Tuesday, 22 March 2011

The Portable Wargame goes larger!

One of the original parameters for my portable wargame was that it should be able to function within the constraints of a chessboard grid (i.e. a grid that was eight squares by eight squares). Since then, things have moved on.

Ross Mac has been experimenting very successfully with grids with more that sixty four squares and Joseph Morschauser's original rules were designed for a twelve by twelve grid. So it is inevitable that I should look at redrafting THE PORTABLE WARGAME rules to reflect this ... and I hope to begin doing this sometime within the next week, with the hope of having the draft ready to play-test before the Easter holidays.


  1. Bob,
    Other than omitting references to chessboards, 64 squares &c., and the limts on the number of units, I don't think you need alter the existing PW rules significantly - unless you are proposing to increase the movement rates and weapon ranges in proportion to the larger number of squares.
    A larger number of squares would certainly make portraying historical battles more easily - I have been struggling trying to fit the battles of the Hundred Days onto chessboards - and there is actually no reason why the playing surface needs to be square, rather than rectangular, although square gameboards are a familiar feature of both family and military boardgames.
    If a square represented a defined area, appropriate to the period and level of action being gamed, one could simply lay out as many squares as necessary for the particular battle.
    A larger number of squares would often enable one square to represent a smaller area - very useful when trying to differentiate between, say, Hougoumont and Plancenoit, or between nominally similar units of varying sizes, such as Divisions or Corps, or between the different 'footprints' of a unit in different formations.

  2. For a bigger board, you could just introduce a "march" move when a unit is not in close proximity to the enemy.

  3. Arthur1815,

    My initial thoughts are to start with a grid that is 12 x 12 (which the size Morschauser used) and see how the existing rules work with it. I am hoping that there will be no need to make any major changes, even though the number of grid squares will have slightly more than doubled (144 as opposed to 64).

    One thing that I liked about the way Ross Mac marked his terrain was to mark the corner of the grid squares with crosses rather than use solid lines to indicate the exact side of each grid square. More aesthetically pleasing and it gives you the opportunity to use either a smaller number of large squares (by ignoring every other corner cross) or a large number of small squares.

    All I need at the moment is time to write my ideas down and time to play-test them.

    All the best,


  4. Mike,

    I am thinking about allowing players to opt for double-activations for Units (i.e. moving a Unit twice during a turn) as I have done for Native Armies in the 19th century version of the rules.

    This is still only an option that I am considering, and time (and play-testing) will decide whether or not I do include this in the next or future drafts of the rules.

    All the best,