Monday, 12 September 2011

The Portable Wargame 2: New and improved!

The minor change to the PORTABLE WARGAME 2 rules that I suggested in a recent blog entry has generated some interesting comments and ideas. I wanted to introduce a simple method by which it was possible for better quality Units to have a greater chance and for poorer quality Units to have lesser chance of survival on the tabletop battlefield. My suggestion was to introduce a saving throw, and although this was not universally greeted with enthusiasm, it did generate several alternative – and very attractive – suggestions.

The first of these was made in a comment by Steve. This included the following suggestion:
'The morale mechanism from Two Hour Wargames may be of interest. This involves rolling two dice, each will general a "pass" or a "fail" ... perhaps a similar system would work. If "hit" a unit rolls 2 dice. Elite pass on rolls of 4+, Regular on 5+, Poor troops on 6+. Two passes = no effect, one pass = fall back (or disordered?) and two fails = unit destroyed. Having three possible outcomes is sometimes helpful and allows for a more sensitive treatment of outcomes.'
I must admit that this suggestion struck me as having a lot of merit, and I gave considerable thought to using it in the next draft of the rules. However, before I did, Ross Mac sent me a comment that included an even more attractive suggestion:
'Steve's comment mentioning the Two Hour Wargames system (which does work well) got me thinking again.

One of the main things that I don't like about saving throws is that they cancel the result of the original die roll. What if the 2nd roll only modified that result instead of cancelling it? Instead of a "Saving Throw" it could become a "Severity Check" or "Morale Test". This could provide a troop quality differentiation and two levels of hit severity all in one roll, with no markers and without negating a previous roll or affecting the established probability of getting some sort of outcome from a shooting or melee roll.

It might look something like:

6: The unit recoils 1 grid.
1-5: The unit routs and is removed

5-6: The unit recoils 1 grid
1-4: The unit routs and is removed.

4-6: The unit recoils 1 grid
1-3: The unit routs and is removed.
The simplicity of the system Ross Mac proposes means that it has – in my eyes – considerable merit, especially as it only requires one D6 die to be thrown. It also retains the somewhat 'bloody' aspect of the existing combat rules, which is something that some comments have indicated players which to see retained in the rules.

I am now giving considerable thought to incorporating Ross Mac's suggestion into the next draft of the PORTABLE WARGAME 2 rules, with the hope that I can then play-test them later this week.


  1. That idea (Ross's) seems to have a lot of merit. My first thought was maybe some sort of modifier for troops in hard cover, but then they already get a modifier when being fired at (maybe that should be extended to combat - just like attacking uphill, attacking into a building or over a wall or breastworks would add 1 to the attacker's close combat power).
    Keep it simple :)

  2. Conrad Kinch,

    I tend to agree with you!

    All the best,


  3. Fitz-Badger,

    I agree. It is a very simple method of achieving an end without adding complication.

    As to your point about adding some additional factors to the combat process ... well I was thinking along similar lines, but as I like my developments to be made in small steps that change/addition might have to wait until the next draft-but-one of the rules.

    All that best,