FOR KING & PARLIAMENT: Local Rules

For King & Parliament has proven to be what I want in a set of rules: a good balance between period feel and playability, quick play mechanisms, and very adaptable to solo play. Since I do many atypical games in the period, I have also found that the rules can be easily extended to capture some of the details of fighting on the Celtic Fringe (and elsewhere).

I will use this page to help me keep tract of where I am with these local rule experiments – last updated August 27, 2018

Attached Bows {AB}

Bows were still in use in the Highlands as late as Mulroy (1688) and likely at Killiecrankie a year later. They were not used in large numbers nor were they decisive,  so not adding them to the base rules is understandable. I like them as they add at bit more flavor (as long as they are kept at some reasonable minimum for the 17th c.).

I use a rule very similar to “Attached Shot” (AB, “Attached Bows”). A marker with an archer is added to a Highland (Highlander or Highland M&P) unit. The {AB} has the same cost as the {AS} marker.

{AB} may fire only at long range (two boxes) either on shooting activation or return fire. It applies TWO shoot to-hit cards to the target unit (which gets two save draws per hit by bow). The fire may be indirect (firing over a friendly unit or obstacle). The Attached Bows marker(s) is removed (no victory points awarded for removal) after use. If more than one marker is attached they may all fire on a single activation if desired.

Highlander Rule Extentions

The Highlander rules as written are well balanced and prevent, I think, the danger of  slipping into 19th c. romanticism which tends to treat them as super-warriors. The warrior class certainly was trained in individual combat but comprised only a small part of the whole. While it seems fair to say that the warrior ethos was embraced by most (and often aspired to) it does not mean that the bulk of the male population had any particular training as individual warriors (or prehaps any real inclination to be so trained). The following rule extentions are added for flavor:

Downhill Charge: The FK&P base rules give an advantage to foot and artillery defending against an attack coming upslope. As Highlanders often maneuvered to gain the upslope advantage on their opponents to add momentum* when they charged down upon their enemy, Highlanders get a one bonus to-hit card when charging down hill.

*the momentum may actually have been more psychological than physical.

Counter Charge: The typical response for Highlanders on being charged (by anything) is to counter charge. While Highlanders may not charge horse (per the standard rule preventing foot charging horse) they may counter charge horse but they must always counter charge foot. When counter-charging they become the attacker (same rule as Swedish Horse). Note, if they happen to be untried they will first have to take a rout test.

Pursuit: As with counter charging, Highlanders were likely to pursue a broken enemy (for reasons of revenge, booty, or both). If a Highlander unit routs another Highlander unit or a Highland foot unit it must pursue using the same general rules as Horse pursuit (including rally). The use of this rule is usually by scenario and should be used where a strong historic eminty is shown to exist between the rivals (as at Inverlochy).

Melee Weapons {MW}

Typically the two classes of regular infantry (musketeers and pikeman) carried an additional close quarter melee weapon (normally a sword or dirk), although in most cases the musketeers seemed to prefer welding their muskets as clubs. These secondary weapons are well accounted for in the FK&P general melee rules.

In the fairly recent past, however, there had often been present a third class of soldier whose sole purpose was to disrupt the opposing pikes and engage in close combat. These were armed with various weapons (swords and bucklers, halberds or other polearms, half pikes and so on) and were fully integrated with the other two types. As firearms became lighter and much more prevalent, this class went by the wayside in main stream European armies.

Not unexpectedly the Celtic Fringe offers examples of this third class still being extant. Whether their use was due to preference, tradition, simple availability, or tactical necessity can be argued in varying degrees,  I have found it useful to account for them in my local rules simply to add both period flavor and a tactical nuisance.

The rules already contain “Highlanders” who are largely of this type but other special cases exist, most notably the regiments of Montrose’s Irish Brigade. Some of the Covenanter militia (particularly from the Highland districts) may also have turned out with a variety of such weapons in addition to musket and pikes. In an apparent response to their encounter with such troops, the Covenanters would later integrate a goodly number of halberdiers into some of their standard regiments.

These markers (representing about 100 men) should be considered for use in modeling certain Irish and Highland Commanded Shot or Musket&Pike (Small) units (but never Highlanders).  They should be used only by one or two hit units.

{MW}
1. Gives the ability to replay one missed melee to-hit card in each melee the unit fights while still present with that unit.
2. It is substituted (removed) for any disordering melee hit that would cause the unit to rout.
3. One victory point is awarded for the removal of a Melee Weapons marker. Should the unit subsequently rally the {MW} is NOT restored.

This last point is a departure from the general form of the FK&P rules and I have gone back and forth in the awarding a victory point. In the end it helps maintain the overall victory point (or victory medal) totals while allowing for optional unit configurations.

Grenades {Grn}

With the addition of grenadiers a grenade marker can be added to units having a grenadier company. Grenades were used earlier and one may also be attached to a Forlorn Hope.

{Grn} give a bonus melee’ to-hit card and are then expended. In future in may be used to create a breech in a barrier.

The Dustbin

The Dustbin is for local rule extensions that I have tried and for one reason or another abandoned.

No Pikes (NP)

I liked the concept of this but in the end I thought it too “kludgey” and taking too much liberty with the published rules. It also did not precisely do what it was intended to do. The use of a {MW} is now substituting for this rule. 08/08/2018

This is a simple expedient that allows certain Highland and Irish units to melee other foot (including pike armed) as if they had pikes. It is an easy way to account for a variety of polearms, swords, half-pikes, axes, etc. that might allow the unit to get “passed the points” of their opponent and wreak havoc. The unit is typed as Musket & Pike and fits into the appropriate place in FK&P hierarchy of “All Pike”, “Pike Heavy”, “Standard”, and “Shot Heavy”, while being classed as No Pikes against any type of horse.

Guard {Grd}

After some additional trials I now think that the designers not including Bodyguard markers in the final rules was the correct decision. There is one chance in ten (one in five if “gallant”) that something will happen to an officer attached to a unit that suffers hits (saved or unsaved). The most adept bodyguards can not prevent a random shot of sword cut from felling their hero and I have come to think ever officer should take equal chances for equal benefits. The loss of a leader is a profound event (historically and game wise) and it should happen with equal chance. 08/20/2018

In some of the earlier drafts of FK&P there was an option for using a “Lifeguard” token that could be attached to a Commanding General. It could be expended to get a redo on the outcome of a hit on the officer being protected. With small units of horse being added to play the role of Lifeguards the rule was dropped.

I liked the idea of both and particularly wanted to add it for the benefit of Alisdair Macolla (who usually, it seems, fought on foot). He did have a small fighting unit, “MacColla’s Lifeguards” (again, on foot) which included a smaller group who fought shoulder to shoulder with the general (to help keep him alive it is presumed).

{Grd} is a token that may be added (cost of 3vp) to any general officer (but there should be historic evidence of such a presence). It may be used to absorb a hit on the general and is then expended (with no award of victory points)

Attached Shot {AS} Special 

I like this rule but am not yet happy with its mechanics. I will revisit it again at some later date.  I am, however, now convinced that it should not be used with Highlanders.
08/20/2018

I work with lots of situations that call for civilian or proto-military units (the Irish Rebellion of 1641 and Monmouth’s Rebellion of 1685 are two notable examples). The unit type, Rabble, is quite useful but adding a small shooting capability is sometime realistic. Likewise, Highlanders may need slightly more firepower than is used in the primary rules.

In the case of both Rabble and Highlanders this extra firepower is employed by individuals and not as soldiers trained in delivering disciplined volleys. To simulate this a regular {AS} marker can be added (no more than one per unit and at the same cost) to units typed as Rabble or Highlanders.

{AS} works in a special way, different from it’s standard use with horse or artillery: it may fire only at long range (two boxes) either on shooting activation or return fire. It applies one shoot to-hit card and is then expended.