Better Buildings?

Defending the gate at Hougoumont

I have never been completely happy with the rules for urban combat in Pub Battles, but since it is a relatively uncommon affair, and I didn’t really have any better solutions, I let it slide.

Well, I finally took the time to examine the matter under a microscope (did actual research), and along with consulting some experts in Napoleonic Wargames, have come up with some simple rules. My examination focused these two parameters: Divisional level, and command issues.

At the divisional level, a lot of chaff can be ignored. Light troops were much better in urban areas, line troops were easily panicked, and militia were almost useless (no change, there!). If you dig into it, different troops from different armies had different numbers of light troops of differing abilities, but this is Pub Battles. Pub Battles does not focus heavily on combat concerns over command issues.

So what are the command issues? First off, it was almost impossible top see what was going on and actually command troops in any kind of coherent fashion. Secondly, troops huddled in buildings were especially vulnerable targets for Howitzers, and every army kept them in their artillery parks for just such occasions.

After condensing my research I needed to convert it to Pub Battles rules. Urban combat is a sideshow event, so I wanted to create a simple set of rules that were intuitive, and command level focused. This is what I came up with:


1)Buildings (or sets of structures) are occupiable if at least half a block fits within their perimeters.

2)Blocks within buildings are considered within cover, except when bombarded.  

3)Blocks within buildings are never considered to be within command range. You cannot attack (move into contact) from buildings, but artillery can bombard from buildings.

4)You cannot rally inside buildings. Beleaguered defenders will need to be reinforced with fresh troops if the position is to be held under constant assault!

5)Certain buildings may be scenario defined as chateaus. Chateaus grant cover bonus, and are never considered flanked.


There you have it. Buildings can be really nice to defend if you prepare ahead of time. Likewise, they can be handy in a pinch, for defense; but they can cause as many problems as they solve. Units no longer automatically become spent upon entering, but they can’t rally either. Cavalry still cannot attack buildings.

As a commander, you will need to consider whether or not occupying a building is right for the situation.

These are the rules I have come up with, now I will submit them to rigorous playtesting. I invite any of you to try them yourselves and let me know what you think.

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