2019 is dead, long live 2020

Back in December 2018 I decided on a couple of wargaming goals for 2019. Time to review these. My status in italics:

  • 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.

    Done!
  • 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).

    I wasn’t sure if I want to continue the 6mm scale and basing. But I think I will get them sooner than later.
  • 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

    See above
  • 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.

    I played another scenario but it felt weird. The units are brigades with thousands of men, they are quite big on the table but they feel more like battalions to me.
  • 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.

    I still need to do this. I think I will run into the same problem as with AoE.
  • Paint the remaining 6mm houses: They are sitting in the box where I primed them. No excuses this year!

    I’m on it. Slowly…
  • 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.

    I played two battles and had a lot of problems interpreting the rules. There is a long list of modifiers for morale (and effectively shooting) which I now consider bad design. These long lists slow game play so much that it isn’t enjoyable.
  • 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.

    Ongoing. The campaign works, although not moving armies on the map is a bit of a bummer. For King and Parliament works well, too. I tried out other sets and they can’t compare.
  • Find suitable campaign rules for a Europe-spanning Napoleonic campaign: Yeah, good luck with that…

    Need more luck this year…
  • Make counter armies for Fistful of Tows 3: Some easy to read NATO-Symbol counters for WW2 armies. Probably for the eastern front.

    No progress and currently not much interest. I bought and played Rommel though. I liked it but not enough interest in WWII currently.
  • 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.

    See above.
  • 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.

    I’m trying a new basing scheme but progress is slow.
  • 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.

    Done that. Best C&C game so far. Have to play some more.
  • 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.

    Thinking about this currently as I tried Polemos Marechal d’Empire and its force generator.
  • 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).

    Seen stuff in other blogs and have enough rule systems with good terrain generation so this is not necessary.
  • Make counter armies for ancients: This is a long term project. The problem is, to make counters that don’t feel too generic.

    Currently testing with a DBA campaign.
  • 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.

    See above.
  • 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.

    Minimal progress
  • And last but not least: Play games!

    Did that

Reasonable progress I think. Apart from the terrain front where I want to step it up.

What Else

Beyond my set goals I did some other unplanned stuff as well. I played the new Field of Glory Napoleonics Second Edition, General d’Armee, Polemos Marechal d’Empire and the new rule set from Hervé Caille Bataille Empire.

Sad to say that none of them convinced me entirely. Being a competition rule set FoGN is to complicated and table heavy for me. General d’Armee was way better than I remembered it but ultimately slower than Black Powder and the results seemd to be similar. The same can be said for Bataille Empire. The rules are very well written and offer a good amount of detail for their speed. I have to try them again but I still think Black Powder can achieve similar results with way less rules clutter.

The Polemos rule set is just a mess. I didn’t create very complicated combat situations in my game but the rules couldn’t even explain the basic stuff fully. Apart from that it just looked like several DBA games played at once. Just blocks crushing into other blocks. Which is totally fine in DBA but looks strange in Napoleonics.

Speaking of DBA and Napoleonics. I also briefly tried DBN again and… see above. The game works but it doesn’t feel right for me.

In regards to miniatures I build some ECW proxies. Essentially lines of painted matchsticks for a rough 2mm treatment of the conflict. I have to play more battles with the buggers to see if I like the look.

I also ordered some 2mm Napoleonic blocks and did some prototyping. Haven’t found the massed Brigade look and feel so far. I’m thinking about using them for other stuff like Ancients, SF or fantasy.

Some of my gaming time, actually quite a bit, went into painting monsters for Sword & Sorcery. A Dungeon crawler boardgame with miniatures I play with friends. I’m making good progress and games with unpainted miniatures are quite rare now. I still have to paint a huge dragon with several heads and his minions. They should be fun.

For King & Parliament Campaign October 1643

Looking back at over a year of conflict, the war is going well for the Parliamentarians. After the Solemn League and Covenant treaty in September Scotsmen appear to bolster the ranks. With Oxfordshire captured some generals think that Gloucestershire is up next. Meanwhile the Royalists focus their attention on the midlands.

Although the rules are in the campaign name, I decided to try some other rule sets I have at hand. For King & parliament is a good set I enjoy playing but I’m curious how it holds up in comparison to other rules.

I decided to try Pike & Shotte from Warlord games. As this set depicts a Pike & Shot unit as two to three separate units I didn’t have enough units to play the game physically and switched to Battle Chronicler.

Royalist Northern Army

Command…40
General Tasker CR 8

Left Wing…196
General York CR 8
4 Cavalry (Galloper, Pistols)

Center…519
General Lehenard CR 8
4 regiments of 1 Pike block and 1 Musketeer wing each
General Higate CR 8
3 regiments of 1 large Pick block and 1 Musketeer wing each
1 Commanded Shotte

Right Wing…196
General Glenham CR 8
4 Cavalry (Galloper, Pistols)

951 points

Parliamentarian Northern Army

Command…40
General Peacok CR 8

Left Wing…190
General Oswyn CR 8
2 Horse
2 Dragoons

The Center…520
General Fienley CR 8
3 Regiments of 1 Pike block and 2 Musketeer wings each
General Maltoun CR 8
2 Regiments of 1 Pike block and 2 Musketeer wings each

Right Wing…197
General Bacon CR 8
3 Horse
1 Dragoons

947 points

Battle of Boddington

Royalists are on the offense and begin the battle. Parliament knew the terrain (Lay of the land event) but opted not to remove a terrain piece.

After set-up. Parliamentarian Dragoons (top) behind the forest.

At the end of turn 2 for both sides. Royalists blundered on the entire left half and their comanded shotte is already under fire. On the right their cavalry wing seems to be in a good position to strike. Some Parliamentarian foot is not moving.

After Royalist turn four. The blundered regiments were quickly realigned and the battle began in earnest. On the left flank Parliamentarian managed to beat back two of three Royalist cavalry units (red movement arrows are charge moves) but the third routed its foe, flank charged the next enemy and routed it as well.

On the other side Royalist cavalry is beaten back by musket and pistol fire.

After Royalist turn 5 the left is being mopped up. A cavalry engagement on the right has proven indecisive.

As the Royalists move into position in the center more and more hits accumulate. Even a well protected Dragoon unit in the forest has routed.

Parliamentarian turn 6. With some Dragoons skirmishing on the Royalist right the enemy forces are drawn out of position and exhausted. On the other side Royalist cavalry is beaten back and broken. Reserves are moved but from the Parliamentarian rear to give the buckling line some rest.

End of battle after 8 turns. With good rallying rolls and timely use of reserves the Parliamentarian forces have a stable front line and are pushing the Royalists back. But with the threat of enemy cavalry behind the lines they cannot press on. Although the Royalists have to concede control of the field in the end they inflicted more casualties. The battle ends in a draw.

Campaign Moves

With a draw and bad weather the campaign didn’t go further for either side.

Thougths on Pike & Shotte

It was a fun and fast moving battle, as I know most of the rules from Black Powder already. The major problem I have with the rules is that pike and shot regiments are not single units but several. The classic ECW formation in Pike & Shotte consists of three units: One Pike block and two musketeer wings. This makes command a bit more fiddly than in Black Powder or Hail Caesar and the armies looked relatively small for 950 points.

The underlying rules of the Hail Caesar/Pike & Shotte/Black Powder work best for Napoleonics I think, where sweeping maneuvers feel more ‘in period’ than in earlier periods. A Pike and Shot block or an ancient battle line rushing forward three moves is way harder to explain than a french brigade advancing rapidly in assault column.

For King & Parliament Campaign May 1643

This battle has it all. Blitz moves, traitors, flanking, rousing speeches, dramatic scenes of gentlemen wounded in battle, cavalry in mad pursuit etc. It was my best battle I fought with the For King & Parliament rules and probably one of the very best solo battles I ever played! Although I would rather play these battles with miniatures it shows that all it needs (at least for me) is a good rule set and some imagination. Although the added stakes from campaign play help quite a bit.

The Royalist Army

Before the battle I made sure of a even horse/foot quota points-wise. As the war progresses more and more seasoned units emerge. Recent losses seem to have thinned the ranks of skilled horsemen, though. The random event was “Traitor” but there was no brigade general to replace by a colonel so I ruled that the gallant gentleman I rolled for Gatring’s brigade was the traitor. Given that the Parliamentarian army fields two gentlemen accompanying the troops, it is safe to assume, the traitor found his way to the Parliamentarian camp the night before the battle.

Command…5
General Irving C-in-C

Brigade of Horse…31
Gallant Colonel Fielding
“Swedish”-style horse – raw
“Swedish”-style horse – seasoned
“Swedish”-style horse – raw, poorly mounted
“Swedish”-style horse – seasoned
“Swedish”-style horse – raw
“Swedish”-style horse – raw
“Swedish”-style horse – raw, untried, poorly mounted

Brigade of Horse…20
“Swedish”-style horse – raw
“Swedish”-style horse – raw, untried
“Swedish”-style horse – raw, untried
“Swedish”-style horse – seasoned
“Swedish”-style horse – seasoned

Brigade of Foot…57
Colonel Gatring
Pike and shot battalia – seasoned, large
Pike heavy battalia -raw
Pike heavy battalia – seasoned
Pike and shot battalia – raw
Dragoons – raw
Pike heavy battalia – raw, large
Pike and shot battalia – seasoned

113 points / 20 victory medals

The Parliamentarian Army

On the morning before the battle general Islington, who beat the Royalists handily at Thorne half a year ago, gave a rousing speech to his men. He even presented Sir Fleming who fled the Royalist camp under threat of his life to bring information and his support to the cause.

Command…9
General Islington C-in-C
Field artillery – seasoned

Brigade of Horse…19
“Swedish”-style horse – raw, untried, attached shot
“Swedish”-style horse – raw
“Swedish”-style horse – seasoned
“Dutch”-style horse – raw

Brigade of Horse…30
“Swedish”-style horse – raw, untried, poorly mounted
“Swedish”-style horse – veteran, well mounted, attached shot, gentleman
“Swedish”-style horse – seasoned
“Dutch”-style horse – raw, untried, poorly mounted
“Dutch”-style horse – raw

Brigade of Foot…31
Pike and shot battalia – raw
Pike and shot battalia – raw, untried
Pike and shot battalia – raw
Pike and shot battalia – raw
Pike heavy battalia – raw, untried, large
Forlorn hope – raw

Brigade of Foot…16
Pike and shot battalia – raw
Pike and shot battalia – seasoned, gallant gentleman
Pike and shot battalia – seasoned

114 points / 23 victory medals (+1 from rousing speech)

The army has begun to field its horse in “Swedish”-style since April. Being a well liked and able general he even got the command of Baker’s Horse (veteran). The foot on the other hand is relatively fresh.

The Battle of Allerton Moor

Iconography
Parliamentarians in red, Royalists in blue
Unit with many vertical lines = horse
Unit with a horizontal line and vertical lines sticking out = pike and shot
Unit with several horizontal lines = Forlorn hope and Dragoons
Unit with three “+”-like signs = artillery
Red dice = hits
Green dice = ammo
Blue dice = dash
Red die on the left = raw
Red die in the middle = seasoned
Red die on the right = veteran
Hollow square = attached shot
Filled square = large
Question mark = untried
Hat = gentleman
Horse with + / – = well / poorly mounted

The dispositions after set-up. The Parliamentarians have one inexperienced unit of horse in reserve on their right flank, where their strong cavalry wing is situated. The fields in the center are surrounded by hedges and provide an excellent strong-point. The river is rather shallow passable anywhere but still considered rough terrain.

In a surprise rush General Irving sends his horse on the left flank up the hill. The Royalist horse completed crushes their opposition and rip a large hole in the Parliamentarian battle line from the get-go.

The men opposing the king are saved for now by successful Royalist horse pursuing without any sign of stopping. The second wave attacks meanwhile but cannot match the stunning success of the first wave. On the other side of the field the cavalry is locked in a standoff while the smoke of the first volleys of the foot begin to fog up the battlefield.

General Irving personally rode to stop his troops from pursuing and pillaging. He made it clear that such fine, distinguished gentlemen such as themselves where had a duty to fulfill before the spoils of war could be divided. Both units promptly turned their horses and fell into the Parliamentarian flank, riding another unit into the ground.

Elsewhere the fight or standoff continued without much gain.

With his entire right flank collapsing general Islington ordered Baker’s veteran horse regiment to attack and regain the initiative. With some support from other units Baker attacked and handily defeated a Royalist horse regiment, wounding colonel Gatring in the process. Islington meanwhile reordered his troops to defend the center against two directions of attack and gave up on his isolated units on his right.

The Royalists are now in firm control of their left flank. On their right they dealt with Baker’s horse but more Parliamentarian horse streamed in causing high casualties on both sides.

In the center colonel Fielding is wounded by a musket ball but keeps standing.

By midday the fighting ebbed as both sides were tired from hours of intense fighting.

Generals keep shifting troops and rallying wavering men. The second wave of Parliamentarian horse moves on the right.

The second wave’s attack is met with success and both sides have 8 victory medals left. On the other side of the field a spend and beaten horse regiment closes in on the Royalist flank in a rather unexpected move.

The flank attack, although poorly executed nearly ends in a disaster as General Irving falls off his horse in the tumult. Now, all three Royalist commanders have been wounded! After some minutes of rest Irving shrugs his dizziness off. If Colonels Gatring and Fielding can fight on wounded who would he be to retire to the rear.

The end of the battle. Royalists cleared the hedges in the center of enemy troops and break the Parliamentarians will to fight. With only 4 victory medals left a narrow win for the Royalists but at long last the first win in a major battle since the civil war started.

The Aftermath

As I changed the amount of SP (strategy points) earned per battle I thought it is only fair to grant the Parliamentarians the points from earlier battles. So for this turn the Royalists receive 5 SP for a narrow win and their adversaries receive 3 SP for a loss and another 3 SP from earlier wins for a total of 6 SP.

After the battle of Draycott in February the Royalists were in no position to attack the south and shifted to the northern part of England where the still hold popular support. Allerton Moor was a win the battered men of the King direly needed for their morale. It also brought West Yorkshire and Derbyshire to the fold. South Yorkshire was quickly retaken by the Parliamentarians, however.

After some month support for the Parliamentarians in Wales was eroded enough that Dyfed declared their neutrality.

Parliamentarians continued the siege of Oxford but the garrison still holds strong after many month. Parliamentarian support still grows south of the “fortress line” which alleviates their loss of land in the north and in Wales.

For King & Parliament Campaign February 1643

The bloody civil war drags on into 1643. Even though the supporters of the King have been dealt two crushing defeats, their strategic situation seems stable.

The Royalist Army

During the last month the troops got a better supply of ammunition which should prove useful during the battle (random event: Add 1 ammo to a unit of your choice)

Command
General Humphreys (C-in-C)
Field Artillery – seasoned

Battalion of Horse
General Calden
“Swedish”-style horse – raw
“Swedish”-style horse – raw, untried

Battalion of Horse
Colonel Firebrand
“Swedish”-style horse – raw, untried
“Swedish”-style horse – raw, untried
“Swedish”-style horse – seasoned, gallant gentleman
“Swedish”-style horse – raw, poorly mounted
“Swedish”-style horse – raw
“Swedish”-style horse – raw
“Swedish”-style horse – seasoned, +1 ammo

Battalion of Foot
Colonel Lyre
Pike and shot battalia – raw
Pike and shot battalia – veteran, large
Pike and shot battalia – raw, untried
Pike and shot battalia – raw, large
Pike and shot battalia – seasoned
Rabble – raw

101 points / 19 victory medals

The Parliamentarian Army

With the ongoing war troops slowly build up experience. General Horton’s army is a good example of that, though leaders were hard to come by as Horton got the task to stem the Royalist tide from Gloucester.

Command
General Horton
Siege Artillery – seasoned
Siege Artillery – seasoned
Field Artillery – seasoned
Field Artillery – seasoned

Battalion of Horse
“Dutch”-style horse – raw, untried, poorly mounted
“Dutch”-style horse – seasoned, attached shot
“Dutch”-style horse – raw, poorly mounted
“Dutch”-style horse – raw, untried

Battalion of Horse
“Dutch”-style horse – raw, untried
“Dutch”-style horse – raw
“Dutch”-style horse – seasoned, attached shot

Battalion of Foot
Pike and shot battalia – seasoned, large
Pike and shot battalia – seasoned
Pike and shot battalia – raw
Pike heavy battalia – raw, untried, large
Pike and shot battalia – seasoned, large
Forlorn hope – raw

109 points / 19 victory medals

The Battle of Draycott

Humphreys and Horton meet in the area of Avon. The Royalists want to use Gloucester as a stepping stone into the south and Horton’s army marches to prevent that.

Most terrain was removed which lead to a very open battlefield. The Parliamentarians anchored their left flank on a forest and fielded a gun-line similar to what the Royalists tried unsuccessfully at Thorne.
Horse clashes on the flank while the Royalists move up their foot under heavy gunfire.
The battle is marked by indecisiveness and phlegmatic troops. Parliamentarian horse slowly push the Royalists back due to attached shot and good untried saves. The foot fares less well. Confusion in the ranks (stratagem) make a lead battalia turn their flank to the enemy (center). Luckily the Royalist flank charge is not as devastation as hoped by General Humphreys.

Meanwhile the weak Parliamentarian left is overrun by rabble and pike & shot.
The supposedly superior Royalist horse is yet again trumped by the “Dutch”-system. General Calden’s reserve battalion of horse is unleashed for a flank charge to salvage the situation. Meanwhile the foot is fighting at a rather slow pace.
Calden’s horse penetrates deep into the Parliamentarian flank in coordination with a renewed attack of the foot.
Royalists break through on the Parliamentarian left but the situation is saved as Horton’s horse manage to decimate their foes.
End of the battle: With almost the entire Royalist horse strewn over the field or fleeing the Parliamentarians under Horton managed to win with 6 victory medals left.

General Humphreys and Colonel Firebrand are summoned before the king. I doubt we will see them again…

Aftermath

Yet again Parliamentarians win the battles but fail to exploit this on the campaign map. Particularly due to another failed roll when besieging Oxford (third in a row). The battle at Draycott (in Avon) leaves no doubt who is in control of the south though.

The Royalists snatch the last neutral areas they have access to and start a successful campaign to undermine Parliamentarian support in West Yorkshire.

Campaign Notes

I’ve tried two different random generation methods for armies but both properly suffer from the difference in cavalry of both sides. Next time I will try to balance the point cost of the horse battalions somewhat better. The points for winning games is also not high enough. I will amend the campaign rules before the next game.

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

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!