Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Fort Michelangelo: A model of the fort

During one of our visits to Civitavecchia, I bought a small model of Fort Michelangelo. It is about 1:600th-scale ...

... but I've used it in a couple of wargames as a redoubt. Two or three 15mm-scale figures can fit inside the model, and its 'footprint' means that does not take up a lot of space on the tabletop.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Fort Michelangelo, Civitavecchia, Italy

Back in March, Sue and I visited Civitavecchia in Italy. It is the main harbour that serves Rome, and the entrance to the harbour is dominated by Fort Michelangelo.

The fort was originally commissioned by Pope Julius II to defend the port of Rome, and its designer was Donato Bramante. The constrcution of the fortress was completed in 1535 by his students, Giuliano Leno and Antonio da Sangallo il Giovane. The upper part of the maschio was designed by Michelangelo, and his name, rather than that of its designer and builders, is generally applied to the fortress.

The plan of Fort Michelangelo is quadrilateral in shape, and it is protected in each corner by a cylindrical tower and has an the octagonal maschio tower in the direction of the port. The four towers are called St. Paul (South-East), St. Peter (South-West), St. Romolus (North-West) and St. Julius (North-East) but are also known respectively as San Colombano, Santa Ferma, San Sebastiano and San Giovanni.

* A maschio tower is a typically Medieval round tower that is taller than the other towers of a fortress.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Other people's Portable Wargame battle reports: American Civil War

Kaptain Kobold has recently switched his attention to using my PORTABLE WARGAME rules to fight American Civil War battles.

One of these battles is the Battle of Prairie Grove (1862).

He has some interesting ideas about changes to the combat mechanisms that he has been trying out, and I will be following his proposed changes with interest,

Please note that the photographs featured above are © Kaptain Kobold.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

The Portable Napoleonic Wargame: Almost ready for publication

The necessary files have been uploaded to, and the printed proof copies of the hardback and softback editions have been ordered. Hopefully they will arrive before Christmas, and once they have been checked, the books will be released for publication.

I had intended that an eBook edition of the book would be published at the same time as the printed edition, but I've had problems converting the book into eBook format. I have therefore decided to issue the book in PDF format, and it will be released for publication when the printed books go on sale. It will only be on sale via, and the price will be same as the eBook version would have been.

Friday, 7 December 2018

Britannia's Mission: The Dawlish Chronicles August 1883 – February 1884

I have been reading Antoine Vanner's excellent DAWLISH CHRONICLES since the first one was published ... and mighty fine books they have proven to be! The latest has a special appeal to me as it involves lots of things that I enjoy, namely warships, Naval Landing Brigades, East Africa, slavery (and the Royal Navy's anti-slavery patrols), and the political shenanigans of two colonising nations – Britain and Germany – vying for power in an area of Africa that is ripe for colonial expansion.

In fact BRITANNIA’S MISSION is chock-a-block full of potential scenarios for tabletop skirmishes that could be fought using the rules in THE SWORD AND THE FLAME, THE SWORD IN AFRICA, or THE MEN WHO WOULD BE KINGS.

BRITANNIA'S MISSION: THE DAWLISH CHRONICLES AUGUST 1883 – FEBRUARY 1884 was written by Antoine Vanner and published in 2018 by Old Salt Press (ISBN 978 1 9434 0423 0) and can be purchased via Amazon.

The seven books in the series that have been published to date are:

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Three million page views!

This blog recently reached a major milestone ... three million page views!

When I started writing this blog back in 2008, I had no idea how much it would become part of my life, nor that ten years on I would have written more than three thousand eight hundred blog entries. (This is actually the three thousand eight hundred and thirty third blog entry I have written!)

My first blog entry was written on 18th September 2008, and was entitled SMALL BEGINNINGS. In it I wrote the following:
After much prompting ... and not a little reluctance on my part ... I have decided to take the plunge.

I have now joined the world of the self-publicising, self-centred, self-indulgent blogger.

I intend to share my thoughts on wargaming (and other related matters that crop up) with a wider audience ... probably much to the relief of my wife and wargaming colleagues. So watch this space ... and come prepared to be bored!
In truth, blogging has completely changed my enjoyment of wargaming. Through it I have made a whole new bunch of wargaming friends, and it has helped to keep me motivated, even when things were less than optimum (i.e. when I was suffering from a visitation by the 'Black Dog').

The self-imposed discipline of 'I ought to write that on my blog' has helped me to finish projects that I otherwise might have let drift, and it has motivated me to turn some of those projects into books. Blogging helped me to become a writer ... something I'd always wanted to be, but had never quite got around to.

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Other people's Portable Wargame battle reports: The Battle of Edgehill

Kaptain Kobold has yet again been fighting an English Civil War battle, this time the 1642 Battle of Edgehill.

Some of the tweaks he has made to the rules sound very interesting, and as Kaptain Kobold has agreed to let me publish his rules in due course, it will only be a matter of time before others can use them.

Please note that the photographs featured above are © Kaptain Kobold.

Monday, 3 December 2018

The Portable Napoleonic Wargame: There's good news and bad news ...

The good news is that my trusty proof-reader has been working like a Trojan, and has already fired back a list of minor errors to the text of THE PORTABLE NAPOLEONIC WARGAME book that need correcting. He has promised that he will send another list once he has had the opportunity to check through the text for a second time, and with luck the relevant files will be ready to upload to well before Christmas.

The bad news is that has informed its users that due to very high demand, the time it will take for books to be printed will be longer than normal. The corollary to this is that the publication of THE PORTABLE NAPOLEONIC WARGAME book will be delayed, possibly until early January. This is because I have to have a proof copy printed before I can release the book for publication, and if the printing of the proof copy is going to be delayed, it means that I cannot approve the book. Rather than rush the process and make mistakes, I'd rather take a bit of time and have the book published in January rather than December.

As compensation for the delay, here are a few more of the photographs I have used to illustrate my book.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

A mini-break in Bristol

Sue and I went to Bristol on Friday morning and came back last night.

We stayed in a very nice hotel in Victoria Square, Clifton, Bristol, which has its own car park (car parking is problematic in Bristol) and which is only a few minutes walk from the area known as Clifton Village. It is also only about fifteen minutes walk to the Bristol Masonic Centre, where I attended a meeting of the Matthew Lodge on Saturday morning. Sue joined me at 12.45pm, and we both attended the after-meeting dinner hosted by the Lodge. As it was the last Lodge meeting before Christmas, the meal was a festive one ... and the food was excellent as usual.

The only downside to our visit was getting to and from Bristol. We reached the outskirts of Bristol at 1.00pm on Friday ... but did not reach our hotel until after 2.00pm thanks to the heavy traffic, the uniquely awful one-way traffic system, and numerous roadworks. Our journey home was almost as long due to the M4 being close by an accident between junctions 11 and 10. We were diverted across country to outside Basingstoke, where we joined the M3 towards London. When we reached the M25 to go south around London, we were advised not to use it due to long delays, and eventually ended up reaching home via Richmond and the South Circular Road. Sue and I finally got home just before 9.00pm, feeling more than a little weary.

Saturday, 1 December 2018

The Portable Napoleonic Wargame: The text is finally finished!

I've finally finished writing the text of my PORTABLE NAPOLEONIC WARGAME book, and I've sent it off to be proof-read.

Once my trusty proof-reader has done his job (and hopefully not found too many errors that need to be corrected) I can think about publishing it. That usually takes up to a fortnight, and with Christmas only four weeks away, it looks as if the book will not actually be on sale before early January.

In the meantime, I'm going to take a bit of a break from writing ... although I do have plans in place for my next books, at least one of which will be a wargaming book.