Thursday, 25 October 2012

The first draft of the Big Battle Portable Wargame: Modern rules is now available!

Despite being very busy, I managed to get a couple of hours work done on the first draft of my BIG BATTLE PORTABLE WARGAME: MODERN (BBPW:M) rules ... and they are now available to download here.

They now cover just over three sides of A4 paper, but this is because of the changes I have incorporated. Besides some of the changes I outlined in a previous blog entry, these include:
  • A table that shows the Strength Point values allocated to each type of Unit.
  • A limitation on the number of Units each side can activate each turn. (This has been included because of feedback I have had from some players who don't like the idea that each side can move as many Units as it likes each turn. Please feel free to ignore it if it is not to your liking, and use the existing mechanism from PW:M.)
  • A simplification of the Artillery fire rules. (There is now one system for both direct and indirect fire, and there is no automatic hit when direct Artillery fire takes place. All Artillery fire is subject to a degree of inaccuracy, but direct fire and indirect fire that is being controlled by an Artillery Spotter is more accurate.)
  • Most Units now have increased survivability in Close Combat.
  • The outcome of hits has been changed so that Units that are hit are not automatically destroyed or forced to retreat. Instead a hit can cause a Unit to lose a Strength Point from its value or a Unit can 'trade off' a retreat against the lose of a Strength Point from its value, thus allowing Units to make a stand and fight to the last bullet ... should they wish to!
BBPW:M is not a perfect set of rules, but users now have the ability to 'go large' if they want to ... and I suspect that some of the changes I have made will end up being incorporated into the next draft of PW:M.


  1. Wow, Bob, it IS a different game!

    I played "Hell's Highway" on an 8x12 board using the same rosters as David, except giving the US one Infantry Antitank unit and the Germans an additional infantry unit.

    The German artillery unit was an SPG, medium gun. The US artillery was a Mountain Gun.

    Break point for both sides was 50%

    The game took about forty-five minutes, as both sides were willing to "give ground" rather than take the casualties to hold on. (I strongly support having this option especially for games in trenches and built-up areas.)

    Activations were generous, only one turn seeing both sides "stall" for a moment.

    The extra movement made for a very fluid game. "Fire-and-Movement" was very evident.

    Artillery fire was not the All Powerful Hammer it had been before. This is better, as even 88's miss sometimes.

    Strength points worked well. Units not being "one and done" extended the length of the game, but to good purpose. Moving under fire makes sense if there is advantage to be taken. When one hit removes your unit, you tend to play it safely.

    A few Questions/Observations:
    1.Unit strength points: Infantry
    Anti tank is missing. I USED TWO.
    2.Movement: Infantry Anti tank is
    missing. I USED TWO.
    3.Non-Artillery Fire: Machine guns:
    Can you score hits on all three
    dice? I am playing it as "Yes".
    4.Should mortars and Machine guns be
    able to move and fire? I am playing
    it as 'yes' with the loss of
    stationary bonus, but can entertain
    arguments that they should be like
    artillery in this regard.
    5. Close Combat: There is no line for Infantry Anti Tank. I played them as "infantry".

    All in all a most enjoyable game. a little more 'detail" than the first version, that took only a little more time.

  2. Steven Page,

    Thanks for the almost instant feedback. It sounds as if the changes have achieved what I had hoped that they would achieve; in other words a slightly slower game but one where the players had more options available to them.

    In answer to your questions ... you are bang on the nail with the way you have used the rules (although I MUST add Infantry Anti-tank Units to the Unit Strength Points (SP) table!). My personal choice would be to leave Mortar and Machine Gun Units able to move and fire, but in the case of a battle set during World War I movement OR fire would be a more accurate option.

    I look forward to hearing about your further battles.

    All the best,


  3. Hi Bob (and Steve!),

    I agree re the infantry AT weapons (I was also wondering where they were!) and also the WW1 mortars and MGs - they were a lot heavier to move around and I also think that tactically they were not so flexible in their use as later.

    All in all though looking very tasty indeed and I can't wait to set up the Russian Front game I am planning.

    All the best,


  4. David Crook,

    The Infantry Anti-tank Units have now been added to the draft. They have an SP of 2; other than that they fight and move as per normal Infantry.

    I think that users should consider BBPW:M as a toolkit that they can adapt for a specific conflict ... and for World War I battles I would certainly only allow Mortar and Machine Gun Units to fire OR move. I would also reduce the move distance for Tanks and Motor Transport.

    I look forward to reading your Eastern Front battle report.

    All the best,


  5. Thanks, Bob,
    I will try out a WW1 game tonight. My British tanks will be MkIV's, using the "tank' profile,-1 speed, and Whippets, using the light tank profile, though armed with machine guns.
    I'm going to try out a house rule for gas shells-fires as Indirect Artillery, place "cloud", square acts as a minefield, can only be fired on first Artillery phase of the game.

    Any thoughts on a little air support?
    I like the approach you took in Interbellum.

  6. Steven Page,

    You might find that your Tanks will run into problems crossing trenches ... which I suggest you treat like rivers.

    I like the 'house rule' for gas shells, but I think that it is sensible to place a limit on how many can be fired.

    I will probably 'lift' the air support rules from my Interbellum Rules and incorporate them (with some minor changes) into BBPW:M. They were designed along similar lines and should not be too difficult to adapt.

    Now that I have the basic BBPW:M rules written, I want to produce a small rule book that will include additional rules etc.

    All the best,


  7. Good idea on the trenches! Mine sometimes have trouble getting out of their own lines!

    I do plan to limit gas to "one shot per piece of artillery" on the first turn only. After that each cloud will be checked during the atillery phase, like arillery drift. 5,6, stays in hex. 1,3 moves toward enemy baseline.2,4 drifts back toward your own baseline. It should cause some tension!

    I will post this game to my "Adventures in Portable Wargaming" blog, with pictures.

  8. Steven Page,

    I thought that the idea that trenches should be treated like rivers might appeal to you ... and I think that your gas shell rule is brilliant!

    Good luck with your battle.

    All the best,


  9. Hi Bob,
    The game took just over an hour. The German had thirteen units and the British attackers had sixteen. Break point was one over 50%. I had an 8x8 "no man's land" set up, with three rows of empty squares between the opposing lines. Behind the German was an additional four rows, with shattered village buildings and roads leading offboard to "the green fields beyond". Getting off board would be the primary British objective.
    Both sides fired gas shells with their heavy guns on the first salvo. losses were minimal. The four British tanks set out smartly to crush wire. Infantry followed.
    On the second round, the gas clouds drifted toward the German lines. German 77mm field guns began hitting the MkIV's and British shells did serious damage to one of the German Heavy batteries. German machine guns started to thin out the first wave of British infantry.
    The tanks crushed enough wire that none of the infantry was forced to cut through. Several more hits were scored against the tanks, though.
    British troops closed with the first line of German trenches quickly, and several turn of savage combat ensued. Tanks finally reached the trench line, after the German artillery was neutralized. As German units were forced back, they tried to set up a third line in the ruins of the village, but the second line collapsed before this could be accomplished. The British had taken the sector, but had very little tank and infantry strength with which to exploit their success. "If I had only had cavalry", said the British commander:-)

    Hands down, this was the best trench fight game I have ever played.
    I am going to expand my modular trench board to cover 12x12 and see what happens.

    The suggestions for WW1 tanks and mgs worked well. BTW. I let the gas stay on board for three turns, then it went away.

    My ext game will include the Interbellum air rules, as is. I'll let you know how it works out.

    Have a great weekend!

  10. I had wondered about aircraft? Bob et al ,any thoughts?
    best wishes
    p.s I printed out a copy of the rules yesterday and they are most inspiring.Great to see a cyclists option there too.

  11. Steven Page,

    I would love to see some photographs of this game as it sounds very inspiring!

    The rules for Tanks, trenches, and gas seem to have worked very well indeed, and the outcome (an unexploitable breakthrough) is just the sort of result you would expect from this sort of battle. Oh for some Cavalry next time ... if they can get there before the German reinforcements do!

    It does sound like the attackers had a chance of success - unlike in almost every World War I trench battle I have fought - and that is very encouraging.

    I will be interested to hear how you get on with the INTERBELLUM air rules as they are going to be the basis of the air rules I am going to add to BBPW:M.

    Have a great weekend yourself. (I suspect that part of mine is going to be spent sitting at my computer working on an updated draft of BBPW:M!)

    All the best,


  12. Tradgardmastare (Alan),

    The air rules I wrote and included in my INTERBELLUM rules are going to be the basis of the air rules I add to BBPW:M. They were designed for one of the forerunners of BBPW:M and should meet the requirements without too many problems.

    I hope that BBPW:M will be simple enough and flexible enough to 'allow' additional troop types like Cyclists to be added without requiring a complete re-write of the basic rules ... and that seems to be possible at the moment.

    I hope to have a new draft of the rules available later today or sometime tomorrow.

    All the best,