Wednesday, 15 January 2020

ECW The Battle of Glastonbury - Part 4: Turns 17 - Conclusion

Turns 17 - 19

With Royalist cavalry in the vicinity, the Parliamentarian foot regiments form pike stands. In the foreground, Bennet's Horse ignore the Roundhead foot and gallop headlong towards the baggage train. 

Gould with his own Horse rout pursued by Carnarvon's regiment and Maurice's Lifeguard. They suffer more heavy casualties with Gould receiving a serious wound. Hopton managed to extricate himself from the pursuit (top left) ready to intervene if necessary in what will prove to be the last melee of the game.

Continued -

That melee currently consists of Hungerford's Horse lead by Popham in a last ditch stand against Maurice's Horse. The melee proves inconclusive and they fight on.

Carnarvon successully rallies his pursuing regiment from the pursuit of Gould's routing troopers leaving Maurice Lifeguard to finish them off (lower middle right).

Prince Maurice again leads Vaughan's raw troopers into the last cavalry melee. This time the combined Royalist regiments push back the Parliamentarian cavalry. 

Carnarvon seizes the chance to finish the job and piles into the flank of the hopelessly outnumbered Roundhead horse (middle right). Despite the presence of Popham, Hungerford's Horse are unable to stem the onslaught and rout. 

As Popham's dragoons sweep across the rear of the Parliamentarian Foot to afford them some protection, it is all too late.

Maurice's Lifeguards run down the last of Gould's Horse leaving the way clear for them to exit the tabletop towards the baggage train. They are the third Royalist Horse unit to leave the table towards Wells meaning the Parliamentarian baggage train is lost.

An overview of the battlefield at the end of turn 19. Turn 20 will see Maurice's Lifeguard leave the table and therefore there was nothing to be gained from playing out the last turn of the game.

For the Royalists to achieve a major victory they needed to have suffered less than 50% of the casualties lost by the Parliamentarians. They actually lost slightly more, primarily at the start of the game when they attempted to clear the Parliamentary foot from the hedgerows. So a minor victory it will be.

This game raised a couple of issues with unit identification that I have not had before in other periods or scales. I underestimated how difficult it would be to distinguish between combatants in melee, particularly with the cavalry. My previous collections of ECW figures have been in 15mm and 25mm where you can more clearly identify the unit.

I am therefore considering painting the base edges of the Parliamentarians a slightly different shade to the Royalists. I wish to retain the overall look of the figures so it may be a case of painting them a darker shade of the same colour just enough to distinguish between them. I will experiment with that in the next ECW battle. 

I did not use unit labels in this game trying to cut down as much as possible tabletop clutter. It was a mistake slowing down gameplay as I repeatedly checked the rosters for the information I needed. More on this below but needless to say, I will be using them for the future.

To finish off this AAR I thought I would cover my thoughts on the 'Forlorn Hope' rules being the first occasion I have used them.

These are an old set of rules with the first edition published in 1987. The second edition was published in 1991 and this, the third edition in 2002.

The age shows with its roots in the WRG style rules of the 1970's and 80's. That means charts testing for initiating charge, charge response, charging home etc. Single figure casualties rather than elements are the name of the game here.

I would say its more modern equivalent would be General de Brigade and others have likened it to those rules. There are differences though, particularly with command and control and the way casualties are calculated.

I believed that I would like them due to their similarities and my preference for old school wargaming. However, doubts set in early in the game with the action being at times painfully slow. Particularly the fight for the hedgerows where foot regiments were locked in melee with very little happening. Casualties tend to be light in both fire and close combat with serious losses only incurring when routing.

As the game progressed and I became more familiar with the rules I grew to like them. In fact, by the end I thought 'these are actually pretty damn good'. As mentioned above, the game can be sped up by including relevant information on a unit label reducing the need to check rosters. Many of the charts are easy to recall when you have used them a few times. The rather extensive morale chart and casualty charts will need regular reference. On the latter, I found a simplified version online - I believe it may have been in the old Yahoo group - although the book version does have its merits for small numbers of figures.

This is not meant to be a review - I will leave that to much more savvy wargamers - but for me it looks a promising ruleset for ECW that suits my style of gaming.  


  1. Your 6s in battle are superb. Painting identifying marks on the trailing base edge makes a lot of sense to me. I did the same for my Commands & Colors Ancients 6mm armies so that I could see what was what at a glance.

    1. Many thanks Jonathan. Painting the base edge is clearly the way to go and confining it to the trailing edge is a great idea which I will put into practice.

  2. Great to see the final moves of the game, which really did look like an army routing off the table. I was surprised that the Royalists only managed a marginal victory, but the losses early on obviously took their toll.

    While I love the look of 6mm games, I find that I simply cannot tell units apart, so have resorted to small labels, which helps greatly and also speeds up game play. I've tried coloured edges to the bases, but again cannot see them as easily as I would like.

    Interesting to read your thoughts on the rules. Whilst they gave a good game, they appear too detailed for my tastes these days. However I'm glad you enjoyed them by the end and look forward to more games like this in the future.

    1. Many thanks for your comments Steve. The reason why only a marginal victory would be that the Royalists need to be mindful of how losses will affect their later battles in the campaign (I am not incidentally running this as a campaign but the book gives this as an option). For the Parliamentarians this was a delaying action to allow their baggage train to escape to Wells which they almost achieved. Down to the last move. So yes the Royalists captured the baggage train but suffered much heavier losses than they would be comfortable with.

      I may at some point in the future replay this but as a full campaign. That's a big 'if' as WW2 is beckoning for this year alongside the WOTR campaign.

  3. Very interesting Jon how would labels spoil the game, perhaps the plastikard bases for these might improve things.
    Will discuss soon no doubt.


    1. It is not so much as spoiling the game but adding to the clutter. That said it is fairly minimal and with white text on black background makes them less obvious.

      I have had a look at the plasticard and seriously considering going for the 0.75mm for WW2 infantry. As I do not base vehicles it will bring the overall height of infantry down. The only thing putting my off at present is the thought of rebasing my existing collection. May try out on the Russians first as few have been based.

  4. Really enjoyed your Glastonbury posts Jon. As usual your table looks great and your photography is excellent. Gripping game too!