Pavia: Climax of the Italian Wars

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Game Title: Pavia: Climax of the Italian Wars
Game Released: July 2012
Decision Games, PO Box 21598, Bakersfield, CA 93390
Decision Games hereby grants permission for its customers to download and/or print copies of this file for their personal use.

Design & Development: Chris Perello

Playtesting: Joe Youst

Map Graphics: Joe Youst

Counter Graphics: Larry Hoffman

Rules Booklet Layout: Callie Cummins & Lisé Patterson

Folio design: Lisé Patterson

© 2012, Decision Games, Bakersfield, CA. Made & printed in the USA. [PSPaviaRules_V5F]

Exclusive Rules

14.0 Introduction

15.0 Setting Up

16.0 Victory Conditions

17.0 Special Rules

18.0 Folio Notes

19.0 Orders of Battle

14.0 Introduction

The battle of Pavia, fought on 24 February 1525, was the decisive—but not final— clash of the Italian Wars, a decades-long struggle between Valois France and Habsburg Spain for control of the Italian Peninsula. It came about during the desultory French siege of Pavia. Francis’ army, initially much larger than the relieving Imperial army under Lannoy, had dwindled by attrition and the departure of numerous Swiss mercenaries. Seeing his opportunity, Lannoy conducted a night march to surprise the French camps, placed in the peaceful setting of the Mirabello hunting preserve. The ensuing battle was an unusual one as the woods and hedges minimized the value of pike blocks and heavy cavalry, instead putting a premium on bands of musketeers in a long, rolling bushwhack.

15.0 Setting Up

Decide which player will play which side, sort the various counters by color, then set them up in the hexes noted below.

15.1 Army Colors

French: pale gray

Imperial: orange
15.2 Game Length & First Player

The game lasts eight turns. The Imperial player moves first. Place the Turn marker in box “1” of the TRT, mist side up (see 17.4). Set aside the four loose shotte units with no ID and the four loose shotte markers; they are used per rule 10.0.

15.3 French Historical Deployment

C = Cuirassier, D = Dragoon, H = Harquebusier, L = Light Cavalry, Ldr = Leader, LS = Loose Shotte, Artillery = any heavy cannon counter belonging to the army.

Main Body: Ldrs Francis, Lorraine & Suffolk; Gendarmes (six units); L•Francis, Lorraine (three units), LS Suffolk (four units), LS Highland, Francis field artillery (two units)—within four hexes of Francis’ camp (hex 0506).

Flourance’s Wing: Ldrs Flourance, Tiercelin, & de la Pole; L•Tiercelin, Landsknechts (two units), Black Leg, LS Flourance (three units)—within three hexes of Flourance’s camp (hex 1418).

Montmorency’s Wing: Ldr Montmorency; LS Montmorency (four units); two heavy artillery—in any hex from 0725 to 1028 (the French Earthworks).

Siege Line Guard: LS Medici (two units)—within two hexes of Montmorency’s camp (hex 0623).

Gate Guards: three LS from the main body and/or Flourance’s wing (any combination at the discretion of the French player)—one LS per gate (hexes 0603, 1420, 1906). This deployment is optional.

D’Alençon’s Command: Ldr D’Alençon; L•D’Alen; LS D’Alençon (four units)—set aside; they enter pursuant to rule 15.4.
15.4 Imperial Deployment

Rearguard: LS Rearguard (three units), two heavy artillery—in any hex from 1722 to 1727 (the Imperial Earthworks).

Advance Guard: Ldr Del Vasto; L•Del Vasto; LS Del Vasto, LS Cordoba, LS Ripalda—within one hex of 1705.

Pavia Garrison:Ldr Leyva; LS Leyva (six units)—set aside; they enter pursuant to rule 12.6.

Main Body: all other Imperial units—in any hex outside the hunting preserve walls and on or northeast of the 18xx hexrow.
15.5 Free Set Up

Players are free to use the following set up instead of 15.3 and 15.4. The French may set up anywhere inside the area defined by the hunting preserve walls and the French earthworks. The Imperial units may be set up anywhere outside the hunting preserve on or northwest of the 18xx hex row, and/or within the Imperial earthworks.

16.0 Victory Conditions
Minor Victory: more enemy than friendly units eliminated.

Major Victory: at least twice as many enemy than friendly units eliminated.

Epic Victory: at least thrice as many enemy than friendly units eliminated.
The victory shifts one level in favor of the Imperial player for each French camp hex entered by an Imperial player during the game (it does not matter if the hex is recaptured).

The victory shifts one level in favor of the Imperial player if any unit of D’Alençon’s command is on the map at the end of the game.

The victory shifts one level in favor of the French player if they capture the two Imperial artillery counters.
17.0 Special Rules
17.1 Loosing Shotte

Only pike units with a fire factor greater than zero may loose shotte.

17.2 The Highlanders

The French Highlander unit (Stewart’s Regiment) was in many ways a throwback to the Anglo-Scottish wars. Armed with pike and sword, the men were fierce but undisciplined. It is treated as a battalion (9.0), though lacking a shot component. It also possesses the ability to charge. This is resolved in the same way as a charge by cavalry (11.7).

17.3 Transit Box

The road connecting hexes 2409 and 2416 represents a road circumventing the unseen portion of the hunting preserve. Imperial units (only) may use the road by moving from either of the mentioned hexes onto the road, or from the road to either of the hexes. They expend 1 MP from either hex to reach the road, spend one full turn on the road, then return tot he playing area by expending 1 MP to enter either hex. On the turn of exiting the road, treat each unit as having been adjacent to a leader at the start of its move.

17.4 Mist

The swampy battlefield was covered in mist in the early morning. The turn marker is printed with Mist on one side and Clear on the other; it starts the game with the mist side showing. During the Game Turn Marker Phase of each game turn, roll one die. If the result is less than or equal to the turn number (e.g. 1 on turn 1, 1 or 2 on turn 2, etc.), the mist clears. Flip the marker to its Clear side. Once the mist clears, it remains clear for the rest of the game.

During mist turns:

Artillery fire is resolved using the Reduced Fire line on the CRT.

Infantry and cavalry attack by fire and reaction fire is resolved using the Reduced Fire line on the CRT (reaction fire against an attack by melee still uses the Infantry & Cavalry line).

No charge or pursuit combat is allowed.

17.5 Fortress of Pavia & Leyva’s Sortie

The hexes forming the fortress may not be entered or attacked by French units.

The artillery printed on the Pavia hexes are Imperial artillery units. They cannot move or be captured.
The Pavia garrison under Leyva had been alerted to Lannoy’s attack and ordered to sortie as a diversion.
On any turn after the first, Leyva’s command may enter the map at either Entry Hex I (0123 and/or 0425). Each unit pays 1 MP to enter the entry hex and may move normally thereafter (treat each as having been adjacent to a leader a the start of its move). If the entry hex is occupied by a French unit, it may be attacked by the city’s artillery and/or by Leyva and one unit. If the French unit retreats, Levya’s command may enter normally (treat the combat as having taken place prior to the movement phase). This process may continue until the end of the game or until the command enters.

Any or all Imperial units (not just Leyva’s) may exit the map through the “I” hexes by expending 1 MP. Once exited, they are out of the game but do not count as destroyed.

17.6 D’Alençon’s Command

On any turn after the first, the French may summon D’Alençon’s command (manning the siege lines to the west). Announce the decision at the beginning of a French movement phase; the units arrive at Entry Hex F (0108) on the following turn. Each unit pays 1 MP to enter the entry hex and may move normally thereafter (treat each as having been adjacent to a leader a the start of its move).

If the entry hex is occupied, D’Alençon and one unit may attack the occupying Imperial unit. If the Imperial unit retreats, D’Alençon’s command may enter immediately (treat the combat as having taken place prior to the movement phase). This process may continue until the end of the game or until the command enters.
The command may exit the same hex at any time by expending 1 MP from the entry hex.

D’Alençon’s entry and/or exit will affect the victory conditions.

18.0 Folio Notes
18.1 Designer’s Notes

Pavia is often given as one of the possible start dates for the Pike & Shot era (others go back to 1494). That, and the clear differences between it and Breitenfeld, fought at the height of the era, made this battle a good choice as one of the flagship games for the new system.

There were a number of challenges in the design. Unlike most battles in the era, this was not a battle of consent. The time needed to deploy the clumsy armies of the time meant it was almost impossible to force an enemy to fight. As a result, battles tended to be fought at a time and place acceptable to both sides (in some cases, they were arranged beforehand by messenger) with time to deploy. Fortunately, the “surprise’ in the battle was akin to Shiloh; the French were not caught in bed, but had not yet formed as an army so entered the action piecemeal.
The units in the battle represented a mix of eras. The tercio was in its infancy, still almost pure pikemen with only a smattering of shot (and many of those armed with crossbows). Many of the loose shotte units in the game are more properly men-at-arms, infantrymen armed with crossbow, or with sword and buckler (the Highlanders being the latter, but trained, if that is the word, to fight in a mass). In this regard the Imperials were well ahead of the French; Del Vasto’s command in particular was a precursor to the musketeers (arquebusiers) of the Pike & Shot era proper.
The heavy cavalry of both sides were lancers rather than cuirassiers; the French were just beginning to carry firearms as a secondary weapon. The lack of a charge capability for the Imperial lancers is a matter of numbers more than a lack of training.
Fortunately, most of the unit characteristics could be handled through factor manipulation rather than needing a special rule.
The last issue was one of battle length. Pavia ended historically shortly after Francis was captured, although both armies were capable of continuing. I put the time limit in place to prevent player’s taking too long a view and pulling back to form for battle. In reality, the Imperials were committed to an attack and given the nature of command and control could not have been called back.
18.2 Player Notes

Each player commands a force with strength and weaknesses. The French are split up, and dependent on the Gendarmes for attack power (the Gendarmes were the premier cavalry in all of Europe at that time, the rest of the French army being mediocre at best). They must charge forward to pen the Imperials in the narrow axes of advance in the northern part of the preserve. However, the constricted terrain there favors loose shotte, the Imperial strength, and minimizes the utility of heavy cavalry and artillery.

The Imperials have the advantage in numbers and firepower, but will have trouble deploying onto a wide front, and are vulnerable to massed cavalry attacks once they do.
For both players, then, the battle comes down to being cautiously aggressive. Each must attempt to draw small enemy groups onto favorable ground, then crush them with massive assaults. Meanwhile, the bulk of the enemy force must be diverted through careful application of small bodies (which themselves become vulnerable to ambush). Barring a big mistake by one player, the battle will be nip-and-tuck to the very end.

19.0 Orders of Battle

Sources regarding numbers and organization of either army are, to say the least, conflicting, though most agree overall numbers were roughly equal. The following is a composite of a number of OBs modified by Inherent Military Probability and a few good old-fashioned guesses. The organization of the Imperial army is based on its order of march on the night 23-24 February. The French organization is based on its various camps. The Stratioti were mercenaries, recruited mainly in the Balkans.

19.1 French Army

Commanded by Francis I, it had a probable total of

10,000 Pikemen

9,000 Men-at-Arms (infantry, including crossbowmen and shot)

3,500 Heavy Cavalry (Gendarmes)

2,000 Light Cavalry

53 cannon
Main Body (Francis, with Suffolk & Lorraine)

French Gendarmes

Royal Light Cavalry (includes Stratioti)

Stewart’s Highland Regiment

Genouillac’s Artillery (c. 20 Light Cannon)

Swiss & French Pikemen

French & Mercenary Men-at-Arms
Eastern Camp (Flourance, with de la Pole & Tiercelin)

Tiercelin’s Light Cavalry Regiment

Two Landsknecht Regiments

Swiss Black Legion

French & Stratioti Men-at-Arms
Southern Camp (Montmorency)

French & Mercenary Men-at-Arms (includes Medici’s Black Band)

30+ Heavy Cannon
Western Group (D’Alençon)

French & Mercenary Men-at-Arms

Regiment of Light Cavalry
Imperial Army

Commanded by Viceroy Carlos de Lannoy, it had a probable total of

13,000 pikemen

10,000 Men-at-Arms (infantry, including crossbowmen and shot)

1,000 heavy cavalry

1,500 light cavalry

16 cannon
Advanced Guard (Del Vasto)

Arquebusier Companies of Quesada, de Cordoba, Ripalda

Regiment of Light Cavalry
Vanguard (Pescara)

Spanish & Italian Men-at Arms

Center (Lannoy)


Regiment of Light Cavalry

Four Landsknecht Regiments

Spanish Men-at-Arms
Bourbon’s Division (with Frundsberg)

Four Landsknecht Regiments

Spanish Men-at-Arms

Mixed Men-at-Arms

16 Heavy Cannon

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