One lord, on Joyeuse's right cried: "Ha! the cowards! They are confessing themselves!" Lieutenant Vaux, on the duke's left, a veteran with much experience against the Huguenots replied: "M'sieur, when the Huguenots make those noises, they are prepared to fight hard."

-Agrippa D'Aubigne
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A complete system of warfare for 16th Century Europe Including Large & Small scale land warfare modules, one for Naval warfare, a Campaign, a Siege Game, and piracy in the Caribbean!
Battle of Coutras, 1587: Scenario replay using Pistolado II
We have come up with a number of scenarios for use with 2nd Edition of Spanish fury, Battle, and we thought playing one out and discussing it may help prospective players to understand the system. I played Henry of Navarre (Huguenots), my opponent the Duke of Joyeuse (French Royal Catholics). The scenario sheet is available in .pdf format right here. You might want to read it before continuing down the page.
Setup and pre-battle comments
By mutual agreement it was decided to adhere to the historical setup as much as possible. The terrain is constricted, giving an advantage to the Protestants. On their right is the park, surrounded by a hedge and a ditch- very defensible. The centre has two relatively steep hills,
and the left has the village of Coutras itself with a small wood in front of it, the wood itself overlooking waterlogged terrain.

Navarre: It's like a fortress on this side! My one worry is the ground between the town and the hills. I don't have good quality troops covering it, and my pike-armed infantry are about an hour's march (roughly four-five turns) from being able to cover it.
Joyeuse: This ain't good. While my army is larger, his horse are murder and his infantry are nothing to laugh at. If I had more artillery I'd feel a lot better.  
Huguenot Line

Huguenot Line

Catholic Line

Catholic Line

Huguenot orders

Huguenot orders

The Park

The Park

The Ford

The Ford

Overall

Overall

According to the scenario, the entire Royalist army is available at start. The Huguenots have part of their infantry still on the wrong side of the river, but may place Enfants Perdus detachments any place in their setup area. Both sides made brigade their troops as they please under the officers present. The secret to creating brigades is to make enough of them to be flexible without making it too difficult to command them. The Catholics go with two regiment brigades for their heavy cavalry (under Lavardin and Montigny) and for their infantry near the village, while the rest of their infantry are brigaded with some Petronels opposite the Park. The Stradiots form up with Montigny's Gendarmes. They have no one in reserve.

Joyeuse: I figure my horse are going to be in trouble charging uphill against his, and the artillery piece they have with them. My plan is to flank both hills and then overwhelm them, hopefully taking the Park first, which is in firearm range of their positions. My infantry will try to steamroller his.
The Huguenots must be even more careful brigading their army. They go with Conde's and Navarre's horse as one brigade and Soissons horse on its own. All the Petronels are placed under Tremouille. The foot at the ford are split between Favas and Neuvi. The Enfants Perdus are never brigaded but are given a piece of terrain either to capture or defend for the entire scenario. 

Navarre: I think I solved my soft-spot problem. I'll strip most of the Pike off two of my regiments and make a single regiment Pike-heavy. I'll rush that regiment (under Neuvi) into the gap between the hill and the village but far enough back that the Royalists won't figure out the trap. If they chase off my light horse they be confronted with an angry infantry regiment blocking their way forward or back. I hope.

Confidence
According to the scenario special rules the Catholics are tired and start with 'Uncertain' Confidence, while the Protestants are 'Resolute' (historically the Huguenots were upset that Navarre had seduced a young woman of good family in La Rochelle and had not repented. The army gave him an ultimatum- swear to publically repent or face the enemy with a discouraged army. He swore to repent in La Rochelle after the battle, and eventually kept his word). There are six Confidence levels- Exultant, Resolute, Equipoised, Uncertain, Desperate and Hopeless. Victories can move an army towards Exultant, and defeats down to Hopeless. An army driven below Hopeless are utterly defeated and will fly the field.
Orders
The Battle is Joined
Joyeuse: I'm going to go all out, almost... Assault orders for Lavardin's Gendarmes and Tiercellin's Infantry- that will save me having to change orders at the last minute. Montigny's Gendarmes and the Stradiots will Demonstrate against the enemy horse on the eastern hill. Cluseaux will harass the Coutras wood. The only question will be timing- I'd like to hit the Protestant line all at once.

Navarre:
I want to sucker a whole brigade of Gendarmes into chasing my Petronels. That will tilt the numerical balance in my favour. They get a 'Demonstrate' order. The Millers are all on 'Hold' orders. With Navarre so close, changing order will be a snap, except for Soissons; he is of 'Flighty' humour, he might not like an aggressive order, turning it into something more tame. The Infantry at the ford will go into reserve, the pike-heavy regiment gets a 'Maneuver' to close the bag behind the Petronels.  
Turn One
The whole Catholic line advances! Sadly for them their single gun is immediately masked and is effectively out of the fight. Tremouille advances with his brigade of Petronels.
Joyeuse: OK, nothing to see here. His Petronels are no threat, but I don't like Soisson's regiment looking down at my line of advance. My gun is masked, but I'll use it anyone who breaks through my line. 

Navarre:
Not surprisingly, they all advance. I turned around and opened an mp3 I was saving- the 118th Psalm sung by a French choir! My opponent, knowing the story, shouts "S'Blood, they are confessing themselves!". 
Lavardin's Gendarmes

Lavardin's Gendarmes

Tremouille's Advance

Tremouille's Advance

Soisson's 'Brigade'

Soisson's 'Brigade'

Both sides have to issue orders to each brigade. There are three aggressive orders (Assault, Harass, and Demonstrate) and three Passive orders (Maneuver, Hold and Reserve). These orders can be changed during play, but each one will be 'interpreted' by the brigade commander based on his 'Humour' (Either Chivalrous, Intrepid, Stolid, Flighty or Peevish).
Turn Two
The Catholics continue to come on. The Protestants cross the ford and head towards the reserve position. Their gun on the hill starts to engage the Gendarmes under Montigny, knocking one unit down to Disarray'd cohesion (lowering its morale and fighting power until rallied).
Joyeuse: Ouch! That gun is going to be trouble!

Navarre:
My infantry is making slow progress though Coutras, and his Gendarmes are getting close to Tremouille's Petronels quicker than I expected. 
Slogging through town

Slogging through town

Sully's gun starts firing

Sully's gun starts firing

Turn Three
A firefight breaks out between the Skirmishing horse attached to Lavardin's Gendarmes and Tremouille's brigade. No casualties, just slight disorder. The Huguenot pikemen form up beside the village.
Joyeuse: Though I scorn the Huguenot light horse, I have to get them out of the way to sweep Soissons off the hill. If I can do that I'll roll up the other hill as well. Potentially sweet.

Navarre:
The pikes are in position to close the trap. Now to get Tremouille to back (or run) away, bringing the enemy chasing after them.
Shootout!

Shootout!

The bag-end

The bag-end

Turn Four
The Catholic Enfants Perdus have reached the Coutras wood and begin to engage the Protestant defenders. Cluseaux's regiment can't get close enough due to space constraints. The Huguenots try to change Tremouille's orders to get him to back up- instead, he doubts the order and switches it to an aggressive order and stays in shooting range of the Gensdarmes. Montigny's horse continues to be pounded.
Joyeuse: Blasted traffic jam near the Coutras wood! I need to clear out this nest of Huguenots! Since it is an important defended point, losing it will cost them a double 'Cause for Alarm' (one for the loss of the Veteran Enfants Perdus inside, one for the terrain). This could lead to the all-important loss of Confidence- degrading their morale and fighting ability, ultimately causing them to abandon the field.

Navarre:
Tremouille...you impetuous b*stard, I FAILED TO READ YOUR BOOK!!! Thanks for nothing. Prepare to be over-run. 
Turn Five
Lavardin decides to rally some of the disorder in preparation to charge, giving the Huguenot Petronels a free shot (that does little). At the Coutras wood the Royalist Enfants Perdus start to take casualties from the Protestant Veterans.
Joyeuse: Right, I'm set to clear the enemy light horse out of the way. I'm still worried about Soissons- he maty be able to swoop down on my disordered by soon-to-be victorious Gendarmes. Things aren't going great in the woods, but it's early yet. Time to use my new messenger figure!!!

Navarre:
Why is the Catholic Legion brigade moving so slowly? It will take them forever to reach the park at this rate. Not that I'm complaining...but they should be doubling if they want to get into the fight. Any disorder will easily be rallied outside arquebus range of the defenders.
Firing in the Coutras wood

Firing in the Coutras wood

More shooting in the center

More shooting in the center

Tremouille can't get enough action!

Tremouille can't get enough action!

Your orders, Sire?

Your orders, Sire?

Check out the order in his hand!

Check out the order in his hand!

A scrappy little fight

A scrappy little fight

The Lines Clash
Turn Six
Lavardin charges! One Petronel regiment just breaks and runs. The other evades at full speed, with the whole Gendarmes brigade chasing them. Cluseaux finally gets into range and starts blazing away. With half an enemy brigade in rout, the Catholics have a 'Cause for Rejoicing'. They roll and fail to move to Equipoised (Joyeuse is not an inspiring leader). The Protestants now have a 'Cause for Alarm'. They roll and pass, thanks to Navarre's strong inspiration rating.
Joyeuse: Excellent! The enemy line has a hole in it. Phase two begins! Too bad Joyeuse is such a dud...

Navarre:
OK, it's not so bad. My Enfants Perdus are holding off a whole brigade. The Gendarmes are heading for the bag... you know what...? Soissons is in charge reach!!!
Joyeuse, being a Dandy

Joyeuse, being a Dandy

Huguenot guns keep pounding

Huguenot guns keep pounding

Lavardin Charges!

Lavardin Charges!

Tremouille hoofs it

Tremouille hoofs it

Cluseaux joins in

Cluseaux joins in

Soissons has an idea

Soissons has an idea

Turn Seven
With Lavardin's men scattered pursuing Tremouille's command, Navarre sees his opportunity. Being so close to Soisson's command, he can issue an order that will be acted on immediately. The problem is Soisson is of 'Flighty' humour; he needs an 'Assault' order to charge down on the disordered Gendarmes, but that is an Aggressive order, and the Flighty Soissons will have to roll on the Doubt table, possibly downgrading the order to something less hostile. He rolls high, and charges. The Royalist Gendarmes are in 'Mob' cohesion, which affects their morale drastically. The Huguenot Millers roll their waver test to charge- they pass easily. The Gendarmes roll and break before contact, fleeing toward their table edge, with the Protestants in pursuit. The Coutras woods are ablaze with small-arms fire, as both sides close to almost point-blank range.  The Catholics have as Cause for Alarm, the Protestants for rejoicing. Again Joyeuse is no help and his army drops to 'Desperate', while Navarre's troops rise to Exultant.  
Joyeuse: Oh heck.. I didn't think we'd take it in the teeth like this. I've got to get back on top. Next turn I'll end the fight in the woods with drawn swords! The rest of Lavardin's Gendarmes fall back to rally.

Navarre:
Navarre! L'Evangile! The unctious Soissons manages to crush his enemies. Now I have to get him to stop pursuing. Things are looking good, but now my infantry are too far back to do any good. Now it's Montigny's turn!
Lavardin shows is heels

Lavardin shows is heels

Montigny closes in

Montigny closes in

Coutras Wood crisis

Coutras Wood crisis

Huguenot foot- out of work?

Huguenot foot- out of work?

Turn Eight
The Catholic Enfants Perdus throw caution to the wind, and with a mighty shout charge their Huguenot opponents. Both pass their waver tests and enter melee. The Protestants have a higher combat value due to their enemy's disorder and better fighting value. They roll on the Advantaged table, but get a "Give Ground" result on themselves- they are pushed back and next round will face an adverse modifier. Soisson fails to halt his pursuit, and Lavardin can't rally while pursued. Montigny's Stradiots now come to the foot of the hill before Conde's Millers and starts shooting at them. The Huguenots in the Park are in range and take the Stradiots under fire. The battle is spreading out.
Joyeuse: Hah! My 'Seasoned' Enfants Perdus beat up the 'Veteran' heretics! On the downside, I don't think Lavardin is coming back...*sniff*... but Tiercellin's brigade is FINALLY getting into range. Meanwhile, I've got to get Conde and Navarre into difficulties before I rush them with the rest of my Gendarmes.

Navarre:
Bad news and possibly some good news- the Woods are in trouble. Soisson is not slowing down, and may leave the board. The Stradiots may be the good news- they are swanning around right in front of Conde! If I rush them they'll blow right through the Gendarmes behind them!
Navarre's eye view

Navarre's eye view

The Legion closes in on the Park

The Legion closes in on the Park

Turn Nine
Conde's order is switched to 'Assault' by Navarre. With a humour that is 'Chivalrous', Conde is only to glad to get into the action. Navarre will personally lead his regiment to charge Joyeuse, who has joined the other Gendarmes regiment in Montigny's command. The Stradiots take one look at the Pistol waving Millers and evade straight back into the Gendarmes, who, already disordered by artillery fire become a mob. Conde hits them and in the melee the Gendarmes are pushed back. Navarre rushes Joyeuse who, thanks to being at 'Desperate' confidence, fails his waver test and runs away. The Huguenot and Catholic Enfants Perdus get a deadlock result in melee, which will continue. The Legion under Tiercellin gets into short range, exchaning fire in the Park. Catholic losses lead to another drop in confidence- down to 'Hopeless'. One more drop and they are through.
Joyeuse: All is lost save honour! Wait a minute...Honour is pretty much lost, too..... if the Legion can't save us now the whole army will be lost. Lavardin plays it smart and leaves the table.

Navarre:
I'm not even breaking a sweat! My opponent is usually more careful than this- several critical mistakes has left his army a wreck. Soissons will leave the table next turn if I canèt stop him from pursuing. The bad news is with Navarre in melee, he canèt give orders. I would liked to have ordered up the infantry in reserve, but it looks like I wonèt need them anyway.
A walk in the Park

A walk in the Park

Conde vs Montigny

Conde vs Montigny

Joyeuse makes for Paris

Joyeuse makes for Paris

Coutras wood in the balance

Coutras wood in the balance

Soissons on the edge

Soissons on the edge

The End in Sight
Turn Ten
Montigny and Conde go at it again- this time Conde breaks into the Gendarmes causing a Disaster test, which, not surprisingly considering the confidence level, they fail. Turning their backs and running, the Millers cause horrific casualties on them, Montigny himself among the slain. The rallied Catholic horse from Lavardin's brigade form up faced by the rallied brigade of Tremouille! The Park comes under Assault from the Legion. They manage to pass their charge test and rush across the ditch and attack the Huguenots behind the hedge. Again, the Royalists enter the melee as a mob, but being pike-armed they have an advantage over the Enfants Perdus and push them back. In the Coutras wood area Cluseaux tries to enter the melee but can't roll high enough. The Enfants Perdus grapple with eachother, causing numerous casualties, but no advantage is gained.  The Catholics face a loss of confidence, but miraculously pass the roll.
Joyeuse: Yes! Boxcars! I'm still in the game! If I can rout the defenders of the Park next turn, I can at least go for a stalemate. What's with the Coutras wood? The casualties are piling up but neither side wants to give way! Montigny is shot down so he won't have to face the music.

Navarre:
Uh oh. The whole line in the Park falls back a little too easily. Soissons is gone, but Navarre rallies, ready to face off against the last of Lavardin's Gendarmes. The Royalist artillery fires on Navarre?!!?!? I forgot those guys. It will be hard to get back in order, and with Gendarmes still on the board I'm not safe.
A Walk INTO the Park

A Walk INTO the Park

Montigny's last hurrah

Montigny's last hurrah

Tremouille still holding up the Gendarmes

Tremouille still holding up the Gendarmes

Guns finally get to play

Guns finally get to play

Turn Eleven
Only the flanks are engaged. The Legion breaks further into the Park but fails to rout the stubborn Huguenots. Cluseaux again fails to charge the wood, and the Catholic Enfants Perdus begin to give ground. The horse all attempt to rally and reorganize.
Joyeuse: The Park is almost mine! I can taste it!!! Run you lousy rats! It's over! Meanwhile the woods are looking bad. If I lose here it's white flag time (no offense, Navarre).  

Navarre:
It will come down to what happens next turn. I need to win one flank for a total victory.
The Park

The Park

The Park again

The Park again

And the Park once more

And the Park once more

Turn Twelve
The Legion regiments come close to victory, causing disaster tests on both Huguenot units in the Park, but their confidence is too high- they manage to hang on. In the wood, the Royalist Enfant Perdus finally succumb and are routed. The Royalist confidence drops and that's it. The game is over.
Joyeuse: Looks like I'll have to rout all the way to Hungary- I can't face the King. My army is destroyed- with no horse and being driven past the Hopeless confidence level, the foot will have to throw down their arms. Navarre has conquered.

Navarre: What can I say? DON'T MESS WITH GENEVA! I'm King of the south!
Final Roundup
The Coutras woods hold

The Coutras woods hold

Run Joyeuse, run!

Run Joyeuse, run!

Joyeuse: I made some mistakes and it cost me dearly. The attack was uncoordinated. In my defense this is a hard scenario to win! I have good troops but the position of the enemy is like a mini-Gibraltar. All in all the system performed very well. The morale factor was important, and having an inspiring leader makes a big difference. My Legion regiments hung in when the army was crumbling and even forced their way into the Park, which was quite a feat. My horse however should be sent to the glue factory.

Navarre: The Huguenots have a big advantage in the scenario, in that the terrain favours them and the enemy must attack to win. I was able to do a lot of shooting as the enemy approached, causing caualties and disorder and was then able to defeat them in detail. The game went very smoothly, to the extent that we didn't have to look at the rules once- the Summary sheet and the QRS have all the answers we needed. 
Tonight's Three Stars
The Victor