A Close-up of the Units for Portable Wargame

April 13, 2017

Here is a close up shot of the Red units.  The blue units are identical only blue.

Back row: Grenadiers, Infantry, Light Infantry Front row: Artillery, Dragoons, Cavalry Center: General

There is no unit for light infantry or grenadiers in The Portable Wargame.  Dragoons fight like other light cavalry.

Light Infantry: SP 3, Range 2,  -1 in close combat in the open,  Must take the retreat option if available when fighting close combat in the open.

Grenadiers: Behaves like other Infantry units for movement and shooting.  Close combat at +1.

Cavalry get a +1 to hit in close combat.

I seem to be tweaking this game a lot.  The best part is that it is pretty hard to break when modifying the rules.

The game is Afoot!

April 13, 2017

The action from turn turn 2 through 5.

Turn 2 starts with the Blue artillery scoring hits on the Red cavalry and 1 infantry unit. Blue wins the initiative and charges. Red gives ground, Blue follows up but is then repulsed.  Blue infantry advances to the river. Red holds the cavalry back and the light infantry moves up to attack Blue cavalry and scores a hit driving them back further. Blue infantry advance onto the western bridge.

Turn 3: Artillery fires scoring another hit on the Red cavalry and one on a Red infantry. The infantry can and does retreat. The cavalry has to take the hit. Red wins the initiative. They advance over the bridge with 1 infantry and secure the bridge head on the south side. The close combat is inconclusive though Red takes a hit. Red cavalry attempts to run the Blue cavalry off the board but is repulsed. The light infantry however, scores a hit. Both cavalry now have 2 hits.

Turn 4. Artillery firs again, this time scoring no hits. Red wins initiative They slide 1 infantry to the western edge and shoot scoring 1 hit on a Blue infantry. A second infantry moves to the bridge. Though in range, I decided the Red infantry could not shoot from the bridge because it would be in a column and unable to fire. Blue slides to the west to block the Red advance and is content to shoot at the Red infantry to no effect. Blue cavalry charges the Red cavalry to no effect. The Blue infantry charges the Red cavalry in the flank scoring the needed hit to destroy the cavalry. However, the Blue infantry also takes a hit and opts to retreat.

Turn 5. Blue fires its artillery at a single Red infantry scoring 1 hit. Blue wins the initiative. Blue is content to fire at Red with its infantry. Its scores 1 hit on the Red infantry on the bridge. Blue cavalry is down to one point and does not want to chance getting hit by the Red light infantry. Blue’s infantry charges the Red light infantry and inflicts a hit but is repulsed.  Red fires with 1 infantry and scores a hit on the Blue infantry directly across from the bridge. Blue then charges with the other infantry and ends up taking 1 hit in the inconclusive close combat.

The game really moves along at a good clip.  It is also very well suited for one hour wargames.  The fight hangs in the balance.

One last modification is with regard to exhaustion points.  The rules are somewhat ambiguous but seem to suggest that exhaustion points are assessed as they happen.  I am assessing them only when a unit is defeated.  This will give some incentive for a player to not go all in and needlessly sacrifice its units.   As it stands, Red has an exhaustion level of 8 and Blue 7.  With the loss of the Red cavalry the score is Red 5 and Blue 7.

The Truly Portable Wargame in action

April 12, 2017

I’ve finished the armies and most of the terrain.  I do still need to make some barricades and perhaps a marker or two for a ford.  Below is the setup and the end of turn 1 for scenario 3, Control the River in One Hour Wargames.  Red has 4 infantry, 1 light infantry and 1 cavalry.  Blue has 3 infantry, 2 artillery and 1 cavalry.

The end of turn 1. Extra terrain bits are shown in the foreground.

For 18th century warfare I’ve made the following modifications.

  1. Artillery is can only be used if it has a line of sight.  It also is not as accurate as 19th century artillery.  No rifling and ranging tools are in their infancy during this period.  So artillery get +1 to hit and not the usual +2 for 19th century guns.  If playing WSS or GNW, artillery was towed by civilian teamsters.  So, once the guns are set, they can no longer move though they still can change facing.
  2. All infantry have smooth bore muskets.  Range is 2.
  3. The rules have a flank penalty of -1 in close combat for the unit being flanked and a bonus of +1 for the unit attacking the flank.  This may seem like a double penalty but both units fight in close combat.  To add a little variety, allow the +1 when close combating the flank as per the rules.  Only give a penalty to a unit fighting an enemy to the rear.  So being flanked is bad but being attacked from the rear is worse.

I converting One Hour Wargames scenarios, I have limited the game length to 10 turns.  This is because of the shorter board.  I’ll adjust upward if the game length is too short.

The Truly Portable Wargame Part 2

April 7, 2017

I had a long stretch of time and energy last night and was able to complete several more trees and another house.  I also drew up some rivers and roads, including intersections and bends.  I printed out a sheet of each.  I am very happy with the results.

The result of a night’s work with some newly configured infantry regiments including one prototype (right front) for comparison.

The last bit I did last night was to rearrange the infantry command stand.  I found that the flag was flying in the wrong direction.  Wherever the commander stood, there would be an open space over his head.  So I changed it so the flag fly behind him.  I then placed him in the middle of the stand.  The regiment looks much better.  Take a close look at the stand to the right front and compare it to the stand next to it.  You will see what I mean.

Left to do: cavalry, light infantry, artillery, bridge, ford, entrenchment

I have a set of grenadiers already placed together.   As I am drawing, I keep the masters white except for the skin color, common parts (muskets, swords, scabbards, pouches etc) and place them in a group front-back so they can be colored quickly.  I keep one single of each to colorized and then simply copy and paste it into position directly over the white models.

The Truly Portable Wargame

April 6, 2017

While fighting off the stomach bug and allergies, I’ve not been completely idle.  I have been slowly building up a paper miniatures layout including a board, terrain and miniatures.  Here is a sample of what I have so far.

The figures are from Junior General by C.J. Fiorito. The trees are from Microtactix. The house, several actually, are from WargamePrint and I created the boards and hills.

I used an olive color on the board and then used HSV noise to give it a speckled effect.  I then blurred the image to make it look smooth similar to a game mat.  The background on the figures are done in a similar fashion to those you can get at Paper Terrain.  My only mistake is that I cut into the commander figure a little too far.  I do also still have to texture up some bases.  I should have let the cut run across the top of his head or even kept it level with the bayonets.  I still have roads, river and maybe a bridge or two to make.  I am pretty happy with the results so far.

The Portable Tool Kit

March 31, 2017

Being that all of the Portable Wargame variants I do will be sharing the same stable of rules, I figure it might be better to make a tool kit from which to design from. Units and special abilities can be separately defined and combined to make new and interesting units for any game era.





Heavy Infantry




Unarmored Infantry




Light Infantry




Heavy Cavalry




Light Cavalry




Special rules

Armored counts as being in cover against missile combat.

Bows have a range of 3 and hit on a 5+. 6+ to hit in close combat.

Furious Charge +1 move space if unit is moving to close combat this move. +1 to hit if unit moved to close combat, including follow-ups.

Impetuous Must follow up if option is available. Must close combat after the followup.

Longbows/Crossbows ignore armor. Treat as bows.

Mixed Missile have a range of 2 and hit on a 5+. 6+ to hit in close combat.

Phalanx Cavalry may not attack a phalanx from the front.

Shield-Wall counts as being in cover against missile combat from the front.

Skirmish In close combat skirmishers must take the retreat option if available.

Vulnerable Flanks flank/rear bonus against this unit is +2.

Some examples:

Roman Legionaires would be heavy infantry. They would have the Armored special rule. At this level, I would not worry about any sort of Roman line relief. This is such a high level game, that sort of detail is not appropriate.

Hellenistic infantry would be heavy infantry with Armored, Phalanx and Vulnerable Flanks special rules. Are they Hoplites or Phalangites? At this level, we don’t care. You could make some fiddly rules to mimic the slightly different fighting styles but ultimately at this level, the net effect would be 0.

Warbands might come in one of two flavors. The common warband might be unarmored infantry while the “soldurii” might be heavy infantry. Either way, they would get the furious charge special rule.

There are a few outliers that need to be considered. Elephants almost certainly would be powerful. But there should be some risk of them rampaging through friendly lines when they have been hit. How does one handle scythed chariots? Should they even be considered at this level? Other chariots both light and heavy? Are they like cavalry that is limited to clear terrain? Should camels fight the same as corresponding cavalry types?

Assuming the above rules are balanced (and that is a big assumption), this is about 80% ready for the Classical and, dare I say, Medieval period.

The Portable Dark Ages – First Whack

March 31, 2017

I want to ultimately make a variant Portable Wargame (Bob Cordery) that covers the Classical Age.  I think a good place to start would be the Dark Ages.  The reason is that there are fewer troop types and therefore fewer options to deal with.  Combat is a real slog in the truest sense of the word.  Most of the rules will still hold true.  The troops will be different.

Warbands are something that can easily be dealt with.  They are potentially powerful, fast moving units that will quickly lose when things go badly for them.   Therefore, the strength should be 3.  Movement can be 2, like most other infantry.  However, they may move a 3rd space if that move would bring them into close combat.  They have no missile ability.  They normally hit on a 5 or more  in close combat but any combat in which they moved into contact, including followups, they get +1 to hit.

Shield-wall troops are the backbone of many armies.  They have a strength of 4 and can move 2 spaces per turn.  They have no missile ability.  They hit on a 5 or more in close combat.  They count as being in cover when attacked from the front by missile troops.

Skirmishers have a strength of 2 and can move 2 spaces per turn.  They have a shooting range of 3 and hit on a 5 or more with missile combat.  They hit on a 6 in close combat.  If hit in close combat they must always take the retreat option if available.

Heavy cavalry have a strength of 3 and can move 3 spaces.  They have no missile ability and can hit in close combat on a 4 or more.

Light cavalry have a strength of 3 and can move 3 spaces.  They may be armed with javelins, hitting on a 5 or more in with missile combat with a shooting range of 2.  They hit on a 6 in close combat.  They may have no missile ability and hit in close combat on a 5 or more.

Instead of spelling it out per unit, I could outline abilities like “Shieldwall” and “Barbarian Charge” for the extra abilities.

I have not tested any of this so some of the units may be too weak/powerful.