Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Combined Arms Assault: A brief debrief by Archduke Piccolo

As promised, Archduke Piccolo has written a very interesting blog entry in which he comments on his recent re-fight of the World War II scenario featured in my book THE PORTABLE WARGAME.

The first part of his debrief explains how he turned my original hexed map ...

... into one that would work on his square gridded tabletop.

Anyone who wants to do something similar in the future will find this an extremely useful example to follow.

The second part of the debrief the examines the effect of using the system of each side's total SP being gradually eroded by combat as opposed to the 'Sudden Death' option, and looks at the way several of the rules can be interpreted and/or used. He also raises the very valid point that there are no specific restrictions on how far an Artillery unit can 'see' (and therefore fire) on the battlefield if there are no obstacles between it and a target, and the fact that there are no reconnaissance rules.

In my reply to these last points I commented that:
'I did include recce and spotting rules in early drafts of the rules, but they fell foul of my play-testing. They didn't seem to add anything to the game (i.e. I usually forgot to use them!), and it was just as easy to account for indirect artillery fire by only allowing artillery that could fire indirectly to do so, and to penalise them when they did. (They don't get a +2 on their firing dice throws.)'
Having followed Archduke Piccolo's blog for some time, and knowing that he is a very good wargame designer, I suspect that he will come up with some suitable rules that answer the points that he has raised ... and that I will want to use myself!

At the end of his blog entry Archduke Piccolo has included several photographs of his proposed Not Quite Mechanised Soviet Mechanised Brigade. This comprises:
  • HQ: commander and flag, with command vehicle;
  • Logistics, 1 Zis Truck;
  • 3 Rifle Battalions comprising:
    • 3 'fighting' stands (Rifles with an Light Machine Gun on one of them) and
    • 3 support stands (1 Medium Machine Gun, 1 PTRD or PTRS Anti-tank Rifle, 1 Light or Medium Mortar or and Infantry Gun);
  • 1 Tank Regiment with 2 Medium Tanks;
  • 1 Recon unit with Armoured Car and Jeep;
  • 1 Anti-tank Gun unit with 1 x 45mm or 57mm Anti-tank Gun;
  • 1 Field Artillery unit with 1 x 76mm Gun;
  • 1 Anti-aircraft unit (absent from the photograph;)
  • 1 'Motorcycle' Company.

In an operational-level wargame this could easily pass muster as a Soviet Mechanised Corps as well as being an ideal basis on which to build a Soviet force for use in a PORTABLE WARGAME battle.


  1. 'A very good wargame designer' - that is praise indeed! I may be forced to try to live up to it!

    Incidentally, I haven't forgotten my undertaking to draw up possible unit types/classifications for my Byzantines and some of their historical opponents. I've been thinking about them off and on for quite a while, now... Hope to post something in the next few days. Of course, I'll need to take some pictures...

    1. I forgot to say that in the light of your comments in respect of artillery 'prep' fire, I won't be revisiting that aspect of the PW rule set. But I still think there might be something simple and easy that can be done in respect of recon.

      Cheers, and thanks for your kind remarks,

    2. Archduke Piccolo,

      Credit where credit is due; your Napoleonic rules are a great bit of wargame design.

      I look forward to seeing your suggestions for Byzantine (and their enemies) Army Lists.

      If I can find my draft recce rules, i'll let you know.

      All the best,


    3. I'd certainly be interested in seeing what you had in mind. I have some ideas, but if they happen to be similar to what you were thinking, then chances are I'll have to come up with something different.

  2. Interesting post (inc comments) gents.
    The change from hex to squares seems to have a major effect at this limited board size that I did not realise till now. Something I'll watch out for in the future.

    1. That may depend a bit upon how movement is treated: Euclidead (centre-to-centre, or physical), Chebyshev, or Manhattan. PW uses 'Manhattan' (similar to Civilization computer game), which has, I think, the effect of making the battlefield seem larger.

      But it also has the effect of 'joining up' terrain diagonally juxtaposed. Had we be using the Chebyshev (Chess) system, then I doubt very much that I would have 'stretched' the map 'along the grain' as I did.

    2. ADB,

      I am pleased that you have enjoyed the exchange.

      The type of grid can have an effect, which is why I prefer to use hexed grids for more modern battles and squared grids for earlier battles.

      All the best,


    3. Archduke Piccolo,

      Thanks for a very interesting explanation about the differences between the Euclidean, Chebyshev, and Manhattan ways of measuring distances. I might even write a blog entry about them.

      All the best,



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