ECW Armati (adaptations)

Armati English Civil War

An Armati 2nd Edition/Advanced Armati blend with additional period specific enhancements.

General principles:

The game assumes there will be more than one general per army and that these will have different abilities and responsibilities (and that their roles may not always match their aptitudes).  The main firearm is the musket, with pistols and artillery being more a cause of disorder in the ranks than actual casualties.  The disordering effect can be particularly useful for cavalry as brave troopers may be lucky enough to break up steady formations against which they would otherwise have little prospect.  However, a vigorous charge will always be a more likely option, and restraining it may sometimes be difficult.  Expect a game that plays to Armati’s core mechanisms but which puts additional emphasis on the commanders and on control of the troops, and expect a game which embraces the latest thinking on this rules family whilst updating some elements of Advanced Armati’s ECW pages.

These notes are constructed to enable owners of Advanced Armati/Armati 2nd edition to experience the ECW game the way I see it being played.  It is necessary to have your own copy of the rules to be able to play the adaptations herein together with the rules proper.

The rules:

Except as identified below, the rules are as Armati 2nd edition but following the troop types, unit values and gunnery rules etc. as specified in the ECW pages of Advanced Armati.  A2 refers to the 2nd edition, AA to Advanced Armati ECW pages …


Generals are characterised as ‘Fiery’, ‘Assured’ or ‘Careful’.  Armies will usually have two or more generals.  One or more of the army’s leaders will be designated as Commander (and this designation can change during the course of the battle).  There might be more than one commander, or all might be leaders (the exact mix should be determined according to the army/battle being modelled).  King Charles is a commander, and is a cautious leader.  He should usually be depicted permanently attached to a unit of (e.g. the King’s Life Guard) so as to prevent him roaming around the battlefield taking command of things.  Other generals should be on single figure bases, and may be attached to units or leave them at player discretion.  Commanders do not enjoy their Initiative dice command benefit whilst attached to units, Leaders do not get their main leadership effects if they are not.

Commanders:  unattached Commanders give +2 to the army’s initiative roll.

Leaders: unattached Leaders give +1 to the army’s initiative roll.

All generals can create a temporary controlled division by attaching to a relevant unit.  Any splits are permitted only according to the existing rules, and the general can only leave if the unit can return to its previous control status, and/if the army initiative will permit it.  In practice this means if the unit was originally uncontrolled it returns to uncontrolled, if it was part of a controlled division, and the effect of the general’s intervention is to create a new controlled division, the army’s initiative is not reduced while he controls the division, but must be, as a consequence of his leaving (so if there is insufficient initiative left to permit the creation of the new division – split – the general cannot unattach.  This may result from circumstances beyond the player’s control and not be what was intended).

All attached generals give +1 to relevant rallying rolls.

All attached generals allow ‘choose from 2’ melee dice.

Fiery Leaders: attached FL’s make the entire division of which the unit forms a part eager and subject to Obligatory charges.  The unit he fights with will be +1 on combat dice.  Fiery Leaders must counter-charge, and have no effect in restraining a pursuit.

Careful Leaders: attached CL’s make the entire division of which the unit forms a part cautious, and the units will not be subject to Obligatory Charges.  A unit with a CL attached will not pursue.

Assured Leaders: attaching an AL to a unit will allow him to choose to restrain or allow charges for the whole division (all or none).  The full range of choices is likewise allowed to charge responses and pursuit.

Troop types

FT .. covers all ‘pike and shot’ infantry units

HC   covers all ‘sword and pistol’ cavalry units

ART  covers all placed guns

SI covers detached musketeers.  All FT units are entitled to field a unit of SI detached musketeers/Forlorn Hope.  Every SI on the table must expressly be detached from an identified FT unit. And there can be no more SI than FT (obviously).  In the case of SI Forlorn Hopes that start more than a move from the parent (and thus can never move or be reabsorbed) it is not necessary to remember which unit they came from.

SI Forlorn Hopes may also be attached to HC (Musketeers supporting Cavalry …).  This will enable the HC unit to shoot as if SI musketeers.  If/when it exceeds the move allowed to the SI, or the unit enters hand-to-hand combat, the musketeers disperse.

DR covers Dragoons, whether mounted or dismounted.  Improvised horse can be fielded by using DR without providing dismounts.  DR can also be fielded on foot without the mounted option.

As a specific change to A2, Dragoons may either mount or dismount during the game (to permit examples such as Okey’s men remounting and charging the Royalist rear at Naseby).

HC  note that pistol shooting now causes disorder only.

ART   due to insufficient evidence of its battlefield effect, all artillery is rated the same, and the initial effect of hits is to cause disorder.  Unlike cavalry pistols, however, subsequent artillery hits do cause BP losses.  Any friendly troops can move through ART, but once this happens the guns stop firing for the remainder of the battle.  Enemy troops disperse them.  It is important to note, therefore that guns can be authentically stationed in front of formations without having to worry about them being in the way when the lines subsequently close.

Unit removal

SI units are removed when they are dispersed, reabsorbed or suffer 1 BP (allowing the usual system if melee is drawn) ..

DR, HC etc. are removed and lost if they reach their unit BP or rout.

FT are removed and lost if they rout, reach their unit BP in melee or have reached their unit BP and are contacted by an enemy massed unit.

Note that this is different to Armati in other periods.  FT are not lost (nor do they count as lost) simply because they take too many hits from shooting alone.

Unit arrangement.

All units are of 2 sections, always deployed 2 sections wide except DR when mounted who manoeuvre (and if called upon fight) in a single section wide column.

Unit depths are less important, but it looks better if SI and dismounted DR are one rank deep (so just a thin line on the battlefield).

Divisional structure

Detached musketeer SI are outside the divisional structure, and each detachment is self controlling.  If an SI ever is or has been more than a move from its regiment, and moves, it is automatically dispersed.  If it stays within a move, it can fall back to its parent for safety (see reabsorbing).  In practice this means either the musketeers are detached as a Forlorn Hope and stay put, or they operate around their regiments allowing a degree of all round shooting etc.

Effects of shooting

Musketry – any hit causes a casualty as normal for Armati;

Pistols – cause disorder on steady units (no effect otherwise);

Artillery – cause disorder on steady units, casualties on disordered units.

Steady units are disordered if they take hits from behind flank.

Shooting factors

All artillery fire is Medium.

SI musketry and all pistol fire is at prot +1.

FT entirely armed with firelocks fire at +1.

Standard range modifiers etc. apply as explained in A2.

Movement etc.

Musket armed units which fire may move, but only up to half the normal.

FT can fall back (moving directly backwards whilst facing the enemy up to half distance)

FT units can wheel and move if the move is a charge would end in contact.

Detached musketeers are outside the usual movement rules (they can AF, wheel etc. to any extent in any combination within their move  – as long as all parts of the base move no more than the permitted distance the move is valid and legal).  If at any stage any SI who have been out of their move distance from their parent attempt to move or go outside that distance they are automatically removed from play.  They are always moved separately, including separately from their parent FT unit.

Complex moves

Any unit contacted to flank or rear may turn with a complex move (subject to the normal complex movement requirements e.g. must not be disordered) to face the enemy.  Note this means troops contacted by an enemy moving second will fight facing the wrong way (as their first chance to turn will be in the following turn).

FT may turn 90 degrees as well as 180.  To accommodate a variety of different movement scales, it is recommended that the ‘extended wheel’ is now treated as up to … 90º if one unit wide, 75º if two wide, 60º if three, 45º if wider …

Flanks and Rears

Units have 4 sides and 4 corners: a front, a rear, and 2 side edges, and 2 front and 2 rear corners.   Charge contact can only be initiated by the front edge and the 2 front corners.  If a corner contacts the enemy’s rear edge, or if the front edge contacts the enemy’s rear edge or either rear corner, it is a flank/rear contact.  If any other point is contacted, it is a frontal melee.

Flank bonus


If an otherwise unengaged unit is contacting with a front corner on a side edge, and the target unit is already fighting against at least one other enemy, the unit in flank contact fights with a +1 modifier.


Shooting from flank or rear (i.e. with a shooting path that would be a flank or rear attack if it was a charge ..).. causes disorder as well as a hit when successful.

Rout path

Rout paths are simplified for routed into tests: for a frontal melee, the path is directly away from the edge contacted, counting the front corners as part of the front edge.  For all other contacts, the rout path is directly away in all directions.  For pursuit purposes, the rout path is directly away from the victorious units (averaging the angles if there is more than one).

Dispersal and reabsorbing

Detached Musketeer SI that move if they have been outside their move distance of their parent, or which are contacted in the open by any but other SI are dispersed and removed, except when able to reabsorb.  Reabsorbing happens when they are in touching contact with their parent FT unit.   In this case, they are able to hold for one round of melee.  If they win, and the enemy is removed, routed or breaks off, the SI remain in place and can react normally next turn.  In all other cases, they are removed after combat as reabsorbed, and do not contribute further to the game.

Detached Musketeers in this way can perform a useful function in enabling all round shooting, and in buying time for the unit to perform a vital manoeuvre.

Obligatory Charges

Fresh HC must charge any target directly to its front per the usual rules.  This can be prevented by having an assured or cautious leader attached to any unit in the front rank of the division.  Exhausted HC must likewise charge if they have a fiery leader attached to any unit in the division’s front rank.

Cavalry Charge and Countercharge

This is a key aspect of the game and differs significantly both from A2 and AA.  Subject to the normal restrictions/obligations, the moving player (in either phase) may charge and initiate contact.  The contacted unit(s) is the subject of a charge, and must respond.  The response depends on current status and confidence.

FV5 HC will always countercharge if they can.  Confident FV 4 HC can choose either to countercharge or to receive.  Others must dice:

A score of 1 to 4 means they do not countercharge.  Modify the die roll by …

+1 if the unit has already moved this turn.

+1 if the unit has a fiery or assured leader with them

-1 if they are tired.


HC are confident if they have friendly FV5 HC (unbroken and facing the enemy …) to their front or as part of the same line of their own division.  They are also confident if they have a fiery or assured leader within 6” or joined to their division.

Other charges

The normal Armati procedures apply except FT cannot contact mounted troops other than those already in melee, or those already in pistol contact from a previous turn.

Other contact

The only movement to contact allowed other than charging is where HC move up to point blank range to discharge their pistols.

Cavalry Impetus

Impetus works similarly to the standard rules except that it is always lost if the unit is stationary or disordered or if the target of the charge is already in melee from a previous turn.   Otherwise …

HC of  FV5(or more), or who form part of the front rank of a division lead by a fiery leader, receive impetus v all troops except steady stationary FT.

HC of lower FV receive impetus in the same circumstances if they are charging, or if they are counter-charging disordered FT or HC of equal or lower FV.

In practice this means there is no disordered impetus; there is no disordered resistance to impetus; and FV4 do not get impetus v higher FV HC if they are counter-charging unless they have a fiery leader attached to a unit somewhere in their division’s front rank.

Note that pistol shooting takes place before melee and causes disorder – thus it is possible to launch a furious charge but arrive without the expected impetus.

Responses to being charged

All troops contacted whilst in melee already receive the charge stationary, and a further turn of multiple melee results.

Unengaged HC contacted by enemy may either counter-charge or receive at the halt (and discharge pistols).   All units in the division must attempt to  respond in the same way.  Units with a fiery leader in the front rank of their division must counter charge.  Others choose.

Melee modifiers

Leader with unit

Entitles the unit to roll 2 dice instead of 1 and use the better.

(the fiery leader’s +1 modifier is in addition to this)

+1 general with unit only applies to fiery leaders.

Flank bonus (otherwise unengaged unit contacting the flank edge of an otherwise engaged enemy unit in frontal combat) +1

Supporting units – units in a second line or joining a melee from the rear add 1 to the fighting unit’s FV for frontal combats.

Break Offs

Mounted fighting mounted may also break off (subject to the usual requirements) if they are fighting any enemies to their flank or rear.  They go as directly away from the unit(s) in contact as possible (then turn round).


In addition to melee fatigues, units receive 1 fatigue per turn spent pursuing.

Routed into tests

Exhausted and disordered troops pass on a 3 all others on a 2 (SI never test).

If a unit is broken by a non frontal opponent, the 3” rout path applies all round the unit (360º)


The pursuit test is slightly modified from AA…

The unit must roll higher than its frontal FV not to pursue, modified the die roll by

-1 if there is a fiery leader in the division’s front rank

+ or – 1 if there is an assured leader in the division’s front rank

+1 if there is a cautious leader in the division’s front rank.

+1 per fatigue currently on the unit

+1 if there is eligible enemy able to charge it in flank/rear (as defined above) this turn.

1 always fails, 6 always passes.  Units test when all of their opponents rout, and by choice at the start of the movement phase of any subsequent turn.  On any turn where the test is passed, the unit recovers.  It does not move that turn, but may be placed facing any direction.  If contacted, it fights normally for its current condition.  It has any of the normal rallying options.

If pursuers reach the table edge they stop there, facing off board.  They may be charged.   Except as allowed in melee or Break Off, to turn back in towards the battlefield they need to rally as above.

Rally Phase

This ECW treatment of Armati introduces additional causes of disorder but does not intend disorder to be permanently debilitating.  Consequently ‘Redress Ranks’ is made a separate rally function and my be carried out alongside the others or alongside other actions.  This is in line with the scale Armati represents.   If the unit remained stationary and unengaged, did not fire and did not receive a BP, it may redress automatically.  If it moved but was unengaged, it may redress with a die roll requiring 4, + 1 to the roll if a leader is attached to the unit, -1 if it received any BPs this turn.

Risk to Generals

Generals are at risk if the unit takes a casualty in melee and the opponent rolls a 6.  The figure is removed as standard Armati.  However, at the start of that army’s movement phase in the turn immediately following the one in which the melee concerned ended (i.e. taken as meaning the unit the general was with has routed, successfully broken off, or all of its opponents have broken off or routed and it has rallied from any pursuit), the player must roll a die:

1 – the general was killed in the combat; 2 – the general cannot be found (die rolls, ‘who won’ plus scenario notes might later determine if he is ever found, whether he fled ignominiously, was captured etc); 3/4 – the general is severely wounded and has been escorted from the field; 5/6 – the general now reappears behind the nearest friendly unit to where he fell (and may resume a part in the battle).


The army’s baggage may be represented by an on-table template (works as Rough Ground with carts in it) depending on the battle/army being depicted.  If it is depicted, it fights and shoots as if an immobile FV4 (all round) FT unit with no facing.  No impetus will apply, and if it suffers 4 BPs it is lost, counts as looted and the army suffers a lost BP just as if an FT unit was broken in Hand-to-hand combat.  It counts as an appropriate target for Obligatory charges.    Routed into tests apply, in all directions, and the enemy take a pursuit test, looting and wrecking on the site of the camp until recalled in the usual way.

Winning and losing

This should be resolved in the usual way, and is best moderated by objectives in an historical scenario rather than just the usual army BP tally.  No army which deployed any regiments of foot loses until it loses 25% of the FT units it had on the table – but a lost camp can count towards that threshold.    NB that FT units losing all their BPs to firing are not actually lost until the enemy contacts them.

If determining victory by lost army BPs it is preferable to allow a die roll to modify this.   If at the end of any turn an army has reached its break point and FT loss threshold, roll the die – requiring a 2 but with the score to pass modified +1 for each BP lost beyond the army breakpoint and for each additional turn the army has played.  A 6 is always a pass.   This will sometimes result in both armies dicing (which is intentional) and sometimes both failing … in the latter case, both armies withdraw without a clear winner.


The text and content of these variations is © Phil Steele 2007

5 Comments on “ECW Armati (adaptations)”

  1. […] adapted, the ECW Armati variant advocated here (notes here) has done a very good job of resolving this battle legibly and enjoyably … the games have […]

  2. […] 1/3 sized measuring convention and the interpretations and modifications on the ECW page here ( ECW Armati (adaptations) […]

  3. Jeff Hudelson Says:

    Greetings Phil,

    I only have what I suspect is the original ARMATI. It is copyright 1994. Will this work for your ECW adaptations? Or would I have to buy a newer version (or two) of the rules? (which I’m loath to do in these economic times).

    My email is . . . . . . please advise.

    — Jeff

    • yesthatphil Says:

      Hi Jeff

      Yes, that’s the original. Yes, the Late Renaissance game, adapted, ought to work fine. The basic game has hardly changed at all. The only thing Advanced Armati added, really, was a ‘points system’ + army lists and a few special rules for the ECW and TYW .. as I’ve tweaked most of those rules, you ought to be able to cover the period with original Armati plus the ECW adaptation here. Original Armati’s ‘Advanced Rules’ for Fatigue have become part of the standard system, though I often leave them out when doing the game at shows for simplicity (good and important module, but you save a lot of complexity if you ignore it – I plan to append a comment on this in the blog shortly) …
      Note: Regts. of foot are FT, pike and musket .. so shoot, and melee at FV 5 to 7 depending on quality and/or proportion of pike to shot. Resist mounted impetus if stationary. Cavalry are HC Fv 4 to 6, likewise dependent on quality … and I would recommend the treatments of pistols, impetus etc. as in these pages. Dragoons are treated same as ‘Mounted Arquebusiers’ but can dismount. Dismounted they are SI but BP2. AA’s lists allowed an odd few SI musket units in the armies to account for Forlorn Hopes and Commanded Musketeers. For simplicity, I treat all artillery as medium (Advanced Armati allowed you to move them a little, but I tend to ignore that fiddly stuff anyway). 2nd Edition Armati dropped the Renaissance and later sections for inclusion in a separate volume (yet to appear, but promisses have been renewed recently) …
      If you like the game you get, you might think about Armati Renaissance when it comes out.

      Hope that helps


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