Saturday, 10 July 2021

Other people's Portable Wargame battle reports: Mark Cordone's terrain and his refight of the Battle of Aspern Essling

I was very surprised to realise that I had not shared any battle reports et al from the PORTABLE WARGAME Facebook page since April! This is very remiss of me as there has been so much being shared by the members that it is sometimes difficult to keep up with the latest news.

Over recent weeks, one member (Mark Cordone) has been writing about the terrain squares he has been creating.

These include some that have example of interesting semi-flat/2.5D buildings fixed to them.

This type of model building has the advantage of showing where there is a built-up area without taking up so much space on the terrain square that it is difficult to put figures in the square.

He has also put together are pair of armies to refight the Battle of Aspern Essling, using a scale of one base equals a division/brigade of infantry or cavalry or a hundred guns. The first army he prepared was the Austrian one, ...

Mark's simple but very effective morale/exhaustion and turn trackers can be seen in the foreground.

... followed by the French one.

Having prepared his terrain and his armies, Mark has now refought the Battle of Aspern Essling ...

The position of the Austrian army during the early morning.
The position of the French army during the early morning.
The positions of the two armies by the late afternoon. The morale/exhaustion and turn tackers make it very easy for players to keep track of the current situation on the tabletop.

... using an interesting variant of the PORTABLE NAPOLEONIC WARGAME rules.

  • The changes he has made can be summarised as follow:
  • One base equals a division/brigade or about 100 guns.
  • Units are destroyed after two hits.
  • When infantry attack they must either shoot or attack with the bayonet.
    • If shooting, the combat results are simultaneous, but the unit that initiated the combat can not advance to occupy a vacated square as a result of combat.
    • If attacking with the bayonet, the defender (infantry or artillery) shoots first, then the attacker goes after the effects of the defenders shooting are resolved. Infantry attacking with the bayonet can advance and occupy squares vacated as a result of combat.
  • Infantry can only attack cavalry by shooting.
  • If infantry are supported by cavalry in the same square or vice versa, they get a +2 bonus instead of +1.
  • If infantry or cavalry are supported by artillery in the same square, the artillery always get to shoot in combat, but provides no modifier.

For the purposes of this battle:

  • The Austrian grenadier units were graded as Elite and the rest of the army's units were graded as Regular
  • The French guard infantry & cavalry and the cuirassier units were graded as Elite and the rest of the army's units were graded as Regular.

These changes make it possible for players to fight large Napoleonic battles on a small tabletop ... and have given me some food for thought as to the possibility of creating a set of Napoleonic (or even American Civil War) army-level rules.

Please note that the photographs featured above are © Mark Cordone


  1. Bob,
    I'd like to make a suggestion for you - for a possible theme for a future book - 'The SUDAN' Portable Wargame. You have the 15mm British figures and the Mahadists and you have already produced a splendid game of 'Khartoum' in 15mm for an earlier COW -and I know you do like the Colonial Period. Anyway- just a suggestion...I think the Sudan would suit you. Best Wishes. KEV.

    1. Kev Robertson (Kev),

      Thanks for the suggestion. At first sight, I think that I could put such a book together quite quickly, but doing so might divert me from my other projects. This will have to be a back-burner project for the time being, but one that I will look at again in the near future.

      All the best,


  2. "Semi-flat" buildings are a great idea! Will have to think about how to work that.

    1. Jennifer,

      It was an idea I played around with some time ago, and that other people - like Mark Cordone - have developed. Have a look at my original prototypes. They can be seen in the following blog post:

      All the best,



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