Monday, 12 September 2016

Edge Hill - again

We have had a couple of outings at the club of 'Martson Less' by Tony Cullen, a very simple and abstract set of ECW rules, and I was keen to see how they worked for historical battles. We'd already tried Neil Thomas's Pike & Shot for both ECW and TYW, and frankly, they were a little clunky in places. I could see how ML could easily be adapted into a more generic approach, but I also worked up some mods to be able to use them in the Thirty Years War, particularly the earlier period with Tercios etc.

I re-used the Edge Hill scenario I'd done for the Neil Thomas rules, but reworked the OBs to use with Marston Less elements. Tim and John took the Royalists, Tim C and Tom the Parliamentarians. We played the game with my 2mm Irregular pike blocks.

The battlefield, Royalists on the left, parliament on the right. For this scenario each element is around 500 men or eight guns, so the infantry regiments have two stands, cavalry one. ML is a grid based game, each 'line' occupying a zone, with the strength of its constituent elements. Both armies stuck with the historical deployment with Ruperts horse massed on the Royalist right and their infantry in a cumbersome chequerboard. Essex's forces are deployed in  more conventional straight lines.

Close up of the centre. The Royalsit infantry are weaker but they have their guns up on the ridge and able to fire overhead. Troop quality for the infantry units is represented by the mix of blocks.

After a preliminary cannonade, Rupert charged forwards and a bloody melee ensued. At this point the first Parliamentarian line has been overwhelmed and Ruperts victorious troopers have pursed headlong into the second line. ach line can take four hits (indicated by the white crosses) before it routs. At this juncture Essex decided it would be better to attack the ridge than wait to be enveloped by the Royalist cavalry. 

After a couple of rounds of combat, both infantry first lines were routed and the second lines entered the fray. On the flank, Rupert was victorious but failed (twice) to hal this pursuing troopers and they left the table to loot the baggage in Kineton. The Royalist second line was very weak (a single element) but managed to work its way cautiously into Essex's rear. Over on the other flank, some minor cavalry skirmishing developed.

Sadly for Essex, his army broke against the ridge and the survivors streamed off the table. Historically he declined to attack, and that was probably why! So, a strategic and a tactical victory for the King, but the war will undoubtedly drag on for years to come.

I was pretty pleased how this turned out, and the players seemed to find it enjoyable despite the limitations of some of the abstractions. We rattled through the whole thing in an hour or so and I'd like to try it for the Thirty Years are next

If anyone is interested in a copy of Marston Less, they are at Staines Wargamers


  1. And so perish all enemies of the King!

  2. hi im david waxtel publisher of fire and fury, spearhead, shako, crossfire

    we are working on a project based on Kiss rommel rules) i would like to know if you are interested, i want to send you a copy of what we have done and see if you wouldbe interested in helping.

    dave waxtel

    sorry this was the only way i could contact you i could not find an email