More combat rules?

In spite of the fact that Pub Battles focuses on command, many people want the combat rules more detailed and fleshed out.

I have no question that it would work. The system is robust. My concern is that the system will lose its authentic feel. Combat decisions should be quick and direct. They should not founder on specific weapons and tactics that are the domain of lower level commands.


Pub Battles has a very simple combat results process. Any “improvement” is going to add to the complexity and force players into micromanaging their forces.


This level of detail isn’t appropriate for an army commander, that’s why he has lieutenants,  and that’s where command headaches start, because unlike a player, he can’t be everywhere on the battlefield. 


Command Post Games has the right name. Pub Battles simulates the army commander back at the command post.


He writes his orders and an aide dashes them off to the field. He hopes that they get carried out. He hopes the info he has in front of him on his map is accurate! Will this be another case of the orders making no sense? Will the Corps commander have to confirm them, given his present situation? The clock is ticking.


All the commander has is the best estimates of enemy (and friendly, for that matter!) strengths, conditions, and positions.


When I played Brandywine double blind with Marshall (PBs lead designer) reffing, I got a genuine feeling of the kind of command fog that he was striving for with Pub Battles. I was on pins and needles! I’d send my orders off and desperately wait to hear back. At no time was I plotting exactly how far a block could move, or exactly what angle it was facing. I just wanted to know if they ran into resistance and whether or not they overcame it, or were running away in terror.


It was after that experience that I got a real feel for what Pub Battles was capable of, and how close it came to authenticity.


I agree with Frank Chadwick when it comes to modeling command in wargames. The trick with strategic command isn’t how to bring the player closer to the action, but how to remove him from it.


To that end,  I see any rules changes which focus on combat, or on giving players more control over their units, as being counter to the best and most unique feature of the system.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s