Tuesday, June 5, 2012

English Civil War Rules

I love rule books. I love studying them, I love carrying them around town in my bag and I love looking at the charts and photographs in them while I drink my coffee. Knowing that I was embarking on an English Civil War (ECW) project, I immediately began researching all of the various rule-sets (and there are lots of them) available for this historical time period.

What do I want in a rule-set? 
  1. It must be historically accurate. I understand that we are playing games, but the rules needs to reflect (not replicate) the historical context of the era and translate that into enjoyable game play somehow.
  2. It cannot rely too heavily on complicated charts and tables. I don't mind a reference sheet and the need to look something up from time to time, but when I am playing a game my attention should be on the game table and not the inside of a book.
  3. The games must be able to be played in a reasonable evening. I enjoy games that can be played in three hours or less with the occasional longer game when I am feeling sassy.
After browsing messaging boards, reading blogs and asking some questions I have whittled the rule choice down to two candidates: Pike & Shotte, by Warlord Games and For Parliament, King or Glory, by David Marks.

Two ECW Rules Finalists
Pike & Shotte is a very slick, nicely designed hard-cover rule book that is gorgeous. The diagram and charts are easy to follow and the photographs of the models are exquisite. I have only begun reading through these rules, but it is a pleasurable experience. I will withhold judgement of the rules themselves for another post.

The beauty of For Parliament, King or Glory is that these rules are free. I always marvel at the dedication, commitment and generosity of individuals in this hobby like David Marks who produce rule-sets for the public without asking for anything in return. A big thank-you and applause for Mr. Marks. I have printed the rules and placed them in a suitable binder for reading. At first glance I am very impressed with the layout and some of the rule mechanics and I am certainly looking forward to digging into these further.

I will provide some deeper analysis and comparisons of these two systems in a future post after I have had sufficient time to read and study them both.

In other news, the Scots I had recruited for my first regiment under Montrose have fled back to the highlands and are considered lost. With the kindly assistance of Robert Walter at Eureka Miniatures, a new batch of recruits are on their way!


  1. Jonathan,
    Another free set which has gotten some good reviews can be found here:

    You will be looking for Very Civile Actions. They also have a free campaign set called Tinker Fox.

    I'm looking forward to seeing your Scots.

    1. Thanks Aaron - funny, I was just reading briefly about Very Civile Actions today. I will look into it for sure with your recommendation, thanks!