TITLE: 1644: Rules for English Civil War Wargames with Army Lists and Campaign System
AUTHOR: Rick Priestly
PUBLISHER: Wargames Foundry
PUBLICATION DATE: 1990
WEB SITE/SUPPORT FORUM:
PRICE (with date): Unknown
REVIEWED BY: Mark “Extra Crispy” Severin
PERIOD COVERED: The English Civil War 1642-1651
1644 is a thin booklet of 43 pages (not counting three pages of advertising from Foundry in the back). It has a color cover and black and white interior. The book is illustrated with line art and prints, and has a few diagrams. There is a detailed table of contents but no index. The rules themselves take up just 24 pages with army lists and the campaign system filling out the rest.
SCOPE: 1644 is a tactical game of English Civil War (ECW) combat.
ARMY SIZE: Units are recommended as being between 20 and 40 foot or about 10 horse per unit. Each side will therefore likely require armies of 250-500 figures.
BASE UNIT: In 1644 the base unit is the regiment of foot, or of horse.
- As with other rules by the same author no attempt has been made to adopt a set ground or time scale. Ranges and movement are set so as to give a good game rather than based on any particular set of scales. Figure ratio is stated as roughly 1:30 or 1:40.
- Recommended Figure Size: 25mm.
- Table Size: Tables 4 feet wide and 6 to 8 feet long are assumed.
- Game Length: Most games should be playable in one evening.
1644 uses individually mounted figures. Foot are mounted on 20x20 mm bases, horse on 25 x 50 mm bases. Guns (crew are mounted as foot) and commanders’ base sizes are simply as needed.
1644 features simultaneous play by both sides. During each phase players simultaneously carry out the same activities:
- Intention Phase: Players place Intention Counters for troops wishing to charge or reform.
- Declaration Phase: Targets of a charge may declare an evade, counter-charge or stand-and-fire.
- Support Phase: Players declare Supporting Charges.
- Rout Phase: Players move routing units and any pursuers.
- Charge Phase: All charges are resolved, including evades and support charges.
- Movement Phase: Units are moved and reform tests for units so marked are taken.
- Artillery Phase: Artillery fires.
- Shooting Phase: Troops fire.
- Melee Phase: Melee combat is resolved.
- Rally Phase: Rally tests are taken by routing units.
Command Tests are an important part of the game but are taken throughout the turn as needed.
Movement & Formations:
Because figures are mounted individually, movement and formations are defined the same way. 1644 features slow moving units - infantry move just 4” - and formation changes are very time consuming.
The rules do not define formations per se. Rather, they simply require that units remain in base to base contact, that no rank may have more figures than the front rank, with casualties removed from the rear or edge. Units of mixed pike and muskets may form up in one of four ways: with shot in front, with pike in front, with muskets on either flank, or in a defensive body (a square with muskets on the face and pike on the interior).
Changing formations is slow. A unit may change frontage by up to four models simply by moving the individual models. A unit may turn 90 degrees by simply turning all the models making up the unit. Units may also wheel but do so at half-speed. If a unit of foot, they may only wheel if deployed with muskets on the either flank.
Thus, reforming, which requires it be pre-marked, will often be used to change formation or facing. A reforming unit may change formation and facing in any way it wishes. However, reforming units may not melee, shoot and must remain stationary. Reforming units that are charged or evade do not reform.
The Charge rules go into some detail as Charges are an important tactic for delivering decisive blows on the battlefield.
All charges must be declared and units may only engage in melee as a result of a charge. Units may not engage the enemy with normal movement. To conduct a charge, a unit must be first marked in the Intention Phase. Then during the Charge Phase the unit moves to engage it’s target. The target of a charge may respond in one of four ways. It may stand, stand and fire, evade or counter-charge.
Units that elect to stand and fire roll 2D6 (subject to modifiers for troop quality) to determine the range at which the fire takes place. If the result is greater than their weapon range, or greater than the distance away from which the charge started, the unit has failed to execute this tactic and is treated as having stood instead.
Evading is an option for cavalry, artillery crews, Forlorn Hopes and dismounted dragoons. Other troops may not evade. Evading troops perform an about face and make a normal movement. They then take a Command Test. If caught by the chargers they take casualties without firing back, and is automatically routed.
If the target declares a counter-charge, it rolls a D6 fif attacked by foot or 2D6 for horse. Modified for troop quality the result is the distance the charger moves before the counter-charge begins. Both units are then moved proportionally until they make contact.
Support Charges are allowed only by units of horse. To Support Charge, the unit must not itself be a target of a charge. It may only Support Charge an enemy unit that is itself charging. Units roll a D6 to determine how far the enemy moves before the Support Charge begins. Then as with counter-charges both units are moved proportionally into contact.
Any unit armed with a ranged weapon - whether bow, musket or crossbow - has a Fire factor from 1 (worst) to 5 (best). This rating may be modified for range, cover, armour, etc. To calculate casualties, determine the final fire factor and the number of troops firing. The Damage Chart is then consulted. The result is two numbers - the first is the number of casualties infllicted, the second the number needed on a D6 to cause one more casualty. So a result of 2.3 means two casualties, plus a third is caused if the shooter rolls a 3 or better on a D6.
Units have a 45 degree arc of fire. Only foot musketeers may fire two ranks deep. All other shooters may only fire with the front rank. Units may move and fire but depending on weapon type and how far they moved, they may suffer a penalty to their Fire Factor.
Artillery uses a slightly different mechanism for firing. Measure the range to the target and consult the Artillery To Hit Charge. Cross reference the gun type with the range and the result is a “to hit” number. If the gun rolls that number or higher a hit has resulted and the Artillery Damage chart is consulted. The firer rolls a D6 and cross references the type of firing gun. The result is the number of casualties inflicted.
Because of the nature of the push of pike, in melee it must first be determined which figures are eligible to fight. The front rank is always eligible. In some cases the rear ranks may also contribute to the melee. Cavalry units and pike armed units may fight more than one rank deep. In some cases they may only do so in later rounds of the melee.
Once the participating models are determined, melee is resolved in much the same way as shooting. Each unit has a Combat Value. This is modified for cover, formation, armor etc. Cross reference the final value with the number of figures engaged to get the number of casualties (and chance of another) caused.
The side causing more casualties wins the melee. The loser retreats 2” and takes a command test. Winners may follow up and force a melee next turn.
Rout and Rally:
As a unit fails command tests and takes casualties it becomes susceptible to rout. Routed units move first in the turn, moving toward their own table edge. If they leave the table they are lost for the rest of the game. A unit may attempt to rally if it is not fired upon, is not pursued, and has fewer than 50% losses. A Rally Test is carried out like a Command Test (see below). A unit that passes the test ends its rout but still suffers from Lost Command (see below).
Throughout the rules units may have to take a Command Test. To take a test, roll a D6. Modify the roll and consult the Command State chart. On a 4+ the unit is in “Normal Command” i.e. unaffected. Any lower and it may become Shaken, Disrupted or Lost. The rules detail all the situations calling for a Command Test, as well as the modifiers for each situation.
Units in less than good command move at half speed, may suffer in melee or when shooting, etc. Units suffering from poor command may recover by attempting to reform If they suffer from Lost Command they must have less than 50% casualties and either have a general with the unit, or be on their own table edge with no visible enemy within 18”.
The book contains army lists for each of:
- Early Royalists
- Early Parliamentarians
- Late Royalist
- The New Model Army
- Montrose Scots
- Scots Covenanters
There is also a detailed set of campaign rules.
1644 is an easy to read, well laid out rule book. The style is terse and businesslike. In general all of the rules are easily understood even after a casual read through. There are few examples and no examples of play though. Given the relatively complex nature of some melees especially, some detailed examples would probably have been a good addition to the rule book.