Wednesday, 29 August 2018

ECW refight of Fiddler's Bottom - Part 2 - Game Report

The background to the refight for Fiddler's Bottom can be found in an earlier post. A quick recap of the order of battle:

Royalist Force
3 x Galloper units
1 x Trotter unit
3 x Infantry units
2 x Dragoon units

Parliamentarian Force
4 x Trotter units
5 x Infantry units
1 x Dragoon unit

On the tabletop Parliamentarian and Royalist are lined up on opposing hills. In the chapter from Wargame Tactics (C.Grant) the commanders have some wonderful names. The Royalist relief force is commanded by Sir Peter Oldbody and his Roundhead opponent is Harbottle Grimstone.

Start of game with forces lined up
Both sides pushed forward their cavalry
On the other flank dragoons, Parliamentarian and Royalists, move towards the farm buildings
The contest between cavalry units continues
Parliamentary forces push froward a couple of foot units to support their outnumbered dragoons
A wider view of the game
Royalist dragoons starting to suffer casualties from the advanced foot units
Royalist commander surveys the situation
Royalist foot advance
The few remaining cavalry battle it out
Foot units exchange musket fire
The Parliamentary reserve foot, uncertain of where the cavalry are, remain on the hill top.
Dragoons are still engaged in the farm buildings, while in the background the regrouped royalist line prepare to advance up the hill.
It was at this point the Parliamentarian forces decide enough is enough and retired from the field of battle. So a victory to Royalists forces.

I am still not sure whether to go with a gridded game or use a free movement. So the game was setup again. This time a gridded tabletop was used and the result was reversed.

A replay of the game using a square grid.
As for the rules one area remains in a flux. That being the use of commanders who can move between units and rally them. I am not sure I like commanders flitting around the tabletop and would rather have them attached to a single unit for the game. Possible options I am considering are:

  • If attached to a cavalry unit they add 1 to all combat attacks (not shooting for trotters)
  • If attached to a foot unit that unit is treated elite and will reduce all melee results by 1.


  1. Good looking game. Peter. Did the switch from no grid to grid affect the outcome or was tthe reverse those simply due to vagaries of battle?

    1. The vagaries of dice went the way of the Parliamentary infantry and they were able to secure the hilltop with greater numbers.

  2. Going with Grant's suggestions of wonderful commander names, perhaps the commanders can have a few attributes to give them a character. I don't know much of the period, but I believe that Rupert was Dashing, but prone to chasing things off the battlefield for miles.

    I quite like commanders at the wing or brigade level, where they influence a group of units and don't attach themselves to one unit at the expense of all others.

    1. Having wing commanders does have its appeal and can bring to the game some leadership characteristics.

  3. In an ECW army there would normally be a commander for each cavalry wing, and a commander of the infantry in the centre; if there were sufficient regiments of foot, they would be organised into three 'tertia' or brigades. Wing, centre or tertia commanders would remain with their formations; the army commander might remain in the rear with a reserve, but could, in extremis, ride about the battlefield to deliver new orders or troubleshoot.

    An entertaining reworking of the original Grant scenario. I look forward to reading more

    1. Thank you for the information. More things for me to consider as I try and progress this aspect of the rules.

  4. I like the idea of commanders having a command and control role but a game often runs more smoothly if it is "assumed" to be happening. Certainly at this point they did get involved in boosting the morale of troops but I don't like the idea of them being permanently attached from the start of the game, it would be easier to just declare that unit elite.

    Perhaps let the Commanders begin detached with the right to join a unit during the game but force them to stay with it. That way it gives the player the flexibility to wait and choose the best time and the best way to use the leader's ability to boost a unit whether it is to improve the odds on an attack that has to be successful or to help hold a vital position that is in danger.

    1. It is an interesting conundrum. I do agree assuming the command to be happening does make things run smoothly, and may be the best approach in this instance.

  5. I like Ross's suggestion that commanders begin the battle detached, but if they do join a unit they must remain with it - at least until the unit is no longer engaged or is routing (though it may not be easy to leave a routing unit; there are instances of commanders being carried away in a rout - that was their story, anyway!). And if the player's own character attaches himself to a unit, he loses the ability to issue orders to other units... The fate of that unit should be determined first, as the character will be focused upon it, and largely unaware of what is happeing elsewhere on the field.

    1. A few options there for me to consider. Many thanks for your suggestions and ideas.