Go to ...


The Orkney Wargames Club meets

in Kirkwall on Thursday evenings.


RSS Feed

Suffolk, Virginia Colony, 1645

English Civil War, Very Civile Actions, 28mm

I suppose you could describe this game as a walk in the woods. The loose premise was that by 1645, the English Civil War had spilled over into the American colonies. Two neighbouring towns in Virginia had declared for different sides – Norfolk for the Royalists, and Suffolk for Parliament. The governors of the both towns simultaneously decided to send a force to capture the other settlement. On both sides a smaller force stayed behind to defend the town. That’s when the fun began…ecw-in-virginia-5The woods themselves – a 4 foot by 4 foot block in the middle of the 6×4 foot table was uncharted territory – a dense forest, crossed by only the most rudimentary paths. In fact, the whole game was engineered so we could use a whacky system called Fighting in the Forest that Jack Glanville dug up. The idea was that our forest was divided up into 16 one foot squares. Each was numbered with a counter – you can see one in the picture above. Each counter edge was colour coded. The fiendish umpire had a map, also with 16 squares.ecw-in-virginia-february-3However, the numbers were different, as were the colour of the edges. When a unit wanted to exist a square, he told the umpire something like “leaving square 14 on the green edge”. the umpire looked at his map, to see where the next square was. He’d then tell the player something like “it arrives on square 8, on the blue edge”.  In other words, the unit “teleported” across the wood to a different square, and not necessarily the one it was trying to move into. OK, it all makes your head spin, but it certainly made for an interesting game!ecw-in-virginia-2Well, in our game both sides sent a regiment into the woods, and pretty soon the pikes and the two sleeves of shot became separated. One royalist unit appeared on the Parliamentarian edge of the forest, and became involved in a firefight against the town’s defenders. However, due to the weird system, he couldn’t reinforce his success, as by that time his other units had “teleported” somewhere else – one right in front of the main Parliamentarian force.ecw-in-virginia-8Surprisingly, nobody landed up on the squares containing the two bands of Indians, who were willing to take on all comers if they entered their patch of forest. In the end the game degenerated into farce, with both sides unable to achieve anything, due to all the chaos, disorientation and head spinning. ecw-in-virginia-4The upshot is that the Fighting in the Forest system is all very interesting, but we probably won’t use it again. You’d really need to be a fantasy player to come with the nonsense it produces, and while it might have been entertaining, it wasn’t 17th century warfare as we knew it!


More Stories From The English Civil War