Player Characters' Fates in ECW Wargames – a Bolt on System for ECW games and rules of your choice

23 January 2023
By the sword decided

Mr Harman provides a ‘bolt on’ system for the ECW games and rules of your choice. Ed.


When wargame rules are either very simple, somewhat abstract – or even both (as is often the case today) – the resulting battles run the risk of being a bit bland, lacking in period atmosphere. The simple fire and combat resolution systems may provide little detail of the casualties suffered by the troops, but allow the players to devote all the more effort to discovering the battlefield experience of their imaginary personal characters, in the manner of a role-playing game.

These optional rules for English Civil War battles are intended to create extra atmosphere, by convincing players that their own personal characters – and other officers too, if they so wish - really are at risk in close-quarter fighting, and to create the sort of circumstantial details that can enliven post-game narratives or campaign propaganda pamphlets. They can be used in both face to face and ‘closed’ umpired games and are also perfectly suitable for solo wargames.


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This is the process to determining an officers’ chances of being killed or wounded. Throw 2d6 each turn of close (hand to hand) combat or pursuit, or whenever the unit the officer is accompanying suffers a hit from musketry or artillery fire. However:

  • If under fire, a double 1 or 2 at close (Musketry/Case Shot) range, or a double 1 at longer (Roundshot) range, means there is a chance the officer may become a casualty.
  • If in hand to hand combat, a double 1 or 2 means there is a chance the officer may become a casualty.
  • If there is such a chance, throw 2d6 again, and read off the fates of a player’s personal character (and also, if you wish, non-played subordinate formation or unit commanders who are accompanying troops under fire and/or into close combat) from the appropriate tables below.

If underfire and taking the Roundshot result:

If underfire and taking the Musketry/Case Shot result:



Officers who are stunned may not give or receive orders and – being unable to defend themselves in hand to hand combat – may be taken prisoner.


Use the following two tables if the Result in one of the tables above requires it.


If an officer is wounded in the leg by roundshot, the horse automatically suffers a body wound, as for a throw of 4 below, since a roundshot that smashed through an officer’s leg would almost certainly injure his mount too.

However, if a Field or Staff Officer and his mount are in the line of flight of a roundshot, and the officer has not been wounded, throw one normal die (d6) to test for a wound to the mount:



I think a good way to do this is to record wounds to an officer and/or his horse, using a dry-wipe or water-soluble marker pen, on a picture or diagram of that officer which has been laminated or covered with self-adhesive transparent plastic (so it can be wiped clean to be used again in later games) for future reference when writing battle reports or campaign newsletters. 


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