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

Sunday, 1 March 2015

ECW Campaign - Dodgy Scripting

My ECW campaign in a mythical part of northern Lancashire has been interrupted a bit by breaks to allow Real Life to carry on, but I have enjoyed it very much. It has now reached an odd situation.

Two hefty defeats for the Royalist side have made it virtually impossible for them to rescue things; basically they have lost, and, as things have worked out, and as the randomly-generated campaign map is set out, the campaign has run out of space – the armies are stuck against the northern edge of the map, with little further scope for manoeuvre.

I have already declared that the two Royalist forces, rather than retreating northwards off the map, will lock themselves into the towns of Lowther and Erneford, and the Parliamentarians will set up formal sieges against these places. This, of course, is still possible, but seems like a lot of effort for not a lot of entertainment. My thinking on this is definitely influenced by the lack of time I have available to concentrate on the campaign at present, but I have now decided I should attempt to end the thing with rather more of a bang.

Technically, the King’s forces have already lost, but the new plan is that a relieving force will advance to their aid from Carlisle, the Royalist forces at the top of my map should fall back on this support, the Parliament army should follow them, and there will be an extra final battle to settle things. Yes – it’s faked, but it seems a more satisfying way to get out of a lame ending.

So – watch this space!

Separate topic – I’ve had a few entries for my little giveaway exercise, but I’ve also had some notes and comments from people who simply asked me to send them one of the MSFoy mugs – that’s not really what I had in mind! I offer my sincere thanks to anyone who expressed interest, but I really do want some kind of formal entry – send me a suitable prize-winning essay on exactly why you deserve one! Midnight at the end of 5th March is the deadline – if I don’t get entries that amuse me then I shall keep the things.

So there. 


  1. The joy of umpiring and playing at the same time - like the idea of the final big battle!

  2. You've got to have the One Big Battle at the end. That's traditional, and also mandatory in accordance with Terry Pratchett's well-known Law of Narrative Necessity. Looking forward to the report.

  3. I like the scripting of a suitably dramatic ending, in the Clauswitizian spirit of the Decisive Battle. I do, however, have a proposal for you to consider...

    If the King's cause is lost in the north, then perhaps the key resources there can be shifted elsewhere. This might potentially provide a decisive shift in the balance and put the Rebels in that area to rout!

    With the early loss of the foundries early in the War the Royalist cause has always been short of ordnance, and none can dispute the dash, daring and effectiveness of His Majesty's Cavalry Regiments. These could both be put to good use in the struggle for the Midlands or in shoring up the defences of the South West. They must escape the besiegement of Lowther and Erneford lest they be lost to little effect. The Infantry are to be left behind to garrison the town and make the siege as expensive as possible for Parliament. A break out battle therefore ensues, with Victory conditions based on how much of the Royalist Cavalry and Artillery exists the board.

    Hows that for a decisive ending? In the future, you can set yourself up a new campaign and, depending on the results of this breakout battle, potentially adjust the Royalist forces with some these reinforcements. I’m sure the forces of Parliament will bring in some equalising force though…

    Just an idea to finish it off with a bang!

    1. Hi Paul - thanks for this! My campaign was always designed to be mythical - I did this on purpose, because the last campaign I did was compromised by trying to dovetail it into the real history of the real world around the edges. So there is no continuity between this ECW episode in a (non-existent) part of Lancashire and anything else, real or imagined. Clearly, if the campaign had been a resounding success and had given obvious scope for a "sequel" then I would be happy to embrace that, but it kind of fizzled. A big battle might well make the ending more gratifying, indeed I think it will, but it will be set in a world where Marston Moor has not taken place, where the siege of Liverpool may or may not have taken place, where Chester and all that stuff becomes irrelevant. And so on. Who is this Cromwell blighter, anyway?

      I will definitely do another ECW campaign, bringing to bear what I learned from this one, and I might have some narrative carry-over - depends whether or not it enhances it! I'll see how I feel after The Big Battle - probably be a week or two, given the limited time I have available at present.

      Cheers - and thanks again - Tony

    2. ...apart from anything else, I did get rather attached to the mythical leaders and their units - that was great fun! - so they might well appear some other time...

    3. I imagine there are some nasty rivalries now, and perhaps more to come. Perhaps one will find a brother commanding a force on the opposite side of the field in the new campaign or one who was responsible for a son's death earlier in the war...

      I agree, a historically based but fictional campaign allows a lot more flexibility in how things pan out. This campaign may have died out, but I'm sure you learned lots about how to make the next one more interesting.

      Do you use chance cards/random events in your 'strategic turns'?

    4. Chance cards/random events - normally yes, but for this campaign I drove it from the narrative, and did testing on key decision points based on leader personalities among other things.