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Subject: Just bought UKC rss

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Kenneth Kloby
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Hi,

I just got back from the Strategist in NYC with my copy of UKC, I'll be checking it out today.

Thanks for providing your expert opinions about this game, Ken.
 
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Charles Vasey
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Kenneth Kloby wrote:
Hi,

I just got back from the Strategist in NYC with my copy of UKC, I'll be checking it out today.

Thanks for providing your expert opinions about this game, Ken.


Read the playbook first, Ken.
 
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Kenneth Kloby
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Charles
Hi,

Thanks for that tip.

I was just checking the counters and the map and they are exquisite!

The blood spots are quite a touch.

Just this morning I saw a huge book at Barnes & Noble which covers Charles' 'dethroning', do you know anything about it? Sorry, I can't recall the title or author's name. The book must be newly published because it wasn't on the shelf last week.

Thanks for a great job, Ken.

PS: Same to the developers, playtesters, and GMT.

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Kenneth Kloby
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1st ECW Books
Hi,

Can anyone recommend some good books on the 1st ECW?

Thanks, Ken.


 
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Iain Cheyne
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The rulebook has this bibliography:

Quote:
The King’s War: C.V. Wedgwood.
All The King’s Armies: Stuart Reid
Leaders of The English Civil War: Toynbee and Ridsdill-Smith
1066 and all that: Sellars and Yeatman
Atlas of the Civil War: P.R. Newman
The Irish and British Wars 1637-1654: James Scott Wheeler
The Civil Wars of England: John Kenyon
The Royalist War Effort 1642-1646: Ronald Hutton


The Kenyon book is on my to-read pile.
 
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Charles Vasey
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Kenneth Kloby wrote:
Hi,

Can anyone recommend some good books on the 1st ECW?

Thanks, Ken.




The King's War by Wedgwood, it's on Amazon.com for $7.25
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Joshua Buergel
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Charles Vasey wrote:
The King's War by Wedgwood, it's on Amazon.com for $7.25


If you're going to read one book on this war, that's the book I'd suggest as well.
 
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Dave Humm
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A readable recent account of the three civil wars is Trevor Royle's The Civil War: The wars of the three kingdoms 1638-1660. It is good on discussing the effects across England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

 
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Kenneth Kloby
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Thanks
Thanks for those book suggestions, I'll be investigating them today.

Ken.
 
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Gordon Adams
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I have to agree with Dave's choice of book.
 
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Charles Vasey
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MonsterMash wrote:
A readable recent account of the three civil wars is Trevor Royle's The Civil War: The wars of the three kingdoms 1638-1660. It is good on discussing the effects across England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.



Useful review:

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/review...
 
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Severus Snape
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Ken,
Not sure why I should answer your questions since you do not bother to answer
mine, but given that I have read these

The King’s War: C.V. Wedgwood.
All The King’s Armies: Stuart Reid
Atlas of the Civil War: P.R. Newman
The Irish and British Wars 1637-1654: James Scott Wheeler
The Royalist War Effort 1642-1646: Ronald Hutton

I will go ahead and add my opinion to the pile.

Wedgwood, who is always readable, writes with the most style, but she is dated and lacking in detail. Unlike most of what I have read (which would mean adding several titles to this list), she takes a Royalist slant, or so I perceived.

Reid is readable, but superficial. It is good for an overview of the entire war. Newman's maps are awful--do not waste your money. Wheeler is scholarly, but he has to pack so much into such a short space, that much must be left out. Hutton is not a history of the fighting, but I found it an interesting book.

Most of what I have read comes across with a bias towards the Parliamentary side. Just pick up any of the four Osprey titles on four of the key battles of the war. Pen & Sword has some interesting titles, but I wasted my money on John Barratt, who, despite his interest in the Royalist' side, writes as if he were producing pamphlets for Parliament in 1643. I have my doubts about Jon Day's fairness, but I will have to finish his book, and then go on and read David Cooke's.

In addition to the bias, these writers seem to take a deterministic attitude towards the English Civil War: Parliament was bound to win because its side had more resources, as well as a moral superiority. The best two books you can buy, which both effectively deal with the preceding hogwash, are by Malcolm Wanklyn. Wanklyn is even-handed and he actually seeks to understand why the Parliament side won and the Royalist side lost.

I am currently 300+ pages into John Adamson's The Noble Revolt,a book which studies the key years of 1640-1642. Adamson has been criticised--fairly, in my opinion--for mostly, but not totally, ignoring the level of discontent leading up to the outbreak of the Civil War. A 500 page text with 200 pages of footnotes. I find no moral superiority on the side of Parliament, but rather I say " a pox on both your houses." The Junto that controlled Parliament make King Charles look like a doofus and a boy scout. For understanding this period of time, it Adamson will have considerable weight, though one might not agree with his conclusions.

goo
 
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Kenneth Kloby
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Severus,

I wasn't aware you asked me a question. I'm not familiar with all the features of this site so if I missed a reply/post notification I apologize. If you can point me to your question, or repeat it here, I'll be glad to respond.

Thanks for the book reviews. I took a peek inside Newman's Atlas and thought the maps were a bit cheesy but added his it to my wish list anyway, maybe I'll look inside it again before buying it. I'm also interested in Wanklyn's Decisive Battles, glad to see you like him.

Good Luck, Kenneth Kloby.
 
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Charles Vasey
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Kenneth Kloby wrote:
Severus,

I wasn't aware you asked me a question. I'm not familiar with all the features of this site so if I missed a reply/post notification I apologize. If you can point me to your question, or repeat it here, I'll be glad to respond.

Thanks for the book reviews. I took a peek inside Newman's Atlas and thought the maps were a bit cheesy but added his it to my wish list anyway, maybe I'll look inside it again before buying it. I'm also interested in Wanklyn's Decisive Battles, glad to see you like him.

Good Luck, Kenneth Kloby.


review from Amazon

"This is an important book, and any student of the ECW should own it so he can refer to it constantly. So why only 3 stars? Stay with me, gentle reader, and I will explain.

I start from the position of someone who studied the ECW at university, has taken part in re-enactment and is also a wargamer. So I want this book to deliver what it promises, - balanced, source based, analysis of the significant battles of the ECW. It pretty much does that, but with some caveats. It is a battle about the Civil War by a proper historian that actually describes the fighting, - quite a rarity.

The book starts with an opening chapter that any undergraduate student of history would recognise. Make sure you go back to the sources. One source is opinion, two sources may be proof. Be clear what is conjecture. Understand where your sources are from, - how immediate are they? Are they second hand etc? For most wargamers and casual readers this section will be a revelation and will throw cold water over the ardent desire for certainty. The past is a foreign country, and our map is incomplete. Also, beware, - as the saying goes "History does not repeat itself: historians repeat one another".

Following this stiff lecture the book launches into forensic examinations of the battles, weighing the evidence, putting it in context, then postulating a tentative narrative.

And that's sort of where the book is strong and weak. It takes apart many bits of our conventional understanding and replaces it with nothing. In its mission to explain it clearly shows the weaknesses in what we know, but it isn't helped in this by completely inadequate maps. Even given our levels of uncertainlty a much better attempt could have been made to provide good quality maps of the battlefield areas.

The narrative analysis almost makes up for the paucity of the maps, but even given the issues with sources the descriptions are overly brief. Wanklyn may show up the problems with Foard's analysis of Naseby (although his explanation for the location of some battlefileld finds is even more conjectural than Foard's) or Newman's of Marston Moor, but he does not replace them. This book is of real value if you read it alongside the better known battle monographs by authors such as these Young & Adair. It is like having your own history professor criticing your sources as you go along. That's why this book is absolutely essential and is a must buy volume. However, it can't be the only book you buy on the subject, - so alas only 3 stars, not 5. "
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Severus Snape
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Ah, yes. One cannot read a book these days without the ubiquitous Amazon review. Just like what you see on the Geek, Amazon reviews are worth the time it takes to write them. Or is it read them? Maybe it is both.

I agree with his statement about the maps. Their "quality" is an embarrassment to the rest of the book. But as one armchair historian to another, the reviewer is way off base when he writes "And that's sort of where the book is strong and weak. It takes apart many bits of our conventional understanding and replaces it with nothing." I guess "nothing" means that he does not agree with Wanklyn's conclusions.

The professionals, with their skill, time, expertise, and commitment, have a tendency to blow apart long-held, and inaccurate, beliefs. Sometimes their "victims" include other historians. For example, just see what Wanklyn does to some of the views held by Samuel Rawson Gardiner.

goo
 
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Charles Vasey
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Book Review: Malcolm Wanklyn - Decisive Battles of the English Civil War

[posted by Gavin Robinson, 5:18 pm, 6 December 2007]

Malcolm Wanklyn, Decisive Battles of the English Civil War, (Barnsley, Pen and Sword, 2006); ISBN: 1844154548.

I’m just going to get straight to the point: this is the best book ever written about English Civil War battles. I’m not being sarcastic or damning it with faint praise. It really is that good. Wanklyn argues that previous methodology of battle reconstruction is inadequate, that familiar sources need to be reassessed, and that we really know far less than we thought we did about what really happened.

Wanklyn says this is not a postmodern book, but he is clearly open to new ideas and able to put them to good use. Citing Keith Jenkins, he reiterates that history is not the reconstruction of the past but a narrative created by a historian using traces of the past and heavily influenced by the historian’s circumstances and the expectations of the audience. He also reminds us that meaning is likely to be in the mind of the reader, not in the text. This is an encouraging sign that theory is not as controversial as it used to be, and that it can be incorporated into military history without an influx of impenetrable jargon. Wanklyn still believes that fact and fiction are absolute, but places a sliding scale of opinion in between. He makes it clear that in practice most of what we “know” about battles is somewhere on this scale. This is close enough to what I think. Although I don’t accept that there can be absolute facts, the sliding scale of probabilities can sometimes get close enough for it not to matter in practice.

In the past it has been all too easy to dip into an accepted canon of easily accessible primary sources to extract battle accounts without thinking too carefully about the origins of the text. We’ve all done it. I know I have. Wanklyn points out that many of these canonical sources are untrustworthy for various reasons. The frequently used printed sources are not always accurately transcribed from the original manuscripts and have sometimes been abridged or altered. The most dramatic example is Edmund Ludlow’s memoirs which were dealt with at length in Blair Worden’s Roundhead Reputations, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are doubts about the often cited memoirs of Sir Richard Bulstrode since only part of the original manuscript survives. Like many pamphlets in the Thomason Tracts, Lionel Watson’s account of Marston Moor was edited before being published. Drill books have also been used too trustingly to fill in the gaps in the primary accounts. Wanklyn points out that they were an ideal which was not necessarily achieved in practice. I might go even further than this as I have my doubts about whether cavalry drill books in this period influenced, or were influenced by, reality at all.

Battlefield archaeology has offered new evidence to add to our narratives, but there are dangers here too. Wanklyn is sceptical about patterns of recovered musket balls since they could have been dropped without being fired, and many might have disintegrated, been removed without being recorded, or moved from their original positions.

Having blown some big holes in what previous historians have written, Wanklyn goes on to offer his own versions of events at a selection of major battles. Since most of what happened in these battles doesn’t meet the criteria which he sets for fact, he offers only hypothetical narratives. Instead of creating a truth effect, he is honest about the limitations of the evidence and his interpretations of it. He refuses to speculate on some points, such as the number of soldiers at First Newbury, because a reliable answer is impossible to find. On other points, such as the length of the cavalry fight on the western flank at Naseby, he makes tentative conclusions but points out that the sources are too contradictory to allow any certainty. I would much rather see this kind of caution than overambitious and unsupported claims.

For a book with this title, there is surprisingly little discussion of decisiveness, but this is not particularly relevant and was dealt with in Wanklyn and Jones’s A Military History of the English Civil War (2005). For the purposes of critiquing previous reconstructions and offering new hypotheses, it doesn’t necessarily matter how decisive the battles were. This is more of a look at the canon of famous civil war battles. Therefore Marston Moor is included despite Wanklyn’s doubts about how much long-term impact it had, and Adwalton Moor is left out, despite David Johnson’s claims for its importance (see David Johnson, Adwalton Moor 1643 The Battle That Changed A War (2003; ISBN: 0954053583). I was slightly disappointed that Roundway Down didn’t make it in, as I would have thought it was both famous and important.

Too many previous historians have been too hostile to the earls of Essex and Manchester and over-estimated the genius of Cromwell. Wanklyn does not make this mistake, offering a balanced assessment of all the generals which recognizes the extent to which rival commanders tried to assassinate each others’ characters. There is still some blame for things that went wrong, but less than in most books. He also refuses to pour scorn on Prince Rupert for the defeat at Naseby, arguing that re-forming cavalry for a second charge was extremely difficult, and that even Cromwell only definitely achieved it once and possibly by accident. Furthermore we can’t be certain that it was Rupert who summoned the baggage train to surrender, and the royalist cavalry might have been trying to get to the other wing to attack Cromwell when they found their way blocked.

Wanklyn still maintains that the historiography is too dominated by determinism. While I’m not convinced that everyone is a determinist or that the people identified as determinists in A Military History all think the same things, we certainly agree that anyone who thinks that resources made the outcome of the civil war inevitable is wrong. In this book Wanklyn acknowledges that by 1645 the royalists were short of infantry, but he also points out that the decisions of their commanders made the situation worse, and that sometimes both sides threw away numerical advantages through bad decisions or bad luck. There is a lot more work to be done to explain the result of the war, and Wanklyn is dead right that it has been scandalously neglected compared to the amount of work on its causes.

Finally there is little sign of the “equine battering rams” interpretation of cavalry charges which I thought was the weakest point of A Military History. Wanklyn now argues that changes in cavalry tactics were less dramatic and less significant than Frank Jones suggested. This book makes infantry at least as important as cavalry.

Wanklyn’s conclusion that a definitive account of any civil war battle is unattainable is exactly the sort of thing I like to see. This is far from being a pessimistic view. There will always be room for more battle narratives, and that is an opportunity not a problem. It’s really exciting to see a historian relatively late in his career still coming up with new ideas and pushing the boundaries. This book, especially the first three chapters, should be read by anyone interested in military history. I’m really looking forward to the next volume, on generalship, which will complete the trilogy.
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Lee Brimmicombe-Wood
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1st ECW reading
I regard the Wedgwood as well worth the read. Her histories are highly accessible and her descriptions of the personalities and politics are vivid and insightful. In a field dominated by the focus on Parliamentary politics she provides the King's view without, it seems to me, appearing partisan. If you are just starting to read up on the period I highly recommend this.
 
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Kenneth Kloby
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Charles
Charles, thanks for that detailed review. I have both Wanklyn books in my amazon cart waiting for me to pull the trigger. Ken.
 
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Charles Vasey
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Kenneth Kloby wrote:
Charles, thanks for that detailed review. I have both Wanklyn books in my amazon cart waiting for me to pull the trigger. Ken.


Wanklyn's book concentrates on the battles; if you want something to "help" with UKC then you want something on the campaigns. THE KING'S WAR was the first book I fed into the storyboard many years ago (there was also a book by Young and Adair) precisely because they avoided the battles and spoke to the campaigns.
 
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Kenneth Kloby
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Charles
Thanks again.

I will investigate these books too. UKC is much more of a campaign game so these new titles you cited will be more useful.

Just curious, how come the subordination level isn't on the counter?

Ken.
 
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Kenneth Kloby
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FYI
In case anyone's interested...

I just came across a new book, Sieges of the English Civil War, by John Barratt. Looks like it was just released. It costs $30.39 on Amazon.

 
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Charles Vasey
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Kenneth Kloby wrote:
Thanks again.

I will investigate these books too. UKC is much more of a campaign game so these new titles you cited will be more useful.

Just curious, how come the subordination level isn't on the counter?

Ken.


We couldn't find a way to do it that didn't clutter the counter, so we went with a separate chart. Since large armies are the exception not the rule we felt it was the least useful of the various stats.
 
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Kenneth Kloby
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Good Point, Charles
Hi Charles (the Happy?),

Since large armies are the exception...

Good point.

In a number of ways UKC reminds me of AH's 1776, they're both really about controlling territory...although in UKC there is the remote possibility of winning by capturing Charles and there is no such sudden death possibility in 1776. Both games seem to be dominated by small forces bringing their minor numerical 'advantage' to bear in a region. Of course, if the enemy organizes a large army and manages to get into territory where it is unopposed those small forces will scatter (ie, disperse) and forfeit control to the large army. But this probably leaves the owner of the big army deficient somewhere else so his opponent runs amok...at least for a while.

Good Luck, Ken.
 
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Neil Randall
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Quote:
Of course, if the enemy organizes a large army and manages to get into territory where it is unopposed those small forces will scatter (ie, disperse) and forfeit control to the large army.


Difficult to do, though. If it's a major army, you need 3-ops cards to activate it, and it moves very slowly. If it's a 4-brigade army (still large), it can move more easily but is a bit slow and then starts to desert. So a large army can do damage, certainly, but usually in limited ways.

 
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David Brown
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Hi Charles - I would welcome your opinion.

I'm currentlty reading God's fury, England's fire by Michael Braddick.

I must admit I'm finding it interesting but a bit hard going (may be I'm a bit thick)

Would The King's War by Wedgwood, be a better place to start?

I'm fairly ignorant on our Civil War and would like to learn a lot more


Thanks
 
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