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

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Peter Brekelmans' Thirty Years War Variant for Commands & Colors - Latest V 2.2

Back in June I made reference to a Thirty Years War variant of Commands & Colors which I had been discussing with the chap who was developing it. During the course of what, for me, for family reasons, has been a rather fragmented Summer, Peter Brekelmans and I exchanged a great deal of correspondence, which I have enjoyed greatly, and from which I learned a good deal. Peter, like me, felt that it should be possible to develop a decent 17th Century variant from the existing GMT Commands & Colors games – his starting place was my own attempt at an ECW game, but he wished to extend the scope to cover the Thirty Years War more completely and – unlike me – he wished to commit a proper effort to developing some scenarios.

Peter uses the concepts of Command and "Chaunce" cards, as did I, but his card sets are rather different from mine. He also was keen to amend the game so that melee combat was simultaneous, rather than the C&C system of attack-and-then-battle-back. We spent some time working with this, and developed systems which would make simultaneous melee blows possible, but we had concerns that the fundamental balance of advantage in the game might be distorted (in favour of the defenders, I believe), so Peter has retained the 2-stage C&C-style melee combat, and offers simultaneous melee as a game option.

My own ECW variant has been in use for some years now, though I confess the current documentation is a little out of date; Peter’s game has been well thought through, but we have lacked the opportunity to do any proper playtesting. Since Peter is running out of enthusiasm to develop this further, in the absence of a potential audience, we’ve agreed that I should make the game available on this blog. I can claim the best of both worlds here – if there is any reflected glory going, then I was a contributor, but if you wish to take issue with any of it, don’t come to me – it wasn’t my game anyway!

I think the game, as presented, is a very nice package – certainly it is thought provoking and a useful education to people like me who know little of the TYW. I shall persist with my own ECW game, though I shall certainly incorporate a couple of new tweaks which came from our discussions, and I hope to get a chance to do some proper testing of Peter’s rules when opportunity presents itself.

*** Update - as from 9th April 2017, the rules and the scenarios have been revised to V 2.2. The presentation of the Command and Chaunce Cards has also been greatly simplified. ***

 You can download the sheets from Google Docs – you will find

I shall keep this post linked from some panel near the top of my blog display, so that you can find it easily, and we’ll also set up a specific email address so that you may contact Peter about his rules.

I hope you will join me in complimenting Peter on his efforts, his knowledge of the period and his splendid rule-writing style.

Peter wishes to emphasise that the scenarios, in particular, are really drafts - in some cases almost discussion frameworks - and, in particular, have not been properly game tested. They provide a valuable reference as suggestions for games, but they come with no guarantee that they are quite ready for use as a rewarding social event!

Peter may be contacted at ga1632<CURL>rogers.com (replace <CURL> with the usual email AT symbol) if you wish to give him some feedback on his game or your experiences with it, or any general discussion points on the Thirty Years War.


  1. Well, my permissions are not sufficient to access the docs.

    1. OK - I believe I have fixed the Google Docs entries - they should all now be visible to anyone who has the link. If they aren't please shout.

      A facility to change documents in batches larger than one would be a nice feature. Oh well.

  2. A very timely post, as we have been using your ECW C&C variant just today for a 1670s game (with a few tweaks).

    Will be posting the results soon, but your card deck and 'chaunce' cards are inspired. We will probably develop them a little and add Marlburian era stuff too, if you don't mind.

    1. A handsome looking batrep on your blog - enjoyed it, and thanks again for the mention and for trying the rules!

  3. This looks very interesting, thank you very much! Coincidentally have you seen Miniature Wargames issue 402? They publish 'Memoir 1643' , Arthur Harman's take on ECW rules inspired by Command & Colours. And you may be interested to see Henry Hyde's 'resignation honours' edition of Blogs of the Month...

    1. Henry Who? - surely not. We are not worthy.

  4. Interesting stuff, thanks for sharing it all.


To avoid spam and advertising material, comments are moderated on this blog, and will appear once I have seen them.