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

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Saturday, 19 December 2015

A visit to the Houses of Parliament

...to find this chap looking down disapprovingly at me! I think he can sense my Royalist tendencies...

Monday, 23 November 2015

Covenanters!

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!



http://www.victorypointgames.com/cruel-necessity.html

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.

http://www.cmsm.co.uk/collections.php

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.

Monday, 28 September 2015

The adventures of Captain Innocent Stryker

Long time without a post here I know, but no this project is not dead.  In fact, it is now confirmed to be on track to go into high gear in early 2016.  Excitement and purchases continue (though no actually modelling yet).    Hopefully the upcoming Hoby Challenge will see some brushes get dusted off, eh Alan?

Anyway, in the meantime I have been keeping my toe in the ECW period with a bit of fiction set during the war.  Namely, the adventures of Captain Innocent Stryker.

Captain Stryker is the creation of author Michael Arnold.  A reluctant Royalist Officer, he and his sidekick Sergeant are grizzled veterans of the continental campaigns of the Thirty Years War.  As such, they have a much more jaded view of the war and what it will do eventually to their homeland.  He is frequently compared to Bernard Cornwell's Richard Sharpe - in fact this comparison is done with monotonous regularity by reviewers but notwithstanding this is a pretty accurate.


The series of books takes the main cast of characters through the opening battles of the ECW with an interesting plot line running throughout all the different books.  Though I think the first couple were the best, I quite enjoyed all of them.  They gave a really interesting perspective to the lifestyles and language of the period, as well as how the skirmishing and fighting tactics of the period worked.  While there is also a good measure of artistic license, it also gives a good perspective of how the command chains of both armies worked, the impacts of suffering from poor logistics processes, and the impact of certain personalities.


Overall, if you are an ECW aficionado and want some entertaining reading to immerse yourself in the period, then this series is for you!  But be warned, it will have you hankering to play some Pike and Musket skirmish gaming, which is the level that most of the books' actions is set.

The author's webpage also has some interesting resources which are worth checking out.
http://www.michael-arnold.net


I'm up to the sixth instalment now, which covers the Battle for Marston Moor. It will be interesting to see how the author tackles that engagement and what he will do with the series once this climatic event is done.

Any recommendations for other ECW era fiction?


[EDIT] Steve the Warmer has just posted a review of Marsten Moor at his blog here:
 http://steve-the-wargamer.blogspot.com/2015/10/marston-moor-review.html






Sunday, 2 August 2015

New Pike & Shot rules under way!

The Pikeman's Lament, a new addition to the expanding Osprey war-games rules series by Dan Mersey (of Lion Rampart fame and others).  While this will be of limited use to our micro scale gaming, this promises to rejuvenate a bit of interest in the period which is always a good thing!

http://merseybooks.blogspot.com/2015/08/new-pike-shot-rules-under-way.html

Friday, 29 May 2015

An idle resort to war

A veritable dearth of activity on the ECW project this month as my real life academic requirements piled up, and Alan rightly prioritised getting some Dark Ages figures completed for a campaign he has going.  Nevertheless, I did achieve some interesting acquisitions for the library - 2 gaming and 2 non fiction titles which will form part of my summer reading.  Reviews to follow in due course.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Matchlock Rifle

This week I came across some ECW artefacts at the NRA museum in Virginia which was very interesting:

Matchlock Rifle:

 Ammunition bandoleer:
 Note that the projectile is embedded in the lid:
Rifle rest

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Yes...MORE Figures!

Who doesn't like coming home to such a package...
OK, we really should stop buying lead for a bit now...but I snagged a bulk deal from a nice chap at Bartertown (Hi Dave!) which included not only a full Army Pack but also more dragoons, heavy guns, some tumbrils and carts, and 10 old OOP Baccus buildings with thatched roofs and tudor style walls.
So many goodies...
This brings our collection to 5 full Army packs plus some extras - enough Alan thinks to do Marston Moor.  I may also take some of the foot figs and base them specifically to defend a city in ditches and so on, rather than in normal battlefield order.  Then we can play a siege game or two, maybe even recreate the Battles for Arnescote Castle from the series 'By the Sword Divided' :-)

The lead piles grows, the boys are happy and somewhere the God of Wargaming smiles!

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Contemplating ECW Terrain

I've started to cast my eye about for appropriate 6mm terrain - another lovely excuse to spend Hobby money! So what do I think we need? Enough terrain for a 4 x 4 or so sized table, including a river, a few roads, some bridges, and a town or two. First up, Baccus (whose lovely figures we are using) is an easy starting place with this nice village set https://www.baccus6mm.com/catalogue/ScenicItems/BritishBuildings/
Here are some other manufacturers of 6mm Terrain that I've come across:
http://www.scalecreep.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=3723_1504_3289
http://www.levenminiatures.co.uk/general.htm    
Some painted up nicely here:
http://walladvantage2.blogspot.com.au/search/label/6mm%20ECW http://www.timecastmodels.co.uk/ http://www.jrmini.com/shop/jrmini.php http://www.totalbattleminiatures.com/bigbattalions/6mm/pikeandshotte.html    
Curt's nicely painted up granary set here: http://analogue-hobbies.blogspot.com/2013/03/product-review-total-battle-miniatures.html
Curt's lovely granary terrain set (Total Battle Miniatures)
While its listed in their Napoleonic rage, Leven Miniatures make a nice fortified Manor House that would do nicely as a Royalist stronghold
Leven's NAP06 - Fortified Manor House from here
Leven also make these fine Tudor Style buildings - can't have an English village without a pub now can we!
GEN11 - Tudor Style Public House
HOU14 - Detached Tudor style house
Dungeon Castings make this nice "House with Tower" as an alternative Manor House (DC-D0118) http://www.dungeoncastings.co.uk/shop/shop.php?action=full&id=531
Total Battle Miniatures also do this fantastic walled town set - very pretty but not sure if I need to drop 65 pounds on it at this stage and instead of buying more functional terrain.  Very shiny though!  Would make a great centrepiece for a Campaign.
The unpainted pics show what you get in better detail I think:

And finally, what kind of Royalist would I be without a good keep or castle to fall back on?  However, my quick look around didn't provide me with the ample options I expected.  I thought for sure there would be many examples of big '5 star' castles like Conwy, Raglan or Caernarfon.  What I'd really like is a nice tower like Donnington (where the battle of Newbury was fought in 1644). 
JR Miniatures' "European Siege Castle"
And finally, some inspiration for baggage/camp elements here (all made with Baccus figures): http://www.tinytintroops.co.uk/Galleries/New_Style/New_Page_02_camp&bag.htm

If you other suggestions or recommendations for us I'd love to hear them!

Sunday, 22 March 2015

This disturbing and rebellious quote is posted to celebrate Alan's successful completion of the 5th Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge and his great placing in 8th position.  Well done mate!
Oliver Cromwell at the Battle of Marston Moor, 1644
I had rather have a plain russet-coated captain that knows what he fights for and loves what he knows, than that which you call a gentleman and is nothing else. I honour a gentleman that is so indeed. 

Taken from a Letter from Colonel Cromwell to Sir William Spring, Earl of Manchester, Sept. 1643.


Thursday, 19 March 2015

Tinker Fox ECW Campaign

An interesting and wonderfully FREE campaign system for the ECW:

"Tinker Fox - an English Civil War campaign game of garrison warfare in the England, Scotland and Ireland, 1642-1652, using the BATTLEFINDER card system (also for use with Very Civile Actions)"
http://perfectcaptain.50megs.com/tfox.html

Tinker Fox uses an interesting strategic movement system which abstracts the area into key areas.  This allows you to do away with detailed map movements (and get on the with the business of dispatching those rebellious Roundheads!).


Pretty neat.  I would also consider going further and 'cut' some of the linkages between sections (for deep river etc) to make strategic chokepoints.

One can see this interesting system (with tactical games resolves with a C&C variant).  Very interesting with some nice ideas for Campaigning

http://prometheusinaspic.blogspot.com/search/label/ECW%20Campaign?updated-max=2014-12-30T20:59:00Z&max-results=20&start=8&by-date=false

Alternatively, the Napoleonic rules "Blucher" include a short campaign system which would also give an interesting game with less preparation required:

SCHARNHORST: The Campaign System
Bl├╝cher includes a campaign system called Scharnhorst which acts as a pre-game. Players plot the movement of their columns along roads and across the countryside. They must make the difficult decisions about spreading out their forces to control key points, while remaining within supporting distance in order to mass for a battle once the enemy has been located.
Of course your opponent may not let you fight on the field of your choice, with all the forces you would like. Was it wise to have sent so much of your cavalry on reconnaissance now that they arrive late and fatigued for the battle? Did you neglect to secure a key road or town in the rear of your position, forcing you to fight at a disadvantage?
Scharnhorst does away with the traditional wargame roles of “attacker and defender.” The players script the battle with their own choices of maneuver and objectives, and the fortunes of the campaign may change dramatically once the fighting is underway.

Monday, 9 March 2015

This War without an Enemy

Came across this classic quote this week. It really struck a cord with me and I wanted to share it.

Parliamentarian General Sir William Waller (pictured above) writing to his close friend General Sir Ralph Hopton of the Royalist Army (pictured below). Sir William and Sir Ralph were opposing Army commanders in the campaign for southwest England.

'Certainly my affections to you are so unchangeable that hostility itself cannot violate my friendship with your person.  But I must be true to the course I serve... The great God who is the searcher of my heart knows with what a perfect hatred I detest this war without an enemy; but I look upon it as sent from God, and that is enough to silence all passion within me... We are both upon the stage, and must act such parts as are assigned to us in this tragedy.  Let us do it in a way of honour and without personal animosities.'

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Book Review: Featherstone's Pike and Shot

OOP 'classic' edition
This is the second John Curry reprint that I bought recently, to go with Wesencraft's excellent "Pike and Musket" volume (which I reviewed here).  As much as I have enjoyed many other Featherstone tomes over the years, in my opinion this one is inferior to Wesencraft's book on the topic.

Reprint available from Amazon here
To be fair, I wanted this book for its information in regard to the ECW and thats not what it is.  Its a book on the entire age of warfare in the 16th and 17th centuries.  It details 15 different battles in great detail (up to 8 pages each, including  full page map) but only 3 are from the ECWs - Rocroi, Cropredy Bridge, and Auldearn.

The book is rounded out with some typically Featherstonesque rules and some references and reading lists in the back.



If you are after information about the whole period this may be of interest to you.  If you are after ECW material in particular, stick with Wesencraft's "Pike and Musket' instead.


Monday, 2 March 2015

Have at you, sir!

Dux Homunculorum here. I'm Paul's other half. In the sense of being the one with Parliamentarian sympathies in this blogging and gaming extravaganza.

I have been eerily silent on the blog so far, for which I blame the insanely busy start of the school year, and also the fact that I've actually been painting things in my scraps of hobby time. I've been shaken out of my silence though by the arrival of a small but satisfyingly heavy box of teeny tiny men from Baccus, which Paul kindly bought, and equally kindly sent them to me to paint.



With this box our ECW plans broaden to include the wars in Scotland as well.



So what have we got? A starter army of Covenanters, another of Montrose's traitors, some cuirassiers, cannon and dragoons for England and Scotland, and flags and bases for them all. Happy days, and thanks Paul for dropping your hard earned moola on these goodies.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

To the Colours!

The diversity of the Colours used in the EWC is quite interesting to me because they are not well documented.  I am also intrigued at the diversity of depictions from simple colours and shapes, to complex icons without much in the way of the traditional heraldry behind them.

Anyway, among my wanderings I found this interesting graphic was I thought would be appreciated here (from http://imgkid.com/english-civil-war-royalists.shtml)  Its a start anyway!



BattleFlag produce 28 and 15mm flags that may be of interest also:





Thursday, 26 February 2015

Book Review: With Pike and Musket

 With Pike and Musket: Sixteenth and Seventeenth Century Battles for the Wargamer 
by Charles Wesencraft

OOP 'classic' edition cover
This 204 page classic gives a basic overview of the period, provides rules with which to fight battles and sets out a number of battles to be refought.  As such, its a great primer but with lots of detail for the Pike and Musket veteran too.


The book starts by describing the weapons and their uses, the generic tactics of the day and the typical formations, troop types and how they were used.  The organisation and structure of Elizabethan, Irish, ECW and New Model armies are included. Very good and simply explained for the genre novice.

The book then goes on to include wargaming rues for the period, which are typical of the time when they were written in 1975.  Very much in the Featherstone/Grant style, they were of passing interest but would no doubt work most capably.

The highlight of the book is that no less than twenty-seven battles of the period are described, including the numbers engaged, types of troops, battle maps and objectives.  These battles 5 pre ECW in Europe, then every major ECW engagement from Edgehill to Naseby, with four battles subsequent battles:

Pinkie 1547
Yellow Ford 1598
Curlieu Hills 1599
Nieuport 1600
John Curry reprint- available from Amazon here
Moyry Pass 1600
Newburn 1640
Edgehill 1642
Syon House 1642
Hopton Heath 1643
Ripple Field 1643
Stratton 1643
Lansdown 1643
Roundway Down 1643
First Newbury 1643
Winceby 1643
Nantwich 1644
Newark 1644
Cheriton 1644
Cropredy Bridge 1644
Marston Moor 1644
Lostwithiel 1644
Castle Dore 1644
2nd Newbury 1644
Naseby 1645
Rowton Heath 1645
Dunbar 1650
Worcester 1651

Each battle has 4 or so pages dedicated to it, with detailed suggestions for refighting them including special rules where applicable.  Very gaming focused vice historical analysis.

Overall this is a well written, enjoyable and very informative book which I'm glad I bought.  Thanks again to Millsy for the recommendation (I bet you've got the 'classic' edition in that great collection of yours haven't you!)

5 stars based on its information content, clarity and wargaming utility.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Royalist reinforcements

New foote regiments have rallied to His Majesty courtesy of Alan's lovely brushwork.  Figs by Baccus.