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To catch a King ECW Skirmish Game


3RD September 1651. The Battle of Worcester has been fought and won by the Forces of Parliament lead by Oliver Cromwell. The defeated Scots and Royalist army have been scattered, most fleeing north back to the Scottish border. Amongst the fugitives is Charles Stuart, would be king of England. Accompanying him and forming escape plans is Lord Henry Wilmot. The task of hunting down the runaways fell to Major General Thomas Harrison, the son of a butcher. He ruthlessly moved to cut off the northern escape routs. Marching many captured Royalists south. But the prize Parliament really wanted was Charles Stuart. Parliament forces were searching in earnest.

Charles is helped on his way by loyal country squires and impoverished rural workers prominent amongst these being the Penderel brothers. He is disguised as a farm labourer and smuggled from safe house to safe house. Some of these being country manors, others wayside Inns and humble cottages.

He is eventually placed aboard a ship and ferried to France, where he is destined to be re-called by Parliament to be their King.

Lord Wilmot despised the idea of wearing any disguise and on his fine horse, wearing the armour and clothes he fought in at Worcester, he too evaded capture, whilst assisting Charles, acting as decoy and pushing his extraordinary luck to its limit! He too reached France.

This is a skirmish game set during the aftermath of the Battle of Worcester. You are the Commander of a detachment of Parliamentary Troops, Cavalry and Dragoons. You have been tasked by Major General Harrison to search an area of Worcestershire. You are to search every hamlet, manor house, woods, hills and enclosed fields in that part of the county. Detain and arrest any Royalists found. Be on the lookout for Charles Stuart, if found bring him in dead or alive. Preferably alive so he can answer for his treason. Also, be on the look out for Lord Wilmot. He too is required by Parliament.

Aim of the game

Search the area you have been ordered to. This is the game board set out as described below.

Capture any Royalists found. Be prepared for them to fight back. Those taken alive escort off the game board. Establish if Charles Stuart, and or Lord Wilmot are in the area. If found arrest and escort off the game board.

Parliament Troops win points for

Every Terrain piece searched = 1 Point

Every Clubman  Killed = 1 point

Every Clubman captured = 2 points

Every Royalist Killed = 2 points

Every Royalist Captured = 3 points.

Lord Wilmot Killed = 4 points

Lord Wilmot Captured = 6 points

Charles Stuart Killed = 6 points

Charles Stuart Captured   =  8 pts

Royalists Win Points for

Every Roundhead Dragoon Killed = 4 points

Every Roundhead Cavalry man Killed = 4 Points

You Killed! = 6 points.

Every Clubman undiscovered at the end of the game = 2 points

Every Royalist undiscovered at the end of the game = 3 points

Lord Wilmot remains at liberty at the end of the game = 6 points

Charles Stuart at Liberty at the end of the game = 12 points


The game ends when all terrain pieces have been searched, and all Royalists, Clubmen, Lord Wilmot (If present) and Charles Stuart (If present) have been killed or captured.


If all Parliament Troops are killed. Prior to the Capture/death of Charles Stuart.

All twelve moves are used up.

At the end both sides tot up points. The winner being the highest.

It is not easy to win as Parliament! Charles Stuart has too many loyal supporters.

Any combat is carried out in a DBA style.


Equipment needed

Gaming area. A 48” x 48” table is ideal.

Terrain pieces to represent a village, a manor house, 3 woods, 3 hills, 3 enclosed fields and a marsh.

Figures. I use 28mm but 15mm would work well if not better.

10 figures to represent 5 dragoons and 5 Cavalry plus one suitably impressive figure to represent you. Cavalry and you should be mounted, the dragoons can be mounted or not. (Good idea to have a few spare figures off table see why later)

A number of figures to represent Royalists. Both Cavalry and Infantry. Infantry should all be shot. (Its hard to go on the run with an 18 foot pike in tow!

A number of figures to represent clubmen/women.

An impressive mounted figure to be Lord Wilmot.

A dishevelled clubman figure to be Charles Stuart. (Any Clubman figure will do, if and when he is found).

2 six sided die.

An expanding steel rule marked in inches

Some card to make the chance cards, discovery cards and prominent persons cards as described later.

Cards Used

Chance Cards

Make a set of 30 chance cards, marked as follows 3 x “Its raining!” 3 x “Weathers cleared!”

5 marked “A band of Royalists have stumbled into the area dice, for type, number and board edge of appearance (Royalist Player choses where on board edge)”

5 marked “Some reinforcements have arrived for Parliament. Dice for number and type. They always appear on the edge Parliament entered by.”

1 marked “You have come across a Drover who swears he saw a tall thin man who could be no other than Charles Stuart not but 2 hours ago. He indicates a piece of randomly selected unsearched terrain. You can inspect the Prominent Persons card even without your troops there. Any figure/s discovered are placed on the terrain piece. If nothing is found or all terrain pieces have been search the man id obviously and imbecile so flog him and send him on his way”

13 cards marked “Nothing to see here!”

Discovery Cards

Make 24 Cards. On 4 write 4 Royalist Infantry Roll 1 x D6 for number, next 4 Royalist Horse roll 1 x D6 for number and another 4 Clubmen roll 1 x D6 for number. Leave the remaining 12 blank.

Prominent Persons Cards.

Make 18 cards. On one write Charles Stuart and another Lord Wilmot. Leave the rest blank.

Movement and Ranges

Clubmen move = 6” shoot (If musket armed)  = 12”

Shot move = 6” shoot = 12”

Dragoons move 8” shoot 12” Dragoons can half move and dismount/mount.

Cavalry Move 8” shoot 6”

You and Wilmot move 8” and shoot 6”

There is no front, side or rear facing. Figures can see, move and shoot in all directions and fight as individuals.

All except Clubmen half move distance in Marsh, woods and fields

Figure combat Factors

Clubmen Against Foot 2 mounted 2

Shot Against Foot 4 Mounted 3

Dragoons Against Foot 3 Mounted 2

Cavalry Against Foot 4 Mounted 4

Lord Wilmot Against Foot 4  Mounted 4 (No shooting capability)

Charles Stuart Against Foot 4 Mounted 4 (No shooting capability)

You Against Foot 4 Mounted 4

Shooting factors

Target in cover (Hedge, wall, building, edge of wood) -1

Each shooter aiming at same target +1

Range is half 6” Musket 3 “ Pistol +1

Raining -1

Hand to hand Combat

Each additional figure attacking same target +1

Target defending obstacle -1

Uphill from opponent +1

Any Foot other than Clubmen fighting in woods/marsh -1

Any Mounted fighting in Woods/Marsh -2 (This affects Dragoons if mounted)


Combat Outcomes

Players roll a D6 and add the score to the modified factors.

Score Less than but more than half of the opponents

Loser moves half move distance directly away from opponent.

If in hand to hand combat Parliament may elect to capture the beaten opponent.

There is no pursuit

Parliament Troops cannot be Captured

Score Half or less than opponent

All types Dead or out of action.

If Charles or Wilmot roll D6 1,2,3, Dead 4,5,6 Wounded and can be captured.

Captured Persons

One Parliament soldier can guard up to 4 enemy troops. Charles and Wilmot need a personal one to one guard. Prisoners are grouped in fours with a guard in base contact. Or in the case of Charles or Wilmot in base contact with them.

If a guard is killed or ordered away from his charges they escape and revert to Royalist control. As do Charles and Wilmot. Captured mounted troops are dismounted and on foot until released or they escape.

Prisoners can be lead off the table by moving at 3” per turn to the point that Parliament entered. The Guard or prisoners cannot then return.

Royalists that voluntarily exit the board can do so at the edge opposite where the Parliament Troops entered. But they cannot return.

Game set up

The Royalist Player places the terrain. Making sure it is spread over as wider are as possible, but no terrain piece can be less than 8” from a board edge.

The Royalist places no troops at all on the board at this time. He just does not know how many or who he may get.

The Royalist player then shuffles the discovery cards and places one under each of the terrain pieces without looking at them.

They then shuffle the Prominent Person cards. Again place one under each terrain piece.



Playing the Game.

A turn lasts a Parliament move followed by a Royalist move (If Royalist has men to move)

The game lasts Twelve moves.

There are no PIP roles in this game. Players can move as many or as few of their men as they wish in there turn.

Troops who can fire may do so before they move or after. If they fire before moving, they can only move half their normal distance.

The Parliament takes the first move after drawing a Chance card and following any instructions.

He then moves his troops.

If any Royalist Troops have been discovered the Royalist player may make his moves.

If not Parliament move again.

The Royalist player cannot reveal discovery cards voluntarily. As he does not know what fugitive Royalists are in his area, nor what the peasants (Clubmen) are up to or supporting. 

The idea is to move any troop type on to a terrain piece. Once that happens the Discovery card is revealed and any troops found placed on the Terrain piece. The Prominent Person card is also revealed and if there Charles or Wilmot are placed on the terrain piece. That is the end of the Parliament turn. The Royalists can now take their turn. As can be seen the Royalists are likely  to be able to attack or run off first. This is to represent the surprise factor.

The Parliament player is faced by few decisions. Does he split his troops and cover more ground but run the risk of some of his men being isolated and possibly out numbered.

Does he keep them together but then not covering all the ground risk running out of time/game moves(Daylight)

Remember each group of 4 prisoners needs a gaoler, this reduces your force, Caring for Charles or Wilmort does the same, you can let them go but that increases the number of malcontents in the area. You could of course attack them again and try to kill them but that costs points.

If Wilmot and or Charles are revealed the Royalist player should try to get them off the table ASAP!







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