Saturday, 1 September 2018

ECW Commander rules and some books

Since refighting the Battle of Fiddler's Bottom using my draft English Civil War rules. Where in the post of the refight I mentioned the army commanders were flitting around the tabletop rallying troops; and this was not what I really wanted from the game. There were some sage comments posted (thank you very much) and consequencely I have been considering what mechanisms to have, or not have, for representing an army's commander.

A unit of commanded shot recently painted
So where have I ended up? Well, here is the gist of my newly drafted rules...

Each army has one commander. There are no centre or wing commanders represented as they are assumed to be out there performing their roles.

The army commander influences the number of units which are activated. This is calculated by counting the number of friendly units a commander can see in their command range. The commander must have line of sight to the friendly units, which are blocked by woods, buildings and enemy units. Friendly units do not block a commander's line of sight.

The commander's command range is governed by their ability:

  • A below average commander has a command range of 3 bounds (18 inches), 
  • An average commander 4 bounds (24 inches), and 
  • An above average commander 5 bounds (30 inches). 

The command range can be increased by 1 bound if the commander is positioned on a hill, or decreased by 2 bounds if a commander is attached to a unit for safety.

The number of units a commander can see at the start of their turn is called their "command value" which is used in the sequence of play.

Sequence of Play

  • The game is played is a series of turns. At the beginning of each turn players roll a D6.
  • The player with the lowest score gets to activate their units first. The number of units activated is equal to halve their command value, rounding up fractions.
  • The player with the highest score, then gets to activate their units up to the full value of their command value.
  • Any ties and only commanders and their attached unit may move in the same sequence as last turn.

If an enemy unit moves into contact with a commander, remove the commander from play. The commander may return next move from base edge of tabletop. There are implications for the army resolve, but that is for another post.

A player can move their commanders up to 2 bounds (12 inches) at the end of their turn at no activation cost. This includes any unit they are attached to. Commanders are allowed to attached and detach themselves from a unit.

The intent of this rule is to get the commanders to position themselves to view as much of their army as possible, but not too close to any roaming enemy cavalry.

A recent game with the new commander rules being tested
A bonus during the week was the arrival of two more books on soldiers of the English Civil War. Both are second hand books and pricked up at quite reasonable prices.

Recent arrivals


  1. An asymmetrical activation really puts a lot of importance on gaining the initiative. Are there any modifiers to this die roll or simply up to chance?

    Both of the Ospreys are good additions to your library.

    1. The dice roll is down to luck. The problem I found comes when winning the initiative a few turns in a row, you are just moving half your units with no advantage to going first.

  2. Your ECW Collection is great! Well done indeed. Good to see you enjoying the splendid Osprey Books. Cheers. KEV.

    1. KEV, Thank you, I have 7 more ECW units to paint them I am done for this project. Peter