An intermittent blog of two gamers and their adventures wargaming the English Civil War in 6mm.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Victory Without Quarter: Rules Review

Yes its been a dearth of ECW goodness around here but I think we are getting back on track now.  This week Dux and I were treated to a fantastic game of 28mm ECW by Millsy and got to play with all his lovely models - lots of pics and Battle reports here, here and here.
The Royalist Centre - from the wonderful collection of Millsy (a staunch and worthy King's man)
The rules we used were Victory Without Quarter by Clarence Harrison of Quindia Studios
Available (legally) off the Internet for free here: Link
These are my thoughts, noting that this was the only time I have played them.

Bottom Line Up Front - these are a fun, easy to pickup set of rules which really captured the period flavour without an overloading stack of detail.

The key mechanism is randomised card driven system.  Each unit has a card randomly shuffled into the deck so you don't know what order they will come in.  Shuffled in are Artillery units (both sides fire together), Reload Cards (which allow Volley Fire) and a Turn End card which ensures that you never know if a unit will get to activate or not before the deck is reshuffled.  The end result is a tense randomisation that can be as frustrating as heck, but definitely gives you the feeling that you aren't fully in control (which of course was exactly the situation).

Units get 2 or 3 dice per element to fire, depending on what they are, with 5+ (on a d6) being the target roll.  If you get three hits you inflict a casualty and cause a morale check roll.  After 3 casualties the unit dissolves.  Melee uses a similar to hit roll but the unit which inflicts more casualties winds the combat and repels the enemy unit.

Available units are Foote, Commanded Shotte, Dragoons (which can dismount obviously), Horse (Gallopers, Trotters, Cuirassiers) and Artillery (which is immobile) - each unit is comprised of 3-4 elements.  Army and Brigade Commanders are modelled individually. Units are rated as Veteran, Trained and Raw, which gives them various modifiers in Combat and to their morale test.

Overall, the system works nicely without getting too bogged down in detail. You can feel the difference between the different units types but its not overpowering.  The real challenge is trying to run a battle with random unit activation and no guarantee of any specific unit getting a turn before the turn over card shows up.  It was really enjoyable and we were quickly fighting the battle, not messing about with the rules.

With a view to 6mm battles vice 28mm scared ones, we've been thinking about how that might work with 12+ Regiments per side and single base units. We think that Brigading the formations would be the obvious way forward.  Looking forward to giving that a try sooner rather than later!

We are hoping to try the same scenario with a few different sets of rules too, so we can compare them: these have been a good start, and also in the mix are Baccus' Polemos and the newly published Baroque Impetus.

Thanks for the great day out and taking us through the rules Millsy!

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Covenanter Horse

More goodness from the brushwork of Sir Dux, MP to add to his northern rebel force

Saturday, 2 January 2016

ECW Relics at the Tower of London

Some eye candies we found while visiting the Royal Armouries exhibit at the White Tower recently:
Harquebusier's Breastplate, buff coat and equipment (but not the colt .45 next to it though!)

Helmet detail

The inlaid armour of King Charles I

Cuirassier armour
Period pikeman's uniform

Long barrelled cavalry pistols
Period Falcon cannon

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Saturday, 19 December 2015

A visit to the Houses of Parliament find this chap looking down disapprovingly at me! I think he can sense my Royalist tendencies...

Monday, 23 November 2015


Dux Homunculorum actual here!

It has been a long time since I've done anything on our ECW project, but with Paul heading back to the same hemisphere soon it's time to get cracking. To get some runs on the board I've been painting Covenanter infantry, and nice and simple they are after the army of Republican Romans in 28mm I've been painting over the past few months.

I've altered my painting style on these little chaps compared to my last lot of English troops. I've generally gone for lighter shades and haven't used any washes. What do you think?

Oh and Paul - don't call them rebels. They're the forces of the Scottish government, right?!

Monday, 2 November 2015

More Library additions

The 'about to move overseas and not have Amazon anymore' buying frenzy is underway.
The ECW library got a few new titles, including our intended rule set: Baccus' Polemos.
Yes Dux, the centre bottom title is a present for you!
Sadly, most of these must go into the sea freight box shortly and wont be seen again until March or maybe April.
Lots to look forward to then though :-)

Monday, 19 October 2015

Cruel Necessity

I've been looking at this ECW boardgame from Victory Point Games for awhile now and finally ordered it this week.

In this solitaire game one plays the Parliamentarians and tries to balance a range of political, military and religious matters to try and wrest control of the country away from HM King Charles.  It clearly has quite an array of variables which impact those and failure in any one of them leads to defeat.  The 75 different event cards add a lot period flavour and deployability value too.

The tactical aspects are also of interest, but the game could clearly be used quite easily as a campaign system with the tactical battles resolved on the tabletop.  That might have a lot of promise actually, and one I'll put my mind to as I play the game and get a feel for it.

There are quite a few detailed reviews and playthroughs on YouTube.  I'll post my own thoughts here once I've given it a go.  The good news is that when you loose at this game, the Royalists triumph - yay!

Thursday, 15 October 2015

ECW Uniforms

I recently found another useful article at Warlords Games, which depicts some of the ECW displays at the Combined Military Services Museum - here

The museum’s English Civil War collection is one of the finest in the country, with armour, swords, polearms, muskets and clothing from the period on display.

Alan and I clearly need to find an excuse to go on an ECW pilgrimage to the UK I think...

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

An Alternative History of Britain: The English Civil War

Wargames Illustrated just posted this article at their website here.  Funnily enough I just ordered this last week and am waiting for it to arrive, so I shall add my own thoughts on this volume in due course.

An Alternative History of Britain: The English Civil War

By Timothy Venning, Pen & Sword Books Ltd., 2015 [ISBN: 9781473827820]
Reviewed by Robert Giglio
Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
“With hindsight, the victory of Parliamentarian forces over the Royalists in the English Civil War may seem inevitable, but this outcome was not a foregone conclusion. Timothy Venning explores many of the turning points and discusses how they might so easily have played out differently. The author analyses the plausible possibilities in each thread, throwing light on the role of chance and underlying factors in the real outcome, as well as what might easily have been different.”
Mr. Venning’s book follows his other titles in the ‘Alternative History’ genre, as he lays out very convincing details of how King Charles I and the Royalists could have won at various times during the years of the First English Civil War. Being a Cavalier myself, I wish it would have been so, and some things are quite plausible; yet, being a realist, I know there are aspects that just would not work. This discussion however, could go on for years (and has), though probably in the UK it does not rival the US’s more popular “If the South had won the American Civil War…”
The book is a very good read as the author convincingly points out situations where the Royalists could have tipped the scales militarily throughout the years of the Civil War. Other aspects are examined as well, such as the war in Ireland and the Royalists’ outcome there, as well as how circumstances could have favored Parliament and the New Model Army at different phases of the war.
For the wargamer, this book provides circumstances that could lead to theoretical battles at every phase of the war, since different outcomes presented are based on plausible possibilities. Of course, the easiest and simplest of these ‘what if’ scenarios to game would be those where a battle could have been fought a second day: second day of Edgehill; second day of First Newbury; second day of Second Newbury. Other scenarios might include: what if the King had retained the 2,000 odd veteran cavalry that were sent off with Lord Goring (in a huff) to the West prior to Naseby; alternately, what if the letter (orders) made it to Goring and he actually marched to join the King prior to the battle (which would’ve been a big help against Cromwell’s cavalry command on the Royalist left wing!). The possibilities are endless, and many are as nicely outlined in the book for the entire war.
While the book covers many ‘what if’ aspects of battles and campaigns, there are no orders of battle or such, so the wargamer would have to consult one of the myriad of books or scenarios of battles they want to refight or alter in order to play a ‘what if’ battle. However, this should be quite an easy task, as the English Civil War abounds with many books and scenarios detailing battles.
This book is recommended as a good read, since it provides some provoking thoughts about the battle possibilities. For creative wargamers, An Alternative History of Britain: The English Civil War, introduces a number of ‘what if’ battles to game.