Why would I, while in the midst of documenting my take on Baroque units using my newest basing scheme, jump away and do something different? The short answer is that it is in my nature to do so. I have had several careers in fairly diverse fields and in the end never quite decided what to do when I grew up. Apparently it’s not going to happen – growing up I mean!
I was pleased to have recently gotten the newest draft of For King & Parliament (FK&P) to play around with. As I have all the new Baroque units assembled and photographed (giving me material for several future posts), I can indulge in actually playing a few games with this promising rules set.
I have collected rules for the Musket and Pike period since time out of memory but continue to look for rules systems that can be easily taught to non-wargamers, that are reasonably fast to play, can scale well, and most importantly still capture the feel of the period. All of these seems possible with FK&P, plus I like gridded, dice free games and these rules deliver that as well.
For King & Parliament is designed by Andrew Brentnall in conjunction with Simon Miller using Simon’s game engine from the popular To The Strongest (TtS). I started evaluating TtS a few weeks ago for one of my other wargame endeavors and quite liked what I’ve seen so far.
I decided to start with Andrew’s scenario, the Battle of Lessie’s Moor which is set in the mythical county of Borsetshire, home of the sprawling British soap opera, The Archers. In fact virtually all the family names from the show find their way into the orders of battle for the two sides. As I was totally unaware of The Archers, reading about the show has only added to the fun (and I suspect I’m still missing a number of inside jokes!). To insert a semi-historical leavening to the proceedings, Andy also added a passel of Prince Rupert’s younger brothers, each commanding a regiment of horse.
While whimsical, the scenario (which is set in the early stages of the Wars – Spring of 1643) captures the sense of the struggle between the two factions that played out in many of counties of England during the First Civil War. As in the actual war, the participants almost certainly know each other, may be long time rivals or lifelong friends (or both) and may even be related (even occasional without knowing!) Using The Archers is clever since all of this background is readily available to those that enjoy the storytelling aspects of wargaming and translating the modern characters to the 17th century only adds scope to this undertaking.
So, with out further ado, let’s take a look at some of the set-up considerations (as always, you can press or click each photo to embiggen).
I am using a 4′ x 3′ battlecloth from Simon’s BigRedBatShop, with a subtle grid work of 10cm (~4″) boxes. The Baroque units have been cut down from a 5″ front to 3″.
The move stands are 3″ x 1.5″ for most units and 3″ x 2.5″ for deeper units such as the “Dutch” style horse shown above. This allows me to use three of the five pieces assigned to each of my Baroque units and have the room to place two units in one of the grid boxes.
Not pictured is the flying brigade of horse with supporting shot sent out from Oxford by Prince Rupert to strengthen the Borsetshire Royalists (and rid himself of the annoyance of his excitable brothers). The brigade is commanded by the irrepressible Prince Philip Frederick carrying the rank of general (undoubtedly to consternation of Lord Pargetter!). With Philip completing the triptych of dim bulbs commanding, the encounter would later be known as the “Battle of the Three Ninnies” (or “Three Idiots” in some texts).
Finally a note about the the flags I use. All my regular foot units carry a faction flag to show at a glance which side they are on, consequently both sides here carry the red and white St. George’s cross. This is not historically accurate but the images of the Parliamentarian army at Edgehill, in the 1970 movie, Cromwell, are seared into my mind and are the principal reason I got into to this period (and I am far from alone in this). So, I make allowances.
In fact I find my self giddy that I am about to game a battle between Englishmen on English soil, something I haven’t done since the days of my youth.