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"ECW rules - recommendations?" Topic

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1,167 hits since 23 Jan 2018
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Triplecdad23 Jan 2018 6:09 p.m. PST

I prefer large scale fights, not skirmish or company level. New to the period. I know this may open up some debate, but really just want to know what you like and why. For example, everyone on the colonial page likes TSATF, which I think is a hideously boring set of rules. (I prefer Victoria's Battles rules) So much appreciated if you have suggestions or thoughts on why some sets do or do not work well.

coopman Supporting Member of TMP23 Jan 2018 6:42 p.m. PST

Wait for the upcoming rules written by the author of "To the Strongest".

YogiBearMinis Supporting Member of TMP23 Jan 2018 7:43 p.m. PST

Oh, you will be disappointed if looking for a consensus. 😀

I think DBR, or a modified DBA, is fine for large scale actions, but some people are really turned off by the entire DBx family. Pike & Shotte by Warlord is a popular set, but is also a bit beer-and-pretzels for some folks. The Piquet variant "Anchor of Faith" is a great set and has a lot of flavor, but again the Piquet family of games leaves many cold—some see the randomness as its strength, others loathe it.

Neli Creoruska23 Jan 2018 8:07 p.m. PST

There are no really novel, well-written, well thought-out ECW rules.

DisasterWargamer Supporting Member of TMP23 Jan 2018 9:12 p.m. PST

Im a huge fan – of the old but still very simple rules from Gary Gygax and others – Cavaliers and Roundheads. I generally have about 25 units on each side and with 4 – 6 players can resolve a battle in an evening

A review done by Chuck Turnitsa – has a nice overview of these simple but elegant rules


Phillius Supporting Member of TMP23 Jan 2018 9:41 p.m. PST

For King & Parliament is the ECW version of TTS. We have played a couple of games testing the first or second draft of the rules, and they were great fun.

rct7500124 Jan 2018 1:15 a.m. PST

We are using Baroque which we really enjoy

WFGamers24 Jan 2018 1:32 a.m. PST

We use this set for smaller actions of 5 to 10 units per player – There are some scenarios on this page.

We are currently playtesting a set for large historical battles – Edgehill, Marston Moor, Naseby. It is a version of a set called Twilight of the Sun King but for the period 1620 – 1660. There will also be scenario books, including an ECW one.

This second set should be published in a few months.

martin goddard Sponsoring Member of TMP24 Jan 2018 1:43 a.m. PST

It will indeed be unlikely that the "recommenders" all agree. That is a good thing to demonstrate the diversity and freedom within this hobby.

You might consider Regiment of Foote (ROF) by Peter Pig. They are a battle set that uses about 16 units per side. ROF is not a mod or conversion of another set, but is a dedicated ECW set and thus models ECW battles rather than generic battles. Also no reference to units as "factions" or "warbands" in the "ECW universe"!

ROF is fought on 4x3 foot table divided into a 6inch grid for 15mm. For 25mm it will need a 6x4 table and 8 inch squares. If grids are an anathema then ROF will not suit. However games take about 2.5 hours, allow tactics, battle plans and the rules generate each new game as a scenario.

ROF are very innovative which is not a criteria for success, but the mechanisms do work intuitively and enjoyably.

More detail on the rules section of the PP website


There is also a set of videos on the PP video section.
Hope that is a comprehensive detail of what ROF is about.


Personal logo Baccus 6mm Sponsoring Member of TMP24 Jan 2018 2:54 a.m. PST

'There are no really novel, well-written, well thought-out ECW rules.'

Whether you agree with it or not, that is a REALLY sweeping statement. There's been a fair number of ECW rules released over the years.

Can you give us an insight into your thinking?

Rule writers may benefit from the input.

Personal logo Pictors Studio Sponsoring Member of TMP24 Jan 2018 4:58 a.m. PST

If you have Warmaster you can try my mods for it.


corona66 Supporting Member of TMP24 Jan 2018 5:07 a.m. PST

I've tried most, if not all of the, and DBR is still best at delivering a good game.

Personal logo 22ndFoot Supporting Member of TMP24 Jan 2018 5:22 a.m. PST

I've tried many from George Gush's rules back in the day to the most recent Black Powder variant. I feel much the same about TSATF so this may be of some use to you.

Of the rules I have used, few felt quite right but there are a couple I've had a bit more luck with that are worth a look: Victory Without Quarter by Clarence Harrison of Quindia Studios are very good and have the advantage of being free and Nigel Marsh's Carnage & Glory ECW set which I think are the best – these are computer moderated, we like them, but the computer is not for everyone.

A bit long in the tooth now, but OK, are For God, King and Country by Bruce McFarlane which are still available online.

I have but haven't tried the Warhammer set and Warlord's Pike & Shotte and the To Kill a King supplement – making the sleeves of shot separate units rather puts me off. 1644 had quite a following at one time. I haven't tried the Polemos rules as I use 28mm for the period but I have heard good things about them. If you do like computer moderated games, in addition to Carnage & Glory, there is a chap in Australia who does another set called Gunpowder Revolution.

Whatever rules you end up with, I do recommend the ECW scenario books from Caliver by Steven Maggs (Vol. 1) and Robert Giglio (Vols. 2,3 and 4).

Good luck with your project.

Son of MOOG24 Jan 2018 6:23 a.m. PST

I will always champion 1644. Been having great fun with them for close to 15 years now.

Tom D

davbenbak Supporting Member of TMP24 Jan 2018 6:28 a.m. PST

I second everything said by "22nd Foot", so at least you have two people forming a consensus.

When thinking about plunging into a new era I would recommend Neil Thomas' "Introduction to Wargaming". Maybe a bit simplistic for very experienced gamers, but then it also lends itself to additional house rules for those wanting more flavor. He covers various eras from Ancient to Modern.

As you were asking about rules I assume you don't have a nearby group already playing ECW. If you can find an experienced FOG-R player, you might like that set as well.

mad monkey 124 Jan 2018 6:48 a.m. PST

Tercios. One element is one unit. The main rules are for the TYW, the supplement Kingdoms add the ECW and the Eastern Wars(Poles, Turks, Cossacks, etc).The Brevisio edition is free. Take a look.

Personal logo 22ndFoot Supporting Member of TMP24 Jan 2018 6:55 a.m. PST

Son of Moog/Tom,

I see that we share a common interest in the ECW and a surname. In addition, we live an hour's drive apart across the Hudson – I'm in Katonah. If you fancy a game – ECW or otherwise, please drop me a line: jwdavenport at optonline dot net.


Jon Davenport

Personal logo BigRedBat Sponsoring Member of TMP24 Jan 2018 7:12 a.m. PST

Andrew Brentnall and I are publishing a set called "For King and Parliament" in April, mentioned above. There will be a write up in Wargames Illustrated in February or March which describes the mechanisms involved, and I'll have a participation battle at Salute. The rules work for all scales and basing systems; here's a picture of ye Kinge who appears to have received an advanced copy.


Personal logo 22ndFoot Supporting Member of TMP24 Jan 2018 7:33 a.m. PST


What wonderful looking figures. As I have bought every set of ECW rules for the last thirty years, I see no reason not to add "For King and Parliament" to the collection. I have high hopes that they will be the Holy Grail for which I have been searching so long.

Good luck with them,


BillyNM24 Jan 2018 9:45 a.m. PST

Likewise For King and Parliament (ECW version of To the Strongest via the Big Red Bat) – specifically designed for big games a great framework which makes it easy to tweak if you feel differently to how the author's interpreted historical tactics/outcomes.

General Kirchner24 Jan 2018 9:46 a.m. PST

not having been playing ECW anywhere as long as many here, I like Pike and Shotte. I know the different unit thing bothers some, but to me it provides flexibility in movement and makes sense in melees and shooting. Its attitude is much more in line with my thinking about how to run and play a game.

very few ECW gamers in my part of the world, so relaxed instead of intricate style suits best.

The only other one I have played was Warhammer ECW, and I did not care for it.

I love the picture above, and the clever joke. I would certainly like to read the rules as well.

Personal logo Baccus 6mm Sponsoring Member of TMP24 Jan 2018 10:13 a.m. PST

'I haven't tried the Polemos rules as I use 28mm for the period but I have heard good things about them.'

As with any of the Polemos series the rules are not scale specific and can be used with any size of figures.

Juset cos I make 6mm figures doesn't mean that the rules will only work with 6mm figures!

BillyNM24 Jan 2018 10:35 a.m. PST

Actually my recommending FKaP was a bit silly as it's not out yet – but due soon. In the meantime there's what looks like a fun set (I've not played them) available for free at:

Personal logo 22ndFoot Supporting Member of TMP24 Jan 2018 11:59 a.m. PST


Apologies. In larger scales how would you recommend basing units/brigades?


GrumpyOldMan24 Jan 2018 1:55 p.m. PST


Your website comes up as a Wordpress error only!!!!!

Triplecdad24 Jan 2018 5:31 p.m. PST

Thanks everyone. I have already looked up some of these sites/rules. FKaP sounds interesting. Does anyone know, can you still find Cavaliers and Roundheads rules?
I forget which set of rules had this: Heavy Artillery rolls three dice; Medium artillery rolls four dice and the lowest dice is the number of hits. What a different but nice way to delineate artillery.
Oh, and I mentioned the Victorias Battles rules, by Frank Caporto (spelling?). I would recommend them highly. My wargaming group uses them for British colonials, and Boxer Rebellion and British v. Egyptian War. They simply work, and can be found on Wargame Vault. No, I do not have an interest in seeing you buy them, I just think they are underappreciated rules for that era.

DisasterWargamer Supporting Member of TMP24 Jan 2018 5:35 p.m. PST

Drop me a note at arschofield hot mail for Cavaliers and Roundheads

Personal logo Baccus 6mm Sponsoring Member of TMP25 Jan 2018 1:30 a.m. PST

22nd Foot,

I can do no better than quoting from the relevant section on the rules:

'The basic unit of manoeuvre in Polemos ECW is the Base. This is a group of wargames figures ona single base of a given size. The actual number, size and position of the figures on the base is not important.

It is not vital to the rules that the specified base sizes are adhered to. So long as both armies use the same sized bases and the 2:1 ratio of base width to base depth is maintained, the rules will still work.'

For larger figures it's simply a matter of deciding what you would like your base width to be. Let's say a battalia of foot consists of 20 figures each with a 25mm frontage in two ranks. Your standard base width will then be 10 x 25mm = 250mm. All else then works from that. For all practical purposes you don't need to worry about the correct base depth in these calculations.

martinthorold25 Jan 2018 5:37 a.m. PST

To muddy the waters – I really like "The Kingdom Is Ours" – they are pretty simple but do give a fast, fun game.

See link

I also thoroughly confirm what 22nd Foot said "Whatever rules you end up with, I do recommend the ECW scenario books from Caliver by Steven Maggs (Vol. 1) and Robert Giglio (Vols. 2,3 and 4)." – excellent books….

Personal logo 22ndFoot Supporting Member of TMP25 Jan 2018 5:48 a.m. PST


Thanks for that. I know I have a couple of first edition sets somewhere for long-stalled projects but you have inspired me to look rather closer at the newer versions.


Doc Karl25 Jan 2018 8:11 a.m. PST

Take a look at By Fire and Sword. It is mainly PLC front/Deluge but I know they are working on an ECW supplement.

Dexter Ward25 Jan 2018 8:20 a.m. PST

DBR, FoG:Renaissance (works better than the ancient set, IMO), To Defy a King (some loose areas in the rules, but some nice ideas), For King and Parliament (I've played the playtest versions and it is an excellent set. Like To The Strongest it plays fast, and you can complete a large battle in a couple of hours)
We used 1644 for a while but found the combat system very deterministic. Campaign rules are very good, though.
Warhammer ECW didn't work for us; the separate Pike & Shot units doesn;t really seem to work.

TodCreasey Supporting Member of TMP25 Jan 2018 8:54 a.m. PST

We are also playing around with Fire and Sword for ECW. The main reason we are keen is that they are flexible as to battle size so skirmishes and large battles are both possible. As I want to do more small actions they seem a good fit for us.

takeda33325 Jan 2018 10:49 a.m. PST

The choice of rules is important if this is not a dedicated period for you. Actually Neil's rules aren't too bad to experiment with or at least a read if just starting out. It can be difficult to gain players from other periods to game with if the rules are too involved, especially if they don't game the ECW frequently.

Big Red Supporting Member of TMP26 Jan 2018 5:31 a.m. PST

We use Victory Without Quarter as linked above:


and are looking forward to For King and Parliament too.

Prince Lupus26 Jan 2018 11:44 a.m. PST

I like War without an Enemy, it's like Loose Files & Scrambles, if you ever played those. For solo games i use Victory without Quarter because it is a card driven game.

Triplecdad26 Jan 2018 7:08 p.m. PST

My buddy has the Fire and Sword rules, and bought literally every army available, so I will also look at that option. The rulebook alone is an encyclopedia! Again, thanks to all. As usual, TMP is a great resource.

John Dixon28 Jan 2018 9:22 a.m. PST

This is clearly a subject that gets everyone going and all ECW players have their preferred set of rules. I have played most of the rules mentioned above although I am surprised that Forlorn Hope has not been put forward (as yet) I have been reviewing ECW rules from Gush onwards for a possible future article and I would say the following four sets have unique features peculiar to ECW gaming, and all are also great fun to play !

Regiment of Foote by Peter Pig,(the original version without the grid) has a stand out pre battle campaign and deployment section, defines an attacker and a defender and has a countdown to encourage the attacker to achieve his aims.)

Regmient of Foote by Peter Pig (the new version with the grid) although I am not so keen on the main game the set has the best siege game I have played for ECW, based on many of the small sieges of country houses.

Pike and Shotte by Warlord Games uniquely uses traits to define the troops and not the standard veteran/trained/raw. This is most suitable to the ECW and Pike and Shotte replays actual battles very well

FK&P, although not released yet I have had the opportunity thanks to Andrew and Simon to try them and they have a very strong period feel and play very well. Their use of ammunition depletion chits and Dash chits for cavalry are unique and well thought out. If you are at Salute in April try them out

grambo Supporting Member of TMP02 Feb 2018 3:48 a.m. PST

It's been very interesting reading through this thread and the different sets of rules available for this period. Like many 'older' ECW gamers I started with the Gush WRG rules and enjoyed using them for several years before moving on to Forlorn Hope.

Many years later I have decided to return to the period using 'retro' Hinchliffe figures, and having now built the collection up to close to 800 figures I'm looking around for a set of rules to use with them. I had initially decided to return to WRG but as the collection grew I have been looking for a set that can handle my large 40 figure pike and shot units and horse units of 12 to 16 figures.

Victory without Quarter were recommended to me a couple of weeks back and I must say I really like the look and feel of them, I like the activation system and the random events rolls. The basic rules are fairly simple, but not simplistic in my view. They will handle my unit sizes well.

The old days of having to move all of ones units in a turn then doing firing, melee etc are behind me now, I much prefer individual unit activation by drawing chits or cards, following through firing and melee before drawing the next activation chit/card.

I will look out for FK&P though as I'm hearing good things about them.


A few of my units to illustrate organisation and size.






Minenfeld08 Feb 2018 8:50 a.m. PST

Another vote for War without an Enemie. A combination of Forlorn Hope and Loose files and American scramble.

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