Most of the combats generated by Heroes are skirmishes, rather than full scale battles and Swordes Ecgum is designed to reflect that, being ideally suited for engagements up to 50 figures a side.

Skirmish Wargames Rules set in the Dark Ages.

“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.”

Wars are fought by people; armies are led by personalities and made up of individual soldiers. The pivotal units, which turned the most famous battles of history, were bands of brothers… bands of brothers as diverse as any group of wargamers. The smaller the action one looks at, the easier it is to see the importance of the individual fighter. In the final analysis, wars are fought by people, warriors; the best and perhaps the worst of these warriors, are Heroes…

All too often in Wargames this can be overlooked; swept away in the mass of immaculately turned out figures in their impersonal units of neat little bases. In representations of battle, between tens of thousands, where one figure may denote 20, or 50, it’s all too easy to forget that each man so signified, really represents an actual human being. Of course, in a large scale battle it is impossible to represent the human characteristics of every individual man. However, in a small scale skirmish, it should be possible to get much closer to reality and take an interest in each brother in the band.

Let’s try to get close and personal… let’s try to think in a Wargame, of what YOU, the player, might really think, if you were involved in a skirmish, along with your friends; your own Band of Brothers…

The purpose of these rules was originally to provide a set of mechanisms to resolve fights and skirmishes generated by Heroes RPG rules. They are hopefully, just as useful to anyone wishing to play a skirmish level game, set in the dark ages. Wargames are about conflict and that is the focus of these rules too. Battle may be described as "something which happens between two armies leading to the moral then physical disintegration of one or the other of them".[i]

Skirmishes are minor fights, in which the sides are not armies, but small informal groups, or warbands, taking part in anything from a pub brawl, to a small scale battle involving escalating opposing forces. These rules are detailed and not simple; they are ideal for any conflict involving up to 100 figures; but not recommended for anything much larger. The focus of the rules is the ‘Hero’, the players’ personal character and those who interact around him. The Hero, is you, the decisions are yours…

heroes of st crispins day

And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered,
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition.
And gentlemen in England now abed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's Day.

[i]          John Keegan, (1976). ‘The Face of Battle’. Pimlico. ISBN 1844137481.

[ii].        William Shakespeare. ‘Henry V’.

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