For King & Parliament Campaign November 1642

With the first major engagement won handily the Parliamentarians continue their siege on Oxford but shift their attention towards north England. The army of Sir Islington marches upon Hull and meets the army of the charismatic Sir Henry west of Thorne.

Royalists rolled “First battle” downgrading one of their units to untried. Parliamentarians rolled “early moves” reducing the campaign time roll by one.

Royalist Army

Command
Sir Henry – C-in-C, gallant general
Field Artillery – seasoned
Field Artillery – seasoned
Siege Artillery – seasoned

Horse Brigade
“Swedish”-style horse – raw
“Swedish”-style horse – seasoned, poorly mounted
“Swedish”-style horse – veteran
“Swedish”-style horse – seasoned
“Swedish”-style horse – seasoned

Foot Brigade
Sir Tardyk – general
Pike and shot battalia – seasoned, large
Forlorn hope – raw
Forlorn hope – raw

Foot Brigade
Pike heavy battalia – raw
Pike heavy battalia – raw, large
Pike heavy battalia – raw, untried
Pike heavy battalia – seasoned
Pike and shot battalia – raw
Pike and shot battalia – raw, untried
Commanded shot – seasoned

Here we have a large artillery section and a leaderless 7 unit brigade. Looks to be 112 points on the defensive side. The horse section is rather experienced as to be expected for Royalists.

Parliamentarian Army

Command
Sir Islington – C-in-C, general
Siege Artillery – seasoned
Field Artillery – seasoned

Horse Brigade
Colonel Greenwich
“Dutch”-style horse – raw, untried
“Dutch”-style horse – raw, untried, poorly mounted
“Dutch”-style horse – raw
“Dutch”-style horse – raw
“Dutch”-style horse – seasoned

Foot Brigade
Sir Veitch – general
Pike and shot – seasoned, gallant gentleman
Pike and shot – seasoned
Commanded shot – raw

Foot Brigade
Colonel Brandy
Pike and shot – raw
Pike and shot – veteran, attached light artillery
Rabble – raw

Sir Islington’s army is a little smaller than the opposition with only 104 points. It is well lead and equipped, though. Parliamentarian horse is lacking as expected.

The Battle of Thorne

Hint: Hit Ctrl plus a few times to make the images larger

Several features have been removed and the field is quite open. Though, some woods on the right protects the Parliamentarian flank.

Note: Red dice for remaining hits. If they are on the left of the unit (viewed from bottom) the unit is raw. Middle means seasoned and on the right means veteran. Blue and green dice for remaining ammo and dash respectively. White dice denote pursuing horse.

Royalists win the scouting handily and the entire Parliament force has to set up first. Cavalry gathered opposite each other on the Royalist left flank.
Royalists push forward aggressively while the artillery pieces start the bombardment. The kings men deployment was hampered by the prominent artillery placement in the forward line. Units marching forward in column without a good leader makes the advance difficult.
Sir Henry’s forces have stalled in the center and right wing due to command failures and defensive fire from cover. Parliamentarian Horse managed to get the upper hand and threaten the foot.
Most of the front is busy with ineffectual shooting. On the Royalist left, however, enemy horse smashes into a unit of commanded shot. Sir Henry gallops back from the wing to personally command the defense. Swine Feathers (stratagem, some form of stakes) are raised and the troopers fight bravely. Sir Henry comes under attack, is wounded and transported to the rear.
The loss of Sir Henry wreaks havoc on the Royalist’s morale. Under continued pressure from Colonel Greenwich’s horse their will to fight breaks and the soldiers flee back to their king. Parliamentarian horse, already in the enemy flank manage to ride down many of them. Sir Henry dies in the evening, which at least spares him from the anger of his king.

Another landslide victory for the Parliamentarians. Killing the enemy’s general certainly helped but at the time this happened the Royalist position was dangerous at best.

How did this happen? The Royalists had more troops, won scouting decisively but managed to botch up their deployment significantly. Too much faith was bestowed upon a line of cannons that made movement of the foot difficult. Yet Sir Henry pushed forward and attacked. The offense became stuck and a counter-offensive of Parliamentarian horse had free reign before any pike could react.

Hull in particular and the whole Humberside is now undefended and easily taken by Parliamentarian forces.

The Aftermath

Parliamentarians claim Nottinghamshire, Bedfordshire, neutralize Humberside and claim it as well. The siege of Oxford goes on but no breakthrough is made (needed a 3 rolled a 1).

Royalists take advantage of the busy Parliamentarian armies and besiege Gloucester. Without much help the city surrenders (needed a 3 rolled a 4) and Royalists promptly claim the surrounding area as well.

The turn ends with 20 Parliamentarian areas to 18 Royalist areas. Even though the King’s men lose their battles, swift and well planned strategic moves keep the Parliamentarians on their toes.

For King & Parliament Campaign October 1642

Now that my campaign rules are written down I move on to the first battle. No events were rolled for the first turn and the battle had balanced forces a bit above 100 points.

As I don’t own ECW miniatures (yet) the battles will be played on a small board with 4x2cm painted bases.

The Battle

Parliamentarian General Ainsworth led his men to besiege Oxford shortly after war broke out. The King sent General Sir Gobshire to intercept. He marched effectively and managed to forced battle on the Parliamentarians long before Oxford could be reached.

Parliamentarians in red, Royalists in blue. Blue dice for ammo, green dice for dash counters and later on red dice for disorder.

The Parliamentarians deployed their horse on the left flank and two siege artillery in the center. Their stratagem let them withhold deployment of a pike and shot battalia from deployment. The unit can be order in via the baseline on the right sector.

The Royalists put their horse opposite of the enemy horse but ordered one horse around the flank. The unit was slated to arrive on the Parliamentarians right flank later on.

General Inning pushes his Dutch-style horse forward straight through a Royalist horse unit which immediately breaks. Meanwhile Forlorn Hope secure the forest.
Sirs Waynes and Mortimer move the foot forward and take casualties form the enemy artillery.
Ainsworth, general in command of the Parliamentarians, orders his pike and shot to defend the village.
After the first few turns two Royalist units broke and the Parliamentarians established a good defensive position.
Bates’ and Bailey’s horse carve in the Royalist right flank.
Weller, Barry and Archer suffer heavy casualties during their attack.
But with the help of Easton’s flanking horse the Royalists slowly fight into the village.
Too late though, Generals Inning and Bradley crush the Royalists between them and gather the last victory medals
End of the battle. Parliamentarians lost 2 units on their right flank. Royalists lost a devastating 7 units. A major victory for the troops of the Parliament.

Aftermath

Although Sir Gobshire suffered a costly defeat but the strategic goal was achieved. With the siege of Oxford of relieved and Warwickshire under control an early disaster was avoided.

Parliamentarians secure their flanks around London but fail with their siege of Oxfordshire. The Royalists secure Warwickshire to keep the route to Oxford open. Cheshire and Gwent are also claimed.

English Civil War Campaign Rules

After much deliberation I started my ECW campaign. While the tactical rules were set early on with For King and Parliament, the campaign rules went through many iterations. Inspired mostly by Grid based wargaming – but not always and 1642 And All That as well as other sources here are the rules I came up with. I don’t claim them to by my own though, as I borrowed ideas from the aforementioned blogs and other blogs and books:

Change Log

This is a living document. Follow the history below if you need to know which rules changed since the last time you visited.

  • 2019-01-23: Initial version
  • 2019-02-10: SP amount for victories increased.
  • 2019-02-22: Discount for neutralize and claim actions on the same area removed. Better starting map added.

The Map

The campaign map is devided into areas. These are either neutral or claimed by one side. Areas can be fortified in two levels:

  • Level 1: Fortified
  • Level 2: Fortress

The map below is not historically accurate but gives a good amount of areas.


Starting positions August 1642. Black borders group several smaller areas together. The upper black border leads into Scotland and is impassable. Areas with yellow flags are neutral. Diamond shapes are fortified areas while pentagon symbol in London shows “fortress”-status.
Map Copyright Bruce Jones Design Inc. 2010

Areas are either neutral or in Royalist or in Parliamentarian hand.

Strategic Turns

Each turn contains the following steps:

  • Add 1d3 month to the campaign time. The campaign starts in August 1642. There is no defined end date
  • Check for historical events (see below)
  • Roll random events (unless first turn)
  • Fight a battle with For King and Parliament
  • The winner takes his strategic actions on the campaign map
  • The loser takes his strategic actions on the campaign map

Historical Events

  • April 1643: Parliamentarians begin to switch from Dutch Horse to Swedish Horse. In the next battle 40% of Dutch Horse are switched to Swedish Horse. The battle after 70% and from then on 100%
  • October 1643: After the Solemn League and Covenant treaty in September Parliamentarians can field Scottish units.
  • January 1645: Roll 1d6 each month until a 5 or 6 has been rolled. When successful the Parliamentarians deploy the New Model Army. In the next battle 40% of pike and shot become shot heavy. The battle after 70% and from then on 100%
  • Royalists control 22 areas: Royalists have enough economical power to field more muskets. The Royalists constraints to field Pike heavy troops and less artillery are lifted.
  • Royalists control London: Royalists win

Strategic Points

Depending on the battlefield success both sides earn strategic points (SP) to spend after the battle.

  • Major victory: Winner 7 SP, loser 3 SP
  • Victory: Winner 6 SP, loser 3 SP
  • Narrow victory: Winner 5 SP, loser 3 SP
  • Draw: No points earned.

There are no hard and fast rules for determining victory. It is determined looking at victory medal difference, situation at the end of battle and stroy elements. An intact cavalry force on the winning side at the end of a battle can upgrade a victory fro example, as the cavalry can pursue fleeing troops causing considerable losses.

Strategic Actions

The following strategic actions can be taken every turn. Resolve one action before doing the next.

  • Neutralize area: Remove the enemy from an area adjacent to one of your own. Costs 2 SP + 1 SP for every adjecent enemy area – 1 SP for every own adjacent area. Minimum 1 SP. If the area is fortified the minimum cost is 2 SP. Roll 1d6. On a 3+ a level 1 fortified area has been successfully neutralized. On a 5+ a level 2 fortress area has been successfully neutralized. If the roll has failed, the SP are spend never the less. Fortified areas can only be targeted once per turn.
  • Claim neutral area: Claim an area adjacent to one of your own which is neutral. Costs 3 SP – 1 SP for every own adjacent area. Minimum 1 SP. You can only claim from areas that have been under your control at the start of the turn.
  • Fortify: Add one level of fortification to an area you control. Costs 4 SP. You can only do this action once per strategic turn. You cannot fortify an area that you just claimed this turn.
  • Gather strength: Transfer 1 SP to your next turn for the cost of 2 SP.

After all actions are done unspend SP are lost.

Army Generator

Armies are randomly determined by some form of army generator. About 13-15 units seem to be a good number to get to 100 point armies even with low troop training.

The first campaign battle should be played balanced armies (Edgehill situation). Thereafter the armies don’t have to be balanced. In fact, if one side has two thirds the number of areas it should generally field a larger army. Another way would be to build armies to a fixed value and add the difference in areas times two to the side with more areas.

This area of the rules is still in flux. I will switch up methods and test out new mechanics for a while.

Troop Training

The training levels for battle troops are raw (R), seasoned (S) and veteran (V) and are allocated with ratios. Both sides roll 1d6 each adn allocate the ratios randomly among their troops.

Until January 1643
1-4: 2/1/-
5: 3/2/-
6: 3/2/1

February 1643 until December 1643
1: 2/1/-
2-3: 3/2/-
4-5: 3/2/1
6: 2/3/1

During 1644
1: 3/2/-
2: 3/2/1
3-4: 2/3/1
5: 2/2/1
6: 1/2/1

1645 and later
1: 3/2/1
2: 2/3/1
3-4: 2/2/1
5: 1/2/1
6: -/3/1

Random Events

Both sides roll 1d100:

  • 1-2 Recruitment drive: Add one raw unit to your army for this battle
  • 3-4 Traitor: Replace a general with a colonel before deployment
  • 5-6 Strategic advantage: Draw two stratagem and discard one face down.
  • 7-8 Lay of the land: After all terrain has been placed you may remove one non-linear terrain piece
  • 9-10 Casualties of war: A unit of your choice with 2 or 3 hits gain one disordered marker before deployment
  • 11-12 Eager horse: one of your horse units must deploy three boxes from the baseline.
  • 13-14 A fine officer: Add a gallant gentlement to a unit of your choice
  • 15-16 Battlefield promotion: Replace a colonel with a general before deployment
  • 17-18 Supply shortages: Gain 1 SP less this turn
  • 19-20 Plenty of supplies: Gain 1 SP more this turn
  • 21-22 Bad weather: Both sides gain 1 SP less this turn
  • 23-24 Strategy over tactics: The winner gains 1 SP less this turn. The loser gets 1 SP more this turn
  • 25-26 Early moves: Reduce the campaign time by one month
  • 27-28 Unsuitable weather: Add one month to the campaign timer
  • 29-30 Two armies on the march: Roll 2d6 for troop training and take the higher one
  • 31-32 War takes its toll. Roll 2d6 for troop training and take the lower one
  • 33-34 Siege equipment: Add +1 to the success roll of your fist siege this turn
  • 35-36 Strategic ruse: The loser takes his strategic actions first this turn
  • 37-38 Revolt: A random non-fortified area you control becomes neutral
  • 39-40 Show of color: A random non-fortified neutral area is claimed for your side
  • 41-42 Torches and pitchforks: Chose an area you control. It cannot be targeted by the enemy this turn.
  • 43-44 Mercenaries from the continent: Add one seasoned unit to your army for this battle
  • 45-46 It has been a long campaign: A random horse unit that is neither well nor poorly mounted becomes poorly mounted
  • 47-48 Scout report: The enemy has to set up one brigade before usual deployment
  • 49-50 Blunder: Before deployment the enemy sets up one of your units for you but it has to face the enemy baseline
  • 51-52 Ammunition shortages: Lose two ammunition counters from the units who have the most. These must be two different units and in case of a tie you decide
  • 53-54 Plenty of ammunition: Add an ammunition counter to a unit of your choice
  • 55-56 Give the horses a good rest: Add one dash counter to a unit of your choice
  • 57-58 Rousing speech: Add one to your victory medals
  • 59-60 Brother against brother, this is madness: Reduce your victory medals by one
  • 61-62 You are hereby ordered to take that bridge: Before deployment put a marker in a box of your choice that contains a non-linear terrain piece and is on the enemy half of the battlefield. As long as you have a unit in this box the enemy reduces his victory medals by one.
  • 63-64 Hit them hard lads: The player who claims the first victory medal(s) this battle claims a bonus medal
  • 65-66 Damp weather: This battle, even single fire costs an ammunition counter. If a unit has no ammo counters left, it can fire as normal again
  • 67-68 I can’t see the man in front of me: Heavy fog makes long range fire impossible. At the beginning of each turn roll 1d6. If the roll is below the current number of turns the fog lifts
  • 69-70 A well planned battle: During the first turn add +1 to every activation card for movement
  • 71-72 Protect Sir James: Convert one of your Dutch or Swedish horse to seasoned Cuirassiers
  • 73-74 Patriotic townsfolk: Add a unit of rabble before troop training
  • 75-76 Distinguished Gentleman: A random non-gallant general or colonel becomes gallant
  • 77-78 Faulty muskets: A random pike and shot battalia becomes pike heavy before deployment
  • 79-80 First battle: A random raw non-artillery unit becomes untried after deployment
  • 81-82 Confusion in the ranks: Chose a random unit after deployment. It cannot be activated during your first two turns
  • 83-84 No mans land: You cannot claim areas this turn.
  • 85-86+ No event

Command & Colors: Napoleonics Variant Rules

Two things always bugged me about the Command & Colors games I played. The card mechanics and shaping your hand is arguably not a realistic depiction of warfare. But it delivers difficult decisions nearly every turn. It tells the story of ebb and flow, of move and countermove. So sitting there with useless cards drawing more of them is a necessary evil.

The serious problem which led me to take my leave from C&C for a while is the time to kill in the various games. I might play a minor action between some regiments or a major set-piece battle of the era with tens of thousands soldiers per side and either way, a good roll can practically kill a unit or at least send it to the back line with one block left. Together with the immediate loss of fighting power for each block lost, it becomes very hard to mount successful maneuvers. An attack has either fizzled out before all troops can be committed or it succeeds so quickly, that the defender’s reinforcements are still at the baseline.

A few days ago I played the Quatre Bras scenario with a very simple rule variation: Blocks take two hits before destroyed with the exception of leaders. You cannot split the damage as you like however. Hits are always allocated in such a way to kill off damaged blocks first and kill blocks outright instead of soaking up hits with every block first. To indicate a damaged block, simply lay it down from the upright position.

The French line unit and the British guard grenadiers both lost a block and have one block damaged indicated by the blocks laying flat.

The effect on the battle was profound. Maneuvers led to fights lasting for several rounds, with both sides feeding in reserves. Although there were certainly situations where reacting fast would have been the best choice but you could afford to wait a round or two in order to get to the cards necessary. It was without a doubt the most exciting game of Command and Colors I played to date. Sweeping breakthroughs happened less often and even on a good melee attack the enemy usually had enough strength left to get back at the attacker.

The good thing about this variant is, that you ca use it on a scenario by scenario basis. Play small battles as per the rules and scale up to two or three hits per block for large games where units represent vastly more men.

Now I have no excuse to delay work on a scenario generator I guess…

Wargaming Everything in 2019

So much I want to do and try out in wargaming. In order not to forget most of it and motivate myself I wrote up a to do list:

  • Acquire a Napoleonic Prussian Army: This is a task bleeding over from 2018. I already ordered a fully based and painted army in 6mm Baccus. It should arrive by end of winter.
  • Acquire a Napoleonic British Army: This is the last big army I need in my set of the five great Nations. I’m thinking about cutting down in size on this army though. I need to make a plan how many British and minor nation allies I need (see below).
  • Acquire some Napoleonic minor nations units: To add some color to armies and support the British army. I’m thinking about units with distinct uniforms and common presence in the age of Napoleon. Bavarians, Hanoverians, Brunswickers, Vistula Legion, Portuguese
  • Play more test battles with Age of Eagles: Only played two so far which I didn’t enjoy that much. There are some AoE scenarios I downloaded and want to set up.
  • Play more test battle with Bloody Big Battles (Napoleonic mod): I downloaded two Napoleonic mods for the rules. I want to try them and compare with my AoE games. Playing the same scenario with AoE, BBB and Blücher (my go to rule-set) should give me some insights about the rules systems and how much I like them or not.
  • Paint the remaining 6mm houses: They are sitting in the box where I primed them. No excuses this year!
  • Test Twilight of the Sun King rule-set: I ordered it in December and waiting for it to arrive. If I like the rules I want to make them work for Napoleonics.
  • Set-up and play an ECW campaign with For King and Parliament tabletop rules: So many ECW blogger campaigns I follow. I desperately want to set up my own but it has proven difficult to find a campaign system I’m satisfied with.
  • Find suitable campaign rules for a Europe-spanning Napoleonic campaign: Yeah, good luck with that…
  • Make counter armies for Fistful of Tows 3: Some easy to read NATO-Symbol counters for WW2 armies. Probably for the eastern front.
  • Play some Fistful of Tows 3 test battles: Read most of the rules and want to try them out. Something easy first like a WW2 eastern front tank battle without artillery.
  • Base all remaining trees: I have about 40% done since yesterday. I single base them to be more flexible. I build a test forest template a few month ago, however. I have to decide if I like it enough to keep it or rip it apart to re-base the trees.
  • Test a C&C Napoleonics variant: My biggest critique of the game is the time to kill. It is very easy to kill whole units off without much time to react. For the scale and time frame the game conveys to me this seems wrong. On top of that it strengthens the luck aspect of the card drawing. I’m thinking about a variant where each block simply takes 2, 3 or even 4 hits before being destroyed.
  • Design a random army generator for C&C Napoleonics: Either with dice or as a little coding project with Python (programming language). I already made a list of all available blocks for this and have some basic ideas. I want to tie it to certain periods though, like “French – Russian campaign” or “French – Waterloo campaign” or something along those lines.
  • Design a random terrain generator: Already have a prototype which I tested once. I need to incorporate rivers and roads in a better way and tweak some stuff. Currently it uses playing cards. Maybe I should switch it to a program or custom terrain cards (according to my collection of terrain).
  • Make counter armies for ancients: This is a long term project. The problem is, to make counters that don’t feel too generic.
  • Get some ancients battles going. Preferably in a campaign setting: I have downloaded some campaign rules, mostly with DBA tied in. They require a set of multiple armies each though.
  • Designing a cold war era social game: I began work on this in 2018. It is currently planned as a matrix game for six players and a game master. The setting is a spy war on cold war Berlin.
  • And last but not least: Play games!