An early square based action featuring the C.S.S. Arkansas (left) facing off against the U.S.S. Carondelet (top) and the U.S.S. Essex (right)
It is remarkable just how valuable taking time away from a project can be when one is feeling jaded by the whole thing in respect of recharging the creative batteries. To be honest I had not really abandoned the whole ironclads project totally since the Portable Ironclads Wargame was published but it is fair to say that my efforts since have been distinctly League One rather than the Premiership! In a way the continuing ironclad saga was ticking over, idling if you prefer, until I had built up a sufficient head of steam to resume it in earnest so to speak. With the conclusion of my recent Royal Navy versus the Turks action and with the resulting injection of enthusiasm I can safely say that the mojo has returned! It is now time to start pulling all the threads together to make the whole thing viable.
I have been nibbling away at a few ideas for the next volume and am satisfied that I am on the right track but the best news of all is that I have finally settled the whole square grid situation to my liking. The main issue concerned operations conducted using diagonals but I am confident I now have this mastered to my satisfaction. All it needed was some clear-headed thought - obvious really but it was not something I was able to achieve whilst the original book was being written!
Developing the Portable Ironclads Wargame will contain rules for using squares so that players will be able to make use of both hexes or squares as they wish. To facilitate this there will be plenty of examples of movement and firing along with pictures showing the firing arcs etc - obviously there will be two sets of these for squares - orthogonal and diagonal. There are also going to be pictures of the recommended hexagonal fire arcs which are much clearer than in the first volume.
I have said before and will do so again, Developing the Portable Ironclads Wargame will certainly not be a second edition - rather it is a series of optional or alternative rules that players can make use of or not as desired.
Also scheduled for inclusion is a greatly expanded selection of ships for the ACW and I am also looking to include the War of the Pacific for some South American naval action.
Best I get busy then!