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

General Tasker CR 8

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

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

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 August 1643

With the besieged Royalists running low on supplies, general Nash was sent to the fortress to regain control of the surrounding area. The besieging Parliamentarians left their heavy equipment behind and engaged the enemy force near Endstone to uphold the siege. Both parties used mercenaries from Europe to bolster their lines, as most of the battle line troops were needed elsewhere. The Parliamentarians could make use of some veteran Cuirassiers travelling north from London, though.

Royalist Army

General Nash – gallant
Field artillery – seasoned

Brigade of Horse…10
General Enfield
“Swedish”-style harquebusiers – raw, untried
“Swedish”-style harquebusiers – raw, untried, well mounted

Brigade of Horse…18
Colonel Hadley- gallant
“Swedish”-style harquebusiers – seasoned
“Swedish”-style harquebusiers – seasoned, well mounted

Brigade of Foot…27
Pure pike battalia – seasoned, large
Pike heavy battalia – seasoned, large
Forlorn hope – seasoned
Dragoons – raw

Brigade of Foot…38
Colonel Braxton – gallant
Pure pike battalia – seasoned (mercenaries)
Pike and shot battalia – veteran
Pike and shot battalia – raw
Pike and shot battalia – raw
Forlorn hope – raw

103 points / 16 victory medals

Parliamentarian Army

General Oakes

Brigade of Horse…14
Colonel Hallewell
“Dutch”-style cuirassiers – veteran, small
“Dutch”-style cuirassiers – veteran, small

Brigade of Horse…25
Colonel Everly
“Dutch”-style harquebusiers – raw
“Dutch”-style harquebusiers – raw, untried
“Swedish”-style harquebusiers – raw
“Swedish”-style harquebusiers – seasoned, attached shot

Brigade of Foot…59
Colonel Lester – gallant
Pike heavy battalia – raw, large
Pike heavy battalia – seasoned, large (mercenaries)
Pike and shot battalia – veteran, gentleman
Pike and shot battalia – raw, untried
Pike and shot battalia – raw, untried
Pike and shot battalia – raw
Forlorn hope – raw
Forlorn hope – seasoned

103 points / 16 victory medals

The Battle of Endstone

After set-up. Royalists (bottom) with artilley in the center and only few cavalry units holding the flank. Difficult terrain for horse should be helping them to defend the flanks.

The view from the Royalist artillery.

Parliamentarian left flank with two units of Forlorn hopes ready to enter the forest.

General Oakes position at the start of battle.

In the midst of battle. As the fight rages between the hills in the center, Royalist horse broke through the left flank into the Parliamentarian rear. Moments before the gallant Colonel Lester is killed by a pistol shot.

On the right flank it is the Parliamentarian horse to break through (upper right corner). A full battalia of pike closes the gap quickly but the enemy is roaming behind the lines and there is nothing to do about it.

End of battle. After though fighting the Royalists suddenly break.

Partly thanks to Parliamentarian horse which broke through but was brought around to chase the King’s men instead of looting camp.

A solid victory for the Parliamentarians. Their losses in soldiers and commanders was nothing to scoff at but the superior positioning of the Parliamentarian horse, their prisoners and plunder makes up for that in a strategic way of thinking.

Campaign Moves

The Royalist cornerstone of Oxfordshire was under siege for almost a year. Several attempts to storm the fortifications failed but at Endstone the Parliamentarians managed to assert their dominance over the area and with supplies running low the beleaguered Royalists surrendered.

The Parliamentarian effort in Oxfordshire bound most of their military resources. Cornwall fell with little conflict and several neutral areas were convinced by the ongoing success of the Parliamentarian cause.

The Royalists used the massed attention of their enemy on Oxfordshire to bring South Yorkshire and Leichestershire under their control. All in all it was the Parliamentarians who achieved a net gain of three areas.

The campaign rules can be found here.

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.

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.

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

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.

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