Sunday, 28 August 2011

The Portable Wargame 2: Some small but important changes

Last night I re-read the most recent draft of PW2 and decided that a few small but significant changes needed to be made.

Firstly, I have removed the word 'square' and replaced it with the term 'grid area'. This is so that the rules can be used with a hexed grid as well as a squared one, thus making the rules slightly more universal.

Secondly, I have reduced the effectiveness of all forms of gunfire (both from Artillery and Non-Artillery Units) as it did appear that it was far to easy to destroy Units at long-range.

I hope to play-test the amended draft of the rules later today.


  1. Bob,

    I've just printed off PW2[M] for a quick read.

    I still think the fire effects for artillery and musketry are very severe, given that a unit can be destroyed by one 'shot' or 'volley' at long range.

    Here is a possible idea, which is at least Old School, but Featherstonian rather than Morschauser: let any unit 'destroyed' by fire roll against its Combat Power; if it scores equal/below CP its morale has held firm under fire and it may carry on; otherwise it is broken and halted. Another hit from either fire or Close Combat and it will run/is removed (as you prefer). This saving throw could also be modified by an attached commander.

    The Close Combat system needs to make clearer that it is the Combat Power of the enemy unit that is being rolled against, so that a unit being attacked flank/rear rolls against the higher CP, whereas the one that is attacking rolls against the ordinary CP of its target. That is what confused me in the first place, and might - I think - confuse others too.

    Perhaps the problem is the use of the descriptor 'Combat Power' which one expects to refer to the unit's own ability to inflict damage upon an enemy, and hence to be higher when the situation is advantageous to the unit, whereas in these rules it is the reverse. That is why the Special Rules for Hills and Rivers also seem odd at first sight, apparently conferring an advantage for attacking uphill or across a river, when they in fact do the opposite.

    I quite like the idea of rolling for the effect upon one's own unit, which would be appropriate in a 'closed' game with umpire control. But if you go down this route, should not Artillery and Musketry also be resolved in the same way for consistency? Then you would be rolling to discover if your unit held firm in the face of fire, so a high roll - as in Close Combat - would indicate surviving unscathed; a low roll, casualties or morale damage.

    Alternatively, for a more conventional, intuitive ruleset, keep firing as it is, but have unit roll below/equal CP to inflict damage on enemy, so a unit attacking another in rear rolls against 6. If high CP is good, then one can easily alter CP to reflect unit quality within arm of service, so a Line unit might be CP 3, but an elite/Guard unit is 4.

    Hope you don't mind my banging on about this, but I feel you have devised a potentially great set of simple/introductory/children's rules that suffer from a somewhat counter-intuitive combat system.



  2. Arthur1815,

    Many thanks for your long, detailed, and very helpful comments.

    I like the idea of a saving throw that mitigates the results of the existing fire combat system, and I especially like the idea of using the Combat Power for this purpose as well as for Close Combat. It may not be something that Moschauser espoused in his book, but it is consistent with the rules written by contemporary wargame designers ... and he did write that wargamers should not be afraid to write their own rules if the need arose.

    After giving the matter some considerable thought, I think that you are right about the need for a consistent approach to the resolution of Fire and Close Combat. At present they are not, and that needs to be changed ... but not until after the next play-test!

    Many thanks again for sharing your ideas and thoughts with me and the other people who read my blog. I might not incorporate all of them in my next draft of PW2, but I will certainly be using some of them.

    All the best,


  3. Bob,

    Besides the effectiveness of firing, weren't you also going to reduce the movement rates for infantry and cavalry by 1 square each?

    Just askin'--I'm watching this evolve with intense interest!

    Best regards,


  4. Chris,

    I did reduce the movement rate of any Unit that fired during the same turn as moving. This gives players the option to move and fire (with reduced movement) or just to move. It seemed like a good compromise between the two options that were available to me.

    All the best,


  5. Whoops, sorry, I thought you had intended to reduce movement overall. One of these days I will learn to read, I promise! :)

    Best regards as always,



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