Witchfinder General

Days of Revelation

I’ve just had my first game of Witchfinder General: and very enjoyable it was too!

One of the good things about the rules is that they immediately fired my imagination. I looked out some of my old figures which had lain unused and forgotten for years.

The scene is set in Rattlesden, on the edge of Tunstall forest. The village lies in the shadow of an ancient castle which has been recently occupied by the mysterious foreigner, Count Vladimir Barneshausen. Since his arrival, strange things have occurred. Weird and disturbing noises in the night...odd fleeting shadows glimpsed in the woods...the mutilated bodies of sheep and cattle have been found...

One evening the villagers are shocked to see three monstrous dogs attacking the sheep on the hill just outside the village. Captain Blood, an old soldier from Cromwell’s army, raises the villagers amongst whom two regular soldiers have been billeted. And so the game begins. The villagers rushed to defend their sheep but were quickly overwhelmed by the ravening barguests as the soldiers’ aim deserted them woefully. Captain blood went down in a flurry of teeth and claws along with most of the brave villagers before the barguests withdrew to who knows where. It is clearly time to call in a Witchfinder...

So, I started simple and it went very well. I found the fisticuffs rules a bit fussy at first but they soon began to feel quite natural and once a player gets used to the different abilities of the characters and I’m sure they will be very easy to administer.

I liked the turn sequence very much. You really have to give a lot of thought as to who moves where and when and what they do when they get there. I liked the fact that in this first game my musketeers could not hit a barn door due to appalling dice rolling and that a well aimed pistol shot only grazed a barguest. Those beasts had the luck of the devil...In this game I did not really get to grips with the self preservation rules and I ignored terrain gloomy conditions and so on. I’ll introduce them later.

Witchfinder Benson could smell the evil as he approached Rattlesden. The brooding castle on the hill would have to wait. His senses told him that the immediate threat came from the ancient barrow to the South East.

The First Review of Witchfinder General: Days of Revelation

I will reread the rules in the light of having played them and then give them another go...the Witchfinder was outraged to discover abominations in Suffolk and has sworn to send them to hell! There have been rumours of a coven meeting in the burial mounds to the south of the village as well....

Game Two

Witchfinder Benson could smell the evil as he approached Rattlesden. The brooding castle on the hill would have to wait. His senses told him that the immediate threat came from the ancient barrow to the South East.

He set out with his trusted soldiers and was appalled to see the two depraved beings at the entrance to the barrow. Appalled even more to see two monstrous dogs materialise from thin air as one of the witches chanted an ancient and malicious prayer. The barguests rushed to the attack, miraculously avoiding the hurried shots of the frightened musketeers, but also avoiding contact with the Witchfinder and tearing into the musketeers. All did not go their way in the fisticuffs that ensued. One barguest lay dead and the other, wounded, retreated snarling viciously.

But as victory seemed certain, further abominations shambled from the gaping maw of the grave: the dead were returning to haunt the living! The noctilingers gave no respite to the astonished Witchfinders and a bloodbath ensued with bodies falling on both sides. The villagers bravely rushed to the aid of the beleaguered soldiers but the witches joined in the carnage forcing Benson to recognise that he had bitten off more than he could chew...He would return with reinforcements to drive this unspeakable evil back to hell!

And from the castle walls Count Barneshausen watched. And laughed. For he saw that his plans were working better than he could have hoped.

I think that two witches, one of whom jammily summoned two barguests as familiars was probably too much for Benson to handle, but I’ll learn with experience. The game went more smoothly as I was more familiar (ho! ho!) with the rules and I liked the summoning and evil eye rules. (Though Malweavil was as bad a “shot” with his evil eye as the musketeers were with their firearms!).

The markers were very helpful but I did find that one barguest in particular did collect quite a few and it was a bit crowded with the reload, casualty, self control and turn markers in a crowded bout of fisticuffs. Not unmanageable though. So, there you have the second game, and great fun it was, too.

By Mr Gordon Lawrence

Best Presented Game Award - Hammerhead 2012

“These rules would not only be ideal for ‘straight’ ECW Skirmishes, but also for the TYW (which got even nastier, people eating grass and all sorts of yucky stuff etc) and for the Salem colonial America (witches, voodoo and all that stuff). They are most suitable for players willing to get into the spirit of the thing - a ‘beer and pretzels’ game at its best, and adaptable for those with 15mm figures simply by changing ‘inches’ to ‘centimetres’. Magic rules for witches and vampires are included for Hammer movie fans and the game is designed to fit onto a smallish

4’ x 4’ table”.


Above extract from Gary Mitchell’s review in Issue 344 (Dec 2011) of Miniature Wargames.


“The idea is clever (if you have seen Solomon Kane you will realise that these rules will deliver where the film failed to), the system appears well balanced, all picture captions tell you the manufacturer of the figures in each of the images (which I wish more publishers would do), and lastly it is a complete set - you could be playing a game of Witchfinder General an hour after buying the book! If you like quirky stuff like steampunk and Gothic-horror then these are for you. If you like  the 17th century, these could also be for you, if you want a light-hearted skirmish game. You could even use the rules without the monster element and see how they work”.

Above extract from Eoghan Kelly’s review in Issue 59 of Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy.

Best Overall Game Award - Hammerhead 2013

Dashing Dice Games 2011 - 2015