Thursday, July 23, 2009

ECW Might of Arms at Skirmish '09 and at the Rat Palace

Gallery Link Here

I put on a Might of Arms variant for ECW at Skirmish '09 Games Day and at home last night. The games played smoothly. MoA is a quickly learned, easily taught, bloody, fast play set of rules for Ancients penned by Bob Bryant. I adapted the rules for ECW because of those reasons. As a result, multi-player games played on my 8x6 standard gaming table can be played to conclusion in less than 2.5 hours.

Skirmish 09 game was no exception to this rule. The rules were taken up by the players (most of whom had never played either ECW nor MoA) and were going strong in two game turns. I didn't get to see the result as I had an emergency and went to the E.R. in the middle of the game. The game looked quite even with the Royalist forces giving the Parliamentary forces a drubbing from fire. I've dumbed down the cavalry factors and adjusted cavalry charge ranges to simulate the differences between trotters and gallopers. The melee factors for cavalry have been adjusted to compensate for the "gentry" vs. the "proles". Some people would like to see more detail. The beauty of the rules is its simplicity but subtlety.

Last night's game was also fast and furious (in a 17th century sort of way). Both sides deployed a single battle line supported by two flanks of horse. I didn't say anything but was looking for a second line as reserves and also to provide supporting fire. The Royalist cavalry swept the Roundhead Train'd Band cavalry from the field in short order and exposed the flank of the Parliamentary battle line. The Parliamentary player turned a brigada to face the threat and came under a pummeling from artillery. It seemed as if the Roundheads were in trouble! Things are not always what they seem when playing MoA! The center and right flank were hotly contested with push of pike combined with laying on of musket butts. Both sides wore each other down over several turns. Again, neither side had a second line. No reserves would prove to be a tipping point. The left flank was the hero flank. Hesselrig's Lobsters were struck in the rear as they attempted to charge the flank of an unsupported Royalist regiment. They then turned and hammered the Parliamentary cavalry. I've included a -1 for facing Cuirassiers/Lobsters(not the crustacean variety). It worked just fine in this instance. The Parliamentary cavalry commander took a pistola shotte to the cabeza and promptly fell off his horse. The rest of the cavalry took morale tests and did not leave the table. The weight of numbers began to take toll on the beleaguered Lobsters. Being worn down and shaken, they could not stand. Their rout began the cascading morale effect for which MoA is known. Units began to go shaken on both sides as multiple morale tests weakened their resolve. The center push of pike was decided when shaken units on both sides began to fail morale and were removed from the table. Look for the blank area in the middle where the center used to be. The fight was tooth and tong! Both sides wore each other out and both sides left the table en masse. At the end of the day, the Royalists held the field with cavalry while the Parliamentary forces were whittled down to a shaken artillery unit and a shaken infantry unit. Terms were struck and the Parliamentary forces were allowed to leave the field with full honors. Such is the fortuna of war!

What did I learn from both these battles?
  1. I need to paint more figures! (Duh). I've got 6 regiments of foote per side and 6 regiments of horse per side.
  2. The game needs a mechanic to "add weight" into melees. I want to add regiments of horse and pack them into melee so I can get a visual scrum. I'm thinking that players should be able to add regiments into the fight (not getting charge bonus) on the second/subsequent turn of melee. This would add weight of numbers. On the flip side, MoA cavalry melees are usually sharp and relatively conclusive quickly. My jury's still out and will need more games to see.
  3. Larger table space. 8x6 is fine for a two person game. The cavalry is free wheeling in this game. I will move to a 12x6 or 16x6 for multi-player games. Again, need to paint more figures.
  4. Limiting terrain. I need to consistently use the terrain rules and use more hedges, enclosures, rock walls, etc. I'm of two minds about it however; in my historian's mind, terrain was found that suited the armies rather than hindered movement. My table is 3D, players should be able to see what is what and how the terrain may limit movement. I played these two games to test the rules however and kept the ancillary stuff out. I wanted to get to conclusion and see if people liked the game.
  5. GMB Flags are the BEST! They set my collection to the next level! Worth the $100+! My cavalry guidons will follow. This will be cool...highly recommended!

Order of Battle: Royalist
4 Regiments of Foote-2 muskets per pike (18 figs per regiment)
6 Regiments of Horse-Various grades-including one Lobster regiment because it was painted
2 Medium Gonnes
1 Galloper (light) Gonne-I have the model and made up the rule for it. Gotta' get it on the table!
1 Dragoon Regiment (8 figs mounted and dismounts)

Order of Battle: Parliamentary
4 Regiments of Foote-2 muskets per pike (18 figs per regiment)
6 Regiments of Horse (9 figs per regiment)
2 Medium Gonnes
1 Dragoon Regiment (8 figs mounted and dismounts)


  1. By "Lobster" do you mean Cuirassier?

    If so, it would have made more sense to put it in the Parliament force as the only such equipped regiment, Hasselrigge's, was a Parliament supporter.

  2. Agreed. I painted Hesselrig's regiment but picked up some more on EBay. Never want figs to go unused!!! :) I'll keep that unit on the shelf now since they're done for my MoA Reniassance obsession...arrgh....another project!

  3. Hey, Steve, I see you based the figures for Victory without Quarter on large bases with 6 figures each. How did you handle that for the MOA game?

  4. Easy greasee... I doubled based the muskets and double based the pikes. I rebuilt the shooting into a straight 4D6 (1 per element of muskets)die roll per unit. I lumped the pikes and shot into a single 6 base unit (we use a 6 base unit convention). Since units fight as "lumps" anyway in MoA, it works just fine. I really liked the VoQ basing dimensions and just adapted both systems.

    I'd be glad to send you a copy of the QRSheets if interested. Drop me an email address if interested