Cavalier 2018: The Portable Wargame

Anthony Morton and I attended the Cavalier Wargames Show in Tonbridge, Kent on Sunday 25th February. I had arranged for us to run a 54mm 19th Century version of the portable wargame to promote the Little Wars revisited forum, Black Hat’s range of Little Wars Revisited figures and Bob Cordery’s rules.

We used my usual armies of British and German organised into 6-man Infantry regiments, 2 man cavalry regiments and guns with 3 crew.

Anthony waiting for some players and the action to begin:

I made the board over a couple of days the week before the show by laser cutting a mix of 4mm,3mm and 2mm mdf into 100mm square tiles. Hills are represented by an 80mm square on the tile representing the hill top, rivers are 2 layers of 2mm mdf, roads are engraved into the tiles. The trees are simple, representative shapes on the edges of the tiles as are the fields and the town area.

The forces consisted on 6 infantry, 2 cavalry and a gun on each side:

The action begins:

We ran 3 games during the day and had a lot of interest in the rules, the board and the figures so it achieved our all objectives.

This shows one very enthusiastic young player who had amazing luck with the dice:

And his slightly older opponent who wasn’t quite so lucky:

We also had a lot of interest in the Little Wars Revisited forum and the games day I have arranged for March 10th in Woking.

17 thoughts on “Cavalier 2018: The Portable Wargame

  1. What an attractive display! The Portable Wargame is my preferred rulebook these days, and your game inspires me to do something similar with my smaller scale troops and a chessboard to create something truly ‘portable’.

  2. I think Mike did a fantastic job with the board, indeed with the whole event. It was tiring but exhilirating to tutor young and old visitors in the delights of the Portable Wargame and to see them planning to buy Mike’s starter armies and a copy of the rules. There is so much potential in the way Mike did the scenery, my mind is still buzzing with all the different historical buildings and battlefields he-I mean one-could make…:)

  3. I was struck by how similar the whole game looked to the battles fought by Joseph Morschauser, who was – of course – the inspiration for my PORTABLE WARGAME rules. Mike’s terrain and figures look beautiful, and I love the very simple but very effective trees and built-up areas. A truly inspiring wargame!

    All the best,

    Bob Cordery

  4. Many thanks for the kind comments.

    It was while moving aside some trees in a game (for the umpteenth time) that I realised that I could create scenery around the edge of a terrain tile to represent woods or built up areas.

    I wanted to create a game board that was simple, very stylised and which matched the look of the figures themselves.

  5. Great looking game,I am pleased it was so well received. The board is excellent especially regarding the scenery.Inspiring indeed.
    Alan

  6. That looks really good to my eye and is the direction I am heading towards.

    Are you taking it to any other shows this year?

  7. It will be at the Little Wars Revisited Forum 54mm Games Day in Woking on March 10th.

    We are planning on running another 54mm Portable Wargame game at Valhalla in June – which will probably be this setup..

    I was asked to take it to Skirmish but with the Little Wars Revisited Forum 54mm Games Day the week before and the London Toy Soldier show the week after it would all be a little too much (not to mention that my wife believes I should see her occasionally!)

  8. Can you tell us a little how the trees and buildings were made?
    I can’t make the LWRF 54mm gamesday this year but I would love to next year if it is on.
    Alan

  9. Hi Alan

    The trees, buildings and hedges were all made a similar way. I cut all the terrain on my laser cutter.

    The main tiles are made from 4mm mdf (or 2 sheets of 2mm stuck together – this lets me create the river so it is sunken by 2mm).. The tree tiles are a 2mm tile with a 3mm tile stuck on top of them with 2 slots on each side of the tile for the trees to fit into.

    The trees were drawn in Sketchup (a cad program) from arcs (for the trunks) and overlapping arcs and circles (for the foliage) and then laser cut out of 3mm mdf and painted.

    The town is made via the same process except that the base has slots on all 4 sides to accommodate the 4 walls. The side walls are simply plain pieces of 3mm mdf (with tabs to fit in the base) and the front and backs are 3mm with the building details engraved on them. This is done by setting the laser power so it doesn’t cut through the mdf, just marks the surface. They were then assembled, spray undercoated and then painted.

    Hope that helps – feel free to ask any other questions.

    If the March 10th Games Day is a success and people are interested in another one then I am sure it will return next year.

  10. Alan,

    Funny you should say that as Anthony has commissioned me to produce a Zulu War battlefield for his Little Legion Zulu Wars collection in the same style and someone else at Cavalier asked about commissioning a battlefield like it.

    I don’t particularly want to get into producing the tiles and selling them individually through the Black Hat shop, partly because I only have one laser cutter which is a single point of failure (all my other equipment is doubled up) and also because I didn’t buy the laser cutter for that purpose. It was bought to make 54mm facades and diorama pieces for commission work…

    But as a number of people have asked I am in the process of working out costs to produce the tiles either plain or painted to give people a rough idea of costs if they are interested and I am happy to produce sets or specific pieces for people as a specific commission.

    Drop me a line through the Black Hat website and we can chat about it.

  11. Mike i dropped you a line via Black Hat but my computer then went wonky (ok now) so I am not sure if you will get it , let me know.
    thanks
    Alan

  12. This is wonderful! I’ve only recently heard about the ‘Portable War-game’ rules and have been intrigued. But, this is a marvellous rendition of the board setup. It’s really inspiring…I shall have to get my fret saw out and have a bash at some of that ingenious low profile terrain! Well done, and thanks for the great photos! 🙂

  13. @Howard – thanks

    @Stephen – I can’t cut anything straight (and never have been able to) hence the laser cutter and drawing lines on a computer screen…

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