Help support TMP

Announcing MatchBox - A Lightweight Campaign Manager Based on the Berthier Campaign Manager Engine

Back to Hobby News

alphus99 writes:

For those of us inspired afresh by the actual matchboxes (!) its only £5.99 GBP incl delivery in the UK for 100 of 'em (and you get a ton of free matches…)


1,748 hits since 26 Sep 2017

©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Tony De Lyall writes:

Perhaps the most successful and best known system of map-moving in a manner that can be successfully carried out by two players lacking the services of an umpire is the Matchbox method.

–Donald Featherstone, War Games Campaigns, 1970.

MatchBox harks back to the early days of wargame campaigning where hidden movement was achieved by moving unit tokens through chest-of-drawers of matchboxes that had been glued together. When a player's and their opponent's tokens turned up in the same matchbox, contact had been made. The miniatures would come out and the contact gamed out on the table.

The download is here.

MatchBox is based on the Berthier Campaign Manager engine.

Why did I develop MatchBox? Well, a little bit of history …

The Berthier Campaign Manager has been available on the internet for free for just on 20 years now. But the story began several years before that. I remember that I needed to run a simple campaign, so I wrote a very quick and dirty program to replicate the matchbox method of hidden campaign movement. Each side would type in its position, depending on what numbered square it was in on the campaign map. The program would then announce which units were in the same square. This was written in QBASIC on a MSDOS computer (ahh memories!).

The next step was to upgrade to display the numbered square grid graphically. Units were then moved by using the arrow keys across the graphically display. I then thought – why not have the computer calculate the movement path? And so the original version of Berthier was born. You would give the destination to a unit, and the computer would make the necessary moves. That original code to do this still lives in the depths of the current Berthier program.

20 years of Berthier available on the internet seemed like a significant milestone. So I thought I'd celebrate by going back to the origins of Berthier – Donald Featherstone's matchbox method – and recreate it. Hence the MatchBox program was born. Mention of the matchbox method still crop up on wargames forums, so I hope this will be of help.


Text edited by Editor Hebber Inactive Member
Graphics edited by Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian
Scheduled by Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian