Over many years I have looked at a large number of rules not only for the English Civil War period but dozens of other periods and genres as well. In fact, since I had little time to actually game, reading and thinking about rules was my greatest involvement in the hobby.
There are so many excellent rules sets, many with unique ideas and perspectives that it becomes very difficult to pick anything like a winner. In beginning this project of concentrating on the Celtic Fringe of the English Civil Wars (and before and after) I wanted to have one consistent set of rules to use, the four pictured I seriously considered. This is not to say that there are not many more ECW (or pike and shot) rules systems, each with interesting mechanisms and varying design POVs. But eventually you have to commit to something or build your own.
I picked up a copy of Forlorn Hope at Foyle’s in London back in 1989. It has been the framework for most of my thinking and I could probably have used it quite happily. Still I wanted more abstraction in some areas and a different command and control system. I loved Pike & Shotte when it came out (still do!) and all things considered, if I did wargaming in anything like a social way I would probably enjoy a group that uses P&S. I like the command structure, I like the unit organization, and I like many of the play mechanisms. That said I had trouble with solo play. Warhammer English Civil War and the Fields of Glory systems are new to me and while packed with ideas and great illustrations, particularly FoG since it has access to all of the Osprey database, I use them mainly for help in weighting various game factors (weapons, movement, morale, etc)
In the many years I did not play with miniatures I did occasionally play boardgames (again usually solo) because, let’s face it, it is all done for you. Dump it out on a table (like a Dice Tower review) and you are up and running in no time! As both boardgames and miniatures have evolved they now seem to share concepts back and forth and sometimes merge into one another. what is evolving for me is more like a boardgame than not.
To the left are rules with concepts I really like and from which I am liberally stealing. I like the unit activation and variable turns in Chain of Command and unit organization and combat resolution in all of the games by the Perfect Captain. In the end, however, what I am doing looks most like Ganesha Games Song of Blades and Heroes system and Flashing Steel variant! A largely fantasy skirmish system gets turned into a system for small to medium historic battles in the Seventeenth century. Go figure!