Thursday, 31 July 2014

Bitten by the ECW bug?

It may surprise you to know I am not the type to spuriously start a new project. (Aside from Wild West, FIW, B-Movie Aliens, Starship Troopers, and 15mm Rogue Trader, all of which are at various stages of limited progression.)

I forget what I was browsing for at the time, but I came across some very nice ECW paper figures on the Billy Bones website. Now, I've experimented with paper figures before, and enjoyed them, but it is true that they can't beat 'proper' figures. 

So what would make a difference? Thinking about this, I have felt that paper figures should offer something, stylistically, that metal figures don't. From my forays into the world of paper, I'm left feeling that there are two broad categories of figure. The first attempts to produce some reasonably realistic figures that look quite accurate on the table. The second goes down more cartoony lines, but still satisfies the same aesthetic principle of trying to recreate the visual effect of painted figures. 

From my perspective, both these offer a decent quick fix, but afterward leave me wanting to play with metal or plastic. Enter Billy Bones Workshop. 

Currently, they offer two ranges: ACW and ECW. Both offer stylised paper figures which invoke recognisable imagery from the period. In the case of the ACW figures they look like they are photos taken during the period and for the ECW figures a style is employed reminiscent of woodcut art common in that era. Even better, the ECW set includes common terrain features such as hedges, roads, rivers and buildings, all drawn in the same way. So the overall effect is something which is not so easy to replicate with miniatures and highlights one of the strengths of paper figures.

I have only assembled a few stands, but here are a couple of pictures from each range, taken from the Billy Bones site:


So that's the figures sorted for my games, but I need rules as well! Perfect Captain came to the rescue here with what looks to be an excellent set of wargame and campaign rules. And they are all free (with the option to donate to charity)! I set up the start of my campaign last night and hope to post on how it develops. First impressions of the campaign rules are good. There seem to be a couple of holes, but nothing which can't be fixed and certainly nothing worth complaining about given the price!

Here's a picture of the campaign map, followed by the starting garrisons. 

Royalist forces

Parliamentarian garrisons

In this close up you can see the markets making up one of the garrisons:

On the top left is the commander, the codes show his attributes, in this case that he is Disciplined and Bookish. Disciplined is useful in battle and in taking some campaign actions. Bookish can be positive when taking certain campaign actions. It comes in handy when developing fortifications or organising more forces for your army.

Most of the unit counters have a number, showing how many bases (squadrons) currently make up the company. 6 is full strength. Gun markers represent one base of artillery. So this garrison is quite mixed. Two units of Seasoned Pike, two of Seasoned Musketeers, one of Harquebusiers and a light gun. Worth noting is that, while you might start with some Seasoned troops, the time scale of the campaign (usually about half a year) means you don't get a chance to replace these and any forces you recruit will be Trained Band, consequently not as good in battle.

I've just calculated income for the first turn and determined the weather (which has turned out to be bad). I am now about to issue orders. More on that later!


  1. Looks interesting, sir. And I do like the "feel" of the paper figures . . . but, of course, I'm currently painting up a huge number of 28mm ECW figures so your discovery is a bit too late for me . . . *sigh*.

    I look forward to reading more about your project as time progresses.

    -- Jeff

    1. Thanks for your comment! I just added your ECW blog to my list of blogs I follow! When I was browsing Warlords website it was very hard to resist the 28mm plastic kits I saw!

    2. The 28mm army I'm building is a mix of Warlord Plastics, Perry Metals and some unknown metal figs I got from another gamer.

      I've currently got major paint of some 328 foot . . . but there is still a lot of more detailed painting to do on most of them . . . and I have a ton of cavalry that I haven't even touched yet.

      Don't get me wrong, I'm really liking where my army is going but it would be a lot simpler to have used my printer . . . and I really like the idea of leaving a 'border' around the figures so that one does NOT have to carefully cut around each little protrusion.

      Thank you, by the way, for the link. I have added yours as well.

      -- Jeff

    3. Hi Jeff

      For cost and space resins if definitely be going down the 15mm route, should I opt for miniatures. But I'm hoping I'll get a few interesting games from the paper figures. It just depends on whether this remains a bit of a side project or turns into a major obsession!

      Good luck with all your painting. It will look fantastic when finished, that's for sure!

  2. Fab looking game bud. Look forward to seeing more of it as the campaign goes on.

    1. Cheers, mate! So far so good. Had a busy weekend but hoping to get some armies printed for the first battle later!