Sunday, 26 June 2011

The portable wargame: Yet another enthusiast joins the ranks ... and brings a great idea with him!

As I wrote in my reply to a comment made about my recent blog entry entitled MY 'GUIDING PRINCIPLES' FOR WRITING WARGAMES RULES, any set of wargames rules must be written so that anyone can read them and fight a battle with them without having recourse to asking the author questions about what this or that means.

Well I must have got my PORTABLE WARGAME rules up to a reasonable standard as they appear to have yet another 'enthusiast'. I refer – of course – to Dr Vesuvius, whose blog has an excellent report of a small battle fought using the rules.

He also used Heroscape™ hexed terrain for his battle, and came up with one idea that I really liked and that I am going to copy; he used different coloured hexes (as supplied with the game) to delineate woods. Now in the rules it states that 'The placement of a piece of terrain in a hex indicates that entire hex is filled by that type of terrain (e.g. a tree in a hex indicates that the entire hex is wooded; a building in a hex indicates that the entire hex is a built-up area)', but by using Dr Vesuvius' idea it means that one needs fewer trees or buildings to indicate woods or built-up areas and – more importantly – it means that there is more room in the hexes for the troops. Two problems solved at once!

Thank you Dr Vesuvius for both your excellent battle report and the terrain idea!


  1. Hi Bob

    Great thinking here and glad you like it. The same principle was used in my terrain set up. Hexes are painted a solid colour and only the hex sides are modeled or occupied by terrain features. Of course, some textures are included so that fields look like fields and a BU hex has an appropriate overhead view to characterize such as a town plan. My units are based on 18mm Panzer Leader sized counters so that about 4 fit in a hex. Vehicles excepted as their length includes gun barrel to minimise damage. It is all slowly coming back together at my Military History and Games site.

    Bit of a waffle I'm afraid but my enthusiasm is gathering momentum..


  2. Arthur,

    Like all good ideas, it is obvious when someone points it out to you ... and you cannot work out how you never saw the solution yourself.

    Your set up sounds very interesting and I will be interested to see what it looks like in due course.

    All the best,


  3. Thanks for the kind words, Bob. And thanks again for making The Portable Wargame. I suppose "enthusiast" is a fair label, since I am enthusiastic at the prospect of having the tools to play some meaningful solitaire wargames again in my limited play area. It's also refreshing to see a fast-play wargame that isn't just another DBx retread.

    To be honest, it never even occurred to me that the way I did the woods was even "an idea". It just seemed like common sense to delineate a terrain area with different coloured hexes, with some free-standing terrain features to indicate the type.

    Now see here old chap, we can let you have a couple of weeks off for COW 2011 and all that, but once you're back we need you to thrash out the early 20th century Portable Wargame variant, the 18th century variant, the Pike And Shotte variant, the ultra modern 1/300 variant, the.......

  4. Dr Vesuvius,

    Trying to come up with a set of fast-play wargames rules that are not a DBA/HOTT clone was not too difficult, as Joseph Morschauser had already done most of the work for me.

    Your idea for delineating terrain may have been common sense ... but most of the best ideas are ... and it needs someone to point them out to those of us who have not thought of them for themselves!

    The build up to COW2011 will be absorbing a lot of my time over the next few weeks, but after that I hope to begin work of the 1914-1940 version of PW.

    As for the other periods ... well I don't know much about them, but you never know ...

    All the best,