Friday, 4 March 2011

Over the edge

As part of stated ambition to refight all of the battles of the English Civil War and the Bishops War using my “Victory Without Squares” rules we finally got round to Edgehill this week.

Not a big turn out from the Monday Night Group on this occasion, starting with me & Phil. At least I got to push my own toys around.

VWS has a ground scale of 1” to 250 yards, so Edgehill just about fits on my dining room table. A figure stand scale of 1:200 for the infantry and 1:100 for cavalry makes it quite a crowded battlefield, which I prefer. My reading of the ECW (and a lot of other wars) is that battlefields are mostly quite crowded places with not a lot of room for finesse. Here's a not very good picture of the set up. Royalists are on the right, so that means Rupert is in the distance.

On this occasion I took the Royalists for no other reason than I was standing on that side of the table, so Phil got to play with the forces of Parliament. Phil was joined later on by the Dormouse, who took over tactical control of Parliament’s right.

I started out following the historical tactics and tried to clear the enclosures on both wings with my dragoons. This became a protracted struggle that was only resolved in favour of the Royalists towards the end of the game. However I was unable to exploit this as my cavalry steadfastly refused to have anything to do with moving through the enclosures.

Next up I attacked aggressively on both flanks with my horse. On the left Lord Wilmot did a fine job, breaking the opposing horse and forcing Parliament’s centre to turn slightly to deflect the threat. I also managed to drawn in Balfour’s cavalry reserve from the centre which prevented them from performing their historical role of breaking up the Royalist infantry push.

On the right it has to be said that Rupert was a severe disappointment. A lucky cannon shot clipped the innermost unit and repeated attempts to get it to reform failed. The remaining units surged forward only to be met by a volley of pistol fire all across that wing that disrupted them and eventually lead to their being thrown back. No cross country romp to Kineton on this occasion. Fortunately Parliament’s horse was unable to exploit my discomfort on this wing.

With my horse effectively tying up the flanks (and at the time I felt bound to prevail) I launched my infantry attack. With my artillery pounding to rebel lines it seemed as if nothing could stop me prevailing. I had engineered a numerical advantage at certain points along the front line and was preparing to go two on one with Parliament’s men, so I expected Sir Jacob’s men to push through the centre and have the enemy fleeing pell-mell to the rear.

Alas they offered stiffer resistance than I expected, and my cavalry’s inability to get any traction on either flank left them secure. The one unit I did break was pursued, only for the pursuers to be caught by a unit in the reserve line and there were ominous signs that I might actually lose control of the right wing cavalry fight.

After a protracted struggle night started to fall and both sides were left to claim victory after an indecisive encounter.

So all in all quite authentic.

Following the post match discussion I’ve tweaked the rules slightly and clarified in my own mind a couple of points. I really like these rules as they give an overall really authentic feel. This view isn’t shared completely in our group. Phil prefers Armati, so I’m grateful to him as an opponent that he’s prepared to play my preferred system for these refights.

There’s quite a few smaller encounters which will end up with only one or two units a side, given my figure scale, so I need to give some thought to squeezing in a couple of these in an evening, or playing them solo.


  1. Apologies if I've missed where you posted about this, but why play the small encounters with the same rules/figure ratio as the larger battles?


  2. I'm a bit worried about that stand of horse hanging precariously off the edge of the table!

    As usual an interesting read. I'll loom forward to how you handle Marston Moor as I am looking at tackling it with Regiment of Foote.

  3. Why play small encounters with the same rules?

    Pure wargamers hubris. I have a set of rules I like, I will use them to refight the entire ECW. I will do this regardless of whether it makes sense or not.

    And Sean, - Marston Morr is a way off yet. I'll need a few more figures as that's my complete Royalist army pretty much on the table.

    Those horse did fall off a couple of times, but survived intact. Thanks for your concern!

  4. "I will do this regardless of whether it makes sense or not. "

    Good answer! My philosophy exactley.

  5. My Parliamentarian opponent has written this battle up with better pictures at:

    As to whether this all makes sense or not, if I never try I'll never know. I think that if I half the figure scale and ground scale and use a d20 for firing I'll be able to do the smaller battles with no problems.