My Smooth Brew 3.2

This blog will be updated from time to time as I find smoother and cleaner ways to play Pub Battles.

I am happy to play with the tried and true “official” rules. Pub Battles is quite a robust system and you can add all kinds of rules. These can be fun or satisfying, but most are unnecessary. I am very leery of adding any rules, other than those that smooth or speed play, as the system can quickly bog down. Remember, Pub Battles is first and foremost a command simulation, not a combat simulation. Most of these rules add some time if you incorporate them. Consider them very optional!

Title in bold. Rule is normal font. Discussion/clarification in italics.

Cavalry – Foot retreating from mounted are eliminated.

It just feels wrong to resolve a round of combat, mounted charging foot, and then have the foot pull back while the cav just stands there! Note: this isn’t talking about the chit draw (movement phase), but actual combat!

Artillery – Spent Artillery may fire.

Originally, pre Baggage Train Rally rule, blocks just rallied from spent automatically if they didn’t move. So the proscription from bombardment felt right. Now, with an unpacked Baggage Train required to rally, it is too harsh. If you don’t rally your artillery, it is still very vulnerable, just not nearly useless! Instead of being a new rule, this is just eliminating an old rule!

One Hit on Fresh Block — A fresh block that suffers one hit may either, flip to spent, or fall back Fresh.

Of course, Militia do not have this option.

Support – Supporting blocks may choose to suffer any of the hits of the unit they are supporting.

This makes more sense when Infantry are guarding Artillery, or if you imagine the two defending blocks half as wide and double deep. You can also imagine elite troops or Grenadier Regiments, “stiffening” the line by ignoring the first hit.

Artillery cannot support in combat, but if it is moved into a supporting position it may swap positions with a block that can support it.

This makes it possible to add Artillery to the line without requiring extra turns to get the right chit draw to allow one block to move forward while the other moves back, which isn’t what is literally being simulated anyway!


Define defender as the block being attacked. Both blocks in combat would be defenders, in turn.

1) A block in woods cannot recover from spent.

2) Command range does not extend beyond LOS in woods.

Although Corps commanders did not need to be present in woods, having forces operate in woods, out of sight, was a drain overall on command resources, hence the need for close presence in heavy woods for offensive operations.


Detachments don’t flip other blocks when they retreat through them.

This rule will become part of the official rules whenever the next version comes out.

In furthering the role of detachments as light troops, I am currently experimenting with them being able to retreat from other foot troops before the first round of combat as having the same capability as dragoons

The role of detachments has expanded from FoW, to simulating the presence of light troops as skirmishers and screens.

Written Orders

I have found that I don’t care for any written orders rules when playing Pub Battles. I find they sound cooler than they end up being. When I play solo, I use my own judgement based on how the situation looks to the HQ in question. I find this “narrative dependent technique” is more satisfying.

7 thoughts on “My Smooth Brew 3.2

  1. Hi Mike,
    This variant for Single die combat seems interesting. Could you explain more how it works please with an example of combat?
    And I like very much your proposal for Two Facings for Flanking Bonus.
    I wanted to ask is it also necessary in order to flank to have at least one block facing the front? In a real combat it will be rare to see a battalion or regiment can be flank by both sides when there is nobody attacking from the front.


  2. To begin with your final question, If a block is contacted on two sides, but not the front, then it is either being attack initially from behind, or ultimately from behind as there is no way to face one attacker and not expose your rear to the other if you are attacked from both sides.

    One die combat works like this:
    If a unit is in cover, the attacker suffers -1 Hit, instead of -1 modifier. Instead of inflicting one hit on a 2, or 3, those results do no damage. a 4, or 5 do only one hit, and a 6 does 2 hits. This means that it is impossible to eliminate a fresh unit in cover in one round (unless militia).

    There are folks who don’t like that a fresh unit can get wiped out in one round and there is nothing they can do about it. I don’t have a problem with it (just another thing one can’t control in the heat of battle), but I do get how that can bother some folks.

    Regular combat with 3d6 gives you a 1:8 chance of three hits, whereas with a d6 it’s a 1:6, so it’s a little deadlier. This is balanced at the opposite end for a greater chance of 0 hits. In the end, I feel it’s too close too matter, but some are picky. Since it is a fairly simple combat system, it doesn’t really matter.

    The biggest reason I do it is its much easier to read 2 dice than 6! I play solo a lot, so I find this a worthwhile endeavor.


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