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The Orkney Wargames Club meets

in Kirkwall on Thursday evenings.


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Ambush on the Mansfield Road, 1643

The English Civil War, Very Civile Actions, 28mm

This little English Civil War game was loosely based on Charles S. Grant’s “wagon train” scenario – an old wargaming staple. The idea is that a small Royalist column had to make its way across the table to deliver supplies to a beleaguered garrison – in this case the defenders of a small manor house.ecw-july-09-05The Parliamentarians were more numerous, but their arrival was diced for, with a “1-5” representing different 2×2 foot terrain tiles around the table, and a “6” meaning the troops had irrevocably lost their way. We arrived to find figure painting gurus Dave Imrie and Brian Phillips had set up a small 6×4 foot table for a photo shoot. When they’d finished we simply borrowed it, and replaced the Ancient buildings for more 17th century looking ones.ecw-july-09-014 I believe the terrain boards themselves were built by lover of bright Air Lingus green… Still, it was all much nicer than we were used to, and besides, it was already set up!ecw-july-09-017Most of the Parliamentarians arrived on either Turn 4 or Turn 6 (the arrival time was diced for too), and they came on at either side of the manor house. This of course meant that they had a chance to bar the way to the Royalists before they’d marched across the table, despite the harassing fire from the garrison. All the troops were rated “Local Trained Bands” or early war “Harquebusiers”, which meant they weren’t particularly good – it all depended on the officer chits we’d drawn.ecw-july-09-04For instance, most units were unable to form into compact, disciplined bodies, unless the officer was “Disciplined”, which meant the troops were too. It really is an excellent system, particularly when fighting games set at this level of battle, where a regiment of foot consists of three blocks (one pike and two musket), with a total of 48 figures.ecw-july-09-21Well, the Royalist horse tried their best, riding down a block of unsupported Parliamentarian muskets, and charging a unit of horse. It just wasn’t enough. For the most part the Parliamentarian line held firm. When Parliamentarian reinforcements appeared they cut round behind the Royalists, picking off the rearguard of the relief column. At that point it was quite clear that the manor house would have to do without its supplies, and the best Dougie Trail’s Royalists could manage to to pull back and try again another day. That meant that victory was awarded to the good guys, played by myself and Mikowai Staszek – actually more “Nicholas” than me, as he had all the front-line troops.ecw-july-09-18As usual we used Very Civile Actions, the free rules set available from The Perfect Captain. We’ve modified them slightly, mainly by increasing the movement rates by 50% to suit 28mm figures. However, as an “off the peg” set of English Civil War rules, these are hard to beat.ecw-july-09-15


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