Other people’s Portable Wargame battle reports: Cavalier 2018

One thing that I really regret about not making it to CAVALIER this year was the opportunity to see Mike Lewis and Anthony Morton running a PORTABLE WARGAME using 54mm-scale figures. Luckily Mike has written a blog entry about the game, and he has illustrated it with some excellent photographs.

As I wrote in a commented on his blog, ‘I was struck by how similar the whole game looked to the battles fought by Joseph Morschauser, who was – of course – the inspiration for my PORTABLE WARGAME rules. Mike’s terrain and figures look beautiful, and I love the very simple but very effective trees and built-up areas. A truly inspiring wargame!’

Reading Mike’s blog and seeing the photographs has certainly given my somewhat lagging spirits a bit of a lift, and when I begin feeling a bit better I hope to stage a PORTABLE WARGAME of my own.


Please note that the photographs featured above are © Mike Lewis.
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Other people’s Portable Wargame battle reports: An operational-level battle

Whilst I have been driving hither and thither attending Masonic meetings, Archduke Piccolo has uploaded a battle report to his blog that uses a modified version of the PORTABLE WARGAME to re-fight the battle of Sidi Rezegh.

As I am currently thinking about a similar modification to the rules, I found this a very useful battle report to read. Furthermore, it reads like an official history … which is what I want my operational-level battle reports to be like.

Read and enjoy … I don’t think that you will be disappointed!


Please note that the photographs featured above are © Archduke Piccolo.

The Battle of Königstür

Turn 1 (06.00 to 08.00)
A Red 4 was turned over. The Austro-Hungarians therefore activated four units plus the commander.

At first light, General Rot sent his two Jäger regiments forward to occupy the hills on either side of Königstür whilst he led his foremost infantry brigade towards the town.

A Red 2 was turned over. The Austro-Hungarians therefore activated two units plus the commander.

Whilst the Jägers continued their advance, General Rot waited somewhat impatiently for the rest of his force to catch up.

Turn 2 (08.00 to 10.00)
A Black 6 was turned over. The Prussians therefore activated six units plus the commander.

Somewhat later than planned, General Schwartz led his 2nd Division forward on the right whilst the 1st Division moved forward on the left.

A Red 2 was turned over. The Austro-Hungarians therefore activated two units plus the commander.

General Rot rode forward into Königstür at the head of one of his infantry regiments whilst the right-hand Jäger regiment moved forward to occupy the centre of the hill.

Turn 3 (10.00 to 12.00)
A Black 5 was turned over. The Prussians therefore activated five units plus the commander.

Seeing that Austro-Hungarian troops were already occupying both hills, General Schwartz began to deploy his troops accordingly. The 2nd Division’s leading elements shook themselves out of column and into line, with the artillery regiment in the centre. At the same time the Prussian Jägers began to move out towards the right flank in order to outflank to Austro-Hungarian forces on the hill.

The 1st Division also began to deploy for an attack on the hill to its front, but somewhat tardily than the 2nd Division.

A Black 7 was turned over. The Prussians therefore activated seven units plus the commander.

General Schwartz used the opportunity to both deploy the leading brigade of the 1st Division so that it could assault the left-hand hill and to bring forward the rest of his force. He also moved the Jägers forward to the bottom of the right-hand hill.

Turn 4 (12.00 to 14.00)
A Black 5 was turned over. The Prussians therefore activated five units plus the commander.

General Schwartz ordered his artillery to open fire on the enemy troops on the hills.

The left-hand Prussian artillery regiment threw a 4, to which was added its Combat Power (3), resulting in a modified score of 7. In reply the Austro-Hungarian Jägers threw a 1, to which was added its Combat Power (4), resulting in a modified score of 5. Because the defending unit’s modified score was less than the attacking unit’s modified score but more than half the attacking unit’s modified score, the defending unit’s Combat Power was reduced by 1.

The right-hand Prussian artillery regiment threw a 6, to which was added its Combat Power (3), resulting in a modified score of 9*. In reply the Austro-Hungarian Jägers threw a 5, to which was added its Combat Power (4), resulting in a modified score of 9. Because the defending unit’s modified score and the attacking unit’s modified score were equal, the artillery fire was ineffective.

The Prussian Jägers then moved forward so that they could engage the Austro-Hungarian Jägers as soon as such an action became possible.

In the centre, two Prussian infantry regiments advance in column towards Königstür.

A Red 3 was turned over. The Austro-Hungarians therefore activated three units plus the commander.

Whilst General Rot hurried the leading infantry brigade forward into Königstür to counter the developing Prussian advance on the town …

… the left-hand Austro-Hungarian Jäger regiment engaged the Prussian Jägers . It threw a 2, to which was added its Combat Power (3), resulting in a modified score of 5. In reply the Prussian Jägers threw a 3, to which was added its Combat Power (4), resulting in a modified score of 7. Because the attacking unit’s modified score was less than the defending unit’s modified score, the fighting was inconclusive.

Turn 5 (14.00 to 16.00)
A Red 3 was turned over. The Austro-Hungarians therefore activated three units plus the commander.

General Rot moved back into Königstür and was finally able to bring forward the rest of his force.

A Black 5 was turned over. The Prussians therefore activated five units plus the commander.

General Schwartz ordered his artillery to continue firing on the enemy troops on the hills.

The left-hand Prussian artillery regiment threw a 5, to which was added its Combat Power (3), resulting in a modified score of 8. In reply the Austro-Hungarian Jägers threw a 2, to which was added its Combat Power (3), resulting in a modified score of 5. Because the defending unit’s modified score was less than the attacking unit’s modified score but more than half the attacking unit’s modified score, the defending unit’s Combat Power was reduced by 1.

The right-hand Prussian artillery regiment threw a 2, to which was added its Combat Power (3) and the commander’s Combat Power (2), resulting in a modified score of 7. In reply the Austro-Hungarian Jägers threw a 2, to which was added its Combat Power (3), resulting in a modified score of 5. Because the defending unit’s modified score was less than the attacking unit’s modified score but more than half the attacking unit’s modified score, the defending unit’s Combat Power was reduced by 1. (Note: The artillery was able to fire at the Austro-Hungarian Jägers because their line-of-sight was not obscured by the Prussian Jägers regiment.)

Prussian Jäger regiment engaged the Austro-Hungarian Jägers. It threw a 4, to which was added its Combat Power (4), resulting in a modified score of 8. In reply the Austro-Hungarian Jägers threw a 1, to which was added its Combat Power (2), resulting in a modified score of 3. Because the defending unit’s modified score was less than half the attacking unit’s modified score, the defending unit’s Combat Power was reduced by 2. (Note: The Austro-Hungarian Jäger regiment’s Combat Power was now 0, but it was not removed from the battlefield. This would only happen if it suffered any further loss of Combat Power.)

General Schwartz also ordered two of the 1st Division’s infantry regiments to edge forward in order to threaten the Austro-Hungarian Jäger regiment on the left-hand hill.

Turn 6 (16.00 to 18.00)
A Black 7 was turned over. The Prussians therefore activated seven units plus the commander.

General Schwartz ordered the 1st Division’s artillery to continue firing on the enemy troops on the hill in front of it.

The left-hand Prussian artillery regiment threw a 1, to which was added its Combat Power (3), resulting in a modified score of 4. In reply the Austro-Hungarian Jägers threw a 2, to which was added its Combat Power (2), resulting in a modified score of 4. Because the defending unit’s modified score and the attacking unit’s modified score were equal, the artillery fire was ineffective.

General Schwartz then ordered the 2nd Division’s artillery to fire at the enemy troops in the nearest part of Königstür.

The right-hand Prussian artillery regiment threw a 6, to which was added its Combat Power (3) and the commander’s Combat Power (2), less 2 because the enemy unit is inside a built-up area, resulting in a modified score of 9. In reply the Austro-Hungarian infantry regiment threw a 1, to which was added its Combat Power (3), the commander’s Combat Power (1), resulting in a modified score of 5. Because the defending unit’s modified score was less than the attacking unit’s modified score but more than half the attacking unit’s modified score, the defending unit’s Combat Power was reduced by 1.

The Prussian Jägers attacked the much-depleted Austro-Hungarian Jäger regiment on the right-hand hill … and the survivors of the Austro-Hungarian unit surrendered.

One of the 1st Division’s infantry regiments now climbed the left-hand hill and attacked the Austro-Hungarian Jäger regiment. The Prussian infantry regiment threw a 4, to which it added its Combat Power (3), resulting in a modified score of 7. In reply the Austro-Hungarian Jäger regiment threw a 3, to which was added its Combat Power (2), resulting in a modified score of 5. Because the defending unit’s modified score was less than the attacking unit’s modified score but more than half the attacking unit’s modified score, the defending unit’s Combat Power was reduced by 1.

A second 1st Division infantry regiment advanced to the bottom of the left-hand hill and attacked the Austro-Hungarian Jäger regiment. The Prussian infantry regiment threw a 3, to which it added its Combat Power (3) less 1 because the enemy unit is uphill, resulting in a modified score of 5. In reply the Austro-Hungarian Jäger regiment threw a 2, to which was added its Combat Power (1), resulting in a modified score of 3. Because the defending unit’s modified score was less than the attacking unit’s modified score but more than half the attacking unit’s modified score, the defending unit’s Combat Power was reduced by 1 to 0.

Sensing that the battle was beginning to go his way, General Schwartz ordered two of the 2nd Division’s infantry regiments forward towards the right-hand hill.

A Red 4 was turned over. The Austro-Hungarians therefore activated four units plus the commander.

Leaving the remaining Jäger regiment to delay the Prussian advance, General Rot ordered his remaining infantry regiments to withdraw.

Turn 7 (18.00 to 20.00)
A Black 7 was turned over. The Prussians therefore activated seven units plus the commander.

As reports reached him that indicated that the Austro-Hungarians were withdrawing, General Schwartz ordered a general advance.

On the left the remaining Austro-Hungarian Jäger regiment surrendered …

… whilst in the centre …

… and on the right, the Prussians cautiously advanced.

A Red 2 was turned over. The Austro-Hungarians therefore activated two units plus the commander.

The Prussians were right to be cautious. General Rot might not have been the most gifted Austro-Hungarian commander, but he was certainly brave. He ordered his artillery regiment into action, and they engaged the nearest Prussian infantry regiment. They threw a 6, to which was added its Combat Power (3) and the commander’s Combat Power (1), resulting in a modified score of 10. In reply the Prussian infantry regiment threw a 1, to which was added its Combat Power (3), resulting in a modified score of 4. Because the defending unit’s modified score was less than half the attacking unit’s modified score, the defending unit’s Combat Power was reduced by 2.

General Rot then withdrew one of his remaining infantry regiments whilst he remained behind in Königstür to ensure that the retreat was carried out in an orderly fashion.

Turn 8 (20.00 to 22.00)
A Red 4 was turned over. The Austro-Hungarians therefore activated two units plus the commander.

A night fell, General Rot was able to withdraw his remaining troops, leaving the Prussians to occupy Königstür … but not that night!

A Red 3 was turned over … which meant that General Schwartz was unable to move his troops into the town, and they ended the day bivouacking where they ended that day’s battle.


The length of the ‘day’ was eight two-hour turns, with each turn being split into two segments.

* It was not until after the artillery had fired and the result had been adjudicated that I realised that I had not added the adjacent Prussian commander’s Combat Power into the calculation. Had I done so the Austro-Hungarian Jägers would have reduced their Combat Power by 1. I made this change to their Combat Power as soon as I had realised my error.


From my point-of-view this was a very satisfactory solo play-test.

The card activation system ensured that neither side could be sure that they would be able to do everything they wanted to do when they wanted to do it. It also reflected the differences in abilities between General Rot (a ‘Poor’ general) and General Schwartz (an ‘Average’ general). The former did the best he could within the limits of his abilities whereas the latter never quite seemed to be able to exploit the opportunities that arose. The fact that the Austro-Hungarians were able to hold up the Prussian advance for a day is testament to this.

Limiting the supply of artillery ammunition did not have an impact on the outcome I had expected, but I was very conscious of the fact that neither side could use their artillery to batter the enemy into submission before sending in their infantry to mop up.

The combat system seemed to work better in this play-test than I had expected it would, and I felt that the outcomes were generally realistic.

All-in-all I finished the play-test with the feeling that these rules will be worth developing further as and when time permits … and fighting this battle was a great way to spend some pre-Christmas downtime!


The Battle of Königstür: The scenario, the terrain, the starting positions, and the values of the playing cards in the pack of unit activation cards

The Scenario:
A Prussian Korps had been sent to seize the town of Königstür, a small town at the northern end of a valley to the north of Vienna. By taking control of the town – and thus the valley as well – the Prussians would be able to quickly advance and capture the Austro-Hungarian capital.

The Korps comprised two infantry divisions, each of which had four infantry regiments and an artillery regiment. In addition, the Korps commander – General Schwartz, who was regarded by his superiors as being a very competent but not outstanding officer – had a regiment of elite Jäger at his disposal.

The Austro-Hungarian High Command was well aware of the threat posed by the possible capture of Königstür, and had sent a strengthened infantry division – led by General Rot, who the High Command considered to be one of their less gifted officers – to occupy the town and the surrounding area, and prevent the towns capture.

The enhanced division comprised four infantry regiments, an artillery regiment, and two regiments of elite Jägers.

All artillery units started with enough ammunition to fire six times. Once their ammunition is expended, they would have to be re-supplied … but that would take some time.

The Terrain:
The battlefield viewed from the north (i.e. from the direction of the Prussian advance).

The battlefield viewed from the east.

The battlefield viewed from the south (i.e. from the direction of the Austro-Hungarian advance).

A map of the battlefield viewed from the north.

Starting positions:
The Prussian and Austro-Hungarian forces entered the battlefield as follows:

  • The Prussians arrived on the battlefield in two separate divisional columns; the 1st Division at C8 and the 2nd Division (accompanied by the Korps commander and the Jägers) at G8.
  • The Austro-Hungarians arrived on the battlefield at D1.

Command ability and the value of playing cards in the pack of unit activation cards:
The two commanders were graded as to their individual command ability, and this determined the value of the playing cards they had in the pack of unit activation cards.

General Schwartz was rated as ‘Average’ and commanded eleven units. 11 ÷ 2 = 5.5, which when rounded up equalled 6. He was therefore allocated black playing cards to the value of five, six, and seven.

General Rot was rated as ‘Poor’ and commanded seven units. (7 ÷ 2) – 1 = 2.5, which when rounded up equalled 3. He was therefore allocated red playing cards to the value of two, three, and four.


Hexblitz

I originally designed HEXBLITZ back in 2007. Since then I have looked at it several times with the intention of reviving and possibly revising the rules, but have never quite got around to it.

Recently Archduke Piccolo has been using the rules, and his battle reports (and some very probing questions) have made me think again about revisiting this project.


Archduke Piccolo‘s battle reports include:


Please note that all the photographs featured above are © Archduke Piccolo.

Other people’s Portable Wargames: Some of Stephen Briddon’s battles

Stephen Briddon has been using my PORTABLE WARGAME rules since before they were published, and was one of the wargamers who gave me very useful feedback during their development. He has continued to use them, and what follows are some photographs of some of his battles.

The Battle of Hook’s Farm … using 54mm figures on a squared grid

The Battle of Hook’s Farm … using 54mm figures on a hexed grid

(The corners of each hex are marked with a dot, which makes them almost invisible in these photographs.)

A desert battle … using 20mm figures on a hexed grid


Please note that the photographs featured above are © Stephen Briddon.

Other people’s Portable Wargame battle reports: Seven Years War

Ross Macfarlane and his friend Ron have been at it again. This time they have been using an adapted version of the Ancient rules from DEVELOPING THE PORTABLE WARGAME to fight a Seven Years War battle!

The battle report makes for interesting reading, and has given me several ideas regarding the possibility of writing a Seven Years War version of my own NAPOLEONIC PORTABLE WARGAME rules. These are currently in the very early stages of development, and I hope to publish them at some time in the future. In the meantime I recommend that anyone interested in using my PORTABLE WARGAME rules for other periods should read Ross Mac’s excellent battle report.


Please note that the photographs featured above are © Ross Macfarlane.