After a disastrous train journey home last night due to an unfortunate fatality on the line (I was going to be a little late in any event due to a job interview) I was not able to tackle very much at all by the time I had had my dinner and relaxed after the rigours of the day.
Luckily the train was only half full so I had plenty of space to sit in and room to think. During the extra 90 minutes of my journey I managed to finish the book I have been reading (Heroic Voices of the Spanish Civil War - Memories of the International Brigades) and to get some preliminary thoughts down on paper for the 1860 to 1890 variant of the Portable Naval War Game.
The basic approach and mechanics of the rules will be identical to the 1890 to 1920 version. The number of generic ship types will be increased to incorporate two additional types - gunboats and a category I am calling Improvised Warships. This will cover a very wide range of ship sizes, protection levels and weapons carried and is designed primarily with the ACW in mind. Guns will be split into rifles and smooth bore artillery and I will need to consider firing arcs in far more detail than previously. I have some plans for this that are very simple and made even more so by the use of a hexed playing surface (I knew there was a good reason for buying the Hexon tiles!). I will also need to make provision for the use of the ram attack and again, have partially addressed that as well. I am reasonably confident that the 1890 to 1920 rules can be taken back in time to cover the earlier period but I need to ensure that the flavour of the times is captured so that the resultant game is not just an afterthought (technically I suppose it is but the intention is that it is not if you see what I mean!).
All in all then, the proposed earlier variant of the Portable Naval War Game seems to be a lot less work than I originally envisaged although I dare say that statement will come back to haunt me in due course. The first play test will feature the ACW river collection which will be receiving some urgent attention over the coming weeks - hopefully to finished by the end of the year.