Pub Battles Fantasy Workshop

These are some current rules under development. As such they are inchoate and subject to change. The goal with this system is not to try and do what everyone else has already done. To adapt the Pub Battles kriegspiel-like command system to a fantasy setting. Catching the feel of commanding a fantasy army in Pub Battles terms. Most games do not do enough to remove the players from the hands-on control of their forces. In the quest for realism, too much absolute knowledge is given to the commanders. Pub Battles renders a battlefield that is fluid and dynamic, where moves often feel a little too late, a little too blind. The only comfort is in knowing that your opponent is just as blind.

This is the reason that this system works so well as a solitaire game. Even playing with perfect knowledge of your opponent’s intentions, you realize how precarious and uncertain the battle can be. This is somewhat analogous to playing pinball. You release the hammer and the ball takes off, crashing and careering through the bumpers. You do the best you can with the tools at hand (the flippers), and when the ball finally slips past and your game ends, you check the score.

There are lots of ways to add in this, or add modifiers for that, but this is Pub Battles. Nothing is added unless the game doesn’t work without it. This philosophy has allowed the rules manual to remain lean and clear.

Spells are still being worked out. Obvious simple spells are adds for combat or movement buffs. We are also considering battle-wide effect spells, but these will need to be playtested.

Please feel free to leave ideas and comments!

With all this in mind, here are my notes, so far.

Troop Types

Weight (mobility)

Light – First facing change free, ignore terrain cost.

Regular – First facing change free.

Heavy – minus 1/3 move

Quality difference (combat):

Lighter- Count first hit as two.

Heavier-Ignore first hit.

i.e. Regular is lighter than Heavy. Skirmishers always considered equal weight.

Mounted vs Spent +1

or

Heavy Mounted +1

Poison – Highest die adds +1, in the case of ties, all dice of the highest value add +1.

i.e., rolling three 3s would be counted as three 4s.

Fear is counted as poison during the first round of combat when attacking.

Missile range:

Each “>” counts as 1/3 mounted move.

Spent: refers to a unit that has become disrupted and unorganized.

Heroes have the same size blocks as leaders. They move like leaders, and they cannot be contacted by enemy units.

Instead of activating when a leader is drawn, they activate as an interrupt (i.e. at player discretion), at any time, even during an opponent’s turn, by flipping to spent, to move and attack, or to support a unit in combat. 

They have one hit and one die like skirmishers if they fight by themselves.

They can support an attacking unit and allow it to count one miss as a hit.

When the unit they are supporting suffers enough hits to be eliminated, they can be eliminated instead.

They could do both in the same round!

Army notes: All archers must be light foot unless otherwise noted. x = may be present. – = not allowed. Army list takes precedence over general rules.

Good Armies

Human armies differ in two ways from other armies. They have the greatest selection of troop types and may include a Wizard as one of its leaders. A Wizard counts as having one more pip when calculating army leadership. A Wizard may use leadership pips to cast spells by allocating the appropriate pips. Other armies may have magical effects and abilities, but only Wizards can cast spells.

Human archers have >> range

Human Mercenaries can be found in any army.

Hero,

Light 10, mounted 5,

Regular 10, mounted 5,

Heavy 10, Mounted 5,

Wizard 1

Elf: All units are Archers with range >>>. Elves in woods have LOS/LOF to any enemy in same woods.

Elves receive +1 for ranged attacks.

Hero,

Light 10, mounted 5,

Regular 5, mounted -,

Heavy -, Mounted -,

Dwarf: Regular Archers have > range. Dwarven artillery have >>>> range. 

Dwarves are always considered heavier when fighting equal weight foes (opponents still use their own weight).

Hero,

Light -, mounted -,

Regular 10, mounted -,

Heavy -, Mounted 5,

Artillery 3

Evil Armies

Goblinoid: All light/mounted Goblinoids are Archers and have > range.

There is no limit to how many goblinoid blocks may be in support of a goblinoid unit.

Goblinoids are bullies and Quality depends on adjacency (A lone goblinoid unit is considered light, five or more are considered Heavy). Heavy Foot are Trolls. Trolls are witless and must have a leader adjacent to be in command. Spent Trolls immediately flip to fresh at the beginning of a turn (they regenerate).
Trolls are Heavy for cost and movement, They depend on adjacency for their combat weight.

Any unit with a leader adjacent is considered poison 

Hero,

Light 5, mounted -,

Regular 20, mounted 5,

Heavy 5, Mounted -,

Undead: Any combat result that requires Undead to retreat is ignored.

Undead not commanded by a leader will charge nearest non-Undead unit.

The Undead General is a Necromancer and has 2x command range. This is the only leader the Undead may have. Undead light infantry are Archers with range >>.

Hero,

Light 5, mounted -,

Regular 10, mounted 5,

Heavy 5, Mounted -,

Demon: Demonic Light Cavalry are flying. They pay no terrain costs and may ignore other units while moving (They are like leaders). They may not attack alone, but only in concert with another ground unit. Their only effect in combat is to cause any defenders who must retreat to be eliminated. If they begin their turn out of command they will only move into command. They suffer the same adverse results as the demonic unit they are supporting.

Demonic archers spit poison at > range.

All demonic heavy units are kept off board until summoned. A demonic general may summon a demon heavy unit by flipping to spent and placing an off board heavy unit adjacent to his block. A Heavy unit may move the turn it is summoned. Demon Heavy units use the Elephants rule.

All demonic units cause Fear.

Hero,

Light 5, mounted 2,

Regular 10, mounted -,

Heavy 5, Mounted 5,

Point formula

Base = 3pts = Regular foot infantry 

Light = -1pts

Heavy = +2

Mounted = +2

Archers +1 per range >

Wizard 10 pts.

Artillery weight:

Light Artillery, 3 pts. must score two hits to cause one damage, Moves as foot. >>>

Regular Artillery, 5 pts. 1/3-foot move.>>>

Heavy Artillery, 7 pts. first hit causes two damage (can cause a possible 4 damage!), Not movable during battle.>>>
Leaders

Each army gets 3 leaders (5pip, 4pip, 3pip).

Ancient Pub Battles Review

Ancient Pub Battles: Cannae

Ancient Pub Battles is now available from Command Post Games. It is available for the very economical price of $44.76, Get it here. This is possible because it needs no map, Ancient battles having been generally fought on level fields. Disclaimer: The faux leather playing mat is my own pimpware, purchased from a local fabric store. It looks cool, but is absolutely unnecessary.

Ancient Pub Battles is markedly different from its black powder era predecessors. Rather than command being dependent on subordination (Army>Corps>Division), it is dependent on proximity. The leaders move first and then measure command from their final position. Additionally, it does not matter if the unit has already moved. If you have three leaders, they could move the same unit 3 times! As powerful as this sounds, it means that the rest of your army is just stationary. That is a rare luxury to have. Usually, you are strapped trying to keep your army in one piece.

Instead of depending on units in range, a leader may move adjacent to a block of adjacent units and that whole block may move as one, even if parts of it are out of the leaders command range. In the early turns it is quite easy to move your entire army around, after the lines clash and the large blocks get broken up, you are left trying to manage disparate forces, some ready to press a defeated foe, others spent and fleeing.

The basic game comes with 4 kinds of infantry, 2 kinds of Cav, and elephants! I’m sure future scenarios will include even more.

True to Pub Battles nature, the focus is on a quick play, command focused, gaming experience. This is ideal for those with less time, or for taking along while traveling. If you want a more detailed and specific simulation experience, this may not be for you.

I say may because one of the best features of this system is how adaptable it is to personal preferences. Do you think Roman Legions should get a special bonus? Knock yourself out! The system plays well and is balanced as is. Once you start changing things, all bets are off.

In that spirit, here are the mods I am currently using, developed after a few games.

Cavalry gets +1. This replaces the official rule that cav gets -1 v. fresh units and +1 v. spent units. I feel this is a remnant from the black powder rules where units formed squares. The effect of the official rule is to make cavalry skittish and useless except when facing spent troops and this doesn’t quite feel right, to me.

The Historical scenarios are balanced as is and shouldn’t be changed. For DYO point buy battles, I make leaders work a little differently. For each pip on their leadership rating they get a command action. Each block (of one or more units) requires one pip to move. It also costs one pip to rally one unit. All such units must be within command range with blocks of units only requiring a part of the block within range. Each side gets 9-12 pips (each side equal).
Ex. For 12 points you could get a 5, a 4, and a 3 pip leader, or four 3 pip leaders, or any other combination adding up to 12.

Interestingly, If you play the historical scenarios using this rule, you will see how Hannibal managed to win so many battles. This may even be more historically accurate, but it certainly isn’t fun to play Rome!

Night Rally only

Gettysburg Day 2 Start Turn 7

I have been playing Pub Battles’ titles this past few months with rallying (recover from spent) only occurring on night turns. I find this yields a better feel. Of course it yields higher casualties, in the terms of eliminated blocks, and it magnifies the importance of fresh units, especially late arrivals, appearing on the battlefield.

I feel being able to inflict higher casualties is more important since the victory conditions are dependent on breaking the enemy’s army by inflicting 50% casualties. I have found that, if you don’t care too much about terrain, you can usually give just enough ground to avoid eliminated units while any spent units can rally. This in turn makes it very hard for an opponent to actually eliminate 50% of an army’s blocks.

Had I tested this variant out and found that casualties typically became overwhelming I would have shrugged my shoulders and looked elsewhere. Instead, I was delighted to find that the results led to a very authentic feel, at least a feel that resembles what I have read extensively.

For instance, in the picture above, the Confederates only need to eliminate one more Union block before the day ends (2 full turns) to break the Union army and win the game. The trouble is, they only have three fresh units remaining to the Union’s four.

Two of the three remaining fresh Confederate blocks are Pickett’s division. This is exactly the moment that Lee thought he had on day three historically, when he ordered Pickett’s charge. As the Confederate player in the above game you can imagine thinking “One more push and the Union will break!”

Lest the picture above seem a little confusing, the fine print in the variant reads that dragoons (all ACW cavalry) and artillery, recover normally. So all four Union Artillery and Buford’s cav are fresh, as well as the three Confederate artillery.

Full disclosure on this variant also requires me to let you know that on the night turn all spent blocks rally if they are at least 1/3 away from any enemy blocks. Also, any eliminated blocks are recovered and placed within command range of their HQ (and 1/3 away from any enemy blocks) in their spent condition. Note that if a unit is eliminated on Day 1 at Gettysburg, is returned spent on Day 2 and lasts all day, it could rally to full strength by Day 3.

Of course, it could be concluded that one side or the other isn’t trying hard enough if THAT’s possible! {snicker}

Secesh victory! The glorious dead are arrayed above.

Lee was right and his army did as he asked! On the union left Andersen’s division can be seen recovering from its charge against Sickles Corps. In the center both Hood’s Texans and Reynold’s I Corps remnants have been lost, but Pickett’s men fill the gap. Meanwhile, on the right, Longstreet’s men have collapsed the Union troops. With well over half his army out of commission, Meade concedes the day.

I really like this Night Rally only variant. What do you think?

Movement Rates

You might imagine that determining movement rates to be a fairly cut and dried operation. Just compare march rates or even historical march times and “boom” it’s done. When you’re racing to fill in a gap, or bring forward reinforcements it seems pretty imperative to figure out exactly how far a unit can move.

The problem is that there are a whole lot of soft issues to consider that are as important as the hard calculations of terrain and march rates.

As always, the first thing to note is that Pub Battles is divisional level, as opposed to regimental, or even lower, formations so common to miniatures games that use movement rates based on precise measurements. Other than this style of movement, Pub Battles has more in common with the old Avalon Hill hex based wargames.

All movement is measured in thirds of a movement stick. If you move entirely in clear terrain you move one full movement stick, otherwise you move 2/3. Additionally, you can lose a third for a second facing change, or for moving into or out of march column. Those are the hard factors.

Then there are the soft factors that are every bit as important to consider, even if necessarily less precise. How long did it take for them to receive, confirm, and organize to fulfill the orders? Have scouts brought them reports of possible enemy activity off to the flank? Where is the Vermont regiment, has anybody heard from them? They were supposed to lead the column!

Probably the biggest variable is combat. Do you spend the whole turn moving, or do you include the time it takes to resolve combat? Most games divide turns into movement and combat phases, but technically, combat is going on all over the battlefield at different times. Wargames divide the turns up for ease of simulation.

What designers do is establish movement rates that work within the game. In black powder armies there tended to be two rates of movement, foot and mounted. As long as all similar units are operating with the same limitations, all is good.

In Pub Battles’ Waterloo, the Prussians enter the board on turn 1, but they don’t make a significant appearance in the battle till mid-game. Even so, they weigh heavily on the French player’s mind the whole time. They cannot be ignored! There is some merit to Blucher’s contention that the Prussians saved the day for the allied cause. Developments around Placenoit were a significant drain on the French army, including many Guard units.

All of which goes to show that even if movement rates can’t be figured exactly, they come close enough when everybody is playing by the same rules. When I play, I am pretty loose with movement rates. I often say, “close enough.” Others enjoy much more firmly defined limits. This robust system can satisfy all tastes.

When To Alter Turn Order

The chit draw activation is the most powerful mechanic in the Pub Battles arsenal. The Pub Battles system is as subtle as it is basic. Unlike almost every YouMove/IMove game out there, if you are contacted by the enemy before you move, you can simply move away.

When I first played a game of Pub Battles (Brandywine), I assumed the rules were incomplete because they didn’t say you couldn’t move away if contacted. The result of playing that way was that both commanders tried to move before the enemy every turn. This resulted in no strategy, just simple luck of the die.

When I found out that a unit could move when activated regardless of whether or not it had been previously contacted a light went off in my head. “Wow. Wait…That means…” This was quite literally a game changer for me.

One of the decisions that was made when the rules were written, was they weren’t going to include a lot of “unlearning” guidelines. This has the interesting affect of making the system harder to learn for grognards than newbies to the wargaming world. Since there is no way to guess what “chatter” might be brought forward from previous rules experience, it was decided to not worry about it. There is just no way to estimate all the ways a simple rule might be misunderstood.

Over time and with a little experience, I’ve learned a few things about how to command an Army in the Pub Battles system. Key to understanding the chit draw mechanic is that the order of the chit draw in the game is not necessarily the order of events being simulated. Everything is more or less simultaneous, and often the later drawn command can be thought of as having the initiative, because they see (or accurately anticipate) what the enemy is going to do, and can react to it.

You will note that I almost never use absolutes when referring to the chit draw. The chit draw allows for almost any potentiality. It does not imply anything, but you can infer a wide variety of events based on how the draw ended up.

All you really know for sure is which units were actually decisively in combat over the length of the turn. The only combat that has to be resolved in the combat phase is that combat that results in enough damage to be shown by the effects of one or more hits on a divisional level.

Say a unit moves a short distance before coming into contact with an enemy unit, then the enemy unit gingerly activates and slides a ways back, thus no combat to resolve in the combat phase. It might look like the unit moved to attack and then sat there while the defender moved back a bit and like MC Hammer cried “Can’t touch this!”

If that were the case, then the Pub Battles system would be deeply flawed. Fortunately, although that is what is explicitly shown, this is a situation where there may be a whole lot of implicit combat occurring. Something caused that unit to only move a short distance.

There is a lot involved in getting several thousand men on a battlefield to launch an attack; orders have to be received and understood; logistical concerns have to have been considered; a myriad of things have to go right. Assuming all that goes off in a timely way (often, it may be that some delay kept the unit from moving sooner), you have the enemy himself.

The enemy may not intend to hold the ground, but aren’t going to let you just waltz up and have it for free. Think of Nathaniel Greene and his famous delaying actions which saved Washington’s army any number of times. “Sir, we just can’t get at ’em!” There may be all sorts of hot engagements, just nothing that results in the step loss of a division.

There is also no end to the subterfuge that a clever commander can use to confound his opponent (although, incompetence is probably more common then brilliance).

All this is leading up to some of the why’s and wherefores of the chit draw. Generally, you want to go later, but not always.

If you’re defending, you may want to go later because then you can decide which units that have been contacted want to stay and fight it out, and which ones want to back off and not fight the battle the enemy has chosen for them. You may simply want to see what the enemy is going to do so you can react and prepare a proper reception.

Going first might seem the better option if your defender wants to rally, or set up a defensive position, select the best terrain, before the enemy arrives.

If you’re attacking, you want to go later so you can decide exactly which combats you’re going to fight AND where exactly you’re going to fight them. As always, it’s good to see what the defender is doing and where he is doing it before you decide to attack and prevent him from responding to it.

One critical benefit to moving first is that it allows the defender to yield exactly the terrain you desire without a fight. Besides allowing you to gain ground without sacrifice, it allows you to see what areas he is willing to fight for, and which areas he is willing to let go of. Knowing these priorities gives you a hint as to his strategy and concerns.

Understanding the chit draw and its implications allows you to make better choices as to when to roll to Alter Turn Order. I hope this helps you to imagine the battlefield in a Pub Battles game, and to build a vibrant and exciting narrative around the chit draw.

Chit Draw Example

I want to showcase what I think is the most powerful aspect of the Pub Battles system: The chit draw mechanic.

In the opening situation here, we have the disposition of forces after the previous turn’s actions. Reynold’s I Corps made a spirited charge from the Peach Orchard to the woods North of the Spangler farm. This charge ended in disaster and the Corps (now reduced to a single spent division) tumbled back to the Peach orchard.

The next turn the first chit drawn was Longstreet’s Corps and they charged obliquely to take advantage of the weak spot in the Union line. The next chit drawn was Hancock’s II Corps and they sent Hay’s division forward to bolster Reynold’s shattered I Corps. Finally, Reynold’s chit was drawn and they retreated away. As there were no units in contact, there was no combat to resolve.

This is a good example of implicit and explicit combat. Explicit combat is when two units are left in contact and combat is resolved that results in the destruction or retreat of an entire division. Implicit combat is when the final positioning of the units is determined by chit draw. This is shown in the picture above by the smoke between the two units that are only a couple hundred yards apart, obviously in range to exchange fire, but with neither time nor resources to engage decisively this turn.

So what happened here? The system doesn’t tell you specifically. That would take many pages of rules and would never come close to capturing the drama and action of Day two at Gettysburg. When one describes the action shown, the narrative only illustrates a possible interpretation.

The first thing to understand is that chit draw order is not always linear in time, frequently it shows the anticipated actions of the enemy, or simulates the tactical edge (or even dumb luck) of an opponent.

In a standard You Move/I Move game, Hood’s division would have been able to attack I Corps’ remnants before they got away and the deal would be done, or if the Union moved first, I Corps would have easily slipped away and Hancock would have plugged the hole. All this would have been known before the turn began.

Instead, with the chit draw mechanic, Who moves before and who moves after can mean everything, and isn’t determined until the chits are drawn.

In the example above, because Reynolds’ chit was drawn after Hood’s, he was able to ensure that the remnants of his exhausted Corps were able to delay Hood’s division long enough for Hancock to get Hay’s division into place and they were able to frustrate Hood from getting the decisive battle he was looking for.

Had Hood moved last, Reynolds’ would have had the opportunity to rally Rowley’s division to turn and face Hood in their spent condition, but with good terrain, or retreat out of the Peach Orchard and let Hancock order Hay’s division into the breach. In that case, Hood would have gotten the decisive battle he was looking for (remember, the South is in a race for time), but against a fresh opponent.

There’s still another possibility. If Reynold’s had been drawn first and then retreated, and then Longstreet had been drawn, he could have sent Hood in to secure the Peach Orchard forcing Hancock to attack Hood’s elite Texans in good terrain… This is why no two games of Gettysburg are ever going to be completely the same, you just can’t be sure how the battle’s going to fall out.

Lest you think your totally at the whim of the chit draw, the Alter Turn Order rule really makes for another level of strategy! If you are familiar enough with the system you can anticipate when to try to advance or delay the draw. This isn’t a case of “knowing the rules better.” The rules are really simple, but it is a matter of having a feel for the possible. Bismarck may have said “Politics is the art of the Possible,” but I will go a little further and say that Pub Battles is the art of the possible.

Quick Start Rules

Introduction

Imagine that you are the Army General in your command tent. Before you on a table is the map of the battlefield with the latest best estimates of yours and your opponents positions. You discuss possible options with your Corps commanders and move your units where you want them to move, as well as attack. Aides write down the orders and race on horseback to the field commanders. While this is going on, other aides are rushing back with the latest reports and updating your map. Sometimes everything goes according to plan. Usually, you have some surprises, as well as those moments where you are absolutely astonished by the events you see transpiring right before your eyes. If only you could be right there, but you also need to be right there, and there, and over there. This is real Fog of War at the highest level. This is Pub Battles!

A very few of these rules differ from the official Pub Battles rules. I’ve played hundreds of games and I have a few things I home rule. I denote these with an * so no one is confused and looking for them in the regular rules.

Pieces

Infantry – Basic unit of the game, uses foot movement rate.

Cavalry – Fast moving unit, uses mounted movement rate.

Artillery – Primarily ranged combat, uses foot movement rate, unless labeled “Horse Artillery”

HQ – Small cube that represents commander’s locale, from which command range is measured.

Terms – Appear in italics when found in rules.

Activation – When a command chit is drawn, that command, and all its units, are activated.

Attacker – The unit that moved into contact.

Bombardment – Ranged artillery fire…

Column – A long narrow formation used to facilitate quick road movement (X2). To move in column a unit is positioned so its length is stretched out along a road. Vulnerable if attacked. It cost 1/3 move to switch into, or out of, column.

Command – A Corps HQ may only command units in its Corps. An Army HQ may command any units in its army, also it may have units attached directly to it alone. Only units in command before they move may move into contact with an enemy. Only active units may move, and only active units in command may move into contact, Thus, an army HQ may command any units, but only activated units may move!

Command Range – 1/3 mounted move as measured from closest edges.

Defender – The unit that was contacted.

Entering/Crossing – A unit is considered entering/crossing a terrain feature if more than half of it is in the feature.

Face – A unit’s front facing is the side opposite its label if fresh, or adjacent to the top of its label if spent.

Flip – To flip a unit to signify a changed status.

Fresh – An unspent unit.

Hits – A fresh unit can sustain three hits in one round of combat. The first hit will flip it to spent. A second hit will cause it to retreat. A third hit will eliminate it. A spent unit will retreat with one hit, and be eliminated by two hits.

Line of Fire – A line measured from the center of a unit, that can see at least half of its target and is within one foot move. The target must lay within a 45-degree angle from the front of the artillery unit.

Occupying Terrain – If a unit has at least half its block in a terrain feature.

Rally – A spent unit that is not within 1/3 foot move of an enemy unit and does not move, may flip back to its fresh side. It may also pivot.

Resolves completely – Two units in contact continue rounds of combat until no longer in contact.

Round – Each time a pair of units roll dice in combat. Units in contact may fight several rounds.

Spent – A unit that has suffered one damage.

Supporting – Certain types of units may be moved adjacent to, and directly behind, a friendly unit to support it. If the supported unit retreats or is eliminated, the supporting unit may retreat, or advance to contact and continue combat.

Only infantry may support other infantry or artillery. Only cavalry may support other cavalry.

Excess hits do not carry over to supporting units.

Unsupported – Artillery that is unsupported, and forced to retreat from combat, is eliminated.

Turn Order

Activation phase – This is when you draw chits randomly from a cup to activate a command.

Combat phase – Units in contact with enemy units now resolve combat.

Reset phase – HQs that were flipped to Alter Turn Order are now flipped back.

Activation: Movement, Bombardment, Rally

Once activated, you may move the HQ first to bring key units into command range. All a corps’ units may move, but only those in command range may move into contact with enemy units. This is also when Artillery may bombard (not in the combat phase!). Spent units that don’t move may rally.

How to move – A unit moves in the direction it is facing as far as 1 movement chain (or stick) of its type; foot or mounted. It may move in echelon (diagonally) up to 45 degrees maintaining its same facing. It may change its facing once for free, or a second time by subtracting 1/3 of its total movement allowance. If it moves entirely without entering any terrain features it may move one full move, if it enters any terrain features it may only move 2/3.

It does not matter if the unit moves through a single patch of woods, or through woods, hills, and streams, it moves 2/3 instead of a full move.

BombardmentFresh Artillery that does not move may bombard. The artillery must have a Line of Fire. Roll 3 dice and apply hits. Bombardment cannot eliminate a unit. Excess hits are ignored.

Rally – A spent unit that is not within 1/3 foot move of an enemy unit* and does not move may flip back to its fresh side. It may also pivot.

How to have Combat

*Combat order – As you draw the chits from the cup be sure to line them up in a row. Each command, in reverse chit draw order, resolves its attacks. Attackers that begin the combat phase in contact resolve combat. Each side rolls 3 dice simultaneously, any result of 4 or more is a hit. Defending units in a command do not resolve until the attacking unit’s command resolves. Each attack, even if part of a larger multi-unit combat, resolves completely before moving on to the next unit.

A defending unit gains a terrain modifier for occupying terrain.

*Flanking – If a single unit is contacting the rear of a unit, or if a unit is contacted by more than one enemy, it is considered flanked. This adds 1 to the attacker’s roll and subtracts 1 from the defender’s roll.

Special Combat cases

Artillery – Bombarding artillery can never eliminate a unit. Artillery in combat always resolves its dice first, and then any remaining defender’s may roll dice and apply effects. Unsupported artillery is eliminated if forced to retreat.

Elites ignore the first hit in any combat phase.

Militias count the first hit as two hits in any combat phase. 

note: This is per entire combat phase, not per round!

*In cases with multiple units in contact with multiple defenders, the last unit to move into contact is resolved first.

HQs are abstract representation of command and are never affected by combat. Simply move them out of the way. Their location is only critical during the activation phase when determining command. Each activation, command is determined from one point, you cannot move and command from different places during the same activation. When moving you can move them anywhere within 1 mounted move, they ignore facing and terrain (they cannot ignore impassable terrain features).

Other rules for unit types may apply, be sure and check the scenario guidelines.

Design Philosophy

The Pub Battles system simulates fighting a battle from the command post. This is a command simulation, not a combat simulation. This means a lot of detail is hidden from the players. Just like real commanders, you can’t be everywhere at once. Were you to leave your command post for any length of time, you would become completely blind to the battle as a whole.

The map in front of you, unlike most wargames, isn’t an exact representation of the actual positions of every unit on the battlefield. It is the best estimates your aides have of the ever changing “current” situation.

When you move a unit on the map, this simulates the orders you have given to your subordinates, not necessarily where they have moved. Only time will tell how your finely planned orders have been executed.

An exception to this is the “Alter Turn Order” rule where a commander attempts to directly affect the turn order. This can be thought of as those times when the commander actually leaves the HQ tent and attempts to take direct control of his command. The rest of the time, it is assumed that the commander must rely on subordinates to communicate battlefield reports.

This means that often the disposition of the units on the map won’t make complete sense. “Why aren’t they Attacking!” is a common frustration when viewing opposing units in too close proximity to each other. Maybe they’re not really there; maybe they can’t see because of smoke or fog; Maybe they are uncertain where other threats might be. There are many possibilities. Too many to have a separate rule for each.

The chit draw mechanic covers all those eventualities elegantly. Sometimes you want to go first; you want to rally before the next attack, or you want to get there before the defender can rally. Other times, you want to go last so you can pick exactly where and when you fight, or you just want your opponent to reveal his intentions.

Another reason combat is depicted simply is because of scale. When you see the blocks on the map it is easy to imagine miniatures games where those blocks represent regiments. Pub Battles is representing divisions, so it’s more like the old hex based divisions…Except this looks so much cooler!

A single defender cannot be flanked by a single attacker. At smaller echelons this is an effective tactic, but at the divisional scale of Pub Battles this would be inappropriate and take advantage of the wood blocks. A division would arch backward on the end and refuse the flank if threatened. Of course, being attacked in the rear would be very devastating, and is given the flanking bonus.These quick start rules will get you up and playing. Once you have played the game enough to get the feel of the benefits of moving either earlier or later, you will enjoy adding the Alter Turn Order rules. When I play, I use these quick rules, plus the Alter Turn Order rules, and Supply Wagons.