Friday, 13 May 2022

Perks of the 'Job'

This is by way of a thank-you  note to Bob Cordery  of Wargaming Miscellany and The Portable Wargame renown :  last week I received a copy of his latest publication, The Portable Wargame Compendium.  And a splendid work it is, too,

100 pages of fun..

This is a softback, about 100 pages, in 'American Letter' format ( 8.5. x 10.5 inches ) which is new to me, but nice and roomy, and pleasant to handle.  It's a collection of pieces exploring variations on Bob's  Portable Wargame format,  dominated by the 'Fast Play 3 x 3'  variant suggested by Mark Cordone, which is of course included here.  There is an array of 'FP3x3' variants:  Colonial , WW2 (both small infantry actions and Operational level), a Punic War campaign, ECW, 'Little Wars'  H.G. Wells style ( with a 3 x 3 Hooks Farm Scenario ), and Sci-Fi - and then ideas on Generalship and Army Composition, Flank Marches, and a Terrain Generation system.  I can't fault Bob's work rate ( and the other gamers and bloggers involved ), given that I gather Mark C only put his '3x3' idea onto social media in about January of this year!  There are also three chapters not related to '3x3',  including   one very useful one describing the  Snakes and Ladders Campaign System devised by Peter from Grid based wargaming - but not always  blog,  and one giving a Fantasy rules variation on The Portable Wargame (step  forward, Maudlin Jack Tar and  Tradgardmastare ). Finally, The Portable Eighteenth Century : Horse and Musket Wargame Rules, by - well, modesty forbids.. 

There are battle reports for three of the 'FP3x3' rulesets, and nice colour pictures of  the resulting quick and simple games. Here is Bob's WW2 Infantry Combat game,

   and one of Martin Rapier's 1st Punic War battles, using 20mm figures originally based for DBA. 

I could be tempted by the Ancients version - there's a 'Command and Colours Ancients' set around here somewhere, which would provide instant armies.

I can see that the Fast Play 3x3 versions could be great for those times when you just fancy a game to 'scratch the itch',  but haven't got a lot of time, or as an introduction for gaming beginners, or for smaller actions in a campaign that maybe don't warrant a large setup, so I'm sure it will interest a plenty of people ( it already has, of course!).  One of the most interesting ones for me is Arthur Harman's ECW variant - Arthur has sagely spotted that a frontage of three grid areas is highly appropriate for armies which had a quite rigid order of battle consisting of an infantry centre, and two wings of cavalry. His set looks to be among the most detailed, and may thus be a bit more than a quick and dirty game - intriguing. 

So, thanks very much indeed Bob, for the excellent book and for including me in - in reality, Bob did all the work, I just agreed that I'd be honoured if he put my 18th Century amendments to his rules in his book!  The whole thing has a rather nice feel  of variations on a theme, which reminds me of some of Donald Featherstone's collections such as Advanced War Games , War Game Campaigns and Solo Wargaming, bringing together a pot-pourri of ideas around a central concept - there's bound to be something that gives you some inspiration. Given that Bob has  been having some health issues recently too,  I reckon he's done a great job! Well worth a look. 

Now I am casting around for a '3x3'  grid, and have just noticed an unused cork pinboard . width 22 inches, so should easily fit a grid of 6-inch squares.. now where's that green paint I use for basing? Watch this space..

Thanks again, Bob!   Meanwhile Keep well, and safe, everyone.


  1. Congratulations on getting your work published in hardcopy print! Bob is a prolific and tireless publisher, no doubt.

    1. Thanks Jon, but all the credit goes to Bob! He's a phenomenon..

  2. An excellent publication indeed. Lots of inspiration for one and all. Congratulations on getting your rules published in it.
    How are the Prussians getting on ?
    P.s thanks for the nod to my help with the Fantasy rules, most kind.

    1. Thanks Alan, it's a fine book and I am chuffed to be included! Prussian progress sadly slow, very little spare hobby time right now, but I will keep going when possible.

  3. Congratulations on getting into print David! It's amazing how fast the 3x3PWG concept has taken off.
    Intrigued by Captain Carleton's memoirs. Is that a hardback book or one of this scanned jobs on the net?

    1. thanks very much!
      The Carleton book is interesting in dealing with a campaign that doesn't get a lot of coverage, but there's not a lot of 'battlefield account' stuff which is a shame, although I realise that's mainly because there were not many large battles ( he was not a witness to Almanza, for example). It is an attempt to defend Lord Peterborough, who is seen as badly treated by the military establishment - I am 3/4 through the book and Lord P has been sent home, so it will be interesting to see what Carleton ( still in Spain ) does next. Finally I should say, it's been pointed out that many people think it is really a fictional account, written by Daniel Defoe. I did not realise that when buying it, and the publishers (Naval and Military Press) did not mention it!