves so decisions have to be made quickly unless the player wants to lose by default.  This stops games from dragging on to the last man and we thought it is a good idea.

Some photographs below:

001 French cavalry advancing

French cavalry squadrons on the move

002 Spanish Tercio with the batteries

Spanish Tercio awaiting orders



006 An aerial view of some of the Tercios

An aerial view of the Tercios on the move. Each Tercio has a total of 32 figures all on one base!

009 Tercios in chequer board formation

Tercios in chequer board formation.

007 Spanish battery in action

Spanish battery in action

010 The Spanish Commander and his staff

The Spanish Commander in Chief with his staff.

013 French Reformed Battalions brigaded together

French ‘Reformed Battalions’ – smaller than the Tercios but more numerous in the game.

015 French battery firing

A French battery in action.  The rules restrict the number of guns and they are not very powerful.

005 The Great Conde and his staff

The French Commander in Chief – the Great Condé – and his staff.

016 Patented move counter.

A move counter specially made for the game.

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