Friday, 3 August 2018

King And Parliament

Regular readers of this blog will know that I'm a fan of gridded games, especially The Portable Wargame, and I've devoted time recently to adapting it for the English Civil War. So I was keen to play King and Parliament when it was on offer as a game yesterday. King and Parliament is the ECW adaptation of the ancients rules To The Strongest; grid-based and with relatively simple mechanisms, designed to give a quick, smooth game.

Gary set up the Montgomery 1644 scenario from the book for us and adjudicated whilst Caesar took the Parliamentarian forces and I took the Royalists.

The grid is very subtle, but easy to use. You can just see an intersection to the front-right of this unit of dashing Royalist horse.

Activation of units in King and Parliament is by playing cards. You play a card to do something with a unit; generally you need anything better than a one (Ace) at the start, but there are some modifiers. You can keep activating a unit within a turn, but each attempt needs a result higher than the score for the previous activation. Thus if you make your first activation with a 9, you're unlikely to get a second action. If a unit in a brigade fails an activation, then all activations for the brigade cease, so you have to pick the order you do things carefully.

Anyway, we started off by both getting stuck in with our cavalry. Combat also uses playing cards; the better position you are in the more cards you draw, and you need cards above a certain value to hit. The target unit then gets to save the hits, also by drawing cards.

The card draws are fast and furious.

Units generally take two or three hits. They can evaporate quickly.

Caesar got lucky early on and had foraging cavalry return on my right flank. Flank attacks are nasty - you get double the number of cards, and the enemy unit doesn't fight back.

Cavalry also pursue and have to be rallied. Our cavalry action saw about two-thirds of our horse eliminated, whilst the survivors chased around pursuing stragglers. That seemed to be a cue for the foot to get stuck in.

The game uses tokens to track ammunition (for foot and horse) and dash (which allows horse to do proper charges). These were less fiddly to use than they initially looked. For foot the ammunition is a neat mechanism; units are generally better off shooting the enemy whilst they have the ammunition to do it, hoping to disorder them. A unit with no ammunition can still shoot, but it's less effective than simply charging. So basically foot the foot engage in a firefight for a couple of turns, then switch to cold-steel and clubbed muskets.

My foot neither shot nor charged, since I failed to activate any of the units three turns in a row.

Caesar did a little better, and took out one of my foot units with a salvee charge - combined fire and attack. Very nasty. This allowed him to turn my left whilst his cavalry, returned from pursuit, turned my right.

So that was it for the Royalists. Their horse did OK, and the supporting troops put on a good show, but the main foot brigade suffered from inertia and paid the price.

We loved this game. The mechanisms were very simple to pick up and, whilst I can see from a cursory glance at the rules, we missed a few modifiers here and there, we were basically playing the game smoothly and confidently after a turn or two. The chrome isn't overwhelming, but there's enough period flavour to satisfy our group who are, it has to be said, ECW newbies for the most part. I initially had a concern that it was designed for very big battles, and I can see that it would cope with them admirably. But it looks like it will scale down quite happily to cover most popular actions.

This is a game we'll be trying again.


  1. Thanks to Gary for organising this brilliant game. I marvelled at the speed of play and lack of fuss that the grid gave us, augmented by Gary's well prepared umpiring. And none of us had tried FK&P before! The Deep Cut Studios battle mat had such a subtle grid, it didn't detract but added to the spectacle of Gary's beautiful troops. I'm hooked!

  2. Great looking game! I like your hills too.

    1. We have Gary and his angle-grinder to thank for the hills. They are very nice.

  3. Great to hear you liked the rules mate. I did the layout and design and I know how much effort and care Andrew and Simon invested. Good to see it paying off and people having fun with the rules!

  4. Great batrep of a superbly presented and well fought game - interesting and enjoyable to watch.

  5. Nice looking game and I agree it's a good,easy to learn but surprisingly subtle game,I had fun playing it .
    Best Iain


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