David Bickley's Wargames Blog

The occasional ramblings of an average gamer, journeyman painter, indifferent modeller, games designer, sometime writer for Wargames Illustrated and host of games in GHQ.

Friday 26 February 2016

The Battle of Bykleigh's Rough

Earlier in the week Jon and I played an English Civil War game in GHQ using my own rules, A Crowning Mercy ~ available exclusively from Caliver Books for those who might be interested in trying a game 'GHQ Style'! We wanted a decent sized battle, utilizing most of my collection, and so settled on a fictional encounter battle between the army of Parliament, commanded by that stout gentleman, Obadiah Bykleigh, and the King's army commanded by that resolute royalist, Lord Walton. The battlefield is mainly open land with a few hedge rows in evidence, although the Parliamentary start position is disrupted somewhat by the woodland known locally as Bykleigh's Rough. On the eastern fringe of the field of battle a road wends its way from south to north ~

The Royalists of Lord Walton are more fortunate in their deployment area, although their right wing is somewhat obstructed by a series of hedges and clumps of trees ~

Early action in proceedings saw the cavalry of both sides on the move. On the Parliamentary right the Royalist cavalry advanced to engage their foe, supported by a steady advance from the blocks of pike and shotte. Having seen the ground on the opposite flank Lord Walton began to shift his wing of cavalry to support his left, relying on his dragoons and the hedges to hold up any Parliamentary cavalry which might be rash enough to try to turn the flank ~

Parliament's horse on their right at once began to surge towards the enemy horse and the foot struggled forward to offer what support they might in the coming clash of steel. Meanwhile, on their left flank the horse were slow to respond to the Royalist's bold move, a hesitation which was to prove very costly in the latter stages of the battle ~

The slow moving blocks of pike and shotte were soon shaking themselves out into battle order while the cavalry of both armies clashed in a mighty struggle on the Parliamentary right. The very fact that Royalist cavalry were soon able to reinforce the tussle was due in no small part to Obadiah Bykleigh seeing the danger they posed to his plan too late in the day ~

With one regiment of Horse already broken and the other frayed the imminent arrival of Lord Walton's Lifeguard of Horse will surely tip the balance now. The late arrival of Parliament's horse from their left flank means they must run the gauntlet of fire from the encroaching Royalist foot in order to support their wavering right wing or attempt to charge the steady foote instead ~

An unexpected upturn in Parliamentary fortunes leads the cavalry reinforcements to try to charge the Royalist foote; as it turned out this was a forlorn hope when they failed their fighting effectiveness check! The upturn in fortunes for their horse already engaged in combat did not last and the frayed regiment was beaten decisively in the next round of combat ~

With the right wing of the Parliamentary army routed, the foote now finds itself under pressure from Lord Walton's Lifeguards. They wisely form hedgehog to protect themselves but suffer the ignominy of being repeatedly pistoled by the cuirassier. Meanwhile, Royalist foote march ever closer to the beleaguered Parliamentarians ~

As the game reaches its conclusion with the inevitable Parliamentary withdrawal, William arrives just in time to console his grandfather in a crushing defeat ~

The game lasted some three hours and ran to eleven of the twelve designated turns. Royalist horse was decisive in their victory, aided by my inability to see the threat of Jon moving his horse from the right flank to support his left in time. My foot performed admirably on the whole, although sustaining some losses late in the game and my guns held their own mostly, but the less said about my horse the better, commanded by the late Oliver Cromwell, so treacherously slain by Lord Walton's victorious Horse! Our next game will see us move back in time some 1200 years or so for another Late Roman civil war, when Pompus Maximus, the true emperor, will attempt once more to keep hold of his throne against the usurper Albinus. Until then, back to the painting desk and the British limber sets for the FRW!


  1. Brilliant looking game David! It reminds me that I should get back on my long dormant ECW project somewhat soon(ish.


    1. Thanks for the kind words once more Christopher.

  2. Another really entertaining game. David was given false hope by winning initiative time & time again, the Royalists only won it twice in the 11 turn game - but they won at the vital times. He did however win it in turn 10 which saved defeat being turned into a rout.
    Huraah for the Prince of Wales' Sausage!

    1. You are correct in the assessment of the important times I lost the initiative. As to The Sausage, may it ever be confounded!

  3. A titanic tussle, one can almost hear the clank of steel on steel and the clunk of wood on wood.
    Long live ye Kinge.


    1. It was a major defeat Phil, though I did save half mr army in the last two moves!

  4. Great game, keep up the good work!