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Wallenstein Session: Pappenheimer Surprise

November 18, 2006

The year was 1618 and the Thirty Years’ War had just begun. The Peace of Westphalia was decades away, and there was much bloodshed and revolting to be done in the meantime. Five mercenary leaders came together to lay their claim to the regions of Brandenburg, Sachsen, Kurpfalz, Bayern, and Osterreich, but only one would emerge victorious after two vicious years and two lean winters.

Albrecht von Wallenstein lay his claim to the East, building strongholds in Regensburg, Ober-Osterreich, and Nieder-Osterreich, but still spreading out forces far to the North in Neumark and far to the West in Breisgau.

Count Gottfried Heinrich von Pappenheim ordered his Pappenheimers to fortify the North, deploying forces to Holstein and Mecklenburg, but stretching his lines further South into Wolfenbuttel and Hessen-Kassel.

Count Johann Tserclaes von Tilly formed a chain across the map, stretching all the way from Mahren in the East to Baden in the West, and North into Lausitz, Kursachsen, and Vogtland.

Count Ernst von Mansfield concentrated his forces in the West, claiming almost all of Kurpfalz, but leaving a lone army in Schlesien in the far East.

Finally, Gustavus Adolphus, the mighty King of Sweden, deployed his forces across the board, from Anhalt in the North, to Gft. Mark in the West, to Salzburg in the South.

The stage was set for the mightiest battle of the 17th century. All of the leaders divined that the year was ripe for a good harvest in Sachsen, but poor harvests in both Osterreich and Bayern, along with the possibility of the peasants becoming weary of war and trading in their swords for ploughshares.

Hope springs eternal, and so does spring, the first of eight seasons in this inevitable conflict. Each of our five mighty leaders set to planning their movements and reinforcements for that season. Everyone exchanged false smiles and false promises, while ordering their troops to invade, burn, and pillage. Once everyone had committed their forces to a plan of action, the die was cast, and there was nothing to do but watch and wait.

Gustavus Adolphus took no time in spreading his forces out, laying his claim to Osnabruck in the North, determined to prevent the Pappenheimers from dominating Brandenburg, but this proved to be a short lived campaign, as the first fireworks of this grand war exploded quickly and decisively in Osnabruck, with a bloody and costly battle. Adolphus managed to hang on by the skin of his teeth, but not for long, as time would tell.

Albrecht von Wallenstein and Count Johann Tserclaes von Tilly exchanged kind words across their borders in Osterreich, and managed to avoid bloodshed for the time being, but those lands would be stained and pillaged in the end as well. Finally, Count Ernst von Mansfield contented himself to fortifying Kurpfalz, and even began to build Palaces and Markets in the South. However, Mansfield mistakenly expected Wallenstein to abandon Breisgau as a lost cause and built a palace in Bm. Konstanz, but instead found himself staring at five more troops than he’d expected by the end of the year.

The weather began to heat up as the dog days of Summer dawned, and as temperatures rose, blood began to boil. This time the Pappenheimers would not be denied, and established dominance in Osnabruck. Count Gottfried was not content merely to dominate Brandenburg however, and used this opportunity to expand his holdings in Sachsen as well, by beginning to build a massive force in Sachs Lande.

Having been defeated in the North, Adolphus took his frustrations out on Wallenstein in the South, by invading Karnten from Salzburg. Their forces were evenly matched, and the outcome of the battle was uncertain. In the end, their forces killed each other to a man, and the land was laid waste. Albrecht’s fine market was burned to the ground, and he did swear vengeance upon the King of Sweden, and a vengeance that would never come, except in terms of the glory they earned from their construction endeavors.

Count Ernst von Mansfield continued to establish his dominance in Kurpfalz, with large forces in Burgund and Strassburg, but there was nothing that Mansfield could do to stop Wallenstein from invading his Palace in Bm. Konstanz. Mansfield was outnumbered and staring into the jaws of defeat, from out of nowhere, Wallenstein’s troops abandoned him, and Mansfield found himself with more forces than he’d started with. However, the stunning Palace of Konstanz was destined to suffer the same fate as the Market in Karnten because the forces were so evenly matched that the Palace was utterly burned to the ground. Mansfield was enraged, and crushed the remaining forces in Breisgau by sweeping south with Strassburg.

Across the world in Osterreich, Mansfield continued to anger to peasants in Schlesien by raiding their homes, and stealing their valuable treasure chests, which were promptly shipped West to recruit reinforcements in Kurpfalz. Meanwhile, Count Tilly built great wonders in Mahren, sorely tempting Wallenstein to break their peace and cross their borders.

The leaves began to change, and the fireworks of autumn were wondrous to behold, but the fireworks of the war rose to the challenge, matching nature’s show stride for stride.

Having wreaked havoc in Osnabruck and Karnten, and continuing the tradition of heading in opposite directions simultaneously, the King of Sweden marched South from Gft. Mark defeating Mansfield in Bm. Luttich and North from Anhalt, defeating the Pappenheimers in Altmark. It was a glorious day for Gustavus, but his time in the sun was short-lived as he proved to stretch his forces to thin, unable to commit himself to a single course of action and adequately fortify his position.

Meanwhile, Wallenstein angered his peasants severely in both Neumark and Fm. Bayen, stealing their gold and their grain, laughing all the way to the bank, but his folly would come back to haunt him in the long, hard Winter, as the peasants would have their revenge, and what a vicious and decisive revenge it would be. Wallenstein focused his autumnal efforts on building glorious buildings in Osterreich, but was matched stride for stride by Count Johann Tilly. Finally, having secured his position in Brandenburg, Count Gottfried Pappenheim decided to set his sights a bit higher by establishing dominance in Sachsen, with a large force in Hessen-Darmstadt and attractive buildings in Sachs Lande. In order to avoid peasant revolts in the coming winter due to controlling more territory than he could feed, Pappenheim cleverly provoked the peasants in Luneburg to revolt, and intentionally allowed them to lay waste to the province, so as to avoid a potential winter revolt in a weakly defended Holstein where the buildings were too numerous to count.

The first year of the Thirty Years’ War came to a close with a bang rather than a whimper, as vast amounts of grain spoiled before the mercenary leaders had a chance to feed and satiate their rowdy peasants. Revolts sprung up across the land, but while Mansfield and Adolphus were able to quell their revolts, Wallenstein was hit hardest, having stored up far too little grain, and lost his southern Osterreich holdings, never to be regained. Wallenstein vowed to make the peasants pay the second time around, losing sight of his goals and losing his territories one by one along the way.

After the peasant revolts were concluded, the five mercenary leaders rested their forces to count their holdings and determine how well or poorly they were doing in this fool’s contest they call war. It was a hard-fought year, and a close contest at the halfway point. Count Gottfried Heinrich von Pappenheim and his loyal Pappenheimers were in the lead though with twenty units of power, holding eight strong provinces, having built five buildings, and having built all of the most glorious buildings in Brandenburg and tied for one of the most glorious buildings in Sachsen. Count Johann Tserclaes von Tilly and Count Ernst von Mansfield were actually tied in second with eighteen units of power. Tilly held nine provinces, built only four buildings, but had glorious buildings in both Osterreich and Sachsen, whereas Mansfield only had eight provinces, and built four buildings as well, but had slightly more glorious buildings by dominating all of Kurpfalz. Albrecht von Wallenstein was a in fourth with a lowly fifteen units of power, holding a mere five provinces, four buildings, but glorious buildings in both Osterreich and Bayern. Finally, Gustavus Adolphus, far from his native home of Sweden, ended the first year with an even lowlier five units of power, holding five provinces and no buildings whatsoever. Adolphus was too busy fighting everybody in the North, South, East, and West to build spacious Palaces, righteous Churches, and profitable Markets, but he did pay dearly in the end for this oversight.

Hope springs eternal, and so does spring. The stage was set for an even bloodier second half in the Thirty Years’ War, with a close battle for dominance, and the lowly powers with plenty of forces to remain pesky throughout. The mercenary leaders began the second year by anticipating a Church Peace, a Poor Harvest in Brandenburg, a special bonus for building Markets, and the possibility of Enraged Peasants, but the leaders were happy to foresee that their grain would not spoil in such large quantities in the distant second winter.

This spring certainly did come in like a lion, although hardly out like a lamb, as Wallenstein saw that the time was ripe to pounce on Mahren, invading Tilly’s weakly defended forces with a massive army from Ober-Osterreich. Tilly’s forces, seeing that his cause was hopeless, abandoned him in large numbers in the midst of battle, resulting in a triumphant victory for Albrecht. Tilly could not be frightened so easily however, and instead of shoring up his forces in Oberpfalz to defend his Palace against Pappenheim’s large forces directly to the North in Sachsen, he sent his forces East to Bohmen, threatening Wallenstein and vowing revenge.

Meanwhile, Pappenheim was threatened by the forces of Gustavus Adolphus in Altmark, especially because of the large number of buildings in both Mecklenburg and Holstein, so he deployed significant reinforcements to the North. As a result, the King of Sweden headed East, the one direction he’d not ventured thus far, and laid his claim to Mittelmark. Wallenstein was threatened by this maneuver, as he’d thus far been using Neumark as a fertile ground for grain and gold, without actually committing many forces to his lone Brandenburg territory. Finally, Count Ernst von Mansfield had contented himself with his dominance in Kurpfalz and had quelled the threat of Adolphus in Bm. Luttich, so he ventured East into Bayern, and began to build up forces in the South at Tirol and Salzburg, threatening Wallenstein from yet another direction.

Once again the temperatures rose as summer approached, and once again the blood of the mercenary commanders began to boil. Albrecht von Wallenstein was fortunate to be able to fortify his newly acquired Mahren before Count Tilly could invade and recapture his buildings, but Wallenstein was not so fortunate in Bayern where he lost Regensburg and its devout Church to Count Tilly as well as Fm. Bayern and it’s Market to Count Mansfield. It was a brutal summer for Wallenstein, but a bountiful harvest for the Pappenheimers as they continued building in Sachs Lande and event sent their forces from Hessen-Darmstadt further South into Wurzburg in Bayern. Count Pappenheim had solidified Brandenburg early, followed by establishing dominance in Sachsen, and was greedy enough to seek a slice of the Bayern pie as well, but he was not to be denied.

As is wont to happen, the leaves once again began to change color and fall, as did the soldiers, who fell in record numbers in the final season of the Thirty Years’ War. First, Gustavus Adolphus mustered his forces in Anhalt and struck at the heart of the Pappenheimer’s empire by invading Sachs Lande with a mighty force, but in the end their warriors deserted them, and the three buildings in Sachs Lande remained in the hands of Count Gottfried Pappenheim. Second, Count Tilly was finally ready to retake Mahren, and retake it he did, in decisive fashion, crushing Wallenstein’s forces, and reclaiming his Palace and Market in Osterreich. Third and finally, the Pappenheimers sent the largest army that had ever been seen from Wurzburg into Oberpfalz, stealing at the eleventh hour the only palace in Bayern out from under the nose of Count Tilly, who had tunnel vision in striving to reclaim Marhen to the East.

Countless soliders and peasants had fallen, and finally the fighting ceased, but the dying wasn’t over yet, as the peasants demanded to be fed in the long winter that lay ahead. Somehow four of the mercenary leaders had managed to harvest enough grain to feed their hungry peasants, but Albrecht had not learned his lesson, and fell victim to yet more peasant revolts. The peasants struck back in Neumark, where it was only fitting that Wallenstein pay the ultimate price, as they burned his magnificent Palace to the ground, laying waste to the entire province. Wallenstein did curse the peasants throughout this harsh winter, but they cursed him right back for failing to harvest them adequate grain.

As the final year of the war had come to a close, the mercenary commanders were eager to determine who had succeeded in establishing dominance over the 45 provinces. Gustavus Adolphus, the mighty King of Sweden, held six provinces and one building, thus adding seven units of power to his previous five, and ending the game with a meager twelve. Albrecht von Wallenstein held the fewest with only five provinces, but had six buildings, and glorious buildings in both Osterreich and Bayern, netting himself fifteen units of power, and a total of thirty at the conclusion of the war. Count Johann Tserclaes von Tilly held eight provinces and six buildings, along with some of the most glorious buildings in both Osterreich and Sachsen, for a total of nineteen units of power, and ending with thirty-seven units of power. In second place and thus establishing himself as the first loser, Count Ernst von Mansfield held eight provinces and a grand nine buildings, with all of the most glorious ones in Kurpfalz, as well as glorious buildings in Bayern and devout Church in Tirol of Osterreich, thereby adding twenty-five units of power to his previous eighteen, and ending with forty-three units of power. Surprising few and angering many, Count Gottfried Heinrich von Pappenheim and his loyal Pappenheimers crushed all foes that dared stand before him, with an impressive ten provinces and unbelievable fourteen buildings, with all of the most glorious buildings in Brandenburg, and some of the most glorious in both Sachsen and Bayern. Count Pappenheim added a staggering thirty-seven to his first year total of twenty, for a grand total of fifty-seven units of power.

Albrecht von Wallenstein fell victim to a severe lack of grain, Gustavus Adolphus fell victim to fighting everyone and everywhere, but beating no one. Count Johann Tserclaes von Tilly took his eye off the ball, seeking vengeance on Wallenstein but leaving himself ripe for the picking by Pappenheim. Count Ernst von Mansfield concentrated too much on Kurpfalz in the East, rarely venturing beyond his comfortable borders. Count Gottfried Heinrich von Pappenheim won almost all his battles, rarely angered his peasants enough to give them cause to fight back, persevered in building across his realm, and never content to sit back and rest on his laurels, continued expanding and staking his claim to more and more territory. Long live Count Pappenheim and the victorious Pappenheimers!

(See this Session Report for this article plus additional comments on it)