Friday, October 07, 2016

English Civil War source data/rules...

By way of a slight break in the American War of Independence themed posts, a couple of old, but useful (I thought), booklets on the English Civil War period have recently passed in front of Steve the Wargamers glims and I thought it might be useful to give my reader a heads up in the event they see a copy, as in my view they are both worth checking out.....

First off then this one from the venerable "Discovering" series (you've probably seen either this one [clicky] or this one [clicky] in the same series)

It's got John Tunstill's [clicky] name on the front but in effect he was just editor as the vast majority of the content is contributed by George Gush (who wrote among many other things the WRG 15th-17th C Rules, and the Airfix Guide to the period)

The book consists of a number of chapters comprising content originally published in Miniature Warfare (the chapters by Gush - which were a 6 part series in 1970, and I think Tunstill was editor for the magazine), plus a couple of chapters by "R D Stevenson" ('Melee' and 'Morale' respectively) and one on '17th Century warfare' by "P F Purton". Neither of the latter seem to have published anything else wargame related, Peter Purton looks to have written a book on late medieval sieges...

Quite a short book, and by far the best bits are the Gush articles (in my opinion) which give a generalised overview of Infantry, Cavalry, Dragoons, Artillery, Sieges and Engineering, and Standards - it can only be an overview as the entire book is only 43 pages long..  what it does do though is give a good introduction.... the Melee section is more rules and gaming specific, and is fairly typically complex (as was the norm in the period), the Morale section is a bit of a page filler....

Going to give this one 7 out of 10

The next one is written by Bill Protz (he of BAR [clicky] and General Pettygree [clicky] fame), but some time ago!

The ones I have are second edition and printed in 1976 - bit bigger than the Discovery book, and this is actually a set of rules with additional information as opposed to the Discovery book, which is the other way round..

The rules (for me) were fairly immediately discounted - one they are kind of complex (eg. the Firing takes several steps to get a result) and that is not to my taste, but the move sequence is also simultaneous, requiring the writing of orders, all of which I dislike deeply (OK, not as much as hexes but in the same ball park) - I could ignore the simultaneous movement requirement if the rules were less complex....

What is good however is the other sections - Bill is cracking on giving a slightly deeper view of the organisation and ways in which war was fought at the time...

His descriptions of how infantry, cavalry and artillery were organised is excellent - the following is an example from the Infantry section and represents how he interprets a wargame unit from sources at the time:

Combined with several useful appendices giving more sources and information this is a useful little pamphlet/booklet....  I'll give this one 8 out of 10! 

More here [clicky] by the way..

19 comments:

  1. Both of these are in my library. Of the two, Protz is the more desirable. Of course, simo-move is so 70s but it can be brought forward successfully into today's world without loss of 'feel' or written orders. Protz is a good primer on ECW gaming.

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    1. Jonathan - agreed... and I toyed with the idea of trying it I-Go-U-Go but the bigger issue I think is the complexity of (some of) the rules.. I'm a bear of very little brain...

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  2. Steve, I remember the Tunstill book very well as it was my introduction to the period. I enjoyed reading about him on the link you posted as I met him several times in my youth. First time was on a school trip to the Imperial War Museum, one of the teachers ran the school wargame club so he took those of us interested over to the shop 'Soldiers'and it was like stepping into a magical world, racks of painted soldiers on display and the entire minifigs range in stock. INteresting to read that he stocked Hinton Hunt figures, my eyes were glued to the Minifigs! I recall he was a physically impressive man, tall and slim and he spoke beautifully, something of the Edward Fox about him. I visited on and off for a few years, my last visit was when I was about 21 I think, I had painted a large collection of Minifigs and Hinchliffe ECW's but found myself unable to pay the rent one month on my bedsit - my cash went on guitars and albums - so I drove the figures up to the shop having been given a phone estimate by John Tunstill, and was surprised that having accepted his offer he doubled it when he actually saw the collection! No doubt he turned a decent profit on them, but I came away a happy young man.

    I have to ask Steve, are you tempted to do ECW, you have mentioned it before I think?

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    1. Lee, first off i'll start by saying you're a lucky bastard.. :o) I drove past the shop several times but never managed to get in there.. Cut forward 30 years and I exchanged emails with John in Italy as he was selling back issues of Wargmer's Newsletter, presumably kept over from the shop! On the PS. - "yes".. it's almost a done deal to be honest, I've toyed with the idea for getting on for 5 years now... scale will be 20 or 25mm (not plastic.. ever... it's an aspirational thing), not found the rules yet (hence the article), scale regimental/battalion - I want to model the relationship between musket and pike...

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  4. You beat me to it, Steve. I recently started writing reviews of older (mostly 1970s and 80s) rule sets, and Bill Protz' rules are on my stack. I plan to compare them with George Gush (WRG Renaissance) and Pete Berry and Ben Wilkins (Forlorn Hope). In years gone by, I have done Gush and Berry/Wilkins mostly with 15mm, and both Protz and Universal soldier with 25mm. I might toss Gygax (Cavaliers and Roundheads) on the review stack.

    Thanks for the great review, and I will comment that I always found Protz' organization extremely helpful, so it is nice to see a fellow gamer speak highly of the same material.

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    1. Hi Chuck.. excellent.. you've taken care of my reading material for a while! Do you play the period, and if so, which rules do you prefer?

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    2. Chuck - based on your recommendation I've just obtained a copy of Forlorn Hope.. second edition I think (red cover).. looking forward to a read!

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    3. Hi Steve, sorry I didn't reply earlier. I play Forlorn Hope, in 15mm, mostly because I find it convenient in that scale to combine the pike and shot figures into one unit, plus the great period specific rules. In 25mm, I am pretty much comfortable with both Warhammer ECW, and 1644. I am destined to try Pike and Shotte from Warlord soon, so I am curious how it plays.

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  5. Great post Steve!

    I've got the Tunstill book in my collection and quite like it for the same reasons you do. Haven't managed to get my mits on the Protz book yet and it seems quite rare comparatively.

    These may also be of interest:
    Airfix Magazine Guide: http://www.librarything.com/work/5946236/book/90994187
    Wesencraft: http://www.librarything.com/work/5084012/book/91053387
    Featherstone: http://www.librarything.com/work/2930489/book/90992104

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    1. Hi Mike... thanks... not sure where I got my copy, almost certainly eBay, if you find one go for the second edition as his his foreward indicates Bill added a fair amount of information..

      Thanks for the reminders ..I have all three of them.. I'll hoik them out and re-read! Currently very much enjoying the Chris Scott "Edgehill" book.. superb..

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  6. I just bought a copy of the Protz book last week, and a friend will bring it over for me around Christmas. Glad to see it's a winner!

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    1. Prufrock, not a waste in my view.. well worth a read

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  7. I just dug my copy of Protz's book out (2nd ed). It still had the purchase docket with it. Seems I bought it on 10 July 1987.

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    1. Ha.. I do that too.. always a bit if a surprise when you see how long ago you actually bought something.. own up, after that first read, did you open the book again? ;o)

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    2. Petty much been on the shelf since then. Complex rules very much of the period. The docket said the price was 10 AUD which might have included other stuff as well.

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  8. Steve - Have the Discovering book v and readers of my blog will know I'm an ECW nut and quite like some older rulesets too but this was too incomplete for me even back then - and I've had my copy at least 30 years and recently re-read too!
    Never encountered the Protz piece and I have around 10 sets of rules that could be used for ECW and am looking for more. Even thinking of writing my own
    Forlorn hope is still the best commercial set out there and my current favourite- Blowing my own trumpet here but check out my ECW article in MWBG earlier this year I went through the ECW rules I had at the time though I did not include Wesencraft even though iI have them as frankly I forgot !!

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    1. Andy - will do on the article.. have just bought a copy of Forlorn Hope based on yours and Chuck's recommendation... looking forward to having a read.

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    2. Steve Forlorn Hope are an easy set of rules to use at almost any command level. I have a few niggles but nothing major really . Certainly nothing that can't be put right with a bit of period knowledge. As it happens- you heard it here first. Blue Moon are planning an ECW range- I've done the HUGE "project list" . Might even have the first packs before Crimbo but probably not until the NEW YEAR.

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