For King and Parliament

Rules wax and wane in popularity, the release of a new set of rules usually makes the gaming community giddy with excitement and a rush of buying ensues. For King And Parliament is a fairly recent addition to the ECW rules library, and looks like it will be a popular ruleset for quite some time.

Another set of 'pike and shot' rules that have grown out of a popular set of ancients/medieval rules - in this case To The Strongest ( henceforth TtS!). The difference between For King And Parliament (FK&P) and those rules that have taken the same path, is that FK&P is not a generic pike and shot rulebook, they are specifically for the ECW.

Game mechanisms are quick to learn, and once you are familiar with the rules, gameplay is fast and furious. The rules are very well written, and have clearly had a lot of play testing. The rules are well explained, you don't need an old hand, an explanatory video or a thesaurus to understand them.

The rule book is spiral bound, has full colour card covers and is monochrome inside. Copious illustrations and diagrams, in the style of Streeter's Naseby Plan, populate the pages. This works really well, and is very much in keeping with the 'period'. There are also four pages of full colour photographs.

Game markers, and wiggly bases

The turn sequence is a variation of I go, you go. To play you decide which of your brigades you want to activate; each unit must pass an activation test before they can a move, shoot, charge or rally until either a unit fails to activate or the player has activated all the units they want to.

All seems very positive so far, but now for the deal breaker...

FK&P uses a gridded battlefields: recommended grid and table sizes are given for 15mm or smaller figures, and 20mm and larger. There is no measuring all movement and firing is based upon the grids. Chance is introduced to the game by either drawing cards or chits, or rolling D10. A number of markers are also required. Chits and markers can be made at home or purchased from the BigRedBatShop (which incidentally has some really novel MDF bases - instead of straight cut edges they have wiggly edges that will interlock with other bases, they look fantastic, and I must confess that I am sorely tempted...).

Armies are points led; sample army lists and a scenario are included. More are available to download from the web shop, some are free, the majority aren't. A quick reference sheet is available to download as PDF free, or purchase as a physical copy. The rules are supported by a forum regularly visited by the authors.

The game is fast and fun, but the grids turn me off. I just don't like grids, and I know I'm not alone. If I could find a workable way of not using the grids I'd be sold.

Equipment needed:

  • gridded playing surface
  • two packs of playing cards, or set of chits, or D10s
  • set of game markers (ammunition, dash, pursuit, disorder, and victory medals)

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  1. I am with you on the grid issue. One potential bonus is an encouragement for 'random' battlefield clutter to mark the grid edges, rather than lines. Who doesn't want more clutter!? I've also thought about making the grid itself mobile by just focusing on the Zone of Control concept. A bit like a big Barker Marker if you remember those.

  2. Re:Grids. No disagreements, arguments, time wasting teenie, tiny, fussy movements. Easily picked up by new players

    1. Unfortunately grids are Marmite - love them or loathe them. Not for me though

    2. Radar, moi aussi - it is my experience though that people get very protective about their particular flavour of rhomboid/container.. I am old school and too old to change.. if a ruler was good enough for the Don it's good enough for me

    3. There is a lot of partisan bias in wargaming in general tbh. Just think of those who nail their colours to the mast of a particular manufacturer, every other figure range is deemed to be heresy.

      I try my damnedest to be open minded, but yes i just can't seem to succumb to the joys of grids.

      (As an aside, you posted a comment a week or so back, which I approved via moderation. Blogger informed me that it had been published, but it had disappeared. If I tried to re-approve the comment blogger informed me that it had been deleted. All very odd!)

    4. No worries, we are a broad church as you say... Happy New Year matey :o)

  3. Oddly, as my primary interest is ECW, I do not have this set but I do have TTS!. In general, I am indifferent on the grid issue but I do appreciate the advantages: great for tournaments, large games with lots of players, demo games and socially distanced games via the internet. From a visual perspective the grid can be barely visible and it isn't required to set up the terrain to fit in the grid squares (although people do naturally seem to do this).

  4. When I first heard about the grid, I was put off by the idea. But I was interested in the rules so I just purchased a copy. Once I read them over I went all in: I have the FK&P ruleset as well as the mat, tokens, markers, etc. offered by Big Red Bat.

    Regarding the grid, I've found that all of its supposed benefits are true; games play lot quicker, no questionable movement, and it's easy to understand. In addition, I've found that by not being bound to a spot but instead an area, it allows me to place my troops in pleasing arrangements and give the table a cinematic flair. Troops aren't as staid and can be more flowing on the mat. I can also add more bits of terrain to add character to the conflict.

    Of course enjoying a gridded game is a matter of opinion and mine was changed once I tried it. Thanks for the excellent review and wonderful blog. I always enjoy your posts.

    1. Glad to hear that you are enjoying the rules and the blog Squadpainter. As for grids - the world would be a very boring place if we all liked the same things.


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