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.

Type

Strength

Move

Melee

Heavy Infantry

4

2

4

Unarmored Infantry

3

2

5

Light Infantry

2

2

6

Heavy Cavalry

3

3

4

Light Cavalry

3

3

5

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.


Small is good – The Portable Wargame

March 30, 2017

At the end of January, Bob Cordery released his Portable Wargame in a book format called (not surprisingly) The Portable Wargame. The book itself is 108 pages long and covers the history of grid based wargames, a design philosophy, rules for the 19th century, rules for modern warfare and several battle reports demonstrating the rules.

Essentially the rules follow a strict IGO-UGO sequence. Both sides exchange artillery fire with simultaneous effects. Then the players dice to see who goes first. The winner moves and attacks with each unit in turn before going onto the next unit. For instance, a unit could charge, win the combat driving the enemy back. It could then follow up and fight it again. All of this would occur before the next unit. Once both sides have taken a turn, you determine if there is a winner and then start the next turn if not.

I played my first game last night with an excellent little game engine designed to play The Portable Wargame on a computer. I chose the 18th century theme. Rather than playing on a flat plane, I decided to do a river crossing. There was a river that flowed west to east to the center of the board and bent to the south where it then bent again to the east. There was a bridge 1 space away from the bend and a town right next tot he bend. I played in 1 hour wargames style. I had 3 infantry and 1 gun for the defender and 4 infantry 1 gun and 1 cavalry for the attacker. The game played out in a believable manner, first with an artillery duel as well as a prolonged firefight across the river. The attacker crossed at first with a high risk attack. After an initial success, it was halted and then succumbed to flanking fire from both flanks. This maneuver did leave the enemy flanks vulnerable for 1 turn. The defender lost all the initiative rolls. The attacker assaulted a second time. This time, the infantry advanced and wiped out the enemy center unit. It was followed up by a cavalry unit which dispatched the enemy unit in the open. At this point, I ended the game as the defenders were down to their guns and 1 infantry unit still holding the town.

Simple and even simplistic but not in a bad way. I found that I never worried about the rules and never tried to “game” the system. Rather, I was concentrating on strategy and tactics the whole game. I played the game on an 8 by 8 board and 6 units per side comfortably fits on this sized board. I say this because One Hour Wargames uses 6 units per side. You can use this very setup, a chessboard sized board for those that did not pick up that subtlety, to fight out the scenarios in OHW. There is an option for chance cards in OHW as well. With some minor modifications, these can be used in The Portable Wargame too. Most OHW scenarios last 15 turns. In relation to movement, the 8X8 board is about 1/3 smaller than the OHW board. I’d limit the turn length to 10-12 turns per scenario for The Portable Wargame.

After I get a couple of more games under my belt, I think I am going to expand on Bob’s ancient rules. I already have some ideas that don’t fall too far outside the “canon” of his rules. Mainly they will be to provide a small amount of differentiation of units for the classical period. As well, I am going to put some paper armies, board and terrain, all 2.5D, and try to make a truly portable wargame.

The Portable Wargame at Lulu Hardback, Softback, E-Book

Computer game can be found here.

More information and support at the author’s blog.


sdkfz.10 final build…sort of

February 25, 2017

The last couple of days have not been idle.  I painted up a few figures and am currently working on the motorcycles by Zvezda.  Plastic Soldier company has a deal for 11 motorcycles for about $38.  It works out to $3.50 per machine.  Not bad.  They will be filling out the motorcycle units for the DAK forces.  Below are a couple of pics, not only of the first nearly completed cycle but also the detailed version of the sdkfz.10 card model I’ve been working on.

Front view.  Both need some paint touch up and perhaps a few more details on the motorcycles.

Front view. Both need some paint touch up and perhaps a few more details on the motorcycles.

The rear side view.  I think the half track came out pretty darned good!

The rear side view. I think the half track came out pretty darned good!

I am getting ready to design a CMP 15cwt truck.  There was a 1/87 scale version of the truck by Best Paper Models.  Their site was hacked a couple of years ago.  They’ve since entered an agreement with Betexa, another company who sells paper models.  Sadly, only 20 of their models have been uploaded so far and none of them are the CMP.  I’ve been waiting patiently for about 6 months.  The CMP does not look too difficult to design.  So…

This is about the cleanest blueprint I’ve seen to date.  I’m looking forward to this one.


Armored Car Company

February 19, 2017

These have been mostly finished and sitting on my paint table for a few weeks now.  I did not want to bring out the paints until my figures arrived from EWM.  Well, they did arrive yesterday and I spent some of the day today lining and touching up the models.  I think the results look pretty good!  All models by Paper Tiger Armaments.  Note that the sdkfz.222 also comes with a truck.  I have not built it…yet.

In search of the British army. sdkfz.231 in between two sdkfz.222.

In search of the British army. sdkfz.231 in between two sdkfz.222.

Upper front view.

Upper front view.

Rear view. Mission complete. Heading home!

Rear view. Mission complete. Heading home!

I suppose the extreme weathering with gray underneath is to show that they were hastily painted either before or after arriving in N. Africa.  Maybe they should have primed first?  😉


All (not so) Quiet

February 17, 2017

I have not been posting but have been a little busy over the past week.  The little General wanted me to build a Tiger Tank.  I rescaled Rawan’s Tiger I from 1:100 scale.  I think it came out well.  The other thing I’ve been doing is working on a sdkfz.10 artillery tractor.  Pictured on the right, it is the white template.  No tracks or wheels yet.  But those are pretty easy to do anyway.  I do need to adjust the front fenders, widening them and fixing the length.

img_4633

Side by side.  The half track is tiny!

Tiger Gun barrel is the length of a toothpick minus the tapered ends. 7/8″ of paper was wrapped twice followed by 7/16″ width of paper wrapped 3 times to get the tapered look of the gun. The muzzle break is 1/8″ of a medium kabob skewer.  The half track took me about 3 days to get to this point. I suspect I will have a detailed version this weekend.

The total build time of the Tiger was about 3 hours.  I think it took me about 1 hour to get the half track built to that point.  Maybe another half hour for tracks and wheels.

EDIT Here is the half track with wheels and tracks.  When I printed it out, I realized I forgot to duplicate the wheel.  Fortunately, there was a spare from my sdkfz.231 sitting on the table.

Wheels and tracks.

Wheels and tracks.


The Finished Product (mostly)

February 7, 2017

This is my final prototype.  I lowered the front edge of the front fenders a little.  I am unhappy with the window texture.  They are just to bright.  I am thinking a glass texture with a brown tint would be better.  Anyway, here are a few shots.  Included in one of the shots is a Kubelwagen by “Rawen” for size comparison.  It was a 1:100 scale model resized to 1:72 scale.  It comes with a Tiger I as well.  My son will be happy when I finally get that built.

Side/Rear shot to show off the rear "fenders". I simply added a circular strip of 67 lbs paper that was slightly larger than the wheel well. I've included 4 in the model just in case one gets messed up.

Side/Rear shot to show off the rear “fenders”. I simply added a circular strip of 67 lbs paper that was slightly larger than the wheel well. I’ve included 4 in the model just in case one gets messed up.

Front shot showing off the lowered front fender edges as well as the front bumper and windshield. I am not happy with the glass color.

Front shot showing off the lowered front fender edges as well as the front bumper and windshield. I am not happy with the glass color.

Overhead to show the basic interior print I added. Surprisingly effective with out much fuss. The roof will be permanently glues on.

Overhead to show the basic interior print I added. Surprisingly effective with out much fuss. The roof will be permanently glues on.

The axles are just 1" lengths of florist wire. Rough them up before gluing. I think the wire is about 20 gauge.

The axles are just 1″ lengths of florist wire. Rough them up before gluing. I think the wire is about 20 gauge.

Side by side with a quick build Kubelwagon by "Rawen."

Side by side with a quick build Kubelwagon by “Rawen.”

You can get the final model in jpg on the “Old School” page on this blog.

Quick notes: Cut out all of the black areas and discard.  The rear fenders make sure you do the black areas out first and then the outer edge.  I found it easier to cut the rear fenders with a knife being careful to leave enough paper to hold the piece in place.  Use 65-67 pound paper.  Some of the lines are not meant to be cut!  Print out at 85ppi for the correct scaling.

If you are new to card modeling, check out www.papermodelers.com.  Wonderful site full of very helpful folks!