Wednesday, 7 September 2016

First Carlist War Campaign Rules

Way back in 1973 I won a prize at school – top in the class in science and art for year I seem to remember. The prize was a book and I was allowed to choose it. The book I chose was “War Game Campaigns” by Donald Featherstone. I still have that book, complete with its dog eared dust jacket, and I still leaf through it from time to time.

Ever since that time I have been fascinated by campaigns, but have only ever played in three or four, all of which ended inconclusively. That lack of success, however, has not stopped me from thinking about campaigns, preparing maps and developing systems, and truth be known I will probably be doing this until the day I die.
A couple of years ago I developed a campaign game for the American Civil War.  It uses a map that takes the various states and breaks them into movement zones, rather like a Risk game board. The game is built so that it could be played as a board game or used to set up table top battles. It is not particularly original and the rules are patched together from numerous sources – from ideas gleaned from Featherstone's book, from other campaign systems, various boardgames, etc.
Of course, true to form I have never used the system, but that hasn’t prevented me from using it as the basis for the development of similar games for other periods of interest like the Franco-Prussian, Austro-Prussian, English Civil and Crimean Wars. Each starts with my interpretation, right or wrong, of historical situation at the start of those conflicts.
When I started my First Carlist War project a few months ago it was kind of inevitable that I would create a campaign game. As I developed it I realised that this is almost the perfect subject for a campaign and that others may enjoy the system, so I have decided to publish them here.

Now, I need to be quite clear here, these rules have not been playtested beyond a quick solo run as a board game, so I give no guarantee that it works as a successful game, but the rules and map are completely free - they are not for commercial release. I welcome suggestions for improvement. If there is enough interest I may make other variants as time permits.

The rules themselves are laid out on A4 sized paper (210 x 297mm), so I suggest that if printing the US letter sized paper that you select the "Fit to paper" option in your print driver. 

The map is A3 (420 x 297 mm) size.

Here are the two PDF files:

The Rule Book

The Campaign Map


  1. Mark,
    Thank you very much for making your campaign rules and map available. I can envisage also using the map for Carlist and Peninsular War Matrix games.
    I was very interested to read that you had also adapted RISK for the ECW was that for a strategic overview of the entire country/war, or did it focus on the war as fought in the regions, control of market towns, fortified manors, castles &c.? I did try to develop something for the latter, but didn't get very far with it...
    Best wishes,

    1. You are welcome Arthur. The ECW version is very basic at present and needs a lot more work. I envision it as a means of fighting for the control of the whole country. The system is designed to provide games with some sort of context and consequence, rather than just one-off games where we fight to the bitter end.

  2. Hi Mark, I'm interested in a first Carlist War boardgame, but it seems like nobody likes it, hehe. I was thinking in doing a map and units with the Napoleonic 20 structure, but I'm not really sure. By the way ur rule book link is down and I wish to take a look at it.

    1. I have reset the link and all seems to work now. Hope you enjoy the ideas included.