After my successful run with Twilight of Divine Right earlier in the week I thought I’d try out the predecessor, Twilight of the Sun King. This covers the period after Divine Right, primarily the wars of William of Orange, Louis XIV, Marlborough, Great Northern and Ottoman Wars.
The rules are fairly similar to ToDR. There is a few differences in unit types to match the shift away from pikes and muskets towards flintlocks. They’re also aren’t any pursuit rules making cavalry more reliable than the wild charge affairs of the earlier periods.
I picked the forces out of the example scenario on the rule book though set the table up slightly differently. The armies consist of a small elite force of Swedish and a larger but more raw force of Russians and Saxons. The Swedish are all Galloper Horse, Ga Pa infantry and Determined. This means they like to close into close combat and use their steel, and are more resilient due to their high morale. The Alliance troops tend to be more Raw and Wavering, so don’t have as much staying power, despite superior numbers.
Slightly larger table this time so using the more recommended setup of two bases per unit, 40mm each for a frontage of 80mm total. I used the rule recommendations to allow it to work with 2D6 same as DR (Original SK used average dice)
This one was good fun. Running it on a bigger table made measuring much easier (though moving multiple bases was a bit of a faff, will definitely do single large bases with I do this with figures) and I was a lot more comfortable with the rules. They live up to their fast play name with the battle playing out in an hour or so. I was using the brigade level army lists, so using regimental would make for a bigger game, but I suspect it would move along at a good clip too and be payable in a couple of hours. I did get one or two bits wrong, but it didn’t impact the game and I was able to get my queries answered quickly. Down the line I’ll probably make some sort of consolidated Quick Reference Sheet so I’m generally using the same core rules in the same format for both SK and DR rather than having the two separate sheets.
The biggest difference I noticed was probably the lack of a pursuit mechanic. In DR this makes cavalry potentially unreliable as they go haring off after fleeing enemy units. Here that doesn’t happen and the cavalry generally do what you tell them to. This reflects the more professional nature of the forces, though the pursuit mechanic could easily be ported across if a scenario justified it.
The quality vs quantity matchup was a good one. I’d initially thought it would be a tough fight for the Swedish given the size difference and that I’d have to use their aggressive historical tactics to try and break the Allies before they could surround them; and what do you know, it worked! I always like it when a game rewards historical tactics. When the Swedes were charging in they did serious damage while suffered when charged themselves or shot at from range.
I’d only had a passing knowledge of the GNW but reading around it a bit more it seems like an interesting period and one I might be tempted by in future. I’m pretty happy with these rules, so I hope to get a painting project in the works soon to add a bit more colour to the table. The Pendraken LoA range is very nice so I suspect there’ll be some packs ordered in the coming months and the 2mm forces will hopefully morph into painted 30YW bases.
The publishers also offer a number of scenario books covering the various wars of the period. I’ll likely pick up some of those in the near future as well as the example scenario was very well put together so that’s a good sign they’ll be a useful source.
Thanks for reading,