If you are working a new army project, you definitely need a set of rules if you are going to play . . . ummm . . . I mean game with them on the tabletop. As mentioned previously, this is not my first foray into gaming the period of the English Civil War so I am familiar with some of the rules that are out there. What totally surprised me, as I was researching and organizing the troops to be painted, I discovered the perfect set of rules for what I want to do with my ECW project in 28 mm. Even better the set of rules only cost the price of printer paper and ink. I am referring to the free PDF set of rules titled Victory Without Quarter, by Clarence Henderson of Quindia Studios. The rules are 14 pages! The guy can paint too.
Victory Without Quarter is a card driven, element based, Warmaster/Blackpowder kind of game. Clarence clearly states that he has liberally used ideas from various sources in his rules to create a game he would enjoy playing that was not too complicated yet realistically portrays the challenges and outcomes of this pivotal period of military history. Having play tested the rules with cut-out card board bases I heartily concur that these are the rules for me. Most infantry regiments are generically based with two stands of musketeers and one stand of pikes based as "elements" on 60 x 60mm bases. Aesthetically this looks really good on the dining room battlefield and looks right to me. Cavalry are organized as troops with two stands 80 x 60 mm bases that can be combined into cavalry regiments. The rules give basing sizes for the other common units and some ideas for units that different ratios of pike to shot.
Rupert's Regiment of Foot organized for Victory Without Quarter
Movement, firing and decisions are made for units come from the order deck when their "card" is drawn. Firing and melee are handled in a manner similar to Warmaster as is the way for keeping track of casualties. Markers or single figures are used to keep track of casualties and units are removed once the casualty markers equals the amount of stands in a unit. I love keeping those figures I have spent time painting staying on the table a bit longer.
Commanders, when their cards are drawn, can give additional orders to units. The Turn over card, when drawn, can end the turn early and adds an element of uncertainty to events during the battle. There are optional rules for Artillery Train Guards, Life Guards, Commanded shot, Maddening Subordinates and Events that can be added to the order deck. I still thinking on some ideas for adding the ECW marksman I painted to the game.
Maybe the Marksman adds and + 1 or and extra die to fire combat?
Another thing I like, with the command rules, the game easily allows multiple players on each side as the order deck drives the decision of events on the table and keeps all players on both sides actively engaged in the battle. I can't praise these rules enough, fast play, satisfactory results, edge of your seat play and fun, fun, fun. Did I mention that they are free too?