"The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see."

The way things are going at the moment with regard to my work on the ‘new’ version of THE PORTABLE WARGAME rules, this quote from Winston Churchill seems to make a lot of sense.

I began work on a ‘new’ version of the rules just after I returned from our recent cruise, but for some reason I seem to keep getting to a certain point in the drafting process … and then finding that what I have written is over-complex and no longer simple. After three attempts to get it right, I decided to take a step back and to look at the original first draft of the rules.

These were heavily based on Joseph Morschauser’s ‘Frontier’, ‘Modern’, and ‘Musket’ rules, and re-reading them has helped me to ‘look farther back’ and – as a result – to ‘see farther forward’. I am going to take a break from my efforts to write a ‘new’ version of the rules for a couple of days, but I am sure that when I return to this task, I will find it a much easier to complete.


4 Comments on “"The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see."”

  1. Blaxkleric says:

    Bob, it was your splendid Portable ruleset which first attracted me to your blog, so please 'stick with it' 🙂 I have noted its been a while since you've posted some of those excellent demos of the rules etc. I'd certainly welcome any such future postings if you wanted to see what we thought about changes etc? Lovely quote btw, these days I think WC is seen as something of a comical character but his knowledge of history, and perhaps more importantly his understanding of it to help inform his present day decision-making was rather astute imho.

  2. Blaxkleric,

    Thanks very much for your kind words.

    I will certainly stick with my PORTABLE WARGAME rules, and once I have a draft that I am happy with, I shall be fighting some play-test battles.

    It is my intention to include the rules in a PORTABLE WARGAME book that I am in the process of writing.

    Winston Churchill was capable of all sorts of one-liners, some of which were funny and many that were very insightful. He knew his history and was a great communicator … something that one might have difficulty saying about many modern politicians.

    All the best,


  3. Looking back is often useful, especially as an aide to avoiding reinventing new forms of rejected rule mechanisms! Good luck, I'm sure the answer will come.

  4. Ross Mac,

    You are spot on. I kept realising that I was going back over old ground, redrafting rules that ended up being less clear – and more complicated – than they had been, and making things worse rather than better.

    I am put in mind of the Irish saying that 'if I was going there, I wouldn't have started from here'.

    Looking back at Morschauser's original 'Frontier' rules has made me realise that it is possible to write clear, simple wargame rules that work … and they are going to be the starting point for my 'new' PORTABLE WARGAME rules.

    All the best,


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