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Action at Skipwith, 1643


English Civil War, Very Civile Actions, 28mm

ecw-february-2009-003Unlike the previous week’s “Very British Civil War” game, this was the proper Civil War – a small clash between a couple of Parliamentarian and Royalist regiments, supported by a small body of horse. We hadn’t played with these rules for a while, and the prospect of plastic ECW figures has raised interest in the club. Therefore we decided to run a small game, ostensibly to try out our “battalia” amendments , but really so that people could try out the period.Actually, as games go, it wasn’t very exciting. The Royalists hung back, hogging their table edge. The Parliamentarians moved forward, and soon the horse were locked  in a cut and thrust skirmish on our Parliamentarian right, where the advantage passed back and fore, and ended with both sides pulling back, exhausted and depleted. On the left another body of Parliamentarian horse approached the Royalist line, but was badly chewed up by musket fire.ecw-february-2009-031It managed some form of revenge, as it charged and eviscerated a body of Royalist shot before it retired from the field. In the centre the infantry clash degenerated into a rather ineffectual musketry duel, with both sides keeping their pikes in reserve, and relying on firepower to win the day. It didn’t really work, and the battle petered out when the cavalry fell back. As a result, the game ended in a draw, although judging by casualties, the God-fearing forces of Parliament had the worst of the scrap.ecw-february-2009-019One of the fun things about Very Civil Actions is the way officers are given certain characteristics, based on the counter they drew at the start of the game. For instance, one of my pike blocks was commanded by a “bookish” leader, who had to roll each turn to see whether he advanced, or simply thought about it instead. Similarly a Parliamentarian cavalry leader was rated as a son of “Mars” – a firebrand who gained a 50% bonus for his unit in melee.ecw-february-2009-034The trouble was, using this meant there was a 50% chance of him being killed in the action, which would automatically lead to his unit routing from the field. Judging when and if to use this little bonus was a major headache for the Parliamentarian cavalry commander!Certainly the rules have their quirks and problems, but on the whole they produce a well-paced and enjoyable “regimental level” game.

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