17th Century Wargames Rules

This Blog page provides a reference list of wargame rule sets that enable the recreation of seventeenth century battles on the table top, with miniatures.  This list is constantly evolving as new sets are released and as I discover older rulesets thanks to the recommendations from others.  The list is currently focused on rules for the first half of the seventeenth century.

Always a challenge for 17th Century rules, Montrose's 1644-45 Scots Royalist army.

Last Updated: December 2023.

"Here, then, are the rules of the perfect battle-game as we play it in an ordinary room."
From Little Wars, by H. G. Wells

Unlike when H. G. Wells penned his Little Wars rules today's wargamer is spoilt for choice in wargames rules, even for slightly niche periods, like the 17th Century.  I think the constant evolution of rules is good for the hobby as new sets of rules can provide a new way to look at the periods, and can provide new ways to enjoy our games with toy soldiers.

I have become a bit of a rules collector for this period.  Most sets provide the author's interesting take on what makes this period different, and how to present these as challenges to the toy solider general.  It is worth remembering that we are, of course, free to amend how we use other people's rules and I suspect very few people play rules purely as they were written.

There is a very interesting discussion about the wargames in the 17th century and the challenges it gives to rules writers and wargamers in Henry Hyde's BattleChat pod cast with Sir Sidney Roundwood here:
https://www.patreon.com/posts/battlechat-18-25160113.  (In particular minutes 0:31 to 1:16.)

When I first started this list I thought it would contain maybe only a dozen sets of rules.  However it has continued to grow and so I have re-written the page to make it easier to read through, and the rules are now listed in alphabetic order.  I have provided brief details for each set such as: the author, publisher, and where the rules are available from, with brief description of what I know of the rules.  I welcome any and all suggestions for updates and corrections. 

Rules and Description
1644 by Rick Priestly
Published by Wargames Foundry (1990)
Update May 2020 


Rick Priestly (wargames writing guru) wrote them. Do I need to say anymore? I am ashamed to say that I do not own a set, but I have this copy on long term loan. Only available second hand now. Lovely Perry Twin illustration on the cover and more throughout. A very useful campaign system included. The rules look straightforward and elegant, as you'd expect from Mr. Priestly. They have a simultaneous movement system which may be a struggle after playing alternate systems for so long!

1644 v2
(see above)
Update June 18th 2023

This is an upgraded version of 1644 (above).  More pictures, more background, and generally higher quality production.  The rules are essentially the same. (Thanks to Mike from KYPD for the pic!)

An Uncivil Affair
By SKT Wargames Rules
Update December 2023


These rules are available as a PDF download, in A4 or A5 sizes, for a contribution to the Combat Stress charity. The rules are for the English Civil War and are based on a "no-dice mechanism" that sounds interesting. They are aimed at large, multiplayer games.   

Arguing When Money Talks - Der Söldner by Jan-Willem Boots
Published by Boek Scout
Update December 2023


This rule set is designed for battles in the mid 14th to mid 17th century. It is unique in this list in that it is based on Chris Engle's matrix game approach.  (See the Wargame Development site for an explanation of matrix games here.) The rule book includes the rules as well as an rationale for the use of the matrix system, and some help in how to run games with this approach.  There are also five historical scenarios included. 

I am intrigued by the approach and attracted to the story-telling approach to gaming.  This is not like a traditional set of rules for playing with miniatures, and I don't think you could just pick them up and muddle through them unless you are very familiar with matrix gaming.   

Published by Dadie and Piombo
Update June 6th 2020


Dadie and Piombo are an Italian company and publish these rules in English and Italian. The rules are based on the popular Impetus set for ancients, and are distributed in the UK from Northstar. The rule book includes army lists for the ECW and TYW, and more lists are available on the Dadie and Piombo site (see above).

Baroque Battles
by Ed M
Update June 18th 2023


This is a grid based game that has evolved from a counter based system.  See Ed's blog on the link above for more details on this free set of rules with downloads available to support it.  Many thanks to Ed for suggesting the addition to the list.

BelloLudi Harquebusier  by Peter van Dop
Published by BelloLudi
Update December 2023


These rules are from the same author / publisher as  BelloLudi Pikes (see below).  This set is aimed at skirmish games in the 1500-1700 period using 28mm figures on a 6' x 4' table. The rules use a custom D20 command dice and optional cards also available from BelloLudi.   


BelloLudi Pikes by Peter van Dop

Published by BelloLudi

Update Jun 18th 2023


BelloLudi are a games company from the Netherlands that produce and sell wargames rules for a number periods that specialise in developing rules for people who are new to wargames. ‘Pikes’ is aimed at the period from 1530 to 1660.  The look to be a fairly fast play set and come with some special BelloLudi D20s. As an expansion there is a set of cards available, that works with all of their rule sets, to add an additional layer of ‘friction’ to games. 

(Thanks to Peter for getting in touch so that I could correct the description here.)

As well as being available on their own website, the BelloLudi products are also available at: Noble Knight Games for the USA, Caliver Books for the UK, Tabletopper.nl for the Netherlands (and EU) and Battlefield Berlin for Germany (and EU).

Bibles and Buff Coats
Published by Bob Rodgers
Update June 18th 2023


Available from Caliver Books on the link above.  Don't know much about these but I think they have a great name!
Blood & Plunder
Published by Firelock Games
Update June 7th 2020


Blood & Plunder is a 'whole game' system with figures, rules, dice, terrain, boats and ships to allow you to fight large scale skirmish actions in the Caribbean.  A definite pirate feel, but on the historical side of the Yo Ho Ho genre.  Plenty of different forces, and a the rules blend naval and land warfare together very neatly.  Firelock Games have done a lot to support the system and there are plenty of YouTube explanations of the game.

By Fire and Sword by Konrad Sosiński & Rafal Szwelicki
Published by Wargamer
Update June 18th 2023

http://www.fireandsword.wargamer.pl/ or
https://www.wargameruk.com/ if you're in the UK

N.B. At the time of writing, Wargamer have just completed a successful Kickstarter campaign for a major revision and new edition of the rules, expected out in early 2024.

The rules are part of a whole game system produced by the Wargamer company in Poland. The rule system is focused on 17th century battles in Eastern Europe. As you can see from the front cover, very much focused on the spectacular Polish armies of this period. I hope to try the rules soon and see no reason why they will not work for battles further West. If you are just getting in to this period then you should definitely check out the website.

Wargamer sell everything for the game, including figures and terrain. The figures and terrain are designed for 15mm. I'm already committed to 28mm, but if I was going for 15s then the figures look great. The rules come in a hefty tome - but it is the sort of book that you should own, even if you will never play the game - it is stunning! The only ruleset to give Warlord a run for their money in terms of size, background content, and fabulous artwork. The rules include army lists for 1648-78, a period that Wargamer have titled 'Republic in Flames'. There are further supplements for other time periods also available.

By The Sword
By Chris Peers
Update December 2023


These are a skirmish set of rules designed with 25/28mm figures in mind.  They are designed to cover medieval and renaissance skirmish games.  They are available as a PDF download from Brigade Games. 
Cavaliers and Roundheads by Gary Gygax and Jeff Perren
Published by TSR (1973)

A fascinating bit of wargaming history. The first thing that Tactical Studies Rules (later TSR) ever published, back in 1973, a set of ECW rules authored by none other than the father of RPGs, Gary Gygax. Wow. I expect these now go for more than the original $3 cover price. I will certainly be looking out for a copy to add to my collection.

Close Fire and European Order XVII
By Simon MacDowall
Update June 18th 2023


These rules for the ECW and TYW are available as a PDF on Simon's website (see link above) and also as a hard copy from Caliver Books. They are based on the innovative and ever popular 'Loose Files and American Scramble' by Andy Callan.  Simon has also written a set for the 1700-1720 period (see the same link).

Clouds of Smoke
By Alexey Usachev
Update December 2023


An interesting set of rules that are available free online and have a downloadable PDF, also available for free. The rules were originally in Russian but are now available in both English and Russian. They are very well presented and include lots of helpful diagrams and explanations of the rule mechanisms.  The site also covers army lists and quick reference sheets to help game play. The rules are element based with measurements in units of element width.  The system is designed to cover conflicts from 1600 to 1815 in three broad eras.  Many thanks to Wilhelm Dunkel for suggesting the rules.

Constantinople To Vienna by T. J. Halsall, R. G. Boss and G. J. Hyland
Published by Newbury Rules (1983)
Update June 7th 2020

You'll have to look for a second-and copy if you want to track these down.  Back in the day it seemed the two big rules producers in the UK were WRG and Newbury Rules.  Our club were followers of WRG, so we never had much experience of Newbury Rules.  I understand they are detailed but complicated and potentially slow to learn and play.  I may be doing them a massive injustice.  I think there was a separate set of army lists.  There is a 'Fast Play' version of the rules (also in this list).
De Bellis Renationis (DBR) by Phil Barker and Richard Bodley-Scott
Published by the Wargames Research Group (WRG)

Updated June 18th 2023

I can remember being really excited when I first read De Bellis Antiquitatis (DBA). A radical departure for the Wargames Research Group (WRG) 'stable' of rules back in the early Nineties. DBA evolved in to DBM which basically added more figures and complexity. I played DBM quite a bit, even playing in some competitions. DBR were the inevitable move from the Ancient/ Medieval era in to the Renaissance. I think they have some quite clever mechanisms to cover the way different troops supported one another (e.g. pike and shot, horse and command shot).

These are old school rules with just black and white text. There are separate sets of lists. I think these suffer from trying to cover every geography in the world for 300 years. (I have a 15mm Scottish Covenant Army (1651), packed away in a box somewhere, which was based for these rules which I must find sometime!)  

Original copies of the rules (2004) are available from Keep Wargaming https://www.keepwargaming.co.uk/wrg-dbr-de-bellis-renationis-renaissance-wargames-rules-version-20-pub-2004-2466-p.asp along with the separate books of army lists.

There is also a V2.0 of the rules, combined with the army lists, available from Lulu via Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bellis-Renationis-version-2-0/dp/0244773556.

Thanks to Andreas Johansson for clarifying the availability of the rules.

 (I have been sent a comment that says that DBR was originally born from an article in the Arquebusier, the journal of the Pike and Shot Society.)
Donnybrook by Clarence Harrison and Barry Hilton
Published by The League of Augsburg
Update June 7th 2020


This is a skirmish set of rules that, although focused on the 1660-1700 time period, should work just as well for the first half of the seventeenth century.  The League of Augsburg and, associated Warfare Miniatures, produce great wargaming rules and figures for the 17th century, and the website is worth visiting just for the inspirational pictures.
Dutchman, Spaniard, Switzer, Swede by Douglas Hubbard

Not heard of them before they were suggested in the comments, but very interested now! Published in 1993, they seem to only be available second hand, if you can find them. Apparently there are expansions for the ECW and Eastern Europe.
The English Civil War - Airfix Guide by George Gush and Martin Windrow

One of the oldest sets of rules that I have (published 1978, one year before the second edition of the WRG Renaissance rules came out). Airfix guides were fabulous resources in there day. (My first rules were the Airfix Guide to World War II.) Historical background, modelling and collecting advice, wargames rules and scenarios. Perhaps a forerunner of today's Pike and Shotte, by Warlord, in terms of providing everything in a single book.

You can see the genesis of the WRG Renaissance rules in this set. A nice simple set of rules, but perhaps showing their age a bit now. The background information though is exemplary (it is George Gush!), and the scenario included in the rules is worth the price of picking up a copy, for what ever rules and period you intend to use it for. No longer available, you will need to search the second-hand sites for this little gem.

En Garde! by Craig Woodfield
Published by Osprey

Update June 2020

One of the growing number of 'blue book' rule sets produced by Osprey.  These are a very low-level skirmish set of rules, ideal if you want to recreate one to one games in this period with heroes such as the Musketeers or Alatriste.  They have a fun and entertaining combat system that allows heroic swordsmen to fight against the odds and win.  They will bog down if you use too many figures, and 10 per side is getting too big. We have played a few games at our club with these and they are easy to pick up, providing lots of excitement. Highly recommend!

Fast Play Rules for The Pike and Shot Period by T. J. Halsall and R. G. Boss
Published by Newbury Rules (1980s?)
Update June 7th 2020

You'll have to look for a second-and copy if you want to track these down.  Back in the day it seemed the two big rules producers in the UK were WRG and Newbury Rules.  Our club were followers of WRG, so we never had much experience of Newbury Rules.  I think there was a separate set of army lists.  There is a more complex/detailed set of these rules (also in this list) called Constantinople to Vienna.

Father Tilly by Stephen Danes
Published by AB One Games
Update July 2nd 2022

See Wargames Vault here: https://www.wargamevault.com/product/63303/Father-Tilly?src=also_purchased

These rules for the Thirty Years War are aimed at fighting all sizers of engagements with 28mm figures. There are always a number of supplements available that cover different parts of the war, including warfare in Eastern Europe, and also campaign rules.  Apparently the rules have been through several iterations.

Field of Glory - Renaissance by Richard Bodley-Scott, Nik Gaukroger, and Charles Masefield
Published by Slitherine


These evolved from DBR (see above). They were part of a move by Slitherine (the software / games company) in to analogue games. There was a collaboration with Osprey who provided lots of lovely artwork. These were 'big' on the competition scene for a while, and apparently are still well liked by those who play competition games in this era. When reading them they quickly come across as a competition set. (They do have lots of diagrams, which are helpful.) They use element basing.

I think, like so many of the WRG style of rules, they suffer from trying to cover every army in the world over a 300 year period. I found these a bit unfathomable, perhaps I had become a bit lazy in learning such dense rules. Never played them in competition, but they were popular for some years. See the BHGS amendments linked to above.

The rules are now only available second hand, and you will also need to track down the various army list books. The 'War of Religion' volume covers ECW and the Thirty Years War. The rules and the lists are very nicely illustrated throughout with some very nice figures, and also Osprey artwork. The army lists includes some nice backgrounds to the individual armies. The explanatory diagrams are very nicely done - not seen these done better.
File Leader by Peter Berry
Published by Partizan Press


Available from Caliver Books. Relatively unusual for this period in being a skirmish set of rules. I am amazed that there are not more low-level sets for this period. Much of the first hand accounts of this period focus far more on 'actions' (small scale skirmishes) rather than grand battles. I think these rules evolved from a set called 'Once Upon A Time In The West Country' which is the best sounding name for a set of rules ever! A nice simple set of game mechanics. Need to try them out.
Forlorn Hope by Peter Berry and Ben Wilkins
Published by Partizan Press
Updated June 6th 2020


I think these rules were the first I read that used the terms Trotters and Gallopers to describe the two key doctrines for how cavalry fought in this period. They were also the first set I read that classified infantry units based on their ratio of pikes to muskets. Simply put, units with a high ratio of pikes to muskets are good in combat but bad at shooting, and vice a versa. Quite a weighty set, but still liked by many.

The current 'revised and updated' edition has lots of nice colour illustrations including flags for the ECW.  There is a quick reference sheet, as well as ECW army lists and scenarios being included.
For King and Parliament by Simon Miller and Andrew Brentnall (To The Strongest)
Published by the authors.
Update May 2020


Based on Simon's very successful To The Strongest Ancient / Medieval set. An innovative set based on a grid system (no measuring required) and using cards (no dice required). Definitely fast play and seem to be enjoyed by everyone who tries them. A great big battle set, with lots of period flavour. (I'm a big fan of everything Simon does, and have found his games inspirational for many years.

These rules have recently been promoted to the "I've played them" list! They are a really quick-play set of rules and we typically got through two games in a club afternoon. Tried the cards, but reverted to D10s as an alternative. You need a big table if you want to use large, 28mm units. Great fun and recommended! (There is a useful quick reference sheet available on the website forum.)

Furioso by Steve Danes
Published by Alternative Armies.
Update May 2021


These rules are focused on 16th century battles, but can probably be used for 17th century games as well.  They were recommended to me by Gareth Lane, known as Lord Raglan on Twitter etc, who rates them highly.  They are are available hard copy and also in electronic form.  There is a rule book and an Italian Wars supplement available. 

Gadzooks it’s the Apocalypse
By Stephen Danes
Update December 2023


These rules were first published in 2019 following a successful kickstarter and have been reprinted by the author at least once since then. I'm not sure if it is possible to buy them new at the moment but they do sometimes appear on eBay. There is some more info on the rules on Steven Lampon's site here (link).

The rules are somewhere between a small skirmish game and a roleplaying game.  Each player controls a single character accompanied by a number of henchmen.  The rules are set at 'the end of days' which was a common theme for contemporary religious belief in the first half of the 17th century.  The rules include spells and 'evil' creatures to populate your own personal apocalypse.  The rule book is produced to a very high quality in full colour with some excellent contemporary illustrations and beautifully painted minis.  

There are rules for campaigns and five introductory scenarios are included in the rules book, as well as a quick reference sheet and templates for counters and character sheets. There is an introductory video on Steve Lampon's site (link above). 
“Gott Mit Uns!” by Lance Flint
Published by KoH Games
Update 20th May 2021

https://www.magistermilitum.com/gott-mit-uns.html (available from a number of sources according to Google, but I can’t find any info. on KoH Games.)

These are a thin and simple set of rules, written on the basis that the reader has a basic understanding of how wargames rules work.  They are a grid based with an emphasis on fast play, where figure scale and basing doesn’t matter as long as you can distinguish between different types of formation.  They work at a relatively high level with each unit typically representing a brigade of horse or foot. Units are activated on a dice roll, with faster / more manoeuvrable troops having the ability to move more often.  Shooting and melee are straightforward with the attacker scoring ‘hits’ based on its size and ability, and the defender’s situation.
In Deo Veritas by Philip Garton
Published by Helion
Update December 23rd 2020


The first wargames rules published by Helion who, I am sure, are a publisher that most wargamers will already be familiar with. The rules use an element basing system and are designed to allow very large battles to be fought relatively quickly using smaller scale figures. The rules are nicely put together and feature lots of pictures of some beautifully painted 10mm figures.  
(Update - most of the figure painting is by https://www.battlebrushstudios.com/ - check out Sigur’s site for his fabulous painting service, and also his private blog for all sorts of wonderful inspiration https://www.tabletopstories.net/language/en/.)
Irregular Wars: Conflict at the World's End by Nicholas Wright
Published by the author
Update June 6th 2020


This is a skirmish set that I have just learnt about.  It focuses on games in the frontiers of civilisation, as they were perceived in 'civilised Western Europe; namely the Americas and the North Western Celtic fringes of the British Isles. Players take the part of 'lords' who are trying to conquer new land and/or loot in a hostile territory.
The Kingdom is Ours by James Daniels
Published by Bicorne Miniatures


Bicorne not only make lovely ECW/TYW figures but also publish these rules authored by the owner, (and long time buddy of mine) James Daniels. 
\f The North by Michael Peters
Published by the author
Update June 7th 2020


A set of rules focused on the TYW and available free online.  

[Note. There was also a set of the same name back in the 1990s, Lion of the North by Neil Danskin but no trace remains on the internet.]
Update July 2nd 2022

Mars Redux or War Risen Again
By Bill Johnson & David Ratcliffe
Update December 2023

A set of English Civil War skirmish rules that were added to my collection from a club 'table top sale'. These soft-back, A5 pamphlet rules are from the days before the internet (judging by the one advert they contain).  They refer to Redoubt Miniatures and includes some of the classic Redoubt black and white line drawings, so perhaps they were published by them. These are a simple set of rules based on percentages roles and individual figures in small units. 

Matchlocks  & Witchcraft
By Samuel S. Drucker
Update December 2023


These are a skirmish set of rules set in New England in the early part of the 17th century and are advertised as a "folk horror" genre in which Puritans battle against covens of witches. The rules are available as a download on the Wargame Vault site.
Musketeer by Dave Millward
Published by Heritage (1976)
Update June 7th 2020

These old school rules are no longer published so you will need to scour the second-hand market.  From comments online it seems they are in the same vein as the WRG Renaissance rules, but a bit simpler.  
Once Upon A Time In The West Country by Peter Berry
Published by Partizan Press
Updated June 7th 2020


Surely one of the most clever names for a set of rules!  These are ECW skirmish rules. I'm not sure how these differ from File Leader from the same author.  There is a companion set "Once Upon A Time In The West Indies" which focused on pirates. 
Pikeman's Lament by Daniel Mersey and Michael Leck
Published by Osprey
Update June 18th 2023


Not quite sure how I forgot to mention this set originally.  One of the Osprey 'blue book' rule sets.  They follow on from the very populate Lion Rampant medieval set, which also spawned the Dragon Rampant fantasy set, also by Daniel Mersey.  Michael Leck, the co-author, was instrumental in getting the original Lion Rampant rules morphed in to the 17th century. He has a great Blog (Dalauppror) with lots of play throughs, and armies he's created for this game.  It is a 'large skirmish' scale and is very easy to pick up and play.

Ed M has some useful resources for the rules on his Blog here  https://edmwargamemeanderings.blogspot.com/p/pikemans-lament-resources.html
Thanks to Ed for letting me know about these.
Pike and Shotte by Steve Morgan
Published by Warlord Games


My current 'go to' set for the 17th century. I like the simple, yet clever command and control, and above all their flexibility and tailor-ability. I have written a fuller review here: LINK.

There are two supplements available so far: The Devil's Playground, focused on the Thirty Years War, and To Kill A King, focused on the English Civil Wars.

Pike & Shotte Epic Battles
By Steve Morgan
Update December 2023


These rules are a specialised version of the main Pike & Shotte rules by Warlord, above.  They are slightly modified to allow for the change in size and appropriate basing when using the new range of Warlord 'Epic' scale figures (15mm). The Epic version of the rule book also focuses in on the English Civil War and Thirty Years War rather than the whole 1500-1700 period that the main rule book covers.  The rules also assume that pike and shot formations will fight in combined units. This is an option in the main rulebook but assumed in the Epic version with the likelihood that players will want to focus on larger engagements that will benefit from this simplification.  Other than this there are no other rules changes. 

This version of rules has the same high quality production value of the originals with refreshed artwork (including painted figures from the new range) and is produced in a handy A5 size.  The rule book is available in the different Epic Pike & Shotte starter sets and also separately on the Warlord site.

Polemos English Civil War
 by Peter Berry, David Heading and Edward Sturges
Published by Baccus
Update June 6th 2020


These rules are aimed at allowing your to refight large battles, and are aimed, unsurprisingly, at 6mm armies. The Polemos system is tailored for individual periods which I think is a neat idea.

The Portable Pike & Shot Wargame Book
 by Antoine Bourguilleau, Alan Saunders, Arthur Harman and Bob Cordery.
Published by Ellington Books
Update July 2nd 2022

See Wargames Vault here: https://www.wargamevault.com/product/395406/The-Portable-Pike--Shot-Wargame?filters=0_0_0_44510

Actually a collection of different rules sets for the period, covering late 16th century warfare in Japan and 17th century warfare in Western Europe.  The rules are grid based and focus on the ‘battle in a box’ idea. As well as the rules, the book provides some scenarios and ideas for rule mechanisms.

Push of Pike  – Wargame Rules  for 1639–1660 by Craig Burnett
Published by Craig Burnet, Mortdale, Australia
Update September 16th 2021


These are a set of ECW rules from Australia, published in 1992.  They include a card based activation system.  I’m not aware if these rules are currently available.  The link above is to a short review of the rules. Many thanks to ‘Jacksarge Painting’ for the recommendation. 

Regiment of Foote (V1)
Published by Peter Pig
Update June 18th 2023


These are the original set of Regiment of Foote which use measuring rather than the grid system used in V2 (below) and are significantly different.  Still available in PDF formfrom Peter Pig (see link above).  Highly recommended by Mike at the KYPD blog who says that the campaign system alone in V1 is worth the purchase.  Thanks to Mike for the clarification and recommendation. 
Regiment of Foote (V2) 
Published by Peter Pig
Update June 6th 2020


This set is part of Peter's Pig's extensive rules portfolio.  These are focused on the ECW and use a grid system.  Aimed at using 15mm figures on a 4' x 3' table. Perter Pig make some great figures including a range for the ECW. 

Renatio Et Gloriam
By Alasdair Harley and Simon Clarke
To be published by Helion (planned for 2024)
Update June 18th 2023

These rules are a renaissance version of the Mortia Et Gloriam (MeG) ancient wargaming rules.  ReG have been released as PDF rules and army lists at the moment, and have an active Facebook group with associated 'matched play' / competition scene.  They use an element basing system. 

If you are interested in ReG then it is worth investigating the MeG site which has lots of background material available on the basic design ethos etc here https://mortem-et-gloriam.co.uk/meg/

Repent or Die! 2.0
By Manny Granillo
Update December 2023


These rules offer a 'fast play' system to complete large battles in 3-4 hours. They cover the period from 1492-1660 and are available on the Lulu print-on-demand site (see link above).  I can't see much about the rules online at the moment but perhaps I'm not looking in the right places.  I came across the rules when I bought their accompanying scenario book that covers 21 scenarios for the period covered by the rules.  

Smalle Warre
By Ed M
Update June 18th 2023


These are described as a skirmish set of rules and allow for small units and individual figures. They are available for free on Ed's website (see above) where you can also read more about them.  Thanks to Ed for suggesting them for the list.

Rules for a Thirty Years War Game
By Jack Scruby
Update December 2023


These rules, written by one of the the fathers of modern gaming, first appeared in the War Game Digest in 1971 (link).  Many thanks to the anonymous commenter who mentioned them earlier this year. The rules were written to accompany the release of Scruby Miniatures TYW range in the late 1960s.  They are straightforward rules and 'of their age'.  They are an interesting look at the rules from this 1960s/70s and it is great to be able to find them online.

Sword and Pistol
By Richard Stevens
Updated June 18th 2023


A set of rules from 1985, from the Table Top Games (TTG) stable of classic A5 booklet rules. A skirmish set of rules very much of their time, with lots details and tables to be consulted.  An interesting review of them on the 'Move along now nothing to see here' Blog (link above). 
Liber Militum: Tercios  by Abian Suarez Hernandez and Rayco Suarez Hernandez

Published by El Kraken Released

Update July 2nd 2022


These rules are produced by a Spanish company and are available in English or Spanish.  They use an interesting looking card based order system, and the cards are available on Scribd.  There is also an expansion volume, Kingdoms, which covers some new rules, as well as additional army lists for the War of the Three Kingdoms (ECW) and 17th century conflict in Eastern Europe.

The main rules, and the expansion volume, are very nicely produced with a clear, full colour layout, and attractive period illustrations.  There are lots of helpful diagrams to explain the rules, and also how to form units with figures based to different formats. 

El Kraken also produces Tercio Miniatures and have a few successful Kickstarters under their belt as they have expanded their ranges.

Tercio Wargames Rules and Army Lists 1480-1700, 5th Edition by Peter Harris Published by Tabletop Games (1982)
Update June 6th 2020

These rules were in the same vein as the WRG set for this period by George Gush. They are definitely of their age, and add even more factors and tables than the similar WRG sets. In my youth I thought that even more detail must be a good thing. Instead it slowed everything to a snail's pace, as a beginner with the rules, and I gave up trying to use them.

Now only available second hand, this 5th edition included army lists.  It is typical of rules of this era and uses a very simple black and white type-set presentation.

"This war without an enemy"
By Tim Whitworth
Update June 18th 2023


These rules are available to purchase via the 'Like a stone wall' Wargames Group on Facebook (link above).  There is a Quick Reference Sheet, as well as supplements for the Great Italian Wars, The Thirty Years War and War in Eastern Europe available.  Tim was kind enough to send me a copy to review and they are in the queue!  Thanks to Tim for the details to add to the list here, and also for the many fabulous posts and pictures on Facebook under the 'Eagles and Lions Wargaming' tag.  Definitely worth a follow if you're on Facebook.

Through the Square Window
By Gordon Crawford
Update June 22nd 2023


A fast play set of rules designed for use with 6-15mm figures.  Available from Caliver Books - see link above.  (The rules are hoping to go for a 2nd print soon).  Thanks to Gordon for contacting me on Facebook to correct my previous comment that these were a grid based set of rules, which they are not.  Looking forward to seeing how the rules progress. 
Tilly's Very Bad Day by Steven Thomas
Published by the author
Update May 2020


The author, Steven Thomas, of these rules has been discussing their evolution on his blog for some time (above), and so I was interested to get them when he decided he was ready for 'publishing'.

They are available (see links) as a free PDF download, or as a printed copy through Lulu (as pictured). The rules are very clearly layed out with lots of helpful diagram. They work on an element based system and are focused on the Thirty Years War (The 'Tilly' in the title refers to Field Marshal Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly).

To Defy A King
By Keith Johnson, published by Wargames Despatch
Update June 18th 2023

I came across these rules through a discussion on Facebook.  They were published in 2014 and after some chatter about them on social media seem to have disappeared without a trace.  I can see one copy for sale at Noble Knight in the USA, but no other details.  The publisher's site is also defunct.  There is a play through of them on the Devon Wargames site here: http://devonwargames.blogspot.com/2015/05/devon-wargames-defy-king.html
Twilight of Divine Right by Nichola Dorrell
Published by the Pike and Shot Society


This set is published by the Pike and Shot Society, so comes with a healthy historical pedigree. (Pike and Shot Society link here https://www.pikeandshotsociety.org.) If you like this period and you are not a member , then you should be! At the time of writing I have only read through the rules and not yet played them. Will report back when I have tried them. Published at the same time was a book of ECW and a book of TYW scenarios. Useful what ever rules you play with. 

There is an excellent review of the rules on the Keep Your Powder Dry site here: https://www.keepyourpowderdry.co.uk/2023/01/twilight-of-divine-right.html

Twilight of Divine Right - With Fire & Sword
By Nicholas Dorrell
Update December 2023


This is a supplement to the main Twilight of Divine Rules (above) to cover warfare in Eastern Europe through the seventeenth century.  (The main rule book is required to play with the supplement.) It is accompanied by three Eastern Europe scenario books also published by the Pike and Shot Society available on the same site. 
Very Civile Actions
Published by Perfect Captain
Update June 7th 2020


These online/PDF rules, focused on the ECW, are based on the Perfect Captain rules system and you will also need the "Spanish Fury, Actions" base rules from the same site.  The system includes campaign rules, and there is a lot of support material available on the linked site.  The rules are freeware but the authors ask that you make a donation to charity for the rules, which is a great touch.  
Victory Without Quarter by Clarence Harrison (League of Augsburg)


A free (online) set of rules! From one of the brains behind the League of Augsburg / Warfare Miniatures, whose games have inspired me for many years. Quick paced, and characterful, I like this set. I need to give it a run out.
Wargames Rules for Fifteenth to Seventeenth Centuries (1420-1700) 2nd edition by George Gush
Published by Wargames Research Group


This is where Renaissance games started for me. All my views of these rules are massively tinted with huge dollops of rose-tinted, nostalgia. Mr. Gush is, of course, a giant of gaming in this period, on whose shoulders we all now crowd. I played these heavily for over 10 years. They were what all other rules were to be measured against, in my mind. Looking back they seem very clunky with their casualty tables and lengthy morale tests. I am not sure anybody at our club could behave in a game with simultaneous movement nowadays, but that is how it was all done then.

I keep saying I will try them again, but have not got around to it. The original edition is only available second-hand, but John Curry has been reviving many old sets of rules and wargaming literature, including this set. I have mysteriously lost my original copy (probably stuck inside something else in the loft!) so was happy to pick up this new edition. The Quick Reference Sheet and Army Lists book are available as downloads on John's website. 
Warhammer English Civil War by John Stallard
Published by Warhammer Historical


Warhammer Historical had a big impact on our club, and we played a lot of Warhammer Ancient Battles (WAB) and Warhammer English Civil War (WECW). John Stallard (then part of GW, now Warlord Games supremo) being a member of the club probably had a lot to do with this! I have to confess an interest in that I penned the army lists for these rules.

The Warhammer Historical rules were a big change to the then traditional WRG / DBx type of rules. Big Production values, full colour, historical background, scenarios and included army lists, were all trade marks of these rules.  You can see the heritage of the Warlord Games rules sets here.

WECW were a not-too-serious, fun game, and normally very bloody. If you like (Old World) Warhammer Fantasy, then these will be right up your street. Sadly no longer available, but you can still come across these second hand, including on Amazon.

Warre GAme 17th Century - Confusion To Thy Enemie 
By Steve Jones, published by the author
Update June 18th 2023

FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100063546461771
Link to rules: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=pfbid0dsHZGwfDya1oUpPjcevQm1mix6tgtP3o3ddvhp8NfVAKc347SCUgfa5EDmu9eR9hl&id=845807748787730

I originally came across these rules while I was researching Lützen, 1632. Since then Steve has revamped the rules and a new version is now available as a free PDF download. You will see that a huge amount of work has gone in to the rules. We have played the new version of the rules and found them really atmospheric for the Thirty Year War. Steve maintains an active FaceBook group, so if you use FaceBook then there is more info there. He is also expanding in to figure production with some really nice TYW cavalry sculpts so definitely worth checking out.
Warr Without an Enemie by the Wyre Forest Wargames Club  
Published by the authors
Update June 6th 2020


Rules available from the WFWG on the site above as a payed for PDF.  The site also include scenarios for the rules. 

With Musket, Pike and Drum
By Chris Swan
Update June 18th 2023


A recently published set of rules, available from Caliver Books, covering engagements with small forces in conflicts all around the world.  The rules can be purchased on their own and also with a supporting pack of reference sheets, markers, bonus rules and scenarios. Many thanks to Tim Whitworth for the tip off on these rules.  The lovely pictures in the rules are apparently of Tim's fabulous figure collection.
With Pike and Musket by C. F. Wesencraft
Published by The Elmfield Press

This is the oldest set I own (published 1975); inherited from my father-in-law, who shared a love of this period. The Tabletop Gaming website have an interview with the author, perhaps one of the sometimes overlooked fathers of the hobby here https://www.tabletopgaming.co.uk/images/files/MWBG-370-Charlie-Wesencraft.pdf . A real manual for how to play wargames. Includes rules and some great scenarios based on actual battles. A very handy little resource, and with some great B&W pictures of 1970s toy soldiers. 

Is this list not long enough?  Well, I'm aware that this may not be a comprehensive list.  If you are still looking for more rules then there are a couple of options.  First of all, The Miniatures Page (TMP) site has a rules Directory section, broken down by 'period'.  The link below takes you to the Renaissance list.  The list can be sorted by title, date released or rating given by TMP readers.  The directory covers rules beyond the rough focus of my list (1600-1660), and also covers naval as well as land warfare. There are probably over 250 sets of rules listed - amazing! (I have found its not always easy to find out how to acquire the rules listed.)


You can also search on Wargame Vault.  This list has things like paper models and board games, as well as rules.  You can filter by period and land/sear/air etc. More than 700 items listed for the Renaissance, wow!


If you want to find out more about some of the rules in the list above then I highly recommend you take a look at the Keep You Powder Dry site.  Mike has a recent and excellent set of rules reviews on his site where he walks through each set in more detail.


Congratulations for getting to the end of the page!


  1. Might want to take a look for Cavaliers and Roundheads (Gary Gygaxs set) https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/25990/cavaliers-and-roundheads

    or Dutchman, Spaniard and Swede https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/30320/dutchman-spaniard-switzer-swede (note - there is an expansion for this as well)

    By Fire and Sword and its expaansions

    Finally - early on before DBR was officially published - there was in my opinion a better version published in the Arquebusier

    1. Thanks for true suggestions, I will update the list . By coincidence I have just been lent a copy of By Fire and Sword, so look forward to a fuller description of that one. (Also found that the rules and some army lists are now available for free download on the manufacturer’s site.)

  2. You can add in 'Tercio' I picked up my copy back in about 1992, 'traditional' style rules heavily influenced by WRG. Personally, I think DBR still works very well for big battle ECW and TYW, less so for Eastern Europe and Asia.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion, Doug. I had forgotten about the TTG Tercio set. I have now added them in to the list. I remember finding them a bit hard going. I've not tried DBR further East so useful to know - thanks for the info! :)

  3. Just a brilliant list - I am really struggling to think of any others. Well done, Andy!! A really welcome and useful list.

  4. Thanks, Sir Sidney! I will try to keep this up to date, but do say if anything is missing 👍

  5. Have you tried "Push of Pike"? http://miniatures.de/wargame-push-of-pike.html

    1. Hi, Jacksarge! I have not heard of those, but thanks for the recommendation👍. I have added them to the list. Do you have a copy? What are they like to play?

  6. Many thanks for this extensive list, very useful mate. Congrats!

  7. There's also 'The Portable Pike & Shot Wargame', which has three sets of rules in it - one for 30YW/ECW, one specifically ECW and one for Tokugawa Japan (!) - as well as some other bits and pieces on suck things as sieges.

    (Disclaimer: I wrote one of the sets of rules in it :) )

    1. Thanks, Kaptain - I will add those to the list. 👍

  8. There is another rule set and a board game called Lion of the North. The rules, written by Neil Danskin, were published in the early 1990’s. I own a copy but can find no trace of the rules online. The board game was published by GMT and includes Breitenfeld and Lutzen. I’m not sure whether it is in print.

    BTW the activation system you describe for Gott Mit Uns! can hardly have helped it’s popularity.

    1. Thanks, Jon. I have a different sent listed under the name ‘Lion of the North’ already. I will add a note in case anyone comes across the Neil Danskin version. I will bear in mind the board game, but will not add that for the moment - perhaps board games should have their different list?

  9. Another omission is Father Tilly, by Stephen Danes. Version IV, which is available as a download, is effectively a completely new set, designed for gaming smaller actions in 28mm, whereas the earlier editions were intended for full battles in 15mm.

    The free Lion of the North in your list appears to have been removed from the hosting site.

    1. Thanks, Jon. I will add Father Tilly to the list. 👍

  10. Re DBR, it's nowadays purchasable again in the form of a Lulu print-on-demand edition collecting the rules (2nd edition) and all the lists in a single volume.

    1. Thanks, Andrea’s, useful info. I will include that in the next update 👍.

  11. Hello, Love your blog and this resource. Thanks for putting this together. I was looking for an email, but couldn't find one, so I'm dropping this comment. I have put together several systems for gaming the early 17th century that you might be interested in. Each has its own page on my blog. https://edmwargamemeanderings.blogspot.com/

    Smalle Warre: https://edmwargamemeanderings.blogspot.com/p/sm.html


    Baroque Battles: https://edmwargamemeanderings.blogspot.com/p/blog-page_28.html

    There is also a content page with Pikeman's Lament Resources (just an FYI).

    Ed M

    1. Hi Ed, really glad you like the blog, and the rules page. Thanks for your rules references, I will include in the next update, that is building into a biggy! Just had a look around and your blog is a fabulous resource. It never ceases to amaze me that there is so much useful stuff out here on the web, and also how I can be so oblivious to it - glad you commented as I have now followed your blog.

  12. Replies
    1. You’re very welcome, Golgotha 👍. I hope it is useful.

  13. Might consider adding Rules for the TYW by Jack Scruby from Table Top Talkhttp://www.tabletoptalk.com/?page_id=330

    1. Thanks, I will add therm to the list in the next update.

  14. We play "Bibles & Buff Coats".

    1. Thanks, I will add therm to the list in the next update.

  15. Thanks for the kind words re FK&P! I'm delighted you've had fun with them.

    1. It was a pleasure, Simon 👍. We will definitely be playing them again.

  16. Great work!
    “Argad“ (mix of RPG and skirmish game) has a reference sheet for the late 16th and the first half of the 17th century with which Wars of Religion and TYW games are quite often played (I don't know if it has been used for the ECW yet). :)

  17. You might find some others in my rules listings here:


    I can send you a sortable/editable copy if you like.
    mark at scalecreep dot com

    1. Thank, Mark. Just seen your post on TMP too. Great list - I will take a look through and I will also add the link in the main body of the post in my next update.