Saturday 27 May 2023

Irregular Wars first Playtest, Elizabethan Ireland AAR

I have been collecting troops for Elizabethan Ireland for some time but never really settled on rules. I decided to give Irregular Wars a bash. I have had the rules for a little while but I am awful at reading and digesting rules, it just doesn't go in. So with no game planned I asked if we could give these a run out and made myself read them three times through.

Not sure it helped.

Unit frontage is the building block for all measurements. A U being a unit frontage and a number of these being the movement rate of units and range of various weapons. The rules recommend 30mm bases for 15mm figures and one base is a  company. I decided that for 28mm a unit of 8 figures with an 80mm frontage would look right. So cavalry move 40mm, which is 5U's and firing range is 48mm or six U's.

Each unit has stats covering weapons, movement and resolve which is the most important factor as all fighting is aimed at reducing the resolve of your opponent until he breaks and scatters whilst keeping your own intact. No casualties, no morale tests resolve is everything. 

The rules are aimed at the era I would refer to as Tudor being basicly the 1500's and are particularly aimed at the clashes between different cultures. The Conquistadors in America, the Portuguese in East Africa and India and the English in the Carribean and Ireland, there are dozens of army lists covering everything from Cossacks to Samurai but usefully for me Royal English, Northern English, Irish and Highland Scots.

Hopefully then a good fit.

Chris was to command the Irish and Steve the English. In our game a fortified English Manor (Hudson and Allens fortified Manor building) needs resupplying, a column of Royal troops are marching to relieve it and the Irish are waiting for them.

The English have three companies each of Pike and Shot and two companies each of Demi-Lancers and Border Horse along with one unit of allied Irish Kern.
The Irish have 3 units of Galloglass, two units of light horse, 2 units of Kern Sharpshooters 3 units of Kern and one of Bonnaught (Better trained and armed Kern) We marked the resolve of each unit with a dice, if we stick with these rules I may invest in casualty markers.
Pre game rolling sees one unit of Demi Lancers hare off in front and another along with a unit of Pike and the English Lord fall back a move. Players then each take three chance cards which may be used immediately or saved for an appropriate occasion. 
We get going and the Irish are quick to move forward in the centre and start to flank on the right, unfortunately the Kern on the left are out of command range and an uncontrolled test sees them decide to leg it this turn.
The Irish shotte are a mixture of figures, some of them conversions adding firearms, they advance in the open either side of the Gallowglass, the best fighting men of the Irish.

Move 2 and Chris passes the initiative to Steve who immediatly charges a unit of Kern with his Demi lancers, in his turn however Chris is able to charge more Kern into the melee before it can start. I missed quite a bit here unfortunately for both players, the Kern sharpshooters are great shots but very poor in melee, I also missed adding the +4 charge bonus to Demi Lancers. So we see the Demi Lancers win but only by enough to reduce the resolve of the Kern by one. Sorry guys, will get it right next time.

In the centre the English shot have fired with little effect onto the Gallowglass who charge in and have a great advantage over the poorly armed and unarmoured shot. The out of control Kern have turned around and charge the allied English Kern and the Irish light horse have got around the flank of the English whilst the border horse charge the Bonnaught.
A large punch up ensues with the units around the edges unable to get a decisive upper hand and the English Shot managing to stay in the fight in the centre.

The English Lord leads his Demi Lancers forward to counter the Irish light horse, however whilst still out of charge range a shower of Javelins descends upon them and Chris plays his assassin card, the English Lord is cut down!
His unit of Demi-lancers are disheartened and scatter. At this point we see the ripple effect that can occur when things start to go wrong.
A unit of Pike seeing its Lord cut down takes minus 2 resolve and retreats, two of the shot units go down to one resolve which is wavering and have to retire, both touch the pike behind them and the unit takes one resolve off for each and becomes wavering itself and retreats. Suddenly the English centre is in complete dissaray, with 4 units on the verge of collapse and one already gone scattered, the English decide to attempt a fighting withdrawal.
Meanwhile far in front the Demi Lancers are still battling the Kern sharpshooters, one unit has disengaged successfully the other manfully battles on.
At this point we run out of time, the rules make much more sense now and Chris has agreed to take them home and read them properly, the end result was a fun game that will be more fun next time when we know the rules to start with.

Apart from reading the rules its going to be important to give players a list of what they have and what the troops can do, I think they translated well into 28mm with larger units and I am happy to give these a few more outings before considering if anything might need changing.

Probably the best indication of the success was that I immidiatly went home and started to build an order for more Kern from Antidiluvian miniatures.

More on this soon I hope, thanks for stopping by.


  1. The figures look superb and as you say the rules are definitely worth another go

    1. Cheers Neil, got a few more painted so another game soon

  2. A brilliant looking bash, Roger!

  3. These are a really fun set of rules - I have bought a copy, but with no immediate use other than Roger’s Elizabethan collection - and what a pleasure to get the Elizabethan figures on the table! Great stuff. My assassin card turned the entire game! Cheers, Chris

    1. Yes, look forward to the next game Chris

  4. Some really lovely scenery and figures on display, Roger....I recognise some of them from my own Border Reivers collection!

    1. Cheers, only thing is all those dismounted Reivers are not so much use.

  5. Cracking stuff Roger…
    The rules seem to reflect the potential panic that could run through a force if the see their leader getting killed.

    All the best. Aly

    1. Absolutely and the potential for things to go wrong quickly before the age of professional armies.

  6. Your figures look beautiful - well painted and presented. 😎
    I always like to see irregular armies with a wide, wide variety of poses and you’ve done a crackin’ job. 👏👏
    I am aware of Irregular Wars rules. I have a copy, but have never played ‘em. I do, however, like to read through rulesets and see if there are any ideas I can “borrow” for my solo games.

    1. Cheers very much Geoff these would probably be worth a read for you, not massively expensive either with a lot of nice army lists to cover the period. Hopefully share another game report in the next few weeks as we have another planned.

  7. Love your armies- and an unusual period. Love those Irish!

  8. Very nice, I think I've got the same rules myself but not gotten around to doing much than scanning them, like you reading rules rarely actually soaks in :D The only issue now is I want to go back to my Irish project... when I promised my niece I'd finish painting for a different set of rules so we could play it...