The Battle of Brig o’James

In Which the Armies of the Covenant were soundly defeated.


Two weeks ago, the club’s unofficial initiative to expand into other time periods brought us into the turmoil that was the English Civil Wars, or, as those members of the club wishing to pursue graduate degrees in the history of Early Modern Britain refer to it, the Wars of Three Kingdoms.

All of the Legati share a mutual interest in this period and it’s one we’ve wanted to start (or in some cases, restart) gaming for some time now. To no one’s surprise, Peter had hordes of ready-painted 28s (seriously, the man has figures for almost every conflict imaginable….except Crimea)  for us to try out his preferred ruleset for the conflict, Warhammer ECW. Admittedly, this gamer had never played a Warhammer-based ruleset before and was looking forward to it.

Before we arrived, Peter had prepared a rather basic battlefield set-up (a wise choice for a bunch of players unfamiliar with the rules) and two starter-sized armies, one of Scots Covenanters and one of early war English. The latter had originally been deployed with Parliamentarian flags, which seemed rather odd and anachronistic to some in the group, so these were substituted with Royalist standards and a battle from the Second Bishops’ War was on!

The English battline

The army of King Charles tries to enslave the Scots with the shackles of the Book of Common Prayer

The Scots battleline

These brave Scotsmen prepare to fight for God, Country and Covenant…and yes, even the Strathbogie Regiment decided to stand against the King that day!

The battle began with the Royalists advancing. On their right flank, General Sir Halle “Loaded-Dice” Dunn moved forward with some musketeers and a unit of skirmishers (called dragoons, a forlorn hope and firelock men interchangeably throughout the game) through some hedges towards a Scots frame gun on the flank of the enemy line. The musketeers must have quickly realized that the Lord was not on their side and, rather, quite miffed with them, as the broke and fled after receiving only one verse of thegospel spouted from the mouth of the frame gun (these men were rallied just as they were about to flee from the field, but played no more part in the fight). As for the skirmishes, they must have been led by Auld Clootie, the devil himself. Not to be stopped by the fire of the frame gun or some Covenanter musketeers who arrived in support, these men assault the gun from across a hedgerow, took the position and continued their charge. Determined enemy fire could not stop them and several units of Scots fled in their path. It was only the time deployment of a block of pikemen that forced them to withdraw.

The pesky Royalist skirmishers assault the Scots gun crew

On the other flank, the traitorous Scots General, Sir Ron Carnegie of Los Angeles began moving both foot and horse against the foe but began to run into some difficulties. The horse of both armies became slowed by hedgerows in the area (shades of First Newbury?) and in the face of enemy infantry, the Covenanter General, Austin Pike, ironically relied upon his sleeves of shotte, and used them with great effect forcing some Royalist units to retire.

The King’s Guards advance into heavy enemy fire

Meanwhile, those units in the center of the fight were rather static. Many of the participants thought the firing ranges were far too long for the game, but using the rules as written, volley after volley of cannon and musket fire sailed back and forth across the field. The Royalists, with their falconets and larger units of musketeers soon got the better hand. Many of the Covenanter units began to lose confidence and perhaps fearing that the Lord was punishing them for the previous night’s debaucheries in camp began to flee in terror. The Scots line soon began to break like the waters of the Great Flood under this pressure and the Almighty delivered the day’s victory to the enemies of the Covenant.

A fun time had by all and a nice way to whet everyone’s appetite for ECW games to come (there have been whisperings of Edgehill in the council chambers of the Legati). The rules were a bit too “Warhammer-y” for some in the group and it was agreed that some rules house rules would have to be set up for our the next game. Nonetheless,  it was a nice break from our usual games and a fun time was had by all members and our guest, Mr. Pike (seriously, the most appropriate surname for someone visiting on ECW night).

Until next time, may your gunpowder stay dry and may your dice always roll well!