Category Archives: Reviews

De Bellis Renationis – Back in Print

For some time the DBR rules and associated army list books have been out of print. Yesterday, Sue Laflin-Barker announced that WRG have republished the DBR ruleset via Lulu.

The publication is in a new format which now includes the 2004 edition of the rules as well as all three army lists books in a single volume. The result is a publication that runs to 150 pages with a perfect-bound paperback binding, complete with a new front cover.

The observant reader will notice the colour of the cover and its significance. WRG have opted for purple for their Ancient & Medieval rules, black for their fantasy rules and green for their Renaissance rules. Interestingly green was used in the Gush rules published by WRG and these rules effectively defined Renaissance wargaming. The colour seems a fitting tribute to the Gush rules.

While I understand neither the rules or army lists have not been updated having the rules back in print is very useful for new players looking to obtain a copy, or existing players looking to replace tired well used copies of the rules. Given the price and the fact the package includes both the rules and around 125 army lists, it seems a very good buy. Indeed, I have ordered a copy and will provide a short review when they arrive.

If you, or someone else, is looking for a copy of the rules be sure and visit Lulu and order a copy. Here is a link to the DBR rules package in the Lulu Australian store.

English Civil War Gaming Scenarios: Volume 4

The fourth volume in the series and also written by Robert Giglio this is the final volume in the series I have purchased to date. It maintains the same format with around 60 pages.

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The battles coverd are Aylesbury 1642; Bradford 1642; Highnam House 1643; Gainsborough 1643; Shieldfield 1644; Inverlochy 1645; Sherburn-in-Elmet 1645; Ballaghkillgevill and Benburb 1646; Y Dalar Hir 1648; St Quen’s Bay 1651 and the Rising of John Lambert 1660.

Looking at some of the scenarios a couple of points are worth noting. Both Y Dalar Hir, in Northern Wales, and Lambert’s Rising are very small actions and may need to be scaled up to provide interesting games, especially so if you are using DBR.

Bradford, with around with 1000 Roundheads and 1500 Royalists while small, should provide an interesting normal sized game while the relief of Highnam House looks a fascinating scenario and very different from typical equal points games.

For those with a Scots Royalist army, Inverlochy will be a challenge for the Marquis. Being outnumbered almost 2:1 it illustrates the need for more poorly trained Scots Covenanters in armies in Scotland, something that is missing in the DBR Scots list.

Benburb, set in Ireland, is a scenario that I find particularly interesting having read Clive Hollick’s excellent book on the campaign and battle. It will be interesting to compare the scenario with Hollick’s order of battle when time permits. This scenario should make an excellent open battle.

St. Ouen’s Bay is perhaps the most unusual scenario dealing as it does with the Parliamentarian landings on Jersey in 1651. Outnumbered the veteran Parliamentarians will have a hard time undertaking an amphibious landing, but given their is little historic detail on the engagement this scenario can, and possibly should, be modified to increase playability. Indeed, this is worthwhile remembering with many of these scenarios as sources are often limited and while the scenarios are well presented, most if not all, could be interpreted very differently.

In some respects I consider this to be the weakest volume in the series, yet it still combines some useful and interesting scenarios. Inverlochy and Benburb are two outstanding scenarios of interesting battles. All volumes are available from Caliver Books.

English Civil War Gaming Scenarios: Volume 3

The third volume in the series of English Civil War scenario books by Partizan Press, and the second volume by Robert Giglio, the publication follows the same format of earlier volumes. That is, A4 with excellent illustrations and maps with a page count of around 62 pages.

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This time the line up of battles includes Coventry 1642; Southam & Dunsmore 1642; Siege of Manchester 1642; Storming of Leeds 1643; Middlemarch 1643; Selby 1644; Tippermuir 1644; Wistanstow 1645; Langport 1645; Willoughby Field 1648 and Severn 1655. As before the scenarios include an interesting section placing the engagement in context which sets the scene well in each case.

Selby strikes me as a difficult engagement to wargame and I struggle to see how it would play out as a scenario. Why, well the game is set in the town itself. There are just four assault points, the roads, that join in the town square. The defenders field some 2000 foot and 1500 horse and as they are in the town can not deploy, at least in a traditional form. The problem for the attacker is no different as Fairfax has 3500 foot and 2000 horse and is constrained by the limited attack routes. I just don’t see how this scenario is playable.

Severn is an interesting choice and I’m sure it has been selected to appeal to the North American market as it was fought in Maryland. However, with only 400 men in total it is really a skirmish. That said given that the rules are not defined for a specific rule set a not unreasonable action to be included and will have appeal to the American English Civil War enthusiast. As to forces involved the Providence Puritans number 160 men and the St Mary’s Royalists 240.

The other battles however look very playable and being less well known are rather appealing. Southam and Dunsmore Heath are fought on successive days with increasing forces so would make an interesting linked game or mini-campaign as suggested. Langport has always seemed a difficult battle to wargame, but interesting non the less. For this scenario Mr Giglio has selected to focus on those forces actually involved. That is the forcing of the crossing of the Wagg Rhyne and the attack on the Royalists deployed on Ham Hill. A very sensible decision.

With a couple of exceptions another excellent volume.

English Civil War Gaming Scenarios: Volume 2

Last year I wrote a short review of “English Civil War Gaming Scenarios: Volume 1” with the intent of following on with a review of following volumes. As happens things get in the way and it is only now that I write another short review, this time covering Volume 2.

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The format of this is similar, that is A4 but with 62 pages. The volume is well illustrated with black and white sketches of period battle scenes. Without being overdone the greatly add to the period feel of the scenario book. Interestingly the author is different with Robert Giglio taking over to provide thirteen scenarios. Each scenario is illustrated by a first class map which is clear and visually attractive, though without a stated scale.

The scenarios are Second Modbury 1643; Beacon Hill 1643; Stratton 1643; Storming of Alton & Arundel 1643; Relief of Newark 1644; Tipton Green 1644; Montgomery 1644; Fyvie 1644; Ledbury 1645; Auldern 1645; Denbigh Green; Winnington Bridge 1659. Fyvie and Auldern are of course battles in Scotland and provide a great opportunity to deploy Montrose and his army on the table.

Each scenario begins with background section before describing the historical battle. The author then explains game setup, notes on troops and any special rules before a discussion of the terrain. Orders of battle are given in terms of men and are sufficiently generic that they can be easily converted to the rules preferred by the individual player. Certainly from a DBR perspective they are easy enough to convert.

The battles range from reasonable small actions, using as few as a thousand troops to larger actions involving several thousand. This is, I feel, a strength as it provides scenarios for those with both small or larger collections. As was often the case in the Civil Wars a good number of horse will be in heavy demand.

I’m very pleased with this purchase and would highly recommend it for some English Civil War inspiration.