I have never been a fan of the Field of Fire rules (FoF). I get why people want them, but they seemed arbitrary. “You can’t end your movement in a FoF without moving to contact, if you do not have enough movement, you have to back up 1/3 move away. I get it, sort of, but I always have these humorous pictures of these charging troops who get 50 yards away when a bell rings (signifying end of turn), and they shrug their shoulders and turn around marching back to a dotted line. Again, I get what’s really going on, it just feels funny, and worse, seems arbitrary.
Pub Battles always prides itself on letting players do whatever they want, and letting the natural results of their actions be the limiting factors. However, like with pre 3.0 Baggage Trains, there just never seemed to be a way to make FoF work cleanly (without seeming artificial and arbitrary).
This came to a head when working with the Fredericksburg scenario. The enemy troops were engaging each other across the river. This can’t be done with regular Pub Battles rules. The idea had been to allow infantry to bombard like artillery, but with only two dice, except in the combat phase. While this sounds great, in actual play it got messy, and seriously dragged the game out.
But what if we let infantry bombard just like artillery, if they don’t move they can fire instead, out to 1/3 foot move. Now a unit can move within range of an enemy without making contact… If they don’t mind the risk of getting shot at, and becoming spent and/or retreating. Now you need to consider whether or not your enemy has been activated yet this turn!
It also makes it risky to approach, but not contact, an enemy in cover. It also makes it interesting if an enemy isn’t in cover, but you move into some. You have to take a volley under cover, but if you survive, now your enemy must continue the firefight at a disadvantage, or retreat. NOT because some arbitrary rule makes you do it; you get to weigh the risk/reward and make the decision yourself!
At this point, this is not an official rule, it is only a thought experiment. I intend to start using it in my next video. Usually, if something isn’t going to work for some reason, it becomes pretty obvious immediately.
2 thoughts on “Field of Fire Revision”
Mike, how have you found this to work in your test games? I have a question, you mention that the Infantry bombard like artillery, can infantry score 3 hits and destroy a unit with its fire? Or is it like artillery in that it cannot fully destroy a unit?
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Like artillery, Ranged Infantry Fire cannot eliminate a unit. I haven’t really commented on it because it rarely gets used, the THREAT of it is enough for units to stay away. In the Marengo12 video I’m editing right now, it does get used once and is effective.