Friday, September 13, 2013
"The Battles of Landsown & Roundway 1643" by Robert Morris
The rather plain cover with the line drawing [quite a nice one I think] gives the correct impression of old-school production and graphics that never saw even a rudimentary computer much less any graphic design programs. Witness the battle map for Roundway:
But lack of flashy production aside, the book is a good value. It's inexpensive at 5.50 GBP, about $8 USD and has plenty of information useful to a wargamer interested in a more detailed examination of the crucial battles of Lansdown and Roundway [Down] in 1643, especially the forces involved.
What the book lacks is that which history presently hides from us, such as uniform and flag details. However, there are many details of regiments, their officers, campaign history and locations, and more. While the later period of "Horse & Musket" puts the regiment forward as end-all of battle, the ECW puts forward people more, especially the commanders. That is the fun and sometimes frustrating thing about the period. One expects regimental continuity, integrity, battle history, uniform and color details like in the 7YW, and they often just aren't there. However it enables one to be more person-focused on the men who raised the regiments / troops and whose names identify them along with their history [or likely history]. So, very useful if one is going to write a novel or a detailed wargame battle / campaign background. It would be especially interesting to help give quality levels and background on commanders, for example, which might affect regiment quality also.
There is also more information than one usually gets in either scenario books or history books on the battle and forces involved. Regard for example the Order of Battle for Waller's Parliamentary forces at Roundway Down:
Especially likable is that the author demonstrates clearly that which seems certain and that which is deduction and reasonable guessing. Don't often get that in history books. It shows the lack of certainty and therefore the flexibility for the gamer regarding regiments, colors, uniforms, size and plenty more. This clarifies the task for the diligent gaming host or campaign designer to fill in gaps for a fair game according to the rules used. For many gamers, this will give them a bit more freedom than they desire, but for the creative types it is wonderful to know that there are workable parameters within which to shape a game / campaign while respecting the history.
I recommend this book, and those similar, which are available from Caliver Books in the UK, with very reasonable shipping to the US. Personally, I plan to get more, and will include reviews as seems worth the effort to add to this one.
I give BoLaR a healthy 8/10 cornets for lots of wonderful details and a very affordable price. Costs half of an Osprey title but, one gets less flash and a bit more details.