Saturday, 29 August 2015

English Civil War Superpost

My good self, the Marquess of Nottingham.
Pictures are from Jane Dunn.
Welcome back to Palladian Guard, where today I'll be sharing the results of our ECW Supercampaign!

What is a Supercampaign?

It's like a normal campaign, a series of linked battles played out on a map.  But we blur the lines with roleplaying - orders have to be written and troops moved around a master campaign map in real time.  Not using 'nodes' or 'pins', we really do work out how far the men march and how many miles they're spread out over!  There are secret notes, orders, couriers and subterfuges that make for a gripping campaign season.  Our most recent Supercampaign was the American Civil War one.

What's this Supercampaign all about?

Some might remember our recent trips to the National Civil War Centre - our gaming group are all from Newark in the UK, which was a Royalist stronghold during the Civil War.  This campaign saw us playing out the Third Siege, which lasted from late 1645 to the end of the war the following year.



So how did it go?

To keep this post short and digestible, I'll summarize everything quite briefly.

 I assumed the role of the (fictional) Marquess of Nottingham, leading a small Royalist garrison.  Although the war was nearly over and there was no hope of a 'victory' for me, it was my job to try and fight for favourable surrender terms for my men.  I had a tiny force - about ten stands of 2mm Irregular Miniatures - but the town had formidable defences and artillery cover which made any direct assault a difficult prospect.

The Parliamentarians led by brother Ollie (the fictional Sir James Maxwell, MP), and the allied Scots by the valiant Kieran (Earl of Kinross), had a hugely superior force but had a long line to garrison.  They had about thirty stands to command, but it would be hard for them to guard the entire siege line round the town while concentrating quickly for battle.

My worthy foe, Sir James!
Over the first few months I led some daring raids out of the town and scored a few successes, burning the surrounding villages (depriving the besiegers of vital winter quarters) and looting supplies.  Soon, however, the attritional casualties, cold weather and outbreaks of typhus wore down my men and I fought one battle too many.  Outside North Muskham my army was all but annihilated and I barely escaped with my life!  A further six weeks of protracted negotiations, prolonged by the intransigence of both parties, eventually led to the besiegers biting the bullet and storming the town at night, while I tried to slip away and escape by boat!

A satisfyingly climactic battle ensued, and despite some horrendous casualties storming the guns the besiegers broke through into the town.  Still unwilling to surrender, I blew up the town's magazine and managed to escape with about three boatloads of my most loyal men.  Unfortunately my boat later sank on the way to Oxford and I was captured.  My life graciously spared by Sir James, who instead banished me to the Isle of Wight.  The Earl of Kinross was less disposed to mercy but eventually relented...

In summary, a clear Parliamentarian/Scottish victory, but I'm pleased I held out to the last!  Even if, of the 3,000 men I started with, 1,000 were captured and 1,750 were killed in battle or died of typhus.  Oh dear.

My lovingly-made model of the town of Newark!
The Royalists sally forth, past the Queen's Sconce towards Farndon!  All the moves were meticulously
worked out on a map, painstakingly researched by Kieran.
Sir John Redman's troops approach Farndon.  We used a modification of the Give Them The Cold Steel ACW rules, suitably tweaked for 17th Century warfare.
And there we have it!  I hope that captures some of the drama and tension of what was a fantastic four weeks' campaigning.  What's next, I hear you cry?  The distant rumble of the Franco-Prussian War can be heard just over the horizon...

Bye for now,

Ed

13 comments:

  1. Excellent ! Looks great.

    Another layer of randomness might be the out of theatre higher command calling your forces out of your TAOR to a major battle elsewhere....

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    1. Thanks mate. Yes, that's always a bit point of departure from real life, we tend to write up quite insular campaigns.

      I'm sat here with a glass of wine and a laptop typing up the campaign rules for the Franco Prussian War game... Perhaps that will be different...

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  2. That's a terrific looking model and it only hints at how much fun you chaps must have had with this project. You also show how good micro scale games can look if done well. I also like the supercampaign idea and have tried it myself, but never thought of that for a name. While I like pick up battles, context and drama adds so much.
    Cheers,
    M

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    1. Thanks Mike, yes it's hard to compress all the fun and games into a readable post! There's always a trade off between accessibility and detail, but with all these supercampaigns we like to some smaller games which don't always get posted up here. Like all things in life, balance is I suppose the key.

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  3. More paintings of you and Ollie as fictional characters. If I ever manage to get some sort of similar campaign going, then I think I'll be doing the same. Perhaps when/if I ever get my ACW games going?

    Fantastic work Ed as always. Did you write this one up as a novel as well?

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    1. Thanks mate, always good to hear your thoughts.

      Yes, I've been told several times that this is an entirely new level of madness. Hey ho.

      I had thought of doing a worldwide ACW campaign through the blogosphere, perhaps with email moves worked out on a master map over a few months?

      Aha, nothing gets past you! I did a slightly shorter book for this one as I had less time, my next post will talk all about it...

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    2. A global campaign would be amazing, though I suspect a lot of work for the GM?

      Saying that, if you're serious on the idea count me in. I'll be playing in 15mm though and it'd give me the impetus to get painting my Reb's.

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  4. Ed, this looks fantastic (sorry to be late in commenting). I love the way that the campaign seems to be the frame for the roleplaying and the politics, as well as some military action. Great stuff!

    I also have some news, in that your 2mm antics have inspired me to take the plunge myself. In the most sincere form of flattery, I've splashed out on a pair of 2mm ACW starter armies for a Shenandoah Valley campaign this autumn. So, thanks again for the inspiration (and I shall certainly be getting a copy of the Chattanooga campaign bible on Kindle soon as a model of how we go about following in your footsteps!)

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    1. Well that's thrilling news! Very humbling to think you've been inspired by our modest ramblings. The Shenandoah Campaign is a good choice - we were actually considering that for a Summer 2016 campaign ourselves so I'd love to see what you come up with.

      I'm sure you've got your own ideas, but I might just fire you a quick email with some research and notes we found useful...

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  5. Although the scale is a bit tiny for me, interesting campaign non the less. Franco-Prussian War you say? Hmm...eager to see what you have brewing. :-)

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  6. Well I for one am most intrigued by this super campaign concept. My friend and I are about to embark on a 6mm ECW project for the next two years in 6mm, and I can see this getting a lot of legs with us. I had a look back at your entry on the Chattanooga Campaign - WoW, very inspiring. I would really like to know more about how the mechanics of the campaign system worked, and this published dairy and maps etc sounds brilliant! Do you still have any spares left?

    PS Our embryonic ECW blog is here:
    http://declaresir.blogspot.com

    cheers
    Paul
    pauljamesog(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Hi Paul,

      Thanks very much for the feedback, I'm glad you found it interesting. I've been planning to do a how-to post on Supercampaigns for a while now; I might just work on it today!

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    2. Well I shall really look forward to that! If I can emulate half of what you have done with this and your ACW project I'd be delighted (though the oil painting of the finale might be a bit of a stretch!)

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