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

9 Replies to “English Civil War Campaign Rules”

  1. Love it. Glad I was of some inspiration! Just got FK&P rules for Xmas and will be using them myself in the next (local) campaign I run. Good luck with yours.

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    1. P.S. (And apologies for being off topic) I have a secret love of Star Trek and wondered how you got on with those Star Navy rules? Did they require much adaptation?

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      1. It depends. You can just design ships and rename the weapons into Phasers/Disruptors and Photon Torpedoes.That is probably the better way to do it, given that the rules are very broad in terms of scale and details. Although I liked them, ultimately they didn’t stand the test of time for me. After a dozen of games it shows that maneuvers are far less important than I like and the design system is limited.

        Starmada is the better choice here. I personally like Fleet Ops the most. Design with high movement values and short ranges and you get a lot of intense maneuvering.

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      2. Cheers, that’s really helpful I’ll give Starmada & Fleet Ops a look see. Do you still game them?

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  2. Do you mind if we borrow a copy of your map for a campaign & if so, is it possible to get an electronic copy. Thanks.

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