Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Special: All's Wells......

Last week, Bob Cordery issued his draft of Big Board Portable Wargame:Modern.  Using an 8x12 square grid board, it is possible to fight very enjoyable mobile actions, from the late nineteenth century to the present day.  I tried out the new rules on a World War One trench layout....


Here we see soldiers of the  Territorials as they set up their maxim gun to stop the invading tripods.

Yeomanry peer through the morning mist, awaiting the signal to charge.

A Bristol Boxkite overflew the village, taking this dramatic photograph. The walkers are almost ninety feet tall.

Suddenly, the one of the walkers launched a deadly black gas shell at one of the artillery positions.

It then seared the survivors with a deadly heat ray. Panic began to take hold.

Bravely the rest of the battery stuck to their guns, returning fire.

The unstoppable tripods turned the heat ray upon the local Methodist Church, as infantry tried to move in for an assault.

At short range the heat ray did horrible damage.

Here it wipes out a platoon of Territorials. Still they have bought time for the artillery to land several shells, slowing down the monsters.

The church collapses from the flames. Can anything stop the attack?

More infantry moves up to attack the walkers.

Finally, a combination of artillery and close assaults takes one of the constructs down.

The British soldiers, however have taken such losses that they must retreat. Hopefully, they have bought enough time for refugees to take to sea to escape the onslaught. To find out,  follow the conclusion of our story in "Old Admirals"


The figures are all from Peter Pig.
The buildings are downloaded card models from Fiddler's Green. They are in the English Village collection, printed at N-scale.
The tripods are all built from wooden elements found at Hobby Lobby, and given a coat of chrome paint.

My friend, Ben ran the Martians. Burning down a building was the highlight of the game for him.

Spike, as usual did all of the photography.

The rules worked well for this exercise. We used the "Tank" profile for the Martains, except that the gun was considered "heavy artillery" at range over three, and a "machine gun" at range of three or less; and the walker could also fire a "black cloud" every artillery phase. Fires lasted in the square hit for two turns, forcing units to move out or take damage. Martians were "elite", British "average".

Morale break point was 50% losses for the British, and 66% losses for the Martians.

The game took less than an hour, with Ben new to the system, and Spike taking a lot of pictures.


  1. Hi Steve,

    Absolutely loved it! I could almost hear Jeff Wayne in the background and this just goes to show that with a little imagination the concept of the Portable Wargame has enormous potential far beyond the intellects of us mere mortals!

    Great fun and loved the Tripods!

    All the best,


    1. Thanks David,
      I came up with this insanity about a week ago at work. I immediately knew what I wanted to do, but had to figure out HOW to do it. amazingly, the tripods took a bout five minutes each to build. They consists of a "wooden nickle" a wood bowl, three dowel caps(for the feet), three pieces of dowel, and a wood axle(for the death ray.
      PW is boundless in its potential. In the last week I have played games set in WW1&2, the English Civil War , and now Science Fiction. I am next going to try the French and Indian War, then something with Lord of the Rings type fantasy.

  2. Love the game too! The portable wargame has infinite potentialities.I wonder if I can ask if you will put up a facility to follow your blog in order that I can find updates when they occur.
    best wishes

  3. Let me see what I can find, Alan. I do promise that I will be updating this one every Tuesday, and Old Admirals on Sundays.

    I am glad you enjoyed it.

  4. Steven,

    I don't usually go in much for sci-fi wargames ... but this battle combines action from one of my favourite sci-fi novels by one of my favourite authors with some great figures and terrain ... AND it works as a wargame.

    I really enjoyed reading this battle report ..l and the Tripods look fantastic!

    All the best,


  5. Marvelous game! Looks great, sounds like fun. I picked up a Reviresco Tripod almost a decade back and still haven't assembled it let alone got it into a game.

    I agree with your comments on Morchauser and Bob. I was introduced to Morschauser about 10 years ago and he influenced my rules for the better but it took Bob to get me trying gridded games.


    1. Good to here from you, Ross. I've been enjoying your blog for a while!

      I'm going to run some "standard" Morschauser games, bob's versions, and some variants that I am developing. I welcome your feedback and input.

  6. Steven,

    Thank you for this blog and the excellent battle report. I've been having a go at getting a web browser based version of the Portable Wargame working:


    I've just added an 8x12 board for the modern version and in honour of your Halloween special I added some Martian fighting machines:



    1. This makes my day! I like what you have done with the web browser game, and Spike is giving it a go right now. Great to have you with us!

  7. I'm a great fan of the portable wargame, like you it's given my wargaming a new lease of life, I'm more interwar (SCW & Chaco) but I loved the WotW game. I've got some WW1 British just crying out to be deployed against the martian hordes! Look forward to the trenches again I've got some old Peter Laing that might just do.



    1. Nick, trust me, building Martians is fun.

      The period I am looking forward to playing is the Russian Civil War. I've got a few more packs of Peter Pig figures to finish, then it is on!

  8. It appears this affair was captured on motion picture camera: https://vimeo.com/107454954
    I hope you are still enjoying portable wargaming!

  9. I am going to watch that now, Pete. I am still fighting the Portable Wargames, and working a lot with Neil Thomas' "Nineteenth Century Eurpean Wargames". I have not been writing much for the last several years, as a serious ice hockey concussion has made it very difficult to sit down and WRITE. Playing, fine, painting: fine, Reading others work, fine. Writing is almost a no-go.