Monday 27 June 2011

The (Portable) Naval Wargame - A Slight Misnomer?

The beavering away on the remaining ship charts continues - I have the Royal Navy, Germany, Baltic Russian, Japan and the US to complete - and should be complete over the next couple of days. I will then be uploading both the rules and the lists into Google Docs for anybody that is interested to take a look at and use should they wish. These will be very much a living document as a number of additions will be made over time but at least the core set will be in the real world.

Readers may have noticed that I have put the 'Portable' of the title in brackets. This is intentional as I am no longer sure this set could be classed as portable, at least in the form I shall be using it won't be.  A playing area of 8 x 8 hexes using Hexon tiles takes up a reasonable amount of space and although strictly speaking this should be classed as portable (at least in my house I have to 'port' the box of tiles and the models etc from my 'office' to the dining table!) I am not convinced that this is really the correct usage of the term.

To my mind a portable wargame should be small sized and self-contained - Bob Cordery's early work on the land variant used a chess board that was the lid of the storage box for the pieces (I have a similar version myself and they are pretty easy to come by) and to my mind this is The Portable Wargame in its purest form. Aside from the obvious differences between hexes and squares the resultant set up (be it land or sea based) should ideally be in a similar fashion as the aforementioned 'boxed' version to be truly classed as portable. The ideal size for hexes for such a version on that basis would probably be around a half the size of the Hexon tile (they are 4" across the flats) and so I suspect that those included in the game Heroscape would be better. The problem here is that some models will not easily fit onto the smaller size of hex - especially if they are based. Anything pre-dreadnought would be fine in 1/3000th scale but the ideal would be 1/6000th or even 1/4800th where available. The former is very comprehensively covered but the latter is a little more erratic.

I have absolutely no plans to go to the smaller scales (although I have looked at both) but in terms of fulfilling the Portable part of the title they may be a better representation of both the spirit of the title and concept of being portable.

I suppose this is probably being overly pedantic but the essential truth is that whilst these rules are portable in intent, for myself they are pretty much just a normal set of wargame rules - although having said that, surely ALL wargames rules could be described as portable as invariably you have to port the models and scenery etc to the playing surface....;-)

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