Thursday, December 30, 2010

Random events by the character

While the Catalan side moves for this 6th turn are being resolved and drawn on a map, I've been thinking about my Imagi-Nation's characters and their particular stories. I've been letting my imagination freely fly so far, with no influences on my scenes other than the military campaign results, eventual readers suggestions and my own thoughts on each character's actions. There had been few general guidelines so far about them, except maybe for young Mireia, Marquis de Vilana and Lady Elisenda, who have admittedly acquired some starring roles. Even in those three cases, however, I really have no detailed storyboard behind, and this can become a real nightmare in some occasions, when you have no inputs or intuitions about each one's next scene.

So that I've thought it would be better to let Mythic GME help me, in a way not that different as explained some says ago about campaign events by the country. Therefore, from now on, at every turn start I'll be rolling a die for each character, with the aim to find out which of them get a Mythic GME event. General mechanics will be more or less the same as for countries. That is, there will be a first 1D100 roll against a probability of, let's say, 10% to obtain an event. For each result equal or less than 10, Mythic GME tables will be checked to find out what kind of event it is. I'll be posting results at this blog, so that every visitor can read and help me decypher them...

Here you are my complete list of characters so far:

1 - Claire Baizanville: 47 ... failure
2 - Count of Erill: 24 ... failure
3 - Diego De Soto: 99 ... failure
4 - Duke of Popoli: 21 ... failure
5 - Fiona McGregor: 23 ... failure
6 - General Prado: 63 ... failure
7 - General Villarroel: 98 ... failure
8 - Lady Elisenda Folc de Cardona: 62 ... failure
9 - Lieutenant Leibnitz: 01 ... success
10 - Loys d'Hauteville: 24 ... failure
11 - Major Ramón Lanuza: 84 ... failure
12 - Marquis de Vilana: 61 ... failure
13 - Mireia Perelló: 84 ... failure
14 - Rafael Casanova: 11 ... failure
15 - Others? 68 ... failure

According to results, it seems that maybe Lieutenant Friedrich Leibnitz might get a special event this turn. Rolling 1D100 against the Event Focus Table, I get 47: "Move away from a thread". Hum. If I roll again 1D100 against the Action Table, I now get 60. Once again, against the Subject Table this time, I get 42. According to tables, this pair of dice mean "Abuse a plot". Well, not the most self-explaining statement in world, don't you believe?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Back to 1713: Two Crowns' moves

All fronts, 21st August 1713

For a second consecutive turn, the Spanish armies took the initiative and re-started their slow but apparently unstoppable advance towards the Catalan capital city of Barcelona.

This way, the Army Group South left their headquarters at Tivissa and marched along the old Via Augusta road at the maximum speed they were allowed to. They didn't bother stopping face to Tarragona walls, because they were aware the city was being garrisoned by Imperial troops and these would not surrender the place until the English fleet came to take them out from the Peninsula, as agreed with Queen Anne. However, the Spanish General Areizaga cared to leave a whole battalion of Burgos IR encamped face to the city gates, with the mission to prevent any entry attempt by the Catalans -just for case. He was persuaded their enemy would try to control Tarragona before his Army was able to relieve embarking Imperials, so he had commited himself to prevent this to happen.

In the meanwhile the commander of Army Grup Centre, General Vallejo, who had refused attacking at El Bruc after being reported the extremely difficult terrain where the Catalan army lead by General Bellver had fortified itself, cautiously ordered intense scoutings to be performed by the flanks of both facing armies, seeking a more favourable crossing point. His army was now complete after the arrival of two delayed Line Cavalry regiments, except for a couple of battalions having joined the Army Group South, so he enjoyed an enviable strength compared to their enemies.

On their side, the Army Group North encamped close to the battlefield they'd just won at Ponts few days ago, with the aim to re-compose ranks and wait for dispersed troops to join them again. In front of them, the Segre Rive looked like a wide open gate potentially allowing for the whole Pyrenees area to be occupied and cleant up of Catalans. However, a defiant stronghold still stood a few miles away from General Bracamonte's troops, preventing them to progress eastwards any more: Cardona fortress, never taken before by the Two Crowns.

However, the Spanish Commander-in-Chief Duke of Popoli noticed with high concern that their French allies had performed no move for a second consecutive week, so that he ordered urgent words to be sent to King Philip in Madrid, letting him know something was far from running as expected with the French, and asking for some kind of diplomatic action to be taken -or otherwise to reinforce his own army with at least as many soldiers as French troops kept neglecting their duties as allies.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Expeditionary Brigade

An out-of-time musing, 2nd half of the Century

Let's suppose for a while our Principality of Galatea/Catalonia has not only survived the War of Hispannic Succession, but also that, as a result of her early doubtless alignment with the Allies during the War of Quintuple Alliance (formerly known as the Quadruple one :D), our Imagi-Nation achieved the restoration of most of the peninsular territories belonging to the former Crown of Aragon (henceforth "The Confederation").

Well, let's also briefly suppose that a wise policy envisaged by Princess Elisenda permitted our re-born Confederation to pass through the War of Austrian Succession without irreparable damages, although the Galatean status of co-principality between the Empire and Gallia/France would have inevitably made arise a number of heavy external pressures. Most would have been drastically cut by Princess Elisenda by crowning herself as Queen of those Confederation territories other than the Principality, before any of the opposing sides in the WAS could recover from their war effort and appropriately react to. However, such daring action would have upset Gallian diplomacy and put under alert the Hispannic Court, thus feeding a significant tension increase in Western Mediterranean.

The successful rebellion of Sicily against their new Bourbon rulers would have been warmly welcome by Galatan authorities, because it seemingly would come to re-balance powers in the region. In such circumstances, the rather unexpectedly announced Imperial expedition against the newly born Kingdom of Sicily would have taken the Galatans by surprise. Old Queen Elisenda wisely would choose to summon an extraordinary joint session of her kingdoms' Parliaments to debate the request of Empress Maria-Theresa, and there she'd effectively confirm what she feared: the "Corts" or Parliaments of Galatea and Hesperia/Valencia would reject to officially get involved in a war they judged not to be defensive, while the "Stamenti" parliament of Arborea/Sardinia (eventually under higher Austrian influence) would accept with little debate a limited contribution to the Imperial war effort.

In the end, it would be agreed the formation of an Expeditionary Brigade consisting of 3 Line Infantry battalions and 1 Light Horse regiment, under Arborean command. It would have been a politically costly agreement, however, that would come to add further, heavy internal tensions to the already existing external ones.

As Princess of Galatea -a territory nominally still under Imperial co-protection-, Queen Elisenda felt in the need to personally respond to the Empress request, committing one Battalion of her prestigious Royal Galatan Guard to the projected Brigade. A second Battalion would be provided by the "Stamenti" of Arborea, who also would offer their recently created Hussars Regiment. On their side, neither the Galatan or the Hesperian "Corts" consented to draw troops of their own for an allegedly agressive campaign, but they'd accept one the Confederate Regiments of Sea Fusiliers (=Marines) to be dispatched in the Brigade. In about one month's time, the expeditionary corps would be concentrated in the city of Cagliari (Arborea) and ready to sail for Sicily under escort of Arborean warships and Confederate privateers.

It's worth to note that this Expeditionary Brigade is a part of the Galatan Confederate Army, so that they've nothing to do with the Beerstein's Galatan Mountain Fusiliers Regiment, which is a foreign contingent in permanent service of the Reich Duchy instead.

Here you are the illustrated list of units belonging to the Expeditionary Brigade destined to join the Imperial offensive lead by Reich Duke of Beerstein in Sicily:


It can be seen, through these plates, that the Galatan Army followed an increasingly stronger English influence, that from an early adoption of a 3-lines deployment and firing by the platoon during WSS, it gradually evolved by the 1750s to also extend to uniform designing.


Shortly after WSS, King's Colours pattern also suffered a substantial change when the old Virgin Mary pattern was replaced by a St. George Cross design with the arms of the respective Confederate State on it. Regimental Colours saw their religious images replaced too -probably due to an increasing huguenot French post-war immigration flow and the approval of a Religious Tolerance Act.


Uniforms colours went progressively associated to each particular corps in the Army, so that blue was established as Infantry's own colour in the peninsular States, while iron grey prevailed in Arborea. Red became the distinguishing colour for Sea Fusiliers, and yellow was kept by the Royal Guard.


The last plate shows King's and Regimental flags of all the Expeditionary Brigade units, so that they can be adapted by Bill of Beerstein to his own wargaming miniatures.


[I admit this one to be an allegedly cunning bid, by placing the Expedition under Arborean/Sardinian command instead of a strictly Galatean/Catalonian one. As it is still hard to determine what will be the future of my 1713 Imagi-Nation, I've chosen to do this because, while it seems clear that Sardinia is a part of my Galatea at the end of WSS, no one knows the imagi-island's future... so that, as a matter of fact, it is unclear who has actually shipped the Brigade: whether my Galatea or Savoy ;) ]

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Random events by the country


After the comments and suggestions my latest post, now I realize I'd have a quite better generic knowledge on 18th Century History, this way I would have it far easier to apply random events derived from an eventual use of Mythic GME...

In the end, I've thought it better posting from now on my Mythic GME dice rolls, so that any benevolent reader can help us determine such events -if any! As as example, I'm posting now the results of such rolls between 5th and 6th turns. Although in this occasion dies haven't been favorable to let arise any new event, at least it's a good pretext to show you the (quite simple) mechanics of it all...

I've simply divided Europa into 20 broad regions, and have thrown a die for each one, with a 10% probability of getting an event. Results have been:

1 - Ottoman Regencies of Tunis & Algiers: 41 ... failure
2 - Morocco: 59 ... failure
3 - Great Britain & Ireland: 25 ... failure
4 - Netherlands, Flanders & Lorraine: 24 ... failure
5 - Spain (Castile): 14 ... failure
6 - Aragon & Valencia: 48 ... failure
7 - Portugal: 72 ... failure
8 - Naples & Milan: 12 ... failure
9 - Savoy & Sicily: 46 ... failure
10 - Pontificial States & Malta: 54 ... failure
11 - Venice: 100 ... failure
12 - Genoa, Florence & others: 98 ... failure
13 - France: 67 ... failure
14 - Austria & Bohemia: 22 ... failure
15 - Hungary: 64 ... failure
16 - Bavaria: 26 ... failure
17 - Hannover & Prussia: 43 ... failure
18 - Saxony & Poland: 13 ... failure
19 - Rest of Germany: 81 ... failure
20 - Rest of Europe (+Turkey): 31 ... failure

True these weren't the best results to show you any big thing, but at least the aim that, if any of the 1D100 rolls obtained a result equal or less than 10, then there would have been an important event in that country. What kind of event, it would have been determined by Mythic GME... Sure the procedure should be refined -for example, assigning higher or lesser chances to certain countries, but it seems a good beginning anyway.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New turn, and... Over 10,000 visitors!?


The map above represents the campaign situation at the start of turn 6, which is about to begin and will be running from 21st to 27th August 1713. At this point, both playing sides are supposed to write their orders and afterwards it will be rolled a die to know who has won initiative and moves first. A few precisions should be made before starting, however:

First of all, the armies engaged in a battle on the previous turn must spend this complete turn resting and recomposing ranks. This affects the Spanish Army Group North as well as their opponent, Marquis de Poal’s column, who engaged to each other at the Battle of Ponts. On one side, Franco-Spanish troops have to remain in place for the whole turn to recompose ranks, while the Catalan force must move to the closest friendly town –which is Cardona. Unlike their opponents, the Catalans won’t be in the need to stay in place for a whole turn, because they had suffered no casualties or disbanded units -but the retreat towards Cardona is still compulsory. A further column needing a whole resting turn is that one lead by the Military Deputy, defeated days ago at Tivissa Battle and still fleeing for a friendly town. Might it be Vilafranca, if they managed to persuade local authorities to open gates to them...

Once the military situation has been briefly reviewed, let’s also deal a little bit on the current diplomatic environment. As lately perceived through the lack of activity on the northern front, there is some kind of non-declared truce between the Principality and France –this implicitly meaning a French stand-by while negotiations at Rastatt are being effectively unblocked, thanks to the proposal of Marquis de Vilana. Nevertheless, it should be noticed that such situation is far from being stable, largely depending on factors beyond the sole will of Catalans. Therefore, it would be wise having in mind that military actions could be resumed at the most unexpected moment, unless a definitive peace is agreed before.

Last but not least, allow me a few words on random events. We had considered esecially relevant two of these events (death of Queen Anne and French involvement in the campaign), and therefore had them scheduled in our campaign, so that at the end of each turn both must be checked according to a variable probability. However, we're still missing the possibility of actually unexpected events potentially influencing the course of war, while actual inter-actions with other EvE Imagi-Nations have been fewer than expected -albeit those actually happened are extremely valuable. Therefore, we're still experiencing some unsatisfaction degree at this point: how to 'remotely move' the Hispannic diplomacy, their war effort or even relevant events happened in Spain, for example? -either an unexpected death or a cunning alliance, a missing Americas convoy, a setback in the colonies...?

I'm afraid that our only chance to give a life of its own to this campaign facet is getting back to the Mythic GM charts; so that at the end of each turn we would roll a die for every potentially relevant Nation, and try to guess from results what kind of event has happened there subsceptible of influencing war -it sounds to me as trying to read a Tarot, but I can hardly imagine any solution else.

There was something to talk about individual characters too, but let's better leave it for another day, don't you believe?

Oh yes, about the title of this post: it has caught me by surprise, I didn't expect such a regular attendance to this humble weblog. My most sincere gratitude to all those visiting The Defiant Principality from time to time, and a request to all of you: please don't hesitate to leave your comments, opinions or suggestions -for, as you've just read, we not only welcome them, but do actually need them!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

She-wolf

Tarragona, 20th August 1713

Deeply depressed as she was, Mireia made a titanic effort to overcome her intense sorrow and poured into the work of her elders, helping them to prepare remedies and cures, as she had been taught to. However, her only way to meet some kind of inner peace was during her aimless wanderings along the intricate streets network of Tarragona. In one of such walkabouts, Mireia found a half hidden gate in a forgotten alley, which led to a wide boulevard running between the ancient Roman wall and the modern one the British had recently built. The boulevard was well paved and sided by wide patches of grass, with a line of tall trees on each side that provided a pleasant refreshing shade, and Mireia got fond to walking along that road. Sometimes she crossed with soldiers, but they were normally quite busy and did never bother her, so that she felt safe and confident enough to go increasingly often there, despite her mother's warnings.

One day she was delayed longer than usual and reached an area where she had been never before. A large square Roman tower invaded much of the boulevard, making it narrower. Beyond the tower, she discovered an ancient bronze statue on top of a stone column. It was an archaic and fascinating sculpture, depicting a she-wolf nursing two children. The empty basins of the she-wolf eyes seemed to be staring fixedly to her, and Mireia perceived in its inside a strange and powerful presence making her feel disturbed -although not frightened in fact.

She confidently continued her walk without realizing it was getting late, so that the evening got her by surprise in that unknown area of the wall. After finally realizing how late it was, she started to undo the way, but then a gang of threatening men barred her way, staring at her with a disturbing smile on face.

-What are you doing here alone, my pretty?
-Were you looking for some fun, perhaps?

Scared, Mireia tried to dodge them and run away, but one of them grabbed her arm and brutally threw her to the ground. In a matter of seconds, three men had frozen her and lifted her skirt. Terrified, she tried screaming, but one had their mouth firmly covered, while the others started tearing her dress and grabbing her body. She understood what they were about to do and panicked, but this only served to excite them even more.

Suddenly, a terrifying grunt was heard at their rear and the men turned around, just to see how something as black as night threw itself upon them. They had only time to perceive a terrifying pair of amberine eyes before some huge tusks wildly ripped out their throats. For a few brief moments, the night was filled with roars and shrieks of terror.

And afterwards a deep silence.

The scene had been witnessed by someone, however. An elderly gypsy woman saw the shadow switfly going away, leaving three blooded bodies on ground behind. She then observed a terrified, crying Mireia incorporating and running away -so she decided to follow the girl. At the ancient Roman tower, Mireia continued her run without noticing anything, but the woman did: the old bronze sculpture wasn't there.

-Who are you really, girl? -the old gypsy woman whispered, crossing herself up.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Imperial withdrawal, nearly completed

On the way, 20th August 1713


Most of the Imperial units still in the Principality have finally converged in the outskirts of Vilafranca town, not too many miles away from Tarragona city. Everything has gone as smooth as Count Wallis expected, with no major incidents. All of the units now are forming one single, long column...

...except for the one farthest to destiny: delayed by the extremely rough terrain as well as the vicinity of the just fought battle of Ponts, the Bagni Regiment is still quite far from the meeting point of Tarragona -maybe too far for arriving in time to be embarked in the English fleet... Fearing this could actually happen, Colonel Bagni has just decided to send a fast courier in inform Count Wallis in Tarragona about their position as well as their likely delay, hoping their high commander will manage persuading the English to wait for them...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Battle refused at El Bruc

Col of El Bruc, 19th August 1713

In the village of Castellolí few miles before the col of El Bruc, General Vallejo and a group of his officers are attentively watching the landscape before them, while patiently waiting for news from the scouting detachments sent for exploration of the area. Behind these men, the Spanish Army Group Centre is also expectantly waiting, standing along the main streets in town.

The small detachments soon start coming back, and on everyone's lips there is the same opinion: the col of El Bruc is a mousetrap. The valley is narrow and intensely wooded, with few open plains or crops, and is surrounded on either side by a cliff range not too high, but showing steep slopes that become vertical to the top. There is no other way to overcome the col apart from the road itself, which runs up to the valley bottom before abruptly climbing through a narrow passage, in an ininterrupted series of zigzags. A real mousetrap.

Even worse, most detachments have observed the presence of enemy troops on the cliffs. The Catalan army of General Bellver, whose forces are quite balanced with his own troops, have already occupied all the most strategic and well protected places. Vallejo understands that, if trying to cross the col under such circumstances, his troops would be decimated from the heights.

-We can not battle-thinking here. This damned col is closed to us -concludes the experienced general, who then adds: -This valley is a deadly trap, we risk losing our entire army if venturing into these badlands. As a matter of fact, I'm certain the longer we remain in this valley, the more risk we run of being encircled. We'll be getting back to Igualada.

His officers then stare at him with surprise: -But Sire, Duke of Popoli's orders are strict...

-...True but leave indeed some room for interpretation -Vallejo replies-. If we are to pass through this damned col, it must be following a different path. I assume responsibility for this. Back to Igualada.

Friday, December 10, 2010

News from the battlefield

Cardona fortress, 18th August 1713

Early in the morning, General Manuel Desvalls was intensely watching the horizon from the ramparts of Cardona, the fortress under his command. A few miles west, his brother Antoni Desvalls, Marquis de Poal, would likely be fighting against the Two Crowns force that had penetrated into the Segre river high valley. According to his own accounts, both armies would already have clashed around Ponts town.

The Spanish troops lead by General Bracamonte almost doubled those of his brother, and their superiority in light troops would probably have prevented any ambush attempt, so Manuel feared the Catalan army would have been pitched in a battle in open field ... Outnumbered and with no tactical advantage as they were, the Catalans risked a complete disaster, and the lack of news from his brother was a really bad omen.

Suddenly, General Desvalls sighted on the west road a man riding at full speed. When the rider got closer to the fortress, Desvalls could distinguish he was clad in the uniform of his brother Antoni's Dragoons Regiment.

-Open gates!!! Open way for that man!!! -Desvalls shouted, as he rushed in the fortress courtyard.

-What news are you bringing? -He hurriedly asked to the soldier, who was exhausted and dirty.

-Yesterday, Sire; we faced the enemy yesterday. A ranged battle lasting not less than four hours. Their Dragoons attacked us by both flanks at once, with the aim of destroying our artillery and surrounding us ... They launched several assaults, once and once again, but they were rejected with heavy losses.

-Ah good, and what about the centre?

-They took the entire width of the half dry river bed to move their infantry along it, an entire brigade of four regiments, Sire. It was a dreadful sight to look at that formation, half a mile wide. However, those braves of the General Deputation IR were able to hold them back for a long while too, with the single help of my own Dragoons Regiment. Enemy assaults were countered with intense musketry volleys, just as we had been taught by the English, so that their entire first line fell back with lots of casualties. But in the end, they managed to regroup and launch a co-ordinated assault driving our line back.

-And...?

-And your brother decided not to risk any more, Sire, so that he ordered withdrawal. We had to leave battlefield to the enemy, but our army withdrew in complete order after having suffered not even a single casualty, while theirs are counted by dozens... Unfortunately, we had to leave the cannons on the field. They are on the march to Cardona, Sire.

Desvalls sighed with relief, and friendly tapped the soldier shoulder: -cannons can be replaced, unlike good soldiers. Congratulations, my boy. Go inside, you'll find warm water, hot meal and a good bed.

[The battle of Ponts was fought last Wednesday, using Close Fire & European Order (CFEO) rules. It was a really funny and exciting experience. A chronicle and photos to follow shortly!]

Thursday, December 02, 2010

The Convoy

Barcelona harbour, 17th August 1713

At the sight of the small fleet he had been hurriedly gathering on the last days, General Prado could not avoid the thought that it was a good thing to be sponsored by the overseas traders' powerful guild. Thanks to these influent businessmen, he had been granted not only three small cargo ships to carry his expedition, but had been assured the convoy protection by the two currently active warships in the still half-born Catalan Navy.

Besides, it had been agreed with the recently arrived Maltese frigate to sail off Barcelona harbour all together, forming a joint convoy for mutual protection until their arrival in Majorca island. It was a good bid for the Catalan ships, for no warship of the Two Crowns was expected to risk incurring in a major diplomatic incident by shooting or being shot by a Maltese ship; but the advantages of such a temporary association were also perceived by the Maltese captain, who had in charge the hard mission of safely carrying Lady Elisenda in Genoa, where an Imperial legacy would be waiting for her.

General Prado had managed to persuade Colonel Corradó giving up in his fruitless trials for the projected IR11 Our Lady of Sorrows Regiment completion, to follow him instead in his own enterprise across the Islands. According to the plan both men agreed, they would sail for Majorca along with the men already enlisted by Corradó. At their arrival to the island, the 3 companies of the unborn Regiment would be splitted into 2 groups, so that Colonel Corradó would stay in Majorca along with two of these companies, which would become the core nucleus of two new Regiments -one of which would be put under direct command of the island’s Viceroy, while the other one would be assigned to the Sea Fusiliers force projected by the tradesmen. In the meanwhile, General Prado would continue his trip towards Sardinia island, along with the third company -with a similar target in mind. Both islands’ authorities were expectantly awaiting their arrival, because their respective lands dramatically lacked a solid defence setup, so that the need of a professional military advisor was eagerly noticed.

It was a clear day that morning, and a favorable slight breeze predicted a quick and easy journey, so that the small fleet set sails to the east without delay, leaving the heavily protected port and entering open sea, amidst a considerable public expectation.

[OK, this scene might be interpreted as some kind of alibi to show you my latest essays on the naval front... Not so really, but anyway this is a nice opportunity to talk about it... I felt a bit lazy about the beautiful albeit complicate models of Langton and similar, so that I've been searching for an easier alternative, and perhaps have finally find it among the number of dollhouse furnitures and complements in market: these actually small ships (none of which is larger than 4 cm) are coming ready sailed and painted, so that I've just had to add some paper ensigns and pennants to some, and little else. True that flags seem a bit disproportionate, but the ships themselves are so small that I had no other chance if wished the flags to be recognized! For similar size & visibility reasons, I've had to glue ensigns on top of mizzenmasts instead of placing them at the ships stern as expected... Anyway, they look actually pretty. I only guess if they'll be resistant enough to carry with a tabletop naval battle...]

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Back home, perhaps

Monte-Cristo, 16th August 1713

After having finished re-reading his own report for King Charles, written with a copy to the General Deputation as usual, the Marquis of Vilana wearily sighed. Under other circumstances, he should have had more than enough reasons to feel satisfied with the work done so far, but as a matter of fact he was overwhelmed by an overall fatigue feeling, as well as a certainty that the hardest work was yet to begin.

During his few weeks stay in Monte Cristo, Vilana had managed to unequivocally reaffirm mutual loyalty between the Principality and the Empire, and had secured the unconditional support of the Whig faction of the British Parliament. True that none of both commitments could be translated into direct military aid to the Principality, but crucially confirmed that the old alliances were still alive and would continue acting on their behalf in the international sphere, and this was a real success.

But more importantly, he had managed to open doors to an eventual separate peace with France, which in turn could open wide the path to a definitive European peace. Further, all this had been achieved in spite of his Spanish rival, legate Marquis of Ordoño, whose diplomatic initiatives had proved to be completely ineffective so far. This was a promising sign of a progressive diplomatic isolation of Spain until they consented to an agreed solution of the Catalan Case.

True there was nothing certain about France beyond a statement of intent, so that all remained pending future negotiations -which he presaged difficult and full of obstacles. Not surprisingly, since the distant time when the Catalan counties seceded from the Carolingian Kingdom about XIth Century, France had become a perpetual and relentless enemy for their Nation. Vilana was fully aware the first barrier to overcome would be the atavistic distrust of his own naturals toward France, whom they’d never expect anything good from.

If negotiations with France failed, their only lasting hope would rely on an eventual change of mind of Queen Anne, allowing the Whig party reprisal of power in Britain. By such, Franco-Spanish fear of an English rentrée in war would then become the Principality’s safest conduct to the so long awaited liberty. But that would mean trusting to fortune -always so capricious and unpredictable...

Vilana then took the short note Lord William of Beerstein had delivered to him that morning, acknowledging him about the immediate plans of His Majesty the King & Caesar about the Principality. He had been suggested to come in Vienna too, and certainly he'd be happy in attending to the meeting... in other circumstances. But now it was clear to him that he still had a role to perform in Catalonia in the meanwhile, because not all the fronts in this war were external.

It was clear to him. He would come back in the Principality and face the Parliament's reaction to the French proposals... as well as to eventual news coming from Vienna.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Regulation Uniform for High Commanders

We've already started preparing our first miniature battle in this game. There isn't a certain date yet, although December 8th seems the most likely one. As posted a few days ago at Emperor vs Elector main site, the scenario we'll be gaming by ourselves is the so-called Battle of Ponts, in the confidence that perhaps someone else in the EvE community will feel curious enough to give a try to our second battle (that one we've called Battle of El Bruc), in a proxy gamed battle. Happily if so happened, we'd be able to resume normal activity at this weblog before Christmas.

In the meanwhile, our storyboards will have to be slowed down a bit; and those I finally post will have to be more timeless than usual, unrelated to the campaign itself -for this is to be temporarily halted until we know battle results.

However, this doesn't mean any kind of activity stop at this weblog -fortunately, there is still a lot of job to be done yet, for completing our beloved Imagi-Nation's architecture!! So that... here you are a first delivery of such kind of background work you seldom find the time to ready up... I've completed a few uniform templates else and have posted them at my weblog Army Page as usual. These new templates are:
  • Hussars Independent Squadron
  • Army High Command (oh yes, I WANT THEM properly uniformed too)
  • Navy High Command (not to be less than their on-land counterparts)
Only this latter one is entirely fictional, for as a matter of fact there is no historical record on any Catalan Navy uniform. Otherwise, Hussars and Generals uniforms are based on actually described uniforms, although with some degree of added musings -like those waistcoats and turnbacks in a colour related to the Arm the officer belongs to, and so... Albeit somewhat adapted by myself, the originals of all these plates must be credited to Not By Appointment (millions of thanks David!). Wish you enjoy them.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Preparing for battle

On the Catalan side, 15th August 1713

Nevertheless, the Catalans managed to anticipate and successfully counter the Two Crowns' armies moves, either by reinforcing their own columns or by seeking a favourable position to meet the upcoming clash. Such was the case of the Marquis of Poal at North, who selected an area with a pronounced bending of Segre river amidst steep hills, close to Ponts town, to deploy his army and calmly wait for the enemy to arrive. He only had at hand two Infantry battalions (the General Deputation IR and Colonel Mitjans' IR), besides of the sometent or local militia of Seu d'Urgell and his own St. James Dragoons Regiment to counter General Bracamonte's forces, but he enjoyed better position and artillery superiority. Would it be enough to resist the Two Crowns' upcoming assault?

In the meanwhile, General Bellver's column was reinforced by two Infantry battalions coming from Barcelona, so that their foot strength became at pair with that of the Spanish General Vallejo forces. The lack of Catalan Horse the Spanish Hadquarters were confident to meet was solved thanks to the arrival in time of General Nebot along with his own veteran Cuirassiers regiment. The Catalan High Command breathed with relief when their scouts reported the final disbalance of forces between both armies had been reduced to a minimum -or, in some features, was to favour them...

Finally, the Catalan rearguard started a chain series of moves whose aim was to respond to eventual troubles at the vanguard "hot points", as well as trying to persuade local authorities to mobilize their militiae. In this partiular matter results were widely unsatisfactory, however: no civilian help was found among the towns still indecisive: the gallows tithe policy of Philip V had started to break the resistance will of civilian population, who were getting increasingly terrified at the menace of bloody retaliations. Even the widely popular General Moragues was unable to convince Manresa authorities to take side and raise their city militia.

The Catalan strategic moves had been clever and full of sense, but their chances of success were literally hanging by a thread.

[At this moment, we have at hand two possible battle scenarios, both of which with an acceptable -albeit small for usual WSS wargaming standards- number of troops on both sides. We're going to name these with the main towns' name at every hex, so that the northern scenario will henceforth be called Battle of Ponts, while the other one is to be given the name of Battle of El Bruc. We're already analyzing the first one with the aim to game it by ourselves, while it's possible that for the second one we're going to appeal for volunteers to proxy gaming it -in order not to delay for too long turn resolution]

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A decisive blow

On the Two Crowns' side, 15th August 1713

Such was the aim of the Spanish Headquarters, at taking the initiative before the Catalans were able to react to their defeat at Tivissa. Taking advantage of their enemies' temporary unsteadiness, the Duke of Popoli's staff designed an audacious double blow, intended to definitely break the backbone of the Catalan Army. This had to consist in a simultaneous frontal attack against the two major concentrations of enemy troops detected so far. A dense screen of Mountain Fusiliers had prevented them to find out with precision their exact numbers, but it was clear they would outnumber the enemy at both attack points.

Thus, following urgently delivered directions, General Bracamonte in the North put all his troops on the march northwards, searching contact with the Marquis of Poal column. By then, the army under his direct command consisted of the French Beauvoisis, Sanzay and Blaisois IRs, the Swissmen of Castellas IR, and the 2nd battalion of Segovia IR; they were accompanied by a "botifler" (*) Mountain Fusiliers battalion, two regiments of Dragoons and a light battery. According to his provisions, they were outnumbering the enemy by 2 to 1 -except maybe for the artillery, because most of his own pieces were at that time being employed in the siege of Balaguer.

At the same time, General Vallejo's column left Igualada town through the intrincate gulleys countryside leading to the imposing, solitary range of Montserrat -the Catalans' sacred mountain-, in whose whereabouts he was certain to meet the men of General Bellver. Under his command he had two battalions of La Couronne IR, the Spaniards of Marina IR and the Dillon Irish Regiment, supported by Órdenes Line Cavalry and a Dragoons regiment, and followed by two artillery batteries. On his side, he wasn't so confident of outnumbering the Catalans, although he had been informed about a total lack of Horse in the enemy lines. Just for case, he sent word to General velasco in Montblanc for joining them with his two Line Cavalry regiments. Velasco's headquarters were a bit far away from his own location, but he decided it was worth the trial to call for them -for, if they were able to come in time, the Horse supremacy of his Army would allow them an easy victory.

Besides, Burgos and Carmona IRs were ordered to descend from Montblanc to Tarragona, in order to closely watch the Imperial withdrawal process and preventing any Catalan attempt to force their entrance into the old city. And, last but not least, they perhaps might have a chance to intercept the retreating Military Deputy's column. Only the victorious army of Tivissa was excused from any advance, so leaving them a while to rest after battle and recompose their ranks.

If everything went as expected, the Catalan insurgence would be given a couple of simultaneous deadly blows, and their foolish dreams put to a definitive end.

[* "Botifler": Catalan word for a Two Crowns' collaborationist]

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Fiona

Barcelona, 14th August 1713

That morning, a crowd had gathered at the port of Barcelona to follow the anchorage maneuver of a just arrived light frigate fleeing flag of the Order of Malta. Once finished the ship captain's process with the port authorities, the only descending passenger was a beautiful young lady, who was dressed in a long vest of military appearance, the same color as the English infantry uniform -a colour quite well-known in Catalonia, after 6 years of uninterrupted British contribution to the defense of the Principality, and such circumstance naturally increased the initial public expectation. The young woman gently broke through the crowd, until she found an officer of the Stillness Company, whom she addressed to in a nearly perfect Catalan language, with just a slight British accent: -I must meet Lady Elisenda Folc de Cardona, Countess of Prades. Would you mind to let me know her address? I'm bringing to her an urgent message from Vienna.

-Er... at... at Montcada Street, milady. -Overwhelmed, the policeman offered himself to accompany the lady to the given address. After hearing the brief conversation, excitement among people grew almost explosively, and news spread all around the city as a burning powder trail.

At her late-Gothic palace in the luxurious Montcada Street, Lady Elisenda was nervously pacing up and down her deskroom. Just a short time before, she had been to the Army Headquarters, where she had hold a bitter discussion with General Villarroel. On hearing news of the abuses committed by King Philip's troops in Tivissa town, the young lady had got enraged (Tivissa was precisely the head town of her County of Prades). She had planned to select the fifty most resolute women in her Regiment, and lead them in a horse ride towards the ravaged county, to somehow relieve the population and the prisoners taken by the Spaniards. However, she had been prohibited doing so by General Villarroel himself: -By no means. I will not authorize your suicide, Milady! -No matter how influential she might be, General Villarroel was the supreme military authority, and she had no other chance than bending to his will.

Then a secretary interrupted the broodings she was committed to: -Milady, a foreign lady has requested the mercy of meeting you right now.

Lady Elisenda received the woman in the tea room. She got immediately curious at the appearance of the girl, whose stylish suit was clearly reminiscent of a military costume. She happened to see a similar expression in the glance of her guest, and then Lady Elisenda recalled she was wearing a quite similar dress -albeit hers was in the colors of her Daughters of Minerva Regiment -royal blue with violet facings. An unconscious bond of empathy between both girls had been established.

-Tell me, who are you and where are you coming from? -Lady Elisenda asked.

-Milady, my name is Fiona McGregor and I'm coming from Vienna. I've been commissioned by His Majesty Emperor and King Charles for delivering to you an urgent message from Him -and then lady Elisenda was shown an envelop. It was stamped with the Imperial seal.

Surprised, Lady Elisenda took the visitor in the deskroom and ordered not to be disturbed under any concept. Once both women were alone, the countess opened the envelop. The letter was signed at hand by King Charles himself, and required her assistance to Vienna before the end of September, with no explanations beyond an enigmatic "matter of utmost importance to the becoming of the Catalan Nation and peace in Europe". Then she realized there was a second stamped envelop inside the first one, and she hurriedly opened it. There was another manuscript of Charles, whose content made Elisenda to draw a slightly melancholic smile at first. That second letter was shorter than the first one, but its content resulted to be far more revealing. After reading it, Lady Elisenda could not repress an exclamation:

-Oh Karl!! ...you shouldn't do this... Not me...

Monday, November 15, 2010

Some template updating

This weekend I've been updating some of the data on the Catalan/Galatan 1713 Army, in order to have the most templates and/or images on any of the units fighting the campaign. This way, I've been able to add a few templates else, those corresponding to the Coronela Citizen Militiae raised so far by their respective Municipalities (Barcelona, Mataró and Balaguer cities). Some of them are purely historical, others aren't. These units' uniforms and flags boardly follow the most common Catalan/Galatan military trends, albeit not so strictly as regular units; this is especially true regarding to Colonel and Regimental flags, whose designs are somehow different to the Ordnance established patterns.

Besides, I've added photos of another Line Infantry regiment, that one with the official name of IR7 Saint Narcissus -whose popular nickname is German Infantry. As most of my Catalan/Galatan WSS Army units, it has been built using mainly Dixon minis. Except for IR11 Our Lady of Sorrows -a regiment which in our campaign is still in formation process, all the templates depicted on the Army page correspond to units already in service. There are some templates still undone -those of the Hussar Squadrons and Volunteer Miquelets, although they'll be hopefully following in a short time.