Very British Civil War 2 – the megagame.

The 4th February saw Pennine Megagames host their first game of the year, reprising last year’s Very British Civil War game. Starting where the last game ended  we saw four factions battle it out in the north of England. For those of you who are not familiar with the setting imagine an alternative 1930s where King Edward refuses to abdicate to marry Simpsons, this triggers a chain of events leading to Mosley being PM. Fascists battle Royalist battle The Anglican League battle the Socialists.


The game is a nice mix of political and military play, meaning that there is something for everyone’s preferred style. The game started with the fascists in the ascendency both politically and military but a strong socialist block in South Yorkshire. My role on the day was as the military umpire responsible for overseeing all the combats movement on the map generated as well as acting as ‘shop’ for any military themed supplies. I also had to feedback any pertinent results to the political umpires, for example air strikes of heavy artillery used against populated areas would have a detrimental effect on any political or financial support to the guilty party. At this point I should like to apologise to John Mizon as he had to read my barely legible scrawl to find out who had shelled who. After every turn there was a quick radio bulletin read by John Moley, who did a fantastic job again reprising his role from the original VBCW. This was great as it allowed umpires such as myself who had a pretty narrow view of the game the chance to catch up on the political manoeuvring that had gone on. ?I find this useful as it added a bit of context to the subsequent map moves and combats. The new venue in Sheffield was pretty much perfect- a working Army Reserve bases based in a stately home style house on the edge of Sheffield.


I had a pretty busy day- after a few turns the combats ran themselves: the board that the fights took place on was quite straightforward and many players had been in the first game too. A few changes were made to how the game was set up to hopefully generate a few more combats. In the last game many players were content to just sit tight and not attack each other. This worked a treat the game saw everything from bitter urban combat in the ruins of Manchester to large armoured clashes on the outskirts of Leeds and armoured trains supporting militia in the foothills of the Pennines.


For a strong start the fascists were quickly pushed into a corner, the game turning into a 3 v 1 knockdown, a result of some player deviating from the brief and some fairly unlikely alliances being formed: still that is megagame  players for you… Towards the end of the day the Anglican League were taking to the field with some pretty substantial armies.


The most memorable part of the game was the death of Spode (a fascist former March Warden of the North) which prompted this Hitler rant parody video:

All in all the game went well, everybody seemed to enjoy themselves and their may well be a third part next year.





18 comments on “Very British Civil War 2 – the megagame.

  1. Great read and a great thematic film to go with it.

  2. peter says:

    Looks great! Thanks for sharing Pete!


  3. Hi Pete – many thanks for sharing this report. Do you know if it is possible to get the rules and components so others can run the games. I’d love to try this with my friends! Cheers, Iain

  4. Paul Howarth says:

    Hi there. Thanks for the interest in the game. I’m the scenario designer, rules writer and component producer, although my contribution to the map itself consisted of finding a 1936 touring map of the North, giving that to our mapmaker and then constantly finding things for him to add and revise.

    As the Very British Civil War setting isn’t mine originally (although I have deviated quite a bit from the established timeline), I’m wary of selling the rules as they are in a single pack. I am actually considering the political game as part of a standalone election one and also stripping out the combat rules as it can handle up to a brigade or so per side and resolve in about five minutes. I’d also look at putting together some counter templates you could personalise for your own setting, but you’d be making your own I’m afraid. There are approximately 250 mdf counters, with labels given a wash and then a wipeable plastic cover applied. Feel free to contact me with any ideas or suggestions.

    The alternative would be running the third game sooner than I planned in a winner takes all slug-fest. I have a scenario in mind…

    • Pete S/ SP says:

      Do the winner takes all next year Paul- be a good way to round it all off.



    • Iain (Admin) says:

      Hi Paul – I was particularly taken with the explanation of the political game so I would be interested in the rules for this – are they part of the original VBCW rules or your own addition? If they are part of the original rules, I’m happy to be the appropriate rule book.

      I’m a dab hand with Powerpoint so happy to make my own tokens and counters 🙂

      Thanks and look forward to hearing more in the future!

      • Iain (Admin) says:

        (Whoops) BUY the appropriate rule book!

      • Paul Howarth says:

        Ah, sorry for the confusion Iain. The only thing I actually used from Solway was the A5 handbook reprint for some timeline information leading up to the war. I then came up with a setting in the North and populated it with characters from Jeeves and Wooster, British comic book heroes and anti-heros and other literary characters. All the South Yorkshire characters (including the Soviet advisor) were named after roles played by Sean Bean. I was very clear in the handbook that this is ‘a’ VBCW, rather than the one outlined in the books. Some things just didn’t work for me and given that one turn represents a week, over the course of two games of 10 turns, we’ve rapidly produced a very different storyline.

        Due to the nature of the game and the timescale covered, I wrote both the military game and the political system myself from scratch. We generally assume that people may have glanced at the rules in advance, so design them that ten minute’s going over them on the day should cover the essentials. We also ensure at least one map umpire and one umpire covering the battle boards used for combat. Unit counters represent companies, each week has two movement or combat phases. Move distances are a bit slow but otherwise, with simultaneous movement, we’d have anarchy. It generally feels right anyway.

        I shall have a look a producing a more generic set of files and when it’s ready I’ll let you know. My Italian wars game had its origins in Machiavelli, but by the time I’d made it suitable for 40 players, the only thing really left was the map. I’ve packaged all the files for that up as some guy in Singapore bought it with a view to running it out there.



      • Iain (Admin) says:

        Many thanks Paul, I look forward to seeing what you produce!

        I’ve signed up for Still Not Over By Christmas, so hopefully I’ll see you there as well 🙂

  5. Mathyoo says:

    I love the VBCW setting!

    I find it a great fantasy world, just close enough to the reality to make it proper fun.

    Looks like a good game, too!

    • Pete S/ SP says:

      It is an intereting setting- I’ve plans for a low level political crisis management game in the setting myself on the go but haven’t progressed far with it.

      You should havea look at the Pennine Megagames calander and see if you can make any of the games.



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