Sunday, June 21, 2009

After Action Report Battle of Montgomery 1644

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We played our first Victory without Quarter game yesterday as advertised. The game was visually enjoyable for me since it has been a long six months to get things to this point. We played the battle as a four player game. The game's ebb and flow seemed to be OK and the rules conventions were "old school" with a sprinkling of Warhammer Historicals to add a bit of flavor.

We found some major glitches and holes with the rules. Instead of griping about them publicly and on multiple list-servs, we tweaked them to fit our gaming group's style of play and to make this rules set viable in a convention setting. The game was apparently written for a 1v1 game on a small 6x4 table. We modified the rules to accommodate up to 6 persons (that's all my current collection will support) and a minimum table size of 8x6 (my standard gaming table in my gaming house). The rules now support simultaneous movement instead of moving unit by unit, standardized cavalry formations, cavalry melee process, removal of units after routing (ala Might of Arms) and fast resolution of tabletop events.

Please take a few moments to have a look at the after action report below to see what the issues were and how we resolved them.

After Action Report

Steve Miller

We played VwQ yesterday and some major design and playability kludges came up during the game. They are not in any order but most if not all affect the way the game is played and player’s perceptions (most critical at this juncture before Skirmish 09 Games Day) of the period and game. The headings below are the areas of concern.


Apparently this game was designed for a 6x4 table. We found the movement rates a little slow on my 8x6. If you play on a larger table (recommended because of the basing and modern “25mm” figure size) use these movement rates:


Old Movement

New Movement Rate










Limbered Light Gonnes





12” (no change)



3D6 (no change)

Charging Gallopers


16” (no change)

Charging Trotters


12” (no change)

Charging Cuirassier



Rough Terrain

No change

Cross Linear Obstacle

No change

Use same formation movements

No change

Movement System (Card Deck) and Army Organization Changes

We found that persons that were unfamiliar with the period or just wanted to try the game had a hard time deciphering the card/name system. More importantly in a multi-player game (4-6+) drawing individual cards and moving by the unit produced a slow game where the majority of players had nothing to do for a period of time. This is ok for a 1v1 but not advantageous for multiplayer or convention type games. We switched to a simple card deck with a corresponding numbered OB for both sides. “Aces” and “face cards” were the commanders with numbered cards by suit (red=Royalist, black=Parliament) for the units. Reload, Artillery and Event Cards remain in the game as they provide action and some flavor. My advice is to purchase a cheap set of cards from the Dollar Store and build a game deck using cut and paste.

Organization/Simultaneous Movement

Armies should be divided into wings and players given a roster card in the following manner:

Side: Royalist/Parliamentary Center

Brigadier: Sgt. Major Smythe-Fruit Bat

  1. Lifeguard Cuirassiers-Sir Thomas More
  2. Miller’s Foote-trained
  3. Smyths’ Dragoons-raw

Wings should be as evenly divided as possible; giving each player enough units to enjoy the game. Given the size of my collection right now, 4-5 units per player maximum is all they will get. If players want more, they can paint more and contribute to the “cause”.

When a card is turned, ALL players on a side may give an order to a unit corresponding with that number (Left Wing #1, Center #1, and Right Wing #1). If the card turned is a commander, the commander still gives orders to a unit. If it is the CIC, he still retains his ability to give orders. Again, doing simultaneous movement per side speeds the game play. Cards are taken out of the pile as units rout and are destroyed. Simpler system, faster play.

End of Turn Card Procedure Changes

When the E.O.T. card is turned, all the cards PLAYED in a turn get shuffled and placed on the bottom of the deck. NON played cards in a turn get placed on the top of the deck. The E.O.T. card gets placed in the bottom part of the stack (should be done by ref or by various players during the game for fair play purposes).

Labels for Units

Labels for units (figures on table) should correspond to the OB given to the player. For example:

  1. Chas I Lifeguard (veteran gallopers)


As previously stated, event cards stay the same. The event process is slimmed down in this fashion:

When an event card is turned, turn the next card, consult the roster number for the unit or commander involved, roll 1D6 and then consult the table. Events happen now; again producing results for the players. In a convention game, events should be controlled by the game master/referee. Every event should not be bad nor should it always benefit players to keep player interest. In home games, play the chart as written.

Cavalry Organization and Melee (A huge problem with our game)

  • We standardized the size of regiments at 4 stands because that’s what my collection will support.
  • We ditched saving throws totally. They were just another dice throw that slowed down games.
  • To Hit has been modified to:
    Horse hit on a 4+ (hit Cuirassiers on a 5+) This is easier to remember plus cuirassiers seldom were seen on the ECW battlefield due to their cost. There were only two regiments in the ECW. Both were raised by Parliament.
  • Melee has been changed to an MOA format. We fight until we get a winner and loser. Losers test morale, pass=continued melee, fail=rout 3D6, pursuit=3D6 (may check morale to NOT pursue).

Melee Flowchart

Round 1: Front Rank only fights
Determine winner/loser
Loser tests Morale-Fail?=Rout-Pass? Get pushed back 2”, Continue Melee

Round 2: All stands fight
Determine winner/loser routs 3D6
Loser tests Morale, Fail?=Rout 3D6, Winner tests not to pursue 3D6 or choosing pursuit. If losers caught? Destroyed. Pick ‘em up.

Melee Tie?
Both sides test morale, pass? Continue next round, Fail? Losers rout 3D6, pursuers may test morale to NOT pursue, if fail or choose pursuit? 3D6. If losers caught? Destroyed. Pick ‘em up!

Melees are fought across the table simultaneously and resolved simultaneously. Makes the ebb and flow faster with all players participating.


This is not discussed in the rules. I am undecided at this point. One option is to allow one stand to fight at a -1 disadvantage. The other option (much more unforgiving/draconic) is that units hit in the flank do not fight back. This is common in most horse and musket rules and would punish a player for making a stupid mistake of exposing their flanks. I am leaning toward the “no fight back” to speed play in multiplayer games.

Shooting into a Melee?

This is not discussed in the rules. To keep balance, no shooting into a melee is allowed. This represents the chance of shooting your own teammates. That would be stupid to play and just plain dumb.

End of Turn Card “Housecleaning Process”

Routing and shaken units outside of 8” of enemy must test morale when the end of turn card is turned.

  • Routers and shaken pass? They move up a level to shaken and “steady status” respectively
  • Routers fail? Pick ‘em up
  • Shaken fail? Rout 2D6 for infantry, check next turn if they are still on table (if not charged, forced to take morale, or EOT card turned again). Become routers-subject to failure rule next EOT if not rallied

Rallying Units

Units may attempt to rally if outside of 8” of enemy. Routers fail? Take ‘em off. Shaken only? Pass a morale test and upgrade status to “steady”

Saving Rolls for Infantry and Artillery

We ditched the saving rolls to give a more decisive result faster. Saving rolls are a useless step in the process of moving the game along for players. We retained the “to hit” modifiers. It’s tough enough to hit at medium or long range for both infantry and artillery. That works for my simple mind. Again, 1v1 games on a smaller table may want to use this convention if so desired. I will not.

Army Break Point

An army that loses 50% or more of their units sues for terms and quits the field. (Game over). I would rather use the Koenig Krieg army break point rule but I can’t find my copy presently. It works better but for now, a static break point percentage works for me.

Quick Sheet and Event Chart

I am in the process of modifying the quick sheet to condense it to 1 page front and back. The Event chart will be modified ditching the 10s dice roll and using 1D6 when an event is turned for a particular arm…i.e.: Event card turned, unit identified, roll the dice.


  1. Interesting comments . . . and I can certainly see these changes for a convention game . . . and possibly for a 1 vs 1 game as well.

    -- Jeff

  2. Glad to know we weren't all wet on this stuff. You KNOW how wargamers are..."we don't like the rules as written so we'll just dick them up the way WE think they should work." We wanted to maintain the meat of the rules but work out the kludges that didn't.

    Thanks for your post!

  3. I'm definitely adding the Koenig Krieg system for checking army morale to the End of Turn "housekeeping" phase. CICs or their replacement will need to check when their armies reach 50%
    Thanks for the chart Clay!

  4. Interesting write up. A few questions.

    First, you say you changed melee to Horse hit on a 4+. Don't all troops hit on a 4+? I'm confused about this?

    How did you handle melees with multiple unit. I.e. if a unit contacts a target not completely lined up did you just slide them over into full contact, or did you allow more than one unit to contact an enemy unit on the same face? If the latter, how did you work out the combat?

    The rules say steady pike get a 4+ save roll. I think this is pretty important because if you take it out, pike is no different then shot in combat. In fact, there's no use for them in the game. I've got to believe that pikes had some defensive purpose (otherwise why did they have them) and the saving roll seems to suit this ok (another alternative would be to give a negative modifier to a unit fighting steady pike).

    By the way, I assume the rules mean an infantry unit that has a stand of pike and is steady rather than just a unit composed only of pike and that is steady. Is that how you all played it?