Other people’s Portable Wargame battle reports: More Zulu War action

A few days ago Ross Macfarlane staged a Zulu War battle using 54mm-scale figures and my PORTABLE WARGAME rules.

This battle looked like it was great fun to fight, and a fuller battle report can be found on Ross’s blog.


Please note that the photographs featured above are © Ross Macfarlane.
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Other people’s Portable Wargame battle reports: The Battle of Isandlwana

Recently Mike Lewis and Anthony Morton staged a re-fight of the Battle of Isandlwana using 54mm-scale figures and my PORTABLE WARGAME rules.

To my no doubt biased eyes the results look spectacular, and a full battle report can be found on Mike’s blog.


Please note that the photographs featured above are © Mike Lewis.

Updated Publications page

As I have another two books in the last stages of publication (THE MADASAHATTA CAMPAIGN and GRIDDED NAVAL WARGAMES) I decided to update the Publications page on my blog.

The list of books is now split under several headings:

  • Wargaming Books
  • Military History Books
  • Masonic History Books
  • Fiction

Below an image of each book’s cover are the prices at which the various editions (hardback, paperback, or eBook) are currently on sale via Lulu.


Other people’s Portable Wargames … at the Victorian Military Society’s recent seminar

Last Saturday was a very important day (and I am not referring to the Royal Wedding or the FA Cup Final!) as it was the date of the Victorian Military Society’s Seminar: INVASIONS SCARES AND THE ‘BATTLE OF DORKING’.

Unfortunately, I was unable to go, but I understand that during the lunch break, the Battle of Dorking was re-fought using 15mm figures, my PORTABLE WARGAME rules, and a purpose-built terrain board. I have seen some photographs of both the figures and the terrain, and it all looked very, very impressive. These can be seen on the Society’s Facebook page.

I hope that more information about the game will become available in the fullness of time as it is exactly the sort of wargame I envisaged being fought using my rules.


Today I am mostly … trying to finish writing the chapter about coastal operations

It was my intention to end my book about gridded naval wargames with a chapter that covered coastal operations, particularly how my PORTABLE NAVAL WARGAME rules work in conjunction with my PORTABLE WARGAME rules.

What started out as a couple of pages has grown into a full-blown battle report that covers how the rules work together. For inspiration I went to Donald Featherstone’s NAVAL WAR GAMES and have adapted his THE RAID ON THE KRIEGSTAATZ BATTERIES scenario from the imaginary Anglo-German War of 1885. In my case the battle is entitled THE ATTACK ON THE KRIEGSTAATZ FORTRESS, and the tabletop looks like this:

I am several turns into the wargame, and it is developing into quite an interesting battle. I have no idea how it is going to end, but hope to find out later today. Once it is concluded, I will be able to finish this chapter, which will leave only one other to write before the book’s text can be sent off for proof reading and correction.


Thinking Napoleonic

Watching WATERLOO on TV last Saturday made me realise that it is some time since I actually did anything about finishing my Napoleonic project (i.e. renovating, varnishing, and basing my collection of pre-painted 25/28mm-scale Del Prado Napoleonic figures and writing a Napoleonic version of my PORTABLE WARGAME rules), and having decided to put my Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War project on hold for the time being, I looked back at some of my earlier blog entries in the hope it would motivate me to do do some work on the project.

Back in August 2011 – and before I expanded the collection with purchases on eBay – I organised some of the figures that I did have into two small Napoleonic armies and used them to fight some battles from the imaginary Cordeguayan Civil War. The two armies were mounted on temporary 50mm x 50mm squares of green-coloured mounting board, with three Infantry figures per Infantry unit, two Cavalry figures per Cavalry unit, and two Gunners and a Cannon per Artillery unit. The results looked as follows:

Looking at these two armies now, I realise that my existing collection would enable me to field similar armies several times over (possibly at least three or four times larger) … a somewhat sobering thought!

The rules I used were a mishmash based on Joseph Morschauser’s rules that became an early version of the PORTABLE WARGAME. The playing surface was a 15 x 15 grid of 50mm squares that easily fitted onto the table in my toy/wargames room and could accommodate both of the two armies I had assembled.

Cordeguayan Civil War: The Battle of the Bridge over the River Blanco

Cordeguayan Civil War: The Battle of the Cherro Rico road

Reading the two battle reports (‘The Battle of the Bridge over the River Blanco‘ and ‘The Battle of the Cherro Rico road‘) made me realise just how much fun I had experienced fighting them, and it was at that point that the motivation to get this project finished started to return. Hopefully it will not dissipate before I actually do anything … but like so many wargamers, I can resist anything except temptation!


Zvezda’s Art of Tactic games: A way forward for my Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War project?

Over the past few weeks I have been doing a lot of thinking about how best to approach starting work on my Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War project. One possibility that I have been considering is to take a simple quick-start short-cut … and buy a copy of Zveda’s ‘Art of Tactic’ OPERATION BARBAROSSA game.

The game components are compatible with my PORTABLE WARGAME rules. I know this because I previously owned a copy, but in what now strikes me as a fit of madness, I passed it on to another wargamer, along with a stack of unmade models that I had bought to go with it.

In terms of figures and vehicles, the basic game contains:

  • 1 x Pzkpfw II tank
  • 1 x Pzkpfw III tank
  • 1 x Opel Blitz truck
  • 3 x Bases of German infantry
  • 1 x Base of German assault engineers
  • 1 x German machine gun crew
  • 1 x Ju87 Stuka dive-bomber
  • 1 x 81mm mortar and crew
  • 1 x German HQ
  • 1 x T-34/76 tank
  • 1 x Zis-5 truck
  • 3 x Bases of Russian infantry
  • 1 x Russian machine gun and crew
  • 1 x Russian 82mm mortar and crew
  • 1 x 45mm anti-tank gun and crew
  • 1 x 37mm anti-aircraft gun and crew
  • 1 x Russian HQ

The terrain items in the box include:

  • 6 x double-sided six by four hexed terrain boards (they are actually five hexes plus two half hexes by four hexes)
  • 30 x double-sided single terrain hexes
  • 6 x hill hexes
  • 1 x Pillbox
  • 2 x Dragon’s teeth anti-tank obstacles
  • 4 x Sets of barbed wire
  • 1 x Pontoon bridge

In addition, I already have soome models I had bought some years ago during a visit to the Artillery Museum in St Petersburg. These include:

  • 1 x T-26 tank
  • 2 x T-34/76 (mod.43) tanks
  • 2 x 45mm anti-tank guns and crew
  • 2 x 76mm infantry guns and crew
  • 2 x 122mm M-30 howitzers and crew
  • 2 x 85mm anti-aircraft guns and crew

Since the first game came out, Zvezda have added several additional sets to the range including the ‘Art of Tactic’ TANK COMBAT game.

This set comprises:

  • 1 x Pzkpfw II tanks
  • 1 x Pzkpfw 38(t) tanks
  • 1 x Pzkpfw IV tanks
  • 1 x BT-5 tanks
  • 1 x T-26 tanks
  • 1 x T-34/76 (mod.40) tanks
  • 1 x double-sided four by three hexed terrain boards (they are actually four hexes by two hexes plus two half hexes)

The other two widely available games are Zveda’s ‘Art of Tactic’ BATTLE FOR MOSCOW …

and BATTLE OF STALINGRAD …

… games.

The former contains:

  • 1 x Pzkpfw III ausf.G tank
  • 1 x Pzkpfw IV ausf.D tank
  • 1 x StuG ausf.B assault gun
  • 3 x Bases of German infantry in winter uniform
  • 1 x German machine gun crew in winter uniform
  • 1 x 81mm mortar and crew in winter uniform
  • 1 x German motorcycle and sidecar
  • 1 x German HQ in winter uniform
  • 1 x T-35 tank
  • 1 x Base of Russian infantry in winter uniform
  • 2 x Bases of Russian militia infantry
  • 1 x Base of Russian ski infantry
  • 1 x Russian machine gun and crew in winter uniform
  • 1 x Russian 82mm mortar and crew in winter uniform
  • 1 x 85mm anti-aircraft gun and crew
  • 1 x Russian HQ in winter uniform
  • 6 x double-sided six by four hexed snowy terrain boards (they are actually five hexes plus two half hexes by four hexes)
  • 30 x double-sided single terrain snowy hexes
  • 6 x hill hexes
  • 1 x Pillbox
  • 2 x Dragon’s teeth anti-tank obstacles
  • 4 x Sets of barbed wire
  • 1 x Pontoon bridge
  • 8 x Smoke markers
  • 2 x Fire markers

The latter contains:

  • 1 x Pzkpfw IV tank
  • 1 x Base of German infantry in winter uniform
  • 1 x 75mm anti-tank gun and crew
  • 1 x 81mm mortar and crew in winter uniform
  • 1 x German HQ in winter uniform
  • 1 x T-34/76 tank
  • 1 x Base of Russian infantry in winter uniform
  • 1 x Russian anti-tank team
  • 1 x 76mm Zis-3 anti-tank gun and crew
  • 1 x Russian HQ in winter uniform
  • 3 x double-sided six by four hexed terrain boards, two of which are snowy (they are actually five hexes plus two half hexes by four hexes)
  • 1 x Pillbox
  • 2 x Dragon’s teeth anti-tank obstacles
  • 4 x Sets of barbed wire
  • 1 x Pontoon bridge
  • 6 x Smoke markers
  • 2 x Fire markers

By buying most or all of the above I could quickly ‘kick-start’ my Eastern Front/Great Patriotic War project into life … and it is certainly an option I need to think about some more.