Marshall Barrington, the Pub Battle system’s designer, was studying the Kriegspiel rules, and came up with a variation for resolving Pub Battles Combat. Rather than becoming spent on the first hit, a block retreats. With a second hit it is reduced to spent. All this means is that the hit process is reversed; Retreat then spent, instead of spent then retreat. If a fresh unit retreats, it maintains its facing.
This is a relatively subtle change, and yet it can have profound effects. The Baggage Train rules make becoming spent more of an issue, because the unit doesn’t automatically rally, it now needs an unpacked Baggage Train.
After giving it some thought, I decided it would be more interesting to let players decide whether or not the unit would hold or retreat. So, when you receive a hit you decide whether to hold your ground and become spent, or to voluntarily retreat in good order.
A key concept at this point is the voluntary retreat, which I will call “Fall Back.” The difference is that if you retreat, you turn 180 degrees and face the other way. If you Fall Back, you retreat, but maintain your same facing.
One additional rule I want to add, is that if you have been contacted by the enemy prior to your chit being drawn, you must either remain in combat (you can turn to face), or Fall Back. You can no longer move any way you want. The reason being, if you are there to block the enemy’s movement, then you are affecting them, which means you must have been there when they moved. You are still preventing them from moving, and you are successfully Falling Back (fighting retreat) without them forcing a decisive combat.
In this case, moving after your opponent can be thought of as having the command initiative. You have anticipated your opponent’s intentions. The combat is occurring on your terms.
Experimental Rule: First Hit
Retreat: Involuntary movement from combat, if fresh, become spent, and turn around moving 1/3 away from enemy.
Fall Back: Voluntary movement from combat, maintain facing and move 1/3 from enemy.
If you are in contact with an enemy block when your chit is drawn, you must either remain in contact, or Fall Back.
A fresh block that receives only one hit in combat must flip to spent and remain in place, or Fall Back. If fresh, don’t become spent. If spent, You must Fall Back, but maintain facing.
A fresh block that receives receive two hits must Retreat and becomes spent. A spent block that receives two hits is eliminated.
Movement before combat:
Any fresh unit may Retreat before combat, except fresh Dragoons in contact with infantry, may Fall Back.
I am going to try these rules in my next game. One of my purposes in writing this blog is to put all my thoughts in writing. I intend to find out if it is too fiddley to be worth the effort, or if it makes for a better experience.
What do you think of this new rule?