Saturday, January 21, 2017

5 days to release... Pikemen in the Pikeman´s Lament

Swedish Pikes GNW

Not to may days left to the Official release of The Pikeman´s Lament rules, Seems like the books are on their way around the world in this very moment, at least to some comments. One copy have made it to Sweden so fare and you can read about Mattias at the Northern wargaming blog first impressions, but be aware he might be bias as he was one of my playtesters;)

I thought I would focus this blogpost on the Pikemen as their have been some discussion about their place in a "big skirmihs" game. If you expect me to present any historical facts about how pikemen fought in small groups you might be disapointed, sorry. One thing are for sure, you can´t have a Pike and Shot wargaming rules and leave the Pikes out, can you...

Danish Pikes Scanian War

12 points of Danes during the Scanian War

Sins the Pikes are in we might do the best out of them, Gamingvise they absolutely have their place as the number one close combat troop in the game, trained to repell all enemy least as long as they don´t shoot to much...

The pikeman’s main task was to protect the more fragile Shot against Horse as well as enemy Foot units, by either forming a pike hedge to repel Horse or to form up and make an aggressive “push-of-pike” while the Shot reloaded. Pikemen in close formation were very resilient and effective in melee against any opponent in open terrain. Good pikemen were just as useful in attack as in defence, so we have reflected this in the rules. Their close order formation makes it easier to Attack, and increases both Attack and Defence values, but also makes Pikes more difficult to move into position. The decision when to form close order can be crucial to your game plan.

Swedish Pikes in Close Order repell a charge of headless German Trotters...

Catholic infantry on the hill overlooking the Protestant infantry

Your pikeunits are indeed terrefying enemies in close combat but they may be were down by enemy Shooting, sins they have better armour than the shots they most often can withstand the enemy shooting untill they can form up in Close order and attack. A unit of enemy Shot are no match for a unit of your Pikemen in close combat...

BUT the cunning enemy commmander most often have got some pikes of their own to protect their Shots and to use to attack your Shot units in close combat... in that situation it can be crutual how you have your units possitioned on the gaming table as if you place your pikes a bit in front of your Shots as you keep the Shot units on their right and left flansk they will be better protected from enemy charges, this due to the 3" zone of control that the Pike unit have, making them the more or less the only unit that can be attacked. If your enemy uses the same trick to protect their Shots its time to let your Regimental guns do their work;)

Catholic battle line vs. Swedish battle line with Commanded shot sent out to harass the enemy.

Regimental gun

Dalecarlian pikemen and Officer

By the way, if you don´t like the use of Pikes in skirmish games, leave them out, its after all your game and you decide how to use the rules. Happy Gaming :)

Catholic and Protestant pikemen face of on a bridge


  1. Great write up Michael, I was wondering how the pike could do their job in the rules, this explains it nicely. I hadn't thought about the 3" proximity rule.

  2. Interesting. Which unit would represent Swor-and-buckler men?

    On a side note, do anyone know a good source for information on Danish uniforms and banners from the Scanian war. I have already found the Swedish ones.

    1. Agressive Forlorn Hope would represent Sword and buckler men.

      You find the Danish uniforms and colours for the Scanian war in this document:

  3. Looks just wonderful and really like the flags!


  4. Hi,
    My friend and I received our copies from North Star a few days ago! First impression? Excellent! Second impression? Still excellent! I just ordered a load of MDF bases to get our figures ready for our first game. Would it be OK to contact you through this blog with rules queries?