A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

My C&CN-based ECW Game - new Rules Booklet

I have had a few expressions of interest in my ECW rules, and one of the more common suggestions has been something which I think makes a lot of sense. My game has always been an overt extension of the GMT Commands & Colors: Napoleonics (CCN) boardgame, adapted for miniatures and for the particular theatre of the British Isles in the 1640s. It has also been, very much, a project for my own use.

Thus my documentation has been minimalist. Anyone wishing to learn my game has had to download and learn the rules book for the original CCN game, and then incorporate the changes and extensions listed in my short summary note. That's a lot of work for someone with no previous experience of CCN, and work, moreover, which is required just to get to a starting position with the ECW variant (with no implied guarantee that it will be any good!).

Even I have found this inconvenient. If, during an ECW game, I wish to check on the details of Cavalry Breakthrough, for example, I have to find that section of the CCN booklet, read and understand it, and then check my extension summary sheets to remind myself what, if anything, I subsequently changed for the Civil War.

Not great. I was asked if it would be possible to produce a single document which set out the ECW variant as a standalone ruleset which did not require this kind of cross referencing, and the answer, of course, was no - it's a nice, logical idea, but a lot of work for something which is only a hobby project.

Well, as time passed I found the idea more and more sensible, so I have finally done it. There is now a first edition of a combined rule book available as a pdf - you'll find it listed in the available downloads in the top right of this screen. If you wish to download it, please do so. I would still recommend having the CCN booklet available as well as a back-up - the diagrams and examples are useful, for a start.

Some very quick (and obvious) caveats and qualifiers here, so there is no misunderstanding. My new booklet is a rewrite of the GMT CCN rules, incorporating my own alterations, and I claim no credit for the ideas or the wording which are GMT's. I don't believe there are copyright implications - the GMT rules are freely available as a download from their website (which is also linked from this screen), and I hope my booklet makes it clear that I am not attempting to parody CCN, nor pass off parts of it as my own work. The main elements of the game are now widely used in other of Richard Borg's games (and elsewhere) - just assume that anything in my booklet which works well is Mr Borg's, and any fluffs are down to me. Naturally I do not wish to get into any kind of customer support role here, but I would be grateful for warnings about any obvious howlers or imminent legal proceedings.

If you try the game, I hope very much that you enjoy it.

Also because I was asked about it, this is my adaptation of the CCN "Infantry in Square Track" for the ECW - here is the "Stand of Pikes Track", which is identical in just about every aspect of its use. Right-click on the image to get the full-size version, download it and print it on stiff card.



  1. I was thinking about this only yesterday! I'll have a look at the new booklet later.

  2. Tony - that really is an astonishing piece of work, I admire your dedication and I hope others find the game enjoyable. It's rare that you find such a complete set of rules plus command cards etc, all beautifully produced with excellent graphics made freely available. I swear GMT could put that out as an 'official' version exactly as it stands and sell loads!

    Dragoons will be making the journey North this week, I really like the way you have incorporated them into these rules.

    1. Thank you Lee - very much indeed. I'll be delighted to get the dragoons based up and in the ranks - photos will follow!

      Cheers - Tony

  3. Tony - a quick private comment for information re the blog post. My understanding is that GMT removed the free rule download because 'miniature gamers' were using them without purchasing the box game! I read this on the C&C forum and it said the info came from Borg. I tried to find the ancients recently and I'm sure they have been removed too? Don't take this as gospel, I might be wrong and I'll check back for confirmation when I get a chance. Lee.

    1. Lee - I published your comment anyway, since it is a useful sanity check. I checked, and the rules download is still available from GMT - the link I give does not quite point to the right page anymore, but it gets you to GMT, and the CCN page is easily found there.

      I'm a fully paid up owner of the boxed game (as you know!) so my conscience is light and easy. Seriously, since I am not selling my variant, and since if I was it would hardly offer much of a commercial threat to GMT, I don't expect any problems. On balance, it might draw more people's attention to GMT than it distracts, so it's probably OK. Whatever, if anyone is really unhappy about this, I can withdraw the links in five minutes!

      I would be uncomfortable imagining all those miniatures gamers with CCN sitting unopened on their shelves - think of all those unused wooden blocks, for a start - how many trees would it take to replace them?

      Thanks again - Cheers - Tony

  4. Just goes to show that you can't believe all you read on the C&C forum! I'm glad the download is still available, as you know I started with the download and eventually invested in the box game so it's good business sense really. It's funny, I enjoy playing with the blocks now. Now, if only there was a set of ECW block stickers :-)

  5. Got the downloads, thank you very much, and I'm off for a read. The down side is that I was tinkering with some ECW sets myself as I 'found' some ECW figures I'd forgotten I had and thought about having a small sideline project.

    C&C aren't the style of rules I'd normally game, but I'm already very taken with the chance cards and I'm also delighted to have someone to blame for my sideline getting out of hand!


    1. Joe - hope the downloads are of interest. C&C type games seem to work best for 10 or 12 units a side (including leaders) - much smaller than that and C&C might be too blunt an instrument to work well, though in fact I've played some small actions which went OK.

      Cheers - MSF

    2. ...by which I mean 10-12 units a side or larger!

  6. Many thanks for doing this, it looks like a lot of work has gone into it. Looking forward to giving the rules a go.


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