Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Changes to the latest draft of the Portable Wargame rules

I have been doing some thinking about the section of the rules that deal with Close Combat, and have done some minor but important re-drafting. It now reads as follows:
  • If opposing Units are in orthogonally adjacent grid squares, they are in Close Combat Range.
  • A Unit cannot move past an enemy Unit within Close Combat Range without engaging in Close Combat.
  • If a Unit is blocked part way through its movement by a Close Combat situation, it cannot move any further.
  • Close Combat is conducted after an activated Unit has done everything else (i.e. moved and/or fired); it can never take place at any other point during a Unit’s activation.
  • The Unit that is initiating the Close Combat is the Attacker; the Unit they are attacking is the Defender.
  • To determine if the Close Combat has been effective, the Attacker rolls a D6 die for his Unit and at the same time the Defender rolls a different coloured D6 die for his Unit; the D6 die roll scores are compared with the relevant rows in the ‘Die scores required to hit an enemy Unit’ column in the Close Combat section of the Unit Data Table.
  • If the Attacker is facing the rear or flank of the Defender, the Defender’s D6 die roll score is reduced by 1.
  • A Unit that is hit reduces its Strength Value by 1.
  • In addition, the side with the lower die roll score must retreat 1 grid square immediately, and if they are unable to do so, they automatically reduce their Strength Value by a further 1.
  • If both the Attacker’s and the Defender’s die roll scores are equal, the Close Combat immediately continues for a further round (or – if necessary – rounds) until the Attacker or the Defender prevails (i.e. one side is completely destroyed or is forced to retreat).
The changes ensure that:
  • The Close Combat mechanism takes into account the advantage an Attacker would enjoy if they attack an enemy Unit in the flank or rear and
  • There is a definite result to each Close Combat (i.e. one side loses and is forced to retreat or stands fast but suffers greater casualties or is totally destroyed).
I hope to play-test these changes later this week or at some time over next weekend.


  1. The changes look good to me.

    I have been letting ties drag over to the next turn but I've been starting to think that close combat would have been too intense to last and that I should force a resolution in one turn. This would simplify the rules as well as there would always be an attacker and a defender. I look forward to seeing how this works for you.

  2. Ross Mac,

    I was in two minds as to whether or not to make this change ... and decided that I wanted Close Combats to be fought to a conclusion rather than to drag on. The fact that it simplifies the whole mechanism as well was an added bonus.

    Hopefully I will be able to play-test the new draft of the rules over the weekend ... if not before.

    All the best,


  3. I played a few Morschauser Pike and Shot games, with the "finish it now" mechanism in place. The game was faster, and it really forced you to keep a reserve and use it wisely. i think you are on the right track, Bob.

  4. Steven Page,

    Thanks very much for sharing your experience. I always find comments like that very helpful, and especially as in this case where it confirms my own thinking.

    When using the original non-roster rules, the Close Combats were very 'either or' in that one side or the other was eliminated. With the roster system, units lose strength over time, and the prospect of Close Combats going on and on over several turns just struck me as wrong. I wanted something short, sharp, and decisive ... and I think that is what I now have.

    Only play-testing will show if the changes will work ... but I think that they will.

    All the best,



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