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DBR 25mm Thirty Years War Imperialist army used at Natcon 2009.Renaissance or DBR is a strong period at our club. There are about a dozen of us at the club with renaissance armies and you will usually see a DBR game at club meetings. Most of our renaissance wargames had been in 15mm scale, but since 2006 many of us have also built up new 25mm armies. We have also tried a few games using late period DBM/DBMM armies (e.g. Hussites and Medieval Germans) using DBR rules. FOG-R (Field of Glory) has generated some interest, but as yet not many games have been played at the club.

Competitions and Conventions

NICon  |  NatCon |  Push of Pike | South Pacific Championship

History of renaissance wargaming in NZ
The first ever renaissance wargames army

NICON North Island Convention

Nicon 2009

Nicon 2009 was held on Queen's Birthday weekend, May 30-31, in the Napier Boys' High School hall.

There were 8 players in the DBR competition. Scott won the prize for the best army, a vast horde (nearly 90ME) of Tlaxcalans (from The Assault Group) and Spanish (from Eureka Miniatures). Kelly again produced a beautiful army, the Ottoman Turks, and won the Best Sport award. His Turks were at the point of winning their first game but then lost two elements attacking the enemy baggage and the game ended in a mutual break!

Almost all games finished with clear wins (10-0 or 9-1), many well within the four hour time limit. Only three games ended with a draw; neither army having broken by the end of play. There was one quick and bloody mutual break.

Final scores:
1. Richard Foster German Protestant, Hesse-Kassel 1635 [29 points]
2. Philip Abela Early Tudor English with Maximilian allies 1513 [28]
3. John Way Japanese after 1542 [23]
4. Allen Yaxley Ming Chinese 1539 [21]
5. Andrew Bennetts Italian Wars French 1522 [19]
6. Scott Neilsen Tlaxcalans and Conquistadors 1521[17]
7. Rex Hurley Valois French 1525 [17]
8. Kelly Gay Ottoman Turks before 1595 [6]

DBR 25mm Japanese v Ming Chinese. Click for larger image.
Japanese v Ming Chinese
DBR 25mm Valois French v German Protestants. Click for larger image.
Valois French v German Protestants
DBR 25mm Tudor English v Ottoman Turks. Click for larger image.
Tudor English v Ottoman Turks
DBR 25mm Tlaxcalans and Conquistadors v Italian Wars French. Click for larger image.
Tlaxcalans and Conquistadors v Italian Wars French

Nicon 2008

The Manawatu Duellists hosted Nicon 2008 at Massey University. As there was no DBR at Natcon this year, Nicon doubled as the National tournament.

There was a great variety of armies, and the 17th Century armies did rather better this year than last. Four players took naval elements, the most impressive being Grant's buccaneer squadron.

We experimented with a new rule:
"Shot (F) get a +1 vs enemy they move into contact with in their own turn".
The purpose of this was to give the Shot (F) a fighting chance and the players who use them some hope. It did encourage said players to try different armies but as it turned out there were no instances where the +1 had any significant impact on a game. It did, however, allow the Shot (F) to survive a little longer in hand to hand.

Final scores:
1. Richard Foster German Protestants Bohemian Revolt 1620, 335 points
2. Philip Abela Early Tudor English 1544, 332
3. Kelly Gay 30YW Swedes 1632, 327
4. Lawrence Antill German Catholics Eastern Imperial 1633, 232
5. Scott Neilson Omani Arabs 1518, 222
6. Grant Brown Buccaneers 1660, 221
7. Phil Gates Venetians 1506, 220
8. Allen Yaxley Knights of St John 1522, 220
9. Scott Gallagher Ukrainian Cossacks 1683, 111
10. John van den Hoeven Valois French 1536, 110
11. John Kerr ECW Royalists 1645, 110

DBR 25mm Knights of St John v Ukrainian Cossacks. Click for larger image.
Knights of St John v Ukrainian Cossacks
DBR 25mm Venetians. Click for larger image.
DBR 25mm Thirty Years' War Swedish. Click for larger image.
Thirty Years' War Swedish
DBR 25mm Buccaneers v English Civil War Royalist. Click for larger image.
Buccaneers v English Civil War Royalist
DBR 25mm Knights of St John v Tudor English. Click for larger image.
Knights of St John v Tudor English
DBR 25mm Thirty Years' War German Catholics v Protestants. Click for larger image.
Thirty Years' War German Catholics v Protestants
DBR 25mm Ukrainian Cossacks v Valois French. Click for larger image.
Ukrainian Cossacks v Valois French
DBR 25mm Thirty Years' War Swedish v Omani Arabs. Click for larger image.
Thirty Years' War Swedish v Omani Arabs

Nicon 2007

Nicon 2007 was held in Cambridge and like last year had a 25mm competition, this time attracting a field of 12 players (four returning from last year and eight new players) and some brand new armies also made their appearance.

DBR 25mm Free CossacksCompetition results:
1. Grant Brown Swiss Confederate, 232 points
2. Philip Abela Early Tudor English, 230
3. Danny Wrigley Scandinavian Union, 228
4. Richard Foster Scandinavian Union, 125
5. John Way Japanese, 122
6. John Conroy Later Polish, 122
7. Scott Gallagher Later Polish, 121
8. Andrew Hunter Manchu Chinese, 118
9. Patrick Conroy Ottoman Turk, 115
10. Allen Yaxley Russian Conscript, 110
11. John van den Hoven Transylvanian, 110
12. Mark Conroy Free Cossack, 9

Best Painted Army: Free Cossacks painted by Mark Conroy - a vast horde of fast pikes and fast shot defended by fixed obstacles, with clouds of LH (I) dashing around.

These are the armies as deployed for the first round games, or in a few cases just beginning the first bound with the customary move into the flanks. Click the image to see a larger version.

DBR 25mm Japanese v Later Polish. Click for larger image.
Japanese v Later Polish
DBR 25mm Transylvanian v Swiss Confederate. Click for larger image.
Transylvanian v Swiss Confederate
DBR 25mm Ottoman Turkish v Manchu Chinese. Click for larger image.
Ottoman Turkish v Manchu Chinese
DBR 25mm Later Polish v Scandinavian Union. Click for larger image.
Later Polish v Scandinavian Union
DBR 25mm Scandinavian Union v Russian Conscript. Click for larger image.
Scandinavian Union v Russian Conscript
DBR 25mm Early Tudor English v Free Cossack. Click for larger image.
Early Tudor English v Free Cossack

Nicon 2006

The North Island Convention was held in New Plymouth on 3-4 June, 2006. A 25mm DBR competition was run, perhaps the first 25mm renaissance competition in NZ since the 1980s.

Results of the 2006 competition
Grant Brown - Swiss Confederate - 335 - 1st place
John Way (Umpire) - Japanese - 330
Andrew Hunter - Manchu - 222 - 2nd Place
Kelly Gay - Muslim Indian - 217
Philip Abela - Early Tudor - 114
Brent Senior Partridge - Moghul - 2

Here are the armies used at NICon 2006. Click the image to see a larger version.

Muslim Indian


Early Tudor English



Manchu Chinese

Below are some pictures from the NICon 2005 convention.

DBR Muslim Indians and Safavid Persians. 15mm Essex Miniatures.

DBR Muslim Indians and German Catholics. 15mm Essex Miniatures.

Top left: Muslim Indians attacking Safavid Persian archers and cavalry. Top right: Muslim Indian cavalry with an elephant in support in combat with the German Catholic army.
Lower left: The Royalist Army. Formerly Glen's army now under new management with Bryan from the South Auckland club. Lower right: Reiters in the service of the Russian army.

DBR Royalists. 15mm Essex Miniatures

DBR Reiters. 15mm Essex Miniatures

Right: Another picture from NICon 2005. The Williamite Anglo-Dutch army. In the foreground Grenadiers and Dragoons advance over a hill. Figures by Lancashire Games, painted by Natholeon of Rotorua.

Natholeon's Williamite army

South Pacific Championship

The annual South Pacific Championship has been contested annually since 2007 at major competions in New Zealand and Australia, including Natcons and IWF championships. In 2011 it was held at the IWF competition in Wellington, and will be in Australia next year.

South Pacific DBR championship

2007  Grant Brown (NZ) Safavid Persian (1591)
2008  Jonathan Moore (Vic) New Model Army (1654)
2009  Damian Pooley (Vic) Williamite Anglo-Danish (1688)
2010  Paul Garnham (Vic) Portuguese Colonial (1521)
2011  Mark Robins Caroline Swedish (1700)
2015 /p>


Siberian Tribes and Regency Frency in a DBR game

Siberian Tribes and Regency French in a DBR game.


South Pacific Championship DBR

South Pacific Championship DBR


Renaissance NATCON winners

1980  D. Richards 25mm, S. Sands 15mm
1981  D. Richards 25mm, D. Ackery 15mm
1982  D. Richards 15mm
1983  M. Anastasiadis 15mm
1984  A. Charles 15mm (Japanese)
1985  F. Stairs 15mm (French Hugenot)
1986  B. Mudgway (Polish)
1987  S. Sands (Scots)
1988  R. Foster (English)
1989  B. Fowler (Spanish)
1990  R. Foster (English)
1991  B. Mudgway (Venetian Niccolo Vitelli)
1992  B. Mudgway
1993  J. Conroy & B. Thomson
1995  B. Fowler (English - Henry VIII)
1996  M. Haycock (Imperial)
1997  M. D. Haycock (Imperial)
1998  M. D. Haycock (Scots Covenanters)
1999  Philip Abela (Knights of St John)
2000  M. D. Haycock (Scots Covenanters)
2003  John Way (Austrian Imperial)
2005  John Way (Later Danish)
2006  Philip Abela (Muslim Indian)
2007  Grant Brown (Safavid Persian)
2008  R. Foster (German Protestants)
2009  Philip Abela (Tudor English)
2010  R. Foster (German Protestants) 25mm, Philip Abela (Muslim Indians) 15mm
2011  Keith McNelly (ECW Royalists)
2014  Grant Brown (Early Imperial Spanish 1533)



National renaissance wargames trophy

Auckland Wargames Club
National Wargames Convention

DBR 15mm Aztecs vs Thirty Years War FrenchDBR 25mm Aztecs vs TransylvaniansFor the first time in many years, there was a Renaissance competition in both 15mm and 25mm at Natcon 2010. Surprisingly enough, there was an Aztec army in both scales. The vast numbers of elements caused quite some consternation amongst their opponents, and the army of Grant Brown came 2nd in the 15mm competition. The 25mm army won the best painted army prize. On the left, in the 15mm comp, the Aztecs are taking on a Thirty Years War French army. Right, the 25mm Aztecs are crossing a river to attack Transylvanians.

A couple of pictures from Natcon 2006. On the left the Swiss pikes are advancing on Valois French cavalry who are rapidly trying to get out of the way. On the right, the Alwa (Christian Nubians of around 1500 AD), an army that bravely turned up to a renaissance competition without any gunpowder weapons at all.

Swiss vs Valois FrenchDBR Alwa army

Push of Pike trophyIn 2004 we hosted the first annual Push of Pike tournament. In the second tournament we introduced a theme period, the Thirty Years War and English Civil War. In subsequent years we have used various other themes, and had other open tournament in preparation for the Worlds the following year.
Push of Pike 2018 Open competition
Push of Pike 2016 English Civil War and Thirty Years War
Push of Pike 2015 Armies and Enemies of Charles V 1530-1556
Push of Pike 2014 Non-European armies 1494-1700
Push of Pike 2013 European armies 1540-1600
Push of Pike 2012 Armies 1650-1700
Push of Pike 2011 ECW and 30YW
Push of Pike 2010 Open competition
Push of Pike 2009 The Turkish Wars
Push of Pike 2008 The Wars of Religion
Push of Pike 2007 Armies of Africa and Asia
Push of Pike 2006 Early Wars
Push of Pike 2005 ECW and 30YW
Push of Pike 2004 Open competition

The prestigious trophy of the Push of Pike tournament, otherwise known as the PoP gun, photographed here on what appears to be a comfy chair. Oh no, not the comfy chair!

The history of renaissance wargaming in NZ

Wargames Rules For Fifteenth to Seventeenth Centuries (1420-1700) by George Gush, 2nd Edition, 1979."Unfriendly cover and four enemy units within 150 paces" we used to say to each other, "Twelve @ four is 24 casualties". Ah, that was wargaming. Renaissance wargaming began in New Zealand in the 1970s using the WRG rules written by George Gush, but was not played at the North Shore club at that time. The original Gush rules covered the period 1490-1660, and the second edition (published 1979) extended the period to 1420-1700. At the time of publication the WRG ancient rules did not cover the late medieval period. The rules employed the same game mechanisms as the WRG ancient rules of the time, with unit orders, simultaneous movement, charts of weapon factors and tactical factors to calculate casualties, and numerous reaction tests to determine unit morale. The 2nd ed. had some innovations in wargames rules, including provision for religious contingents, baggage train and rules for looting.

Wargames Research Group Rulettes for 16th Century Naval WarfareFollowing the publication of J.F. Guilmartin's book Gunpowder and Galleys, WRG published a small booklet in 1978 with rules for 16th century naval warfare. It had just seven pages of rules. I know of no games played locally with this rulebook, but who knows, it may yet catch on.

Renaissance Rules 1420-1660 by R.D.C. Publications Army Lists 1420-1660 for use with R.D.C. Rules 1420-1660In the early '80s (probably 1981 or '82) a set of renaissance rules was produced in NZ by R.D.C. Publications (Michael Anastasiadis & Richard Mason). It was based around the WRG rule mechanisms, but designed to be faster playing. It was accompanied by an extensive set of 105 army lists for the period 1420-1660, with good coverage of Africa and Asia as well as European armies. They included a few armies missing from the current DBR lists, including the Teutonic Knights and the German peasants' revolt. The RDC rules were used at the 1986 Natcon in Wellington (where the rules were published), although the WRG 2nd ed rules were in use again by the time of the '88 Natcon.

For a few years, maybe only a year or two, in the late eighties or early nineties renaissance was played using a variant of the then current WRG 7th edition ancient rules. These renaissance modifications to the Ancient rules were used in the 15mm Renaissance competition in the 1992 Nicon in New Plymouth. Many of the army lists were taken from the late medieval army lists including such wonderful troop types as double-armed Venetians with handguns and halberds. Turkish archers had a great time shooting at shieldless enemies! There was at least one competition held on the North Shore - from memory it might have been a Nicon or 'Fire & Sword' convention held at the old Akoranga Rd venue. Shortly afterwards DBA and DBM were on the scene, and 7th edition was abandoned for both ancients and renaissance.

De Bellis Renationis Wargames Rules for Renaissance Battle 1494 AD to 1700 AD by Phil Barker and Richard Bodley Scott. Wargames Research Group. Version 2.0 January 2004.The renaissance period has been played on the North Shore since the first release of the DBR De Bellis Renationis rules in 1995. The DBR rules cover the historical period 1494 to 1700. As there was some dissatisfaction with the published points system a revised set of army points values was devised for use in New Zealand games in 1996, and was used at Natcon in 1997. A revised version of DBR v1.1 came out in 1997, and the NZ points revisions were then updated taking into account the changed rules.

The second edition of DBR was published early in 2004.  A new NZ revision of the points values for DBR version 2 has been used in several conventions since 2005 and is widely used in non-competition games as well.

DBR was first played at Natcon in 1996 in Hamilton. Previous national competitions were played using the Gush rules. DBR has also been played at several other NZ conventions including Battlecry in 1998, ValleyCon, and a one-off renaissance tournament attracting about ten players, held at the Auckland Wargaming Club in (if I remember correctly) 1997. The 2007 NZ Natcon was the first of the annual South Pacific Championships. This will be held in New Zealand and Australia in alternating years.

Most of the DBR competitions have attracted only small numbers of entrants, usually somewhere between 6-12 players. Because of the small numbers of entries, a few competition were cancelled for lack of interest. This in part led to the idea of a dedicated DBR tournament, Push of Pike, which has been hosted by the North Shore club annually since 2004.

The Principles of War rule system also has a renaissance rulebook and with army lists. A few games of it have been played in the several Auckland clubs and perhaps elsewhere as well.

DBR 15mm Ottoman Turks from Mikes ModelsIn the 'eighties Mikes Models were producing several ranges of renaissance figures in 15mm, including the Ottoman Turks pictured here. These models were distributed locally, and there were a lot of armies built up with them. There are still several old Mikes Models armies around, attractively painted and still to be seen in action on the table. The FreiKorps ranges (Thirty Years' War, English Civil Wars, Tudor English and Irish wars) have also been distributed in New Zealand, and a number of armies built from those ranges are also to be seen.

DBR 15mm landsknechts and Spanish pikeblocks, with double-based elements.Many of the current 15mm renaissance armies in use are made up of figures from Essex Miniatures extensive ranges, covering everything from late medieval to Eighteenth Century periods. Many of those were new ranges released at the time of the new DBR rules and lists. The two pike blocks illustrated here are from Essex Miniatures (with a few Minifigs arquebusiers on the flanks of the formation). The front two ranks of the Spanish (on the right hand side) are double-based, with both ranks of figures at the back of the base, to allow for the length of the horizontal pike. The landsknechts' centre ranks are double based as a convenience for moving elements, and to allow space for the colour parties in the middle of the pike block. You could almost call them doppelsoldners.

There is a wide variety of figure manufacturers represented in the new 25mm armies being fielded. This includes not only traditional historical manufacturers but also some of Games Workshop's "Empire" and "Brettonian" figures being adapted for armies of the Italian Wars period.


The first ever renaissance wargames army

"Some time in 1614 the young prince of Spain, later King Philip IV, received a spectacular present: a complete set of toy soldiers made of wood. It included infantry regiments and cavalry companies with their various banners, weapons and equipment; horses and cannon for the artillery; the distinctive shops and tents of the armourers, sutlers and other camp followers; and special materials to construct artificial lakes, forests and pontoon bridges. There was even a toy castle for the 'army' to besiege. This, the first child's 'war-game' known in Europe, reproduced in replica the most famous army of its day: the Army of Flanders, maintained by Spain in the Low Countries.

A special pamphlet printed in Spanish and Latin accompanied the toy because its designer, Alberto Struzzi, intended to educate as well as amuse. 'This army will be no less useful than entertaining,' Struzzi informed the prince. 'From it one may observe the expenditure which is necessary if a king is to emerge victorious, and how if money (which is the sinews of war) fails, the prince's intentions cannot be achieved.' ... Alas, the model army perished in a fire in the royal palace in Madrid in 1884."

Geoffrey Parker. The Army of Flanders and the Spanish Road 1567-1659: The Logistics of Spanish Victory and Defeat in the Low Countries' Wars. Second Edition, Cambridge University Press, 2004. p.1

This page last updated 7 August 2018