Wednesday, 21 April 2021

The big bundle at Badgeworth

Okay then, poor lighting...check

Finger grease on iPad camera lens...check

Let’s go!

The fluff

Rowland Laugherne was not a happy bunny. With two years arrears in pay still unpaid by the Parliament, he’d been easily convinced by an agent of the crown to turn his coat and march his modest force from Pembroke to the English border. The French gold that had come with the deal had been very welcome, the brisk order to cross into England two weeks later, not so much. 

His new masters had directed him to seize Gloucester, which was a task he’d have found near impossible if he’d had twice the force, however on approach he found the town in turmoil and its gates thrown open. 

Desperate to avoid a siege and the sort of privations they’d suffered four years earlier, the inhabitants had induced the small Parliamentarian garrison to evacuate, leaving the town defenceless. Agreeing to keep his Irish troops beyond the walls Rowland took possession of the place and sent a letter to the King advising him of his “triumph”.

Nearly two weeks passed before a reply was forthcoming, and rather than congratulations he received a terse directive to leave a small garrison behind and continue on to Oxford. Rowland doubted he would be as lucky a second time, but orders were orders...and coin was coin.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, Black Tom Fairfax was equally unhappy, for his newly raised army had begun to dwindle in size through sickness and desertion. To make matters worse the Kings sudden move north into the West Midlands had left him and his remaining men in somewhat of a backwater. Hearing that Gloucester had surrendered itself to the Royalists, he deployed his force in a blocking position before Cheltenham and wrote to London for further instructions. 

The situation

Okey cokey then. Rowland Laugharne and his small army have left Gloucester and are travelling east  towards Oxford. They are heading for a bridge across a small but swiftly flowing stream called Norman’s brook (seriously) when scouts report movement on the hillside directly ahead. 

I’ll be playing as the Royalists in this battle and my AO (absent opponent) will be the defender. The forces are Wofun 18mm flats and the terrain is hexon.

The strategic map had called for two small (6 unit) armies to contest the south Midlands and the forces arrived at through the drawing of army composition cards were:

Royalist: 1x horse, 1x dragoon, 1x artillery, 3x foote. 3 leaders

Parliament: 1 x horse, 2x artillery, 3x foot, 3 leaders

Each 6 unit army would have a 1:2:3 ratio of veteran to trained to raw soldiery.

I’d intended to use Mr Callan’s excellent rule set for this campaign but after tinkering with them in order to make them work with hexes I ended up with a sub standard version of Msr Foys excellent C&C ECW variant. Bowing to the inevitable I took advantage of his latest Ramekin update and had at it. 

The victor of the battle would be the first to acquire 4 victory points. Both sides would score 1 point for the destruction of an enemy unit or leader and the Royalists could gain 1 victory point for each unit they managed to get off the opposite board edge.

The defenders took advantage of a small ridge on the far side of the river and a position where they could enfilade anything passing down the road to Cheltenham. Off to the right of the Royalist advance, in the far corner of the board, the Parliamentary horse were busy grazing in the water meadows.

Given how my AO works I could see which units he had in place but until engaged in combat I’d have  no indication of their training or morale level. 

Ramekin does away with the usual C&C order cards and introduces activation chips, the number of which are dependant on the overal commanders ranking (and any you might have saved up on one side). I’d rated Laugherne as average, which meant the number of activation chips available would be dependant on a roll of 2d4. Black Tom Fairfax would have been “good” and had better dice to roll for his activation chips but he was under the control of my AO for this game and his forces started with random order counters that saw “hold” for the artillery, “advance” for the foote and “charge” for the horse.

The plan

My initial thoughts were to head straight up the road, cross the bridge and just soak up any hits in a rush to get off the board - earning my points the easy way; closer inspection of the battlefield however suggested an alternative stratagem. 

My river / stream tiles are done in a way which has the course of the water following the hex edges, with the occasional diversion across the body of a hex indicating a site where a bridge or a ford might exist. Having placed the terrain tiles down I realised that such a ford was there on the very far right flank of the Royalist position and that crossing there would take me outside the range of the cannon on the ridge. Given my initial dispositions I’d still have to endure a few turns of artillery fire but the swing round to the right seemed a far better option than taking fire for the duration of my advance.

The C&C rules as they stand are excellent but I did think I could add two elements from Mr Callan’s set that I especially liked, without upsetting the apple cart. To that end I introduced the concept of disruption due to manoevering through difficult terrain, (the effects of which  are a simple combat dice reduction) and “blown” status for horse that travel their maximum speed of 3 hexes twice in a row, or once if the move ends in melee.

Now Msr Foy had been at pains to point out that a couple of his Ramekin concepts had been discarded over time, the two activation chips on a unit allowing a double move being one example. I resolved to keep things as written and test them out for myself since I strongly suspected that the pressure of Msr Foy having to umpire zoom games may have caused them to be forgotten and that over time this has been confused with “not necessary / workable”.

I decided to allow the force that rolled highest for activation chips to gain the initiative in each turn and surprisingly given their poorer commander my Royalist boys went first. The double activation chips I placed on my veteran horse at the front of the column allowed them to go haring off to the flank while my Foote who were plodding along in their wake soon came under fire from the cannons on the ridge. 

The Parliamentary cannon fire from the ridge. Only the presence of an officer prevented my second Foote regiment from retiring. The red hand on the white counter by the guns indicates a “hold position” order.

To my dismay the Parliamentary gunners soon got their eye in and the first casualties came in almost from the off. The foote moved from their starting position and stumbled over the rough ground in order to be better placed to cover the bridge and the ford. The horse had “charge” as their randomly drawn order and duly headed towards me at full 3 hex speed, reaching the ford in their first move.

Having gone last in the first turn, Black Tom’s boys went first in the second turn. His charging horse were one stand bigger than their Royalist opponents, which gives them an extra combat dice, (Mr Callan’s influence) and since this campaign is post 1644 I rated all horse to be essentially gallopers. 

My chaps were one stand light and unable to utilise their veteran status advantage since their attackers turned out be trained, not raw. The result of the Parliamentary horses charge was 2 hits on my 3 strength unit plus a retreat flag. The attached leader was not hit and I could’ve used his influence to ignore the retreat flag but breaking off contact was a blessing in such circumstances, so they thundered back the way they’d just come with their tails between their legs. The saving Grace here was two fold. Not only would I get the next turn and thus be able to move further away, but the Parliamentary horse had become “blown” as a result of their second 3 hex charge and melee. Being blown they could they not advance into my vacated hex, this inability also denying them a follow up bonus attack that would no doubt have finished off my boys and gifted them the first victory point. Phew! With their “charge” order now used, Black Toms horse would have to draw a new order from the bag.

Successful but out of puff.
A turn or so later my horse had achieved a place of safety and had been assigned enough activation chips to attempt to rally. The Ramekin rules as written allow a unit to rally back to full strength and can make good 1 hit loss per 5 or 6 rolled if an officer is attached to the unit. Two activation chips allowed two rolls, and freakishly I got two sixes, bringing my horse back up to full strength. I have to assume that the hits on them had only been light wounds and that they’d heeded the generals instruction to just “walk it off”. Lol.

Royalist horse in a place of safety, side on in left foreground.

The Parliamentary cavalry that had given them such a pounding would remain blown for the rest of the game and thus be unable to charge into melee again. The new order they received from a random draw was “advance” which was not going to do them any favours. Ideally they should have pulled back over the ford but the advance order precludes any moves back towards their board edge. 

While my sides foote formed a strung out column heading for the ford, the Parliamentary Foote struggled to cover the bridge and the ford, both of which at this point remained viable crossing points. To bolster the lads by the bridge a Parliamentary leader attached himself to them. 

Still under fire from the guns on the ridge I unlimbered my own cannon and covered them from assault by dismounting dragoons on their flank.

They were only meant to act as a diversion but their very first shot found its mark, with one of the enemy cannon on the ridge bowled over and ripped from its carriage.

Got it in one! Black Tom’s artillery takes a pounding.

On the other side of the field the blown parliamentary horse turned the tables on one of my regiments that had boxed them in to the corner of the map. Rolling straight through them before any attempt could be made to form a pike stand, they scattered the survivors in all directions. The scores on the doors (was that from the generation game?) now stood at 1 victory point each.

We were only four turns in about now and with honours about even. 

Then everything changed. 

The speculative deployment of my cannon came up trumps again. Spotting the Parliamentary Foote moving up onto the bridge they fired and caused a one hit loss. Because they’d taken a hit the leader who’d been attached to them had to test to see if he’d become a casualty. The chances are pretty low, needing two crossed sabre symbols on two dice, but sometimes Lady Luck is with you. The Parliamentary leader was dead!

With his death the order to advance counter became void and while the men on the bridge dithered a second hammer blow struck. 

“Don’t worry, there’s no way they could hit me from....aaargh”

The raw Parliamentary foote take to their heels

Now it just so happened that my loitering Royalist horse, all bandaged up and hydrated with lucozade (or some such) were within charge range. Falling upon the demoralised foote they secured another hit and two retreat flags. Now that would be bad, but since it turned out the foote were raw they were obliged to retreat two hexes for every flag. The remnants took to their heels and ended up right in the edge of the board. Scores now stood at 2:1 to me (for the death of their leader).

Having charged and melee’d my horse were now blown, but they could still manage a gentle canter over the bodies of the enemy dead on the bridge. Remounting swiftly my dragoon’s followed in their wake.

With the Parliamentary foote’s general dead and his order counter now void, it was the start of the next turn when a new order counter was drawn from the order bag. The order picked was retreat and reform. The broken unit on the board edge was the first to comply, leaving the game and scoring me another victory point. The other foot units were also affected by this order and they too began to fall back from the ford. The scores were now 3:1 to me and although my own foote regiments by the ford had taken serious casualties trying to tie down the enemy horse (which for brevity’s sake I have not described) there was now nothing Black Tom could do to prevent my two mounted units from toddling off the Parliamentary board edge. 

5:1 to me...and the win!

The aftermath

Fairfax’s battered regiments fell back on Oxford but Laugherne kept up the pressure and when camp fever broke out in the town Black Tom retired into the Thames valley itself. With the West Midlands and the south Midlands more or less under control the King ordered a great celebratory feast be held in Warwick. Needless to say, the suppliers never got paid.


The game took 7 turns overall and with a couple of coffee breaks was only three and a half hours from start to finish. Ramekin worked very well in place of the C&C order cards and along with C&C ECW will remain my rules of choice for this campaign and the ECW in general. 

I’m not sure that a unit should be able to rally back up to full strength, as happened in the game, but I can’t discount the possibility that I didn’t read it right so I’ll go back and look at that again. When used with my three stand 6mm bods a foote regiments three hit capacity worked well, but these 18mm chaps have six stands and I felt they fell apart rather too quickly, so more thought about that is required as well. 

The Royalists now control three regions and since they only have two small armies in the field they can build one more, either as a separate entity or use the capacity to increase an existing one up to medium size. A fellow blogger has volunteered to make the strategic decisions for whichever faction moves last in future turns, hopefully adding a little more unpredictably to proceedings. The next game turn will be late Autumn 1647 and I’ll be reporting on what’s coming next in a week or so. 

In the meantime I’ll be finishing another unit of archers and starting work on project x which I can now reveal will be a Wellsian invasion of Britain by the dastardly Prussians, circa 1885.

Toodle ooh.

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated

Following a recent ill advised dalliance with fromage, post 10pm, I have been gifted with a prophetic dream / hallucinatory experience detailing the cause, if not the timing, of my eventual demise! 

I know! 

Handy or what! 

Anywhoo under “cause of death” on my death certificate (which is the only certificate I’ll ever have won by the way) will be the words...Greg’s Steak Bake. What’s weird about it (well apart from everything) is that I have no particular liking for pastry products in general or Greg’s in particular.  

The immediate fallout from this revelation is that I no longer feel able to travel to the end of Cardigan high street, where there is an actual Greg’s, (I mean would you chance it?) and I now anxiously scan the maps on my phone for other branches whenever TCMB and I dare to venture further afield. 

Such an unlikely ending shouldn’t come as much of a surprise when I think about it, because over the last few years there have been a number of occasions when I probably should have snuffed it by more conventional means and haven’t. For the purposes of brevity I shall gloss over the time I fell out of a tree onto my chainsaw and even the time I fell off this roof - from the high bit out of shot... while trying to take down an unwanted satellite dish. (Broken leg, but I did bring the dish down with me so not a totally wasted effort).

Or even the time I nearly drowned in my own filth in this cellar due to a broken septic tank pipe.

All that time spent contemplating my own mortality in A&E. All that precious wasted time. Doh. It seems possible that as long as I can continue to avoid these particular purveyors of hot and fatty comestibles I may in-fact live forever, an exciting enough prospect that when I discussed it with the current Mrs Broom she give a deep sigh of (I think) delight. 

So then unless I’m struck down in the street by a pasty wielding maniac, there’ll be no need for someone to engrave the words “Game over player 1. Insert coin to continue” on any tombstone of mine. 

Shame that.

Toodle ooh.

Sunday, 11 April 2021

Covid house blues

I called off my anticipated game this weekend thanks to the side effects of my first COVID jab,  however I did manage to finish off three more WOTR units. To that end I invite you to gasp in awe as I showcase my “work” through the medium of poor lighting and a crappy camera.

I also invested £10 to buy 128 hard to find ECW tomes at this chaps site. 

The Emperors Library

Here’s a screen grab of what I got for my dosh. Okay they’re all pdfs and not actual books, but hey... what do you expect for a tenner? The site covers loads of other periods so I thought I’d put this out there for anyone else that hasn’t seen it and might be interested. 

 1. A chronicle of the late intestine war in the three kingdoms
2. A Collection of original letters and papers, concerning the affairs of England, 1641 to 1660 vol.1
3. A Collection of original letters and papers, concerning the affairs of England, 1641 to 1660 vol.2
4. A discourse of the warr in Lancashire
5. A history of the life of Colonel Nathaniel Whetham, a forgotten soldier of the civil wars
6. A journal of the siege of Lathom House in Lancashire 1644
7. A narrative by John Ashburnham of his attendance on King Charles vol.1
8. A narrative by John Ashburnham of his attendance on King Charles vol.2
9. Charles I. in 1646 Letters of King Charles the First to Queen Henrietta Maria
10. Cromwell as a soldier
11. Cromwell in Ireland, a history of Cromwell's Irish campaign
12. Cromwell's army - a history of the English soldier during the Civil Wars, the Commonwealth and the Protectorate
13. Cromwell's Scotch campaigns 1650-51
14. Crosby records. A cavaliers note book; being notes, anecdotes, observations of William Blundell of Crosby, Lancashire, esquire, captain of dragoons ... in the royalist army of 1642
15. Heath's historical annual; or, The great civil war of Charles I. and the Parliament
16. Historical gleanings on the memorable field of Naseby
17. History of Charles the First and the English Revolution vol.1
18. History of Charles the First and the English Revolution vol.2
19. History of Richard Cromwell and the restoration of Charles II vol.1
20. History of Richard Cromwell and the restoration of Charles II vol.2
21. History of the Commonwealth and the Protectorate, 1649-1656 vol.1
22. History of the Commonwealth and the Protectorate, 1649-1656 vol.2
23. History of the Commonwealth and the Protectorate, 1649-1656 vol.3
24. History of the Commonwealth and the Protectorate, 1649-1656 vol.4
25. History of the great civil war, 1642-1649 vol.1
26. History of the great civil war, 1642-1649 vol.2
27. History of the great civil war, 1642-1649 vol.3
28. King and commonwealth, a history of the great rebellion
29. Letters and papers relating to the first Dutch war, 1652-1654 vol.1
30. Letters and papers relating to the first Dutch war, 1652-1654 vol.2
31. Letters and papers relating to the first Dutch war, 1652-1654 vol.3
32. Letters and papers relating to the first Dutch war, 1652-1654 vol.4
33. Letters and papers relating to the first Dutch war, 1652-1654 vol.5
34. Letters and papers relating to the first Dutch war, 1652-1654 vol.6
35. Letters from Roundhead officers written from Scotland and chiefly addressed to Captain Adam     Baynes
36. Memoirs of Prince Rupert, and the cavaliers. Including their private correspondence Vol.1
37. Memoirs of Prince Rupert, and the cavaliers. Including their private correspondence Vol.2
38. Memoirs of Prince Rupert, and the cavaliers. Including their private correspondence Vol.3
39. Memoirs of the civil war in Wales and the Marches, 1642-1649, Vol.1
40. Memoirs of the civil war in Wales and the Marches, 1642-1649, Vol.2
41. Memoirs of the two last years of the reign of King Charles I
42. Memorials of the great civil war in England from 1646 to 1652 Edited from original letters of Charles the First and of numerous other eminent persons Vol.1
43. Memorials of the great civil war in England from 1646 to 1652 Edited from original letters of Charles the First and of numerous other eminent persons Vol.2
44. Military Memoir of Col John Birch. Governor of Hereford in the Civil War
45. Monk; or, the fall of the republic and the restoration of the monarchy in England, in 1660
46. Monk's Contemporaries Biographic Studies on the English Revolution
47. Notes of the treaty carried on at Ripon between King Charles I. and the Covenanters of Scotland, 1640
48. Oliver Cromwell. H.H. the Lord Protector and the royalist insurrection against his government of March, 1655
49. Oliver Cromwell and the rule of the Puritans in England
50. Oliver Cromwell's Letters & speeches vol.1
51. Oliver Cromwell's Letters & speeches vol.2
52. Oliver Cromwell's Letters & speeches vol.3
53. Papers relating to proceedings in the county of Kent, 1642-46
54. Robert Blake, admiral and general at sea
55. Royalist father and Roundhead son; being the memoirs of the first and second earls of Denbigh, 1600-1675
56. Rupert, prince Palatine
57. Scotland and the Commonwealth. Letters and papers relating to the military government of Scotland
58. Select tracts relating to the civil wars in England, in the reign of King Charles the First by writers who were witnesses of the events which they describe Vol.1
59. Select tracts relating to the civil wars in England, in the reign of King Charles the First by writers who were witnesses of the events which they describe Vol.2
60. The army lists of the Roundheads and Cavaliers, containing the names of the officers in the royal and parliamentary armies of 1642
61. The autobiography of Joseph Lister, of Bradford in Yorkshire, to which is added a contemporary account of the defence of Bradford and capture of Leeds by the Parliamentarians in 1642
62. The champions of the crown
63. The civil war in Hampshire (1642-45) and the story of Basing House
64. The Civil War in Worcestershire, 1642-1646, and the Scotch invasion of 1651
65. The Covenanters in Moray and Ross
66. The diplomatic correspondence of Jean de Montereul and the Brothers de Bellievre vol.1
67. The diplomatic correspondence of Jean de Montereul and the Brothers de Bellievre vol.2
68. The first and second battles of Newbury and the siege of Donnington Castle during the Civil War, 1643-6
69. The garrisons of Shropshire during the civil war, 1642-1648
70. The great civil war of the times of Charles I. and Cromwell
71. The history of the grand rebellion vol.1
72. The history of the grand rebellion vol.2
73. The history of the grand rebellion vol.3
74. The History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England Begun in 1641 vol.1
75. The History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England Begun in 1641 vol.2
76. The History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England Begun in 1641 vol.3
77. The History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England Begun in 1641 vol.4
78. The History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England Begun in 1641 vol.5
79. The History of the Rebellion and Civil Wars in England Begun in 1641 vol.6
80. The House of Lords during the Civil War
81. The Irish rebellion of 1641, with a history of the events which led up to and succeeded it
82. The king in exile. The wanderings of Charles II from June 1646 to July 1654
83. The King's general in the West. The life of Sir Richard Granville, bart., 1600-1659
84. The last years of the Protectorate, 1656-1658 vol.1
85. The last years of the Protectorate, 1656-1658 vol.2
86. The memoirs of Edmund Ludlow, lieutenant-general of the horse in the army of the commonwealth of England vol.1
87. The memoirs of Edmund Ludlow, lieutenant-general of the horse in the army of the commonwealth of England vol.2
88. The Nicholas papers. Correspondence of Sir Edward Nicholas vol.1
89. The origin of the first Dutch war of the Restoration
90. The parliamentary generals of the great civil war
91. The quarrel between the Earl of Manchester and Oliver Cromwell - an episode of the English Civil War
92. The Royalist Composition Papers vol.1
93. The Royalist Composition Papers vol.2
94. The Royalist Composition Papers vol.3
95. The Royalist Composition Papers vol.4
96. The travels of the King; Charles II in Germany and Flanders, 1654-1660
97. The whole proceedings of the siege of Drogheda and siege of Londonderry
98.Tracts relating to military proceedings in Lancashire during the great civil war
99. With Milton and the cavaliers
100. A letter or an epistle to all well-minded men in England, Wales, and Ireland ; in special to the Parliament and Army
101. Barnstaple and the Northern Part of Devonshire During the Great Civil War
102. Cromwell's Soldier's Catechism
103. Diary of the Marches of the Royal Army During the Great Civil War
104. History of Scots Affairs, from 1637-41 vol.3
105. Memorials of the Civil War. Comprising the Correspondence of the Fairfax Family vol.1
106. Memorials of the Civil War. Comprising the Correspondence of the Fairfax Family vol.2
107. Military memoirs of the great civil war. Being the military memoirs of John Gwynne
108. The Protector ; a vindication
109. London during the great rebellion. Being a memoir of Sir Abraham Reynardson, knt
110. History of Scots affairs, from 1637 to 1641 vol.1
111. History of Scots affairs, from 1637 to 1641 vol.2
112.  Lives of the warriors of the civil wars of France and England, Volume 1
113.  Lives of the warriors of the civil wars of France and England, Volume 2
114.  Memoirs of the Most Renowned James Graham, Marquis of Montrose
115.  Minute Book, War Committee of the Covenanters, Kirkcudbrightshire 1640-1
116.  Montrose and Covenanters vol.1
117.  Montrose and Covenanters vol.2
118.  Numismata Cromwelliana or, The medallic history of Oliver Cromwell, illustrated by his coins, medals, and seals
119.  Scotland and the Protectorate. Letters and papers relating to the military government of Scotland 1654 to 1659
120.  The Cromwellian Settlement of Ireland
121.  The Cromwellian union; papers relating to the negotiations for an incorporating union between England and Scotland, 1651-1652
122.  The life and campaigns of Alexander Leslie, first Earl of Leven 
123. Bellum civile - Hopton's Narrative of his Campaign in the West 1642-44
124. Sussex in the great Civil War and the interregnum, 1642-1660
125. The Confederation of Kilkenny
126. The Diary of Sir Henry Slingsby
127. The narrative of General Venables
128. The Ulster civil war of 1641, and its consequences; with the history of the Irish brigade under Montrose in 1644-46

 You will get the following files:

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Friday, 9 April 2021

2nd Strategic turn ECW campaign - Early Autumn 1647

The way the strategic turn order works for the three factions in this campaign ensures that whoever goes first is most often at a disadvantage, for in the early stages, a precipitous move out of a region could leave it undefended against predatory exploitation by the next faction. To this end the Army of God,  or Oliver’s Army as I’m tempted to call it (gratuitous Elvis Costello reference there) chose to hold onto their newly acquired territory in the East Midlands and hope for a better placement in the late Autumn turn sequence. While they were busy pulling down idolatrous statues and whitewashing church walls, the Royalists took their turn.

In fact, some of the Puritans move paralysis played into the Royalist strategic thinking too. With each faction only able to move 1 army per game turn any exploitation out of the West Midlands would leave the area open to Parliament, so Charlie’s lads opted to strike at the South Midlands (from across the border in South Wales) where a small Parliamentary army under Black Tom Fairfax had taken up a blocking position. 

The attack on the South Midlands pins the Parliamentary army in place and since the loss of London would be catastrophic, the army guarding it also needed to stay put. The only sensible option left for Denzil Holles’ committee was to order the  unhindered army under General John Lambert to move south from Yorkshire to secure Lincolnshire. Not only would this provide more resources for the government it would block any Puritan moves north while simultaneously threatening their base of operations in East Anglia.

Our first campaign battle then will be between two small armies in the South Midlands, one Royalist attacking force led by Rowland Laugherne, and one defending force under the command of Tom Fairfax.

Rowland had actually fought for Parliament during the first civil war, holding Pembrokeshire while almost the rest of Wales supported the King. He’d become very disenchanted after the war, and was at loggerheads with his masters over their intention to disband his garrison without settling their back pay. 

Small armies are composed of six units (not including officers) and must include 1 Horse, 1 Artillery and 2 Foote units. Two unit cards are drawn from a deck to determine the type of additional troops that will be used to bring the armies up to the required six. The generated armies are assigned to the attacker and defender based on the number of horse or artillery they are found to contain - an army with more horse being assigned to the attacker and that with more artillery to the defender.

The armies I eventually arrived at were composed as follows:

Attacker. Royalist - 3 Foote, 1 Horse, 1 Artillery and 1 Dragoon

Defender. Parliament - 3 Foote, 1 Horse, 2 Artillery.

I’ll be playing the Royalist attacker while my Absent Opponent (AO) will hopefully throw me the odd curved ball.

My lads very obligingly came together for this group photo:

With six units apiece the training and morale quality for each faction is worked out on a 1:2:3 ratio, ie veteran, trained and raw. At the onset of battle my absent opponents units will have this quality randomly (and secretly) assigned to them, but for my part I can choose which will be veteran trained etc in the forces I command.

Die rolls determined that the battlefield would contain 4 hexes of higher ground on the defending players right flank and a river running across his frontage while the attacker (me) has a single hex impassable pond on his left. 

The rules used will be Mr Callan’s, albeit with one or two house rule alterations and an accommodation as far as ranges and facing go for the hexed nature of my terrain. The miniatures are Wofun 15/18mm.

So, now that the spare bedroom is finally free...let battle commence. 

Monday, 29 March 2021

Let’s get this party started

So then my first civil war was brought to a shuddering halt by an assassination attempt on King Charles and his subsequent escape to France. 

Thanks to my Wofun bods I now have the terrain, models and rules to effect his return.

Before we kick off here’s a quick reprise of the situation in the winter of 1646. This was in an earlier post, but I thought I’d save you the bother of scrolling back for it.

Parliament, which had largely disbanded its own army after seeing off the King, has found itself in an unexpected guerrilla war with a separatist movement in East Anglia. After two years of increasing religious repression a devils brew of former soldiers, radical thinkers and militant puritans, (led by a charismatic former colonel of horse you may have heard of) have rejected the worldly edicts of Presbyterian church governance and have resolved to create their own breakaway state. Secretly funded by the Dutch they seek the destruction and reformation of the country along more saintly lines in the hope that it will encourage the return of the one true king...King Jesus.

Elsewhere, Scotland is now in the second year of its own civil war, with factions for and against the return of  Charles while  Ireland, currently riven with plague has become a “no go” zone.

Charlie boy, his missus, and his “court” of hangers on have  spent the last two years bankrupting Louis XIV’s household and encouraging plots and mischief in England’s body politique. Though the king’s spirits have been bolstered somewhat by European monarchist support, his physical recovery from the assassins blade has been markedly slow. Making secret concessions to cede the Channel Islands to France and return England to Catholicism; in the winter of 1646 he unexpectedly finds himself in receipt of enough material support to try to reclaim his kingdom.

I assumed that the King and his advisors would choose to land their invasion force in a place where he would gain the most support and which was far enough away from any enemy to allow a little breathing space. North Wales, South Wales and Cornwall were diced for and as you can see from the map below, in spring 1647 the Royalists came ashore in South Wales - which will be the starting point for my 2nd civil war campaign.

Here’s a few things of note:

To win, the Royalists must control the Thames Valley (incl London) and East Anglia (in order to suppress the militarised religious sects that have declared that region their home). They must also be in contact at all times with a controlled region containing a coastline.

The Army of God, assembling in East Anglia, must control the Thames Valley, East Anglia and three other contiguous regions.

Parliament must control 10 contiguous regions including the Thames Valley and East Anglia. 

Each region has the capacity to support a single small army of 6 units (not counting officers). 

Two regions may combine this capacity to produce a mid sized army (9 units) or from 3 regions a large field army of 12 units. Each armies composition is randomly composed by the drawing of unit cards though depending on their size, all must contain a certain number of foot, horse and guns.

Army size and location is noted on the map by a flag symbol.

When an army attempts to enter a region occupied by an opposing faction the resulting battle is transferred to the tabletop. The winner of the battle occupies the area and the losers army is either disbanded (if small) or forced to retreat and be down sized.

London has such a large population it has the ability to defend itself and the Thames Valley without the presence of an actual army, and this is represented by the single unaffiliated flag. This potential force may not leave the area. East Anglia has a militarised, motivated, smaller population, and good defensive possibilities in the Fens. It too has the ability to defend itself without an actual army presence. If a single small army is attacked in either of these regions it fights as a mid sized army because of the extra man power available to it.

So then onto the Summer of 1647

The three factions diced for initiative and the Army of God got to go first. Their small but determined force moved out into the East Midlands, its progress marked by the burning of idolatrous religious churches.

The Royalist army went second - a rag tag collection of French, Irish and English die hards, moving from Wales into the West Midlands. The towns they passed through on the way offered little in the way of resistance to their army and, more worryingly for them, little enthusiasm for Charles’ cause.

Having had reports of the Kings surprise landing (spies had said the Summer was most likely) Parliaments remaining trained bands moved out of London and took up a blocking position around Gloucester. 

With no battles transferable to the tabletop, this ended the Summer 1647 turn. 

Only one army per faction may move in a season so the Parliamentary force in the North (to keep an eye on the Scots) must remain in situ for now.

At the end of the quarter there had been no large scale engagements. Since all three factions now controlled two adjoining regions they have the option to increase the size of their current small armies to mid size or opt for two single small ones instead. With a perceived need to protect their home regions from direct assault the three opted for the latter option. The map at the end of Summer 1647 looks like this:

The coloured dots in a region denote faction specific control where  the economy of an area has become devoted to military production. I make this point since Parliament near enough controls the whole country at game start giving it a wholly unfair advantage, so I have assumed that most of the none marked regions will have an economy geared towards trade, which would prove to be of no immediate benefit to Parliaments military requirements. 

The next turn will be the Autumn of 1647 and the initiative dice determining the activation order for that season have now been rolled. 

Once again the God squad are first out of the blocks...followed by Charlie’s boys and the lollygagging Parliamentarians who’ve been slowed down by the deliberations of a committee called to determine who should be on a second committee to appoint an overall commander. 

All of the factions are now in a position to strike at an opponent OR seize control of a currently unoccupied region. 

Only one army can move per turn per faction so I’m going to have to give the next moves some thought.

I’ll probably throw a quick WOTR painting progress post in next week, so tarrar a bit for now, or Hwyl as we say out here.