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"Polemos / Baroque / Pike and Shotte ECW" Topic

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ronmoron Inactive Member02 May 2017 11:02 a.m. PST

I'm doing mid sized ECW battles in 6mm, based to the Polemos standard, but I'm going back and forth between these three rules systems and I'd really appreciate hearing what others thought of them. My thoughts are:

  • Polemos

Pros fantastic army generator
cons with most units being shot heavy and the only other major difference being raw or veteran it can often seem troops are exactly the same and so outcomes just come down to rolling a d6. Not a fan of tempo, especially as I often play solo.

  • Pike and Shotte

Pros The books look fantastic! And lots of people play the system. Lots of army lists (though not as good as the Polemos army generator system)
Cons the movement can be a bit generous to say the least, with units zipping around whichever way they fancy almost. Not a great feel for the period IMO. IGOUGO, not a fan.

  • Baroque

Pros great system of defensive fire, great amount of variation in troop types can be provided.
Cons the cohesion test is absolutely brutal. One poor d6 roll can undermine everything and destroy what was previously an excellent unit which can make a bit of a mockery of everything. The option to buy cohesion test re-rolls seems excessively gamey. Cavalry can frontally charge pike and shot with no concerns (though I house that cavalry lose their impetus bonus with a frontal charge on pike and shot). Not many army lists (an understatement).

Very interested to know how everyone else finds these rules, and if they have any house rules to make them more realistic / more playable. I really need to start sticking to just one rule set (at least until the Lardies get In The Buff finished, I love their rules).

Personal logo Whirlwind Supporting Member of TMP02 May 2017 11:09 a.m. PST


I have had the opposite experience with the Polemos rules: I have found the tempo a really useful solo mechanism as it restricts choices in simple but interesting ways. I found the tactical challenge with the Polemos rules to be to work out how to stack up the advantages, but infantry combat can often stall – I don't think I have too much of a problem with that. The Swedish tactics vs Dutch tactics for Horse give an interesting dynamic, especially for the Royalist player on when to time their charge.

All the best

Phillius Supporting Member of TMP02 May 2017 12:01 p.m. PST

Hi ronmoron. I am in a similar space to you right now.

Of the few games of P&S I have played, I felt the rules were usable but needed some local tweaks, and gave a reasonable feel. There are quite a few people using them.

I also like Baroque, though I have not played it. The issue with the cohesion test is one of the things that put me off Impetus. However, (and it is a while since my last reading of Baroque) I felt that there were more opportunities to mitigate bad cohesion rolls in Baroque.

I have yet to make up my mind, and I am considering more rules than just these two. Although I think in the long run, I will come back to one or both.

A number of years ago, a friend and I played Poles/Swedes – deluge – period games using Principals of War Renaissance. They gave a very good game, and may be worth a look for you.

steamingdave4702 May 2017 4:22 p.m. PST

Dislike Polemos rules. Played Baroque once, liked the mechanisms. Pike and Shotte good fun game, the tension produced by command rules is great, lots of hilarity when blunders rolled.

Codsticker02 May 2017 9:45 p.m. PST

If your primary objection to P&S is the IGOUGO it shouldn't be too difficult to come up with a means of randomising unit command rolls. As far as movement goes, could you not simply reduce infantry to 4", cavalry to 6" to suit your tastes?

mad monkey 103 May 2017 5:03 a.m. PST

Take a look at these. They're for the TYW, but have come out with an expansion for Eastern Ren and the ECW called Kingdoms.

corona66 Supporting Member of TMP03 May 2017 6:28 a.m. PST

My friend and I fight all our Renaissance, particularly ECW, with DBR and we wouldn't use anything else. Over the years I've added some chrome such as simple rules for clan enmity, shortened pikes, raw and elite units, different grades of commander and vulnerability for frame guns. ECW is my favourite period, so these rules have to deliver a feeling of " that's how it probably was" and deliver it in a reasonable time frame. Theses rules do both.

Mr Medici Inactive Member03 May 2017 2:50 p.m. PST

ronmoron could also use the DBR army lists to help fill in for army lists missing from other systems as they're pretty comprehensive.

DBR wouldn't have the cons of any of the systems mentioned in the OP, but on the other hand a lot of people feel it lacks 'flavour'. With these others you're probably (haven't properly played them personally) paying for 'flavour' (which could mean a lot of things!) and the cost is the cons mentioned.

ronmoron Inactive Member04 May 2017 4:27 a.m. PST

Thanks all.

Whirlwind, how do you do the tempo bidding with Polemos when playing solo? And what about adding more variation in troop types, have you found this works?

Codsticker, it's not the movement distances I disliked, it's the freedom to move I had a problem with, units didn't feel like blocks of pike and musket, they could be tanks or planes or anything.

Madmonkey, those rules do look interesting, will have to take a good look. Drawback is that the card system is likely to be less well suited to solo play but there seem to be some good ideas in there.

Corona66, I've not tried DBR, though I do have them and really must give them a go, though in a way the last thing I need is another set of rules I like in part!

Baroque are, I think, my favourite overall, the variety of ways to alter your battalia, from iron officers to agitators, really appeals to me, the only thing holding me back is that damn cohesion test, it just seems so random it undermines everything else. I wonder if more dice might be the answer (when is more dice not the answer?).

Personal logo Whirlwind Supporting Member of TMP04 May 2017 12:46 p.m. PST

Whirlwind, how do you do the tempo bidding with Polemos when playing solo? And what about adding more variation in troop types, have you found this works?

I basically just randomize the tempo bid: throw a D6 for each side unless there is a particular scenario reason to use a slightly different system. I haven't found much need yet to think about adding more troop types.

All the best

ronmoron Inactive Member05 May 2017 1:36 a.m. PST

That's an interesting idea. I'm assuming you also use this as if bidding, so the lowest number goes first (bidding high and so having less tempo points available)?

Personal logo Whirlwind Supporting Member of TMP07 May 2017 4:04 a.m. PST

Yes, pretty much. A while ago I wrote a blogpost explaining in a little more detail: link

I hope this helps

Glenn Pearce07 May 2017 7:02 a.m. PST

Hello ronmoron!

On the surface most Polemos games seem rather simple and seem to boil down to a dice roll. However, it's actually the opposite. The secret is massing the modifiers in your favour. Once you have mastered that (whenever you can) the dice roll shows the level of your success. Roll poorly and you generally stall or get a minor set back. Roll well and your on top of the world.

The author is also an ECW re-enactor. So he has carefully crafted a set of rules that match his personal experiences.

I don't know anybody who enjoys playing solo more than Whirlwind. His blog is a joy to read and confirms that Polemos is not only a great team game, but also at the top for solo players as well.

I've found that more variation in troop types are generally bad rules. The top troops become supermen and the lowest troops certain losers. Note in ECW Polemos there are actually three types Raw, Trained, Veteran that can be modified further by adding elite. Add in the other modifiers and the differences in some combats can be staggering.

Best regards,


ronmoron Inactive Member14 May 2017 8:51 a.m. PST

Thanks Glenn. Yes, I recently discovered Whirlwind's blog and you're right, it is a joy and has made me look again at Polemos. I'm not sure what you mean by massing your modifiers though, do you just mean outnumbering with bases?

I'm not sure I agree about the variation of troop types signifying bad rules. It certainly can if implemented badly, but personally I really enjoy small variations in units – for example in Baroque (who have promised more army lists soon) units can also have better officers, be feared, recruits or demotivated or even have agitators, all to add small changes. To me this seems a much more realistic way to view an army, with a lot of units all of whom are very slightly different from each other. I very much enjoy the headache this gives me on when to throw them into the fray.

You're also right, I got my Polemos troop types wrong. I do like what little I've played with them but I'm still leaning towards Baroque (and still trying to think of a better way of doing the cohesion test). I really like overall system, especially the ability to provide defensive fire to stop that pike heavy unit ever getting into close contact. I'm a little surprised more people don't appear to be using it,



coopman Supporting Member of TMP11 Jun 2017 8:36 a.m. PST

If a low cohesion roll is bad in Baroque, maybe use a D8 or D10 instead of a D6? I don't have the rules yet so I'm not sure if rolling low is what you are trying to avoid.

coopman Supporting Member of TMP13 Jun 2017 4:50 a.m. PST

I now have these rules & see that my suggestion about using different die types will not work. I wonder how often a unit will take a cohesion test and instantly cease to exist? It seems like the unit would most likely already have to be weakened by some earlier damage for that to happen?

Guillaume deGuy Supporting Member of TMP13 Jun 2017 11:50 a.m. PST

I haven't seen it happen very often (of course if it happens to you at some critical juncture you're likely to forget all the times it didn't happen). Yes I think in most cases the unit in question may already have a lowered VBU or several other factors may be working against it.

An extreme case is having a pristine unit with say a VBU of 6 be fired on by a unit that manages to roll 6 die for its shooting AND gets a six on each one. The Critical Number is VBU (6) – hits (6) = 0 BUT the lowest CN you can have is 1.

In the Cohesion Test – if the target unit rolls a 1, it passes the test and incurs no permit casualties (but is disorganized). Infuriating for the shooting unit (all those wonderful hits lost!) but not a totally unreasonable result.

On the other hand a CT roll of 6 (an auto fail regardless of CN and a counter balance to the roll of 1) would result, in this case, in five perminant casualties! Your pristine unit is now an exhausted nothing but still on the board. Clearly many things have to occur to make this result happen.

The large majority of cases I think are as you suggest, units becoming progressively weaker and more and more prone to losing it all on the CT roll. Much of the tactical play in Baroque involves degrading your opponent's units (got to love the permanent casualties that come from accumlative disorder) AND managing your own units when the are disordered or fatigued.

Obviously I'm a fan of Baroque and hopefully I have explained things correctly.

coopman Supporting Member of TMP13 Jun 2017 1:54 p.m. PST

Thanks Guillaume.

Marcus Brutus13 Jun 2017 5:42 p.m. PST

To get 6 hits on 6d6 is a 1 in 46656 chances. It could happen but I've been playing Impetus for 5+ years and have never seen it.

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