Saka Light Cavalry

Saka Light Cavalry

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Civil Strife in the Midlands 1642-1651 Book Review

I have promised myself that I will try to blog about all the historical books I read this year, something I got out of the habit of over the last couple of years. I have owned this book for years, it was published in 1974 but uses a lot of first hand snippets that have become favoured more recently and as such has one foot in modern day writing. Indeed this could have been written more recently than it's actual date.

For anyone interested in the English Civil War (first) then this book is worth picking up, especially if you live in the UK with a price tag of £1 on Amazon, plus postage of course. Those who are looking for ideas for a skirmish game then this again will be a source of information. Some of which would transfer to other periods so has some use outside wargaming the ECW.

The main point behind the book is that the Midlands suffered more during the First Civil War and was more important to all sides than any other area. My view has always been that it's ironic that the first Civil War started and ended in Nottinghamshire but overall the war passed us buy in this area for the most point. This book goes someway to redress such a view but the truth is that it actually had less effect than the author claims. Sure both sides did march and fight their way through the Midlands but most of the actual battles that actually happened in the Midlands were on the midlands boarders rather more central (ignoring Naseby). I would argue that the North has a much better claim to most effected region, especially when you consider the time the Scottish field army spent in that area before coming south. 

However few books sell with tag lines of "not the most important, but things did happen here" OK not really fair as quite a bit happened in the Midlands and my main grip is the lack of detail R E Sherwood put into such activities but this is not a book about battles but social upheaval. I am not sure Sherwood actually had a good understanding of the periods weapons, tactics and battles and seemed to take too many sources at face value even giving many of the pamphlets the benefit of the doubt which is risky indeed.

So a book that took too long to get round to reading and a little disappointing but I am still happy I have read it and as mentioned at the price it goes for on Amazon it's worth getting for the reasons mentioned above.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

To The Strongest Test Game

A few weeks ago Lee and myself threw a few units on the table and tried some test fights whilst trying out the rules. Our lack of a proper gridded battlefield did not help but we had enough of an idea for Lee to get a cloth and me another set of the rules. Fast forward a couple of weeks and armed with a set of rules each, a pair of decks of cards and the trusty game mat we were ready to try again, that much larger and that more prepared.

Now don't get me wrong, this was no well balanced game, merely a mixed force to see how the rules handled and how well we could come to grips with the mechanics. No winner or loser here, that is unless the rules rock or flounder.

Lee's favourite saying "To see what would happen" was thrown around all over the place. Lee has small compact Roman commands whilst I am using a massed block of troops the main battle being 12 phalanx's with around 6 units of supporting troops and two wings of cavalry.

The rules allow two units in a box, being one in front of the other. We went 4 units to a box as our display game will have a massive force. The idea seems to hold up fairly well, more testing to be sure but so far so good.

Lee also bought a load of counters though the ammo counters seemed to be the only ones required in this game. Future games may have the numbered counters instead of the modified card decks.

A view from Lee's side of the table. I was really struggling to get my blocks moving forward as we expected. The lights went ahead of the blocks whilst the cavalry attacked on both flanks.

The square grid is clear enough for you to focus on when required but does not stand out when looking at the game as a whole. We both really like the look at the mats and have no problem recommending them. Here  my cavalry get in my own way.

Lee just needs to grass his bases and he will have almost his whole army ready whilst I still have around 500 figures to paint. Such is the difference in our troop strengths.

So after a stop start evening we remain quite happy with the rules. Lee being Lee is looking at using the rules for 15mm, we both have quite a few figures and 28mm, Lee has a few units. Whilst I am happy to try 15mm without the added changes, I still enjoy Hail Caesar so suspect this may or may not remain a 6mm rule set for us but 28mm would require a lot of units or the games would be really short.

Of course we made plenty of mistakes and still need to get the rules sharpened but I really think we have the rules for the demo game. How they will actually work full blown is something we will have to wait and see but such a mass of pike is a bit of a knee trembler for sure.