Napoleonic, WSS & ECW wargaming, with a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Sunday 5 October 2014

ECW Campaign – More on the Context

I spent an interesting afternoon building a campaign map using my home-modified cards for the Perfect Captain’s Battlefinder system. The picture above captures the actual master map laid out on the template – I include this photo only because I have it available and it might be of passing interest – I do not expect that anyone will actually be able to read it. No matter – I have everything documented, and a more or less longwinded narrative will appear in time, giving the background (i.e. the fake history) to my ECW campaign. The area depicted is the countryside surrounding the River Arith, which almost certainly lies somewhere between Lancaster and Carlisle.

It’s important to understand that the photo does not show an approximation to an aerial view of the area – it is simply a network of sites which are separated by some undisclosed distance of the order of 5 to 20 miles – each card does not weld seamlessly to its neighbours; I have a vague feeling that it would if the system were really any good, but it doesn’t. These are simply memorable locations (out of the scenario book?) laid out on a template. It is (whisper it) a game board.

One early adjustment to my context work is that the date for the campaign has now slipped back to Spring 1644, which thus allows my Covenanter units to turn out for Parliament. Ah, I hear you say – ah, but – would the Covenanters not have been busy at the siege of Newcastle, and at the build-up to Marston Moor? Are said Covenanters not, as it were, spoken for?

What Marston Moor, I ask? What siege of Newcastle? The real joy of working at the shadowy overlap of fact and fiction is that I can please myself which bits of the genuine stuff I admit to. The scope is limitless – if it suits me to allow real history to place Covenanters on my OOB then I shall take full advantage, while simultaneously ignoring any of that same history which does not fit my script. I am lying on the floor, roaring with delight at the possibilities.

Oh - that Lowther Castle. I think not - built too late, and, anyway, look at the
state of it
The unusually sharp-sighted may spot the walled town of Lowther on my map – an important garrison town for the Royalists in this area. Someone has already asked me, is this connected with Lowther Castle, the home of the Earls of Lonsdale, in old Westmorland? Surely this is a real place? Not necessarily, comes the reply; if it suits my campaign history, the answer may be a tentative yes, but if it does not fit comfortably then it is a complete coincidence, and the town was named for a fellow from Grange-over-Sands I once did Physics practicals with on Saturday mornings in first year at university, sometime in another century.

Anyway – what Lowther Castle?


  1. Great to see this system about to be put to use in a blog publication. I'll be looking forward to more of this.

    Several years ago, a bunch of dudes (and I) fought a Napoleonic campaign with this system, and the 'General de Brigade' rule set. As we were using the rule set for army level games, they weren't (in my view) quite suitable, as with just 2 playing sessions (evenings) per month, it was taking several months to fight out a single action.

    But I thought the 'Battlefinder' system worked well. I've since built up a campaign map myself that i have yet to use.

    I'm inclined to think that you could just about 'fill in' the gaps between the cards to link up roads, rivers, woods and high ground, simply imagining these interstices as terrain unsuitable for battle. The distance between each would be at most as shown on the overall map. If the squares that divide the card maps are a foot across, then the distance between card maps would be two to three feet. You would still be ignoring those spaces, but have a means of reconciling their existence.

  2. Thank you, your Grace. I am still assembling coherent thoughts on how the map is used, but my intention is that the distance between "districts" (the area shown on each card) and its neighbours will be the stated 5-20 miles - trying to make sense of that is not easy - I'm still getting my head around this! I've had a number of emails about this, so am proposing to add a supplementary "Late Edit" to the next post.

    Regards - Tony