The King vs. the Parliament. Cavalier Vs Roundhead. Choose your side – and save England!
Charles Vasey
Make Games Happen
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The year is 1642 and England is torn apart by a civil war between King Charles I and his supporters, the Royalists, and the Parliamentarians. In Unhappy King Charles, you must choose your side and fight for the control of England’s regions and economic centres. You will use cards to play historic events, recruit troops, influence politics, raid enemies, and activate your generals to move, battle and siege on the map. Unhappy King Charles is a card-driven game that recreates the drama and complexity of the English Civil War with historical accuracy and strategic depth.


Unhappy King Charles is a 2-player game on the English Civil War (1642-1645) that pits the Royalists against the Parliamentarians in a battle for control over England’s regions and economic centres.

The game is card-driven: play a card for a historic event, or use it to take a range of actions. These include recruiting, placing political influence, raiding and – most important – activating Generals such as King Charles and Oliver Cromwell to move around the map, battle enemies, siege fortresses, and take control of areas.

Unhappy King Charles is highly respected for the way in which it captures the unique aspects of the English Civil War: the high rate of desertions, the difficulties of controlling regional troops, and the growing strength of the Parliament forces over the course of the conflict.

Game details:



Images and videos of the game


Check, what the players think about this game.
Brian "mrbeankc" Morris
The game is not just a military simulation but blends in the social and political influences of the period. A great example of how good the card driven system is when used by a game designer who truly knows the history.
Unhappy King Charles is among the best, if not the best, two-player card driven game I have played. The only possible exception I can note is Hannibal: Rome vs. Carthage. UKC is also one of the best wargames I have enjoyed. It is among the most nuanced historical treats that one could find on a mapboard. Complexity is saved for where it belongs: in the area of strategy.
Michele "GEKO" Romanelli
Elegant design, plays well and in a max of 4/5 hours. Top level product, hands down.
Joel "Joelist" Tamburo
Whats not to like? Novel topic, well designed and easy to play.
Very good spin-off from We the People, this time its the English civil-war and diffrent designer. Its more complex and longer, but it sooo good.
Grant "sushidog" Linneberg
Cool CDG that plays very differently than others of this type. Your armies are always melting from deserters. The bigger your armies get, the harder they are too move.
Thies "Thies" Kolln
I'm generally drawn to the CDG style of wargames over others, and this is an excellent example. Play on the map is very fluid, and the ace in the hole mechanic is excellent
So much finesse and very heavy on area control for me to solo quickly. A brain burner if I had to.
Scott "janos_hunyadi" Moore
I would strongly recommend Unhappy King Charles. It should provide a satisfying gaming experience (moderate element of chance, balanced victory conditions) and teach you something about the war in question. If you are new to 17th century warfare, then I would still commend the game to you, while advising that it has a relatively steep learning curve and some historically-justified quirks such as the difficulty in maintaining and moving large armies.
Judd "airjudden" Vance
If you like card driven games, you will probably enjoy it. The play is fun. The mechanics work well to capture the theme. Plus, there are many innovative ideas, such as alt-history cards, core cards for each player (so that you never have a dead hand). It uses a combined deck, but with different time periods, kind of like the three decks in Paths of Glory or Shifting Sands. The designer notes are impressive.
William "williamhillis" Hillis
Play balance is excellent. If reading Churchill's retelling of the English Civil War bores you, buy this and play it instead.
Ah "ABigOleBoat" Ha
A really fun, solid, historical feeling CDG. Lots of available strategies, each side of the conflict 'feels' correct & thematic, and some delicious tension in the battles/sieges.
David Gómez Relloso
A nice member of the card-driven family. Well designed, enjoyable and faster than other titles.
Simon "bluekingzog" Thornton
Good feel for the English civil war , with both side running out of steam as the war progress's and the minor nobles dissapear.
J-F "Marquis de Montcalm" Pakula
One of the most original and challenging (wel, especially for the royalist side!) existing card-driven wargames in the market.
Steve "bonxie" Ramsden
Very different from most wargames with the draconian attrition of large armies making for a fascinating struggle.


Supporting files you can download for the game

Unhappy King Charles - Rulebook (work in progress)
Unhappy King Charles - Playbook (work in progress)
Unhappy King Charles - Rulebook (work in progress)
Unhappy King Charles - Playbook (work in progress)