Naseby game meets the public at Colours

So, the glue dried, the final playtest in Northampton got a thumbs up, and – just about on schedule – I picked up the Naseby Project backing boards from JK on the way down to Newbury.  The project was on its way to its first encounter with the public.Naseby at Colours 09 01

Well, the table looked great, it went up quickly, and there was adequate space behind it for the Battlefields Trust display boards.

In order to concentrate on the build, I had had to divert attention from completing the figures collection – so more to come on that front in the weeks ahead – and had taken up the offer of drawing upon Steve’s Marston Moor figures.  They did the job fine.


My intention, all along, was to err on the generic side (so appropriate commanders, some appropriate flags, but no attempt to model all the individual regiments – as the ground and figure scales just don’t permit it …).

Steve had very kindly indicated that rebasing or saboting-up the figures would be fine (they were based for his homegrown rules, not Armati) but as we found in the playtests, this is not necessary … Armati is a unit-to-unit game in which the units do not conform (so can be played unit to unit provided they have roughly the same footprint).  It caused no issues.Naseby at Colours 09 07

We had intended to play the game twice each day at Colours, but with so many people stopping by more for a chat than a game, it was most used as a prop for explaining the dynamics of the battle and the work of the Trust.  The afternoon game on each day resulted in the expected victory for Parliament but with some notable variations on the original events.

As ever, it is a mixture of opinion as to whether these deviations represent failings in the scenario settings or a good exploration of what might have happened on the day but for a bit of luck, here, or an unlikely intervention, there.  A bit of both, of course: no scenario is ever perfect, but for the game to be worthwhile, it needs the possibility of exploring the ‘what ifs’.

Naseby at Colours 09 04


On Saturday, King Charles mobilised the reserve and declined Carnwath’s advice not to go upon his death.  Cromwell’s front line pluckily crashed in, looking to get something against the odds against this very tough unit.  They did a BP on them in a drawn combat, and made the customary Armati roll to ‘kill’ a general.  They achieved the required ‘6’.  Note, wryly, those of you who put on these games at public events, that in a year of development and playtesting, this is the only time Charles has been in combat at Naseby and his unit has taken a hit.  So if it can happen it will happen – Show 1, Game 1, Charles in combat Turn 1 …. Thump! He hits the ground.

Actually, with the extra generals involved in my ECW and other variants, there is now a subsequent die roll (post combat, Breakthroughs and Evades etc.) to see what happened to the fellow – and in Charles’s case, he was not killed, merely downed, and able to recover in the shelter of a friendly unit.  Too late for the Bluecoats and Lifeguards, however, as their response to seeing him downed was to escort him from the field. (We gave them an impromptu ‘Routed Into’ test … and, yes, they rolled a 1) …


Elsewhere, although the Royalists had done well, they hadn’t quite broken through, and the foot was starting to crumble.  It was game over for the King.  For those interested, the odds of this immediate result on his majesty’s reserve entering combat are almost exactly 100:1!  So – as experienced practitioners know – I should have expected it in the first public game.  I thought it a very pertinent comment on the ‘what if’.  I will write it into the scenario.


Sunday’s game saw what may be the ‘high watermark’ moment.  I took a picture.Rupert nearly pulls it off!

Rupert has routed most of Ireton’s horse – but (rolling 1s and 2s in tests, has not chased them off the field).  He has turned in on the New Model’s position.  Skippon has had to bring a reserve unit to intervene.  To its right, this has contacted a unit from Rupert’s front line (which is in this unusual position because it has routed the red regiment of foot in a rear contact, rallied and turned round). Its left corner has been charge by the unit Rupert is leading. Unfortunately, Skippon only just got into position (moving this turn), so Rupert’s cavalry has impetus, and he will routed if his foot lose the melee.  (The melee FVs are 6:6 with Rupert and 6:5 against the one to the right).  The two red regiments of foot  have already routed, and the only regiment still standing in this end of the front line has sustained 2 BPs of 4 and faces two units in melee this turn.  If it loses to both, it also routs, and the entire Closter Hill position is undone.  (The melee FVs are 7:5 to the Royalists).   In Armati terms also, this will mean enough key units are broken including some of the foot – so it would be a win for the King.  simple.  What actually happened?

Naseby at Colours 09 03

Fairfax had the initiative and ran the melees from his right.  So the first of the Royalists Ft inflicted to the rightmost enemy (just going out of the picture), not on the teetering one.  The critical unit actually won its melee to the left and inflicted a BP leaving that veteran unit on 4BPs and vulnerable to the (admittedly weak) Dragoons Ireton has gone and fetched in desperation from the hedges.  In the 6:5 melee between Skippon’s wins and breaks the first unit of Royalist cavalry, against Rupert it draws (so takes a BP but does not break).  Both units roll for generals, neither falls.  Rupert dices to break off, but ends up stuck in the protracted melee.  Skippon’s foot have held.  Next turn, Okey’s men charged into the back of the Royalist foot and scrape a win courtesy of Ireton’s +1 for leading them, and that victory is enough to pinch a win for Parliament.  If Rupert had managed to get the initiative, started with his 6:6 against Skippon and won it, the outcome of the whole Civil War might have been different.  At least that’s what our reconstruction told us …  I guess it sometime depends on who tells the story.  At the time the royalist army collapsed, a certain Oliver Cromwell was leading his Ironsides into the centre of the Royalists’ position: it was probably that which will probably go down as having turned the tide …


A lot of ideas to explore, I think.

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9 Comments on “Naseby game meets the public at Colours”

  1. carl Says:


    we are almost there re kelmarsh, a few last minute tweaks here and there for some games.

    the ecw game is going to showcase the new supplement for ecw / TYW from warlord games and we are giving them their first public ‘airing’ at kelmarsh, a big honour for our club.

    warlords will be there with their full trade stand and we will run four more games as well as the ecw, which are;

    napoleonic naval


    battle of khambula zulu war

    pegasus bridge

    hope to see you there, and please find me and say hi if you are.

    cheers for now


  2. carl Says:

    no problem.

    will you yourself be coming along? check out the FOH website at English Heritage.

    • yesthatphil Says:

      I have volunteered to to help the Battlefields Trust people in the adjacent tent. But I will round for a look too. I hope we can get some meshing of the Naseby project and the Naseby wargame. More anon …


  3. carl Says:

    have now amassed a fairly large ECW army from the new Warlords range, and we are joining our club members armies together with Warlord guys to put naseby on.

    they are providing the terrain etc and will be a large game using the new Black Powder rules and their upcoming ECW Pike and Shotte supplement.

    • yesthatphil Says:

      Thanks for posting the update, Carl – I am very interested in this project. Sounds like Kelmarsh is going to be quite special this year. Not to be missed for the ECW enthusiast.


  4. Unadulterated words, some unadulterated words dude. Totally made my day!

    • yesthatphil Says:

      No problem.

      Sorry there’s been no updates for a while. ‘Real life’, it keeps getting called.

      I’m also very interested in Carl’s comment about Phoenix’s plan to put the battle on at Kelmarsh next year …

      More soon. Thanks for your support.


  5. carl Says:

    looks excellent. phoenix gaming in rushden are joning forces with warlord games to do naseby at the kelmarsh festival of history in 2010.

  6. TWR Says:

    A very interesting report and construction project. Thanks for taking the time to post the article on the games and also the terrain building.

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