My Smooth Brew 3.0

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.

I have three simplified rules and an easy written orders system.
1) Clean Flanking rules.
2) Clean Field of Fire (FoF) rules.
3) Clean Buildings rules.

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


A unit in contact with more than one opponent is flanked. If flankers are being flanked, resolve those combats first.

A unit attacked from the rear is considered flanked.

This allows for simulating a more flexible front than the wood blocks permit and avoids all the fiddling around trying to orient a unit “just so.” A unit being flanked by a single unit is a very real possibility at the regimental level, but Pub Battles is a divisional simulation. Also, this is a simpler process as not all attackers fire, just the main two combatants, the effects of flanking fire being the flanking modification. I’m not saying this is superior to the current rules by any means, it’s simply quicker and the real differences amount to splitting hairs.

3/8″ base depth (replaces FoF rule)

If a unit ends its move within one base depth of an enemy unit (3/8″) move it into contact.

This is to make it clear to everyone whether a unit is in contact or not, and recognizes the real limits to precision with a board that gets jostled, or fingers trying to push blocks into place.

This may find units positioned just out of contact (3/8″) and might seem too close to be “out of combat.” Let me explain: There is a lot of combat going on all the time, the combat in the combat phase is that dramatic combat which will end decisively at the divisional level, but there is also implied combat that is shown in the outcomes of the chit draw that represents the tactical edge of chit draw order. Often, this known as a successful fighting withdrawal.

Also, one must always remember that the mapboard represents the best estimates of unit positions. If decisive combat (units in contact) is not being fought, there are any number of reasons why. Please see my post here for a fuller explanation.


All current 3.0 Buildings rules are replaced with:

Buildings provide +1 cover bonus.

Blocks beginning movement in buildings cannot move to contact with enemy units.

Buildings do not provide a cover bonus when Bombarded.

Buildings (farmsteads, towns, and cities) no longer cause units to be spent, but Command control was greatly impaired. Units were in danger of being cut off and isolated. Commanders were often reluctant to station troops in buildings that were death traps from howitzer fire, and armies maintained howitzers in their artillery parks for exactly these reasons.

Written Orders

These written orders rules work well for solo games and two player games between non-contentious players. The fun of using these rules is the delay in transmission and the increased feel of maneuvering as a corps. This is in contradistinction to the “carefully choreographed bar fight” that some wargames feel like.

4 thoughts on “My Smooth Brew 3.0

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