Monday, 23 January 2017

The Portable Wargame - A Brief Review

My copy of The Portable Wargame by Bob Cordery arrived on my doormat this morning. Rather than making a start at reading the book I thought it would be timely to provide a quick summary of the book for anyone who is still swithering about a purchase. It is subtitled 'Rules for fast-play wargames on gridded tabletops'.

The book comes in three formats, hardcopy at £14.99, paperback at £5.99 and as an ebook at £2.99, contains 102 pages and over 70 black and white photographs and over 20 diagrams. This is not a glossy coffee table book stuffed from cover to cover with wargamers eye-candy. It is more of a functional book, on wargaming and on portable wargaming in particular hence its attractiveness to those wargamers who wish to spend more time at the wargames tabletop rather than at the coffee table.

Details at:
The contents listed are:

A brief (and incomplete) history of gridded wargames
Some basic rules
Grids: Hexes and Squares
Units ... and how to represent them on the tabletop
Design Notes
Going Solo and the Sudden Death Option
Portable Wargame Rules: Late Nineteenth Century (including Colonial)
The Portable Wargame in Action: The hunt for the Mahdi
Portable Wargame Rules: Early and Mid Twentieth Century
The Portable Wargame in Action: Soviet Combined Arms Assault
Appendix: Some thoughts on wargame design

This book should prove to be an interesting read but perhaps will be more useful as a guide to tabletop operations whether you are a hex or a square man, 6mm or 20mm, lead or plastic. It will matter little whether the reader is a complete novice or a grizzled veteran or somewhere in between in that the book will provide a template for the sort of game that you want to play, and 'fun', did I remember to say 'fun'.

I am a veteran wargamer of the somewhat grizzled variety but I fully hope to make use of this book and that I hope to play more than a few 'portable wargames' in the coming weeks and months. At this point in time I have at least two different hex table options as well as the possibilities of square grids; I have figures in the lead/plastic pile, in several scales/sizes just waiting for a paintbrush; and a couple of good gaming buddies who are more than happy to roll the dice.

I will blog further posts on progress just in case any of you have yet to make your mind up.


  1. Thanks Jim, I think grids are gaining some traction and well done Bob for getting something done about it.

    1. Thanks Norm.

      I've been aware of Bobs systems for a while now and they do work. I hope to run a series of blog posts taking ideas from the book and developing them into a game structure.

  2. Jim,

    Thanks very much for the review of my book. It really gets over what I was trying to achieve when I wrote it, and I hope that you enjoy using - and tinkering with - the rules.

    All the best,


    1. No problem Bob.

      I don't think I'll do much 'tinkering' but I'm fairly sure I'll do a bit of scaling up.