Positively, For Sure, The Very Last Time!

I have no idea what the rule book cover for For King and Parliament will look like when it is released, so I made one in my own cartoon style as a placeholder. It appears in the header above.

Since retiring in 2012 and re-establishing myself in wargaming (with a particular emphasis on the Seventeenth Century) I have worked through dozens of rules sets. A few are highly derivative but most offer interesting philosophies and at least a few mechanisms that fire up my imagination.

I have lost count of how many times I have decided to select one, or two, or even three, as my go-to rules. These, of course, always include my own extentions to a greater or lesser degree. Each time this happens I alter the  way I base my figures, sometimes to a substantial degree.

I had started with 25/28 mm figures, originally used back in my youth with Partizan Press’s Forlorn Hope. In 2012 these were dug out and rebased (on foamcore!) to a scheme using my own rules. I soon quickly discovered Warlord Games’s Pike & Shotte, and shouting, “this is the one!”, rebased to those standards. With over six hundred figures, however, game play space became a major issue!

I then took the decision to start all over again in 10 mm, mainly with Pendraken and Minature Figurines (Caliver Books). Several basing schemes were tried but I finally settled on 1” x 1” x 1/8” wooden squares with four to six infantry or two cavalry figures per square. Units could be assembled out of these modules in various ways (anywhere from three to eight pieces) to match the rules being tried. Of course, I had to keep fiddling with the make-up of each piece, over and over again! Fortunately, the figures can be pried off the wooden squares, leaving both figures and base intact and reusable (although my fingers occasionally suffer some wear and tear!).

The last three years have seen much experimentation (all documented in this blog)and I shan’t reprise it all. I will mention, however, that four rules sets standout, Ganesha Games’s Flashing Steel, Peter Pig’s Regiment of Foote v2, Neil Thomas’s One Hour Wargames and Dadi & Piombo Publishing’s Baroque. Baroque, in particular, saw lots of action and have been my go-to rules for quite a long period. They adapted reasonably well to solo play (but would have been better with a real opponent). They also have the disadvantage of not being particularly quick play as I found when I tried a few larger battles.

Recently I was given a chance to work with the evolving drafts of For King and Parliament (now often called F-KAP). The designers, Andrew Brentnall and Simon Miller, were very forthcoming in their ideas and our long distance discussions have been interesting on multiple levels. Given that FK&P is written specific to the period( capturing its feel very well, I think) and they play on a grid (a boon to both solo and quick play) , I’ve decided to adopt them as my one true rules (to match the one true scale! 😀)

In the final analysis I’m not getting any younger and I need to keep simplifying my life! One set of rules for every level of play will go a long way to that simplification. I can make EVERYTHING, figures, terrain, table space, battlemats, to one set of rules. It is a great mental relief! 😀 –  and storage is vastly simplified as well.

I am making some final adjustments to my figure basing (which I will document in detail over the coming days, week, years?), but let’s begin with the heart of the period, the Pike and Shot battalia:

The basing is actually simpler and I can end up with a few more units for each faction*. Instead of having five pieces available for each unit (two pieces having mixtures of shot and pike), I am have moved some of the pikes to the rear filler strip to add depth to the pike block.

This final rebasing is also giving me the opportunity to slowly shift to removable flags for each unit (something that I should have done at the outset – but who knew?) Since I am having to redo all the flags anyway I have decided to go to a slightly larger  size (a’ la Barry Hilton) which are not neccessarly historical but simply look good! At the same time this also allows me to drop my long held notion of a faction* flag and use a more historical flag configuration:

Batallia Expolded view

On the left is a typical pike and shot battalia and on the right an “exploded” view of same. This arrangement allows for two separate regiments or a first and second battalion of a large regiment.

Should I choose to do so, I can now also double the scale and assemble a unit with a more accurate looking frontage:

doubled Battlia

A typical pike and shot regiment using double scale

Now almost giddy with simplifying, I can now also start converting several other pieces to use with FK&P as markers.  While I have a generic marker for an attached light gun, I can now convert my various light artillary pieces to give a more vignette-like marker:

Frame Gun

A Covenanter foot regiment with a light frame gun attached.

As a final benefit of locking in these configurations and rules I can now also do a much more coherent re-organization of all the blog sidebar material ( although progress on that will still likely remain glacial!)

* “Factions” is a term that sometimes causes consternation among English Civil War enthusiasts. It is argued that there were no factions but only two sides, King or Parliament. Sometimes it is allowed that MAYBE it might be more generally stated that it was those who supported the monarchy against everybody else. I believe It was never that simple.

In my mind at least, the title, For King AND Parliament, captures the deep ambiguity of the many shifting goals, allegiances and alliances that permeated the Wars of the Three Kingdoms from beginning to end.