I semi-retired at 47. I suffered a sever brain injury at 25. I have written 3 books about living with brain injury and have had a regular column in the Brain Injury Alliance of MN's quarterly mag since 1999. I received my BA in English with honors in 2014. One of my avocations is developing simulation games. Weather permitting, I enjoy a round of Disc Golf whenever possible.
If you are curious how they handle the setup, in simplest terms it works like this:
Napoleon can choose how large a force he wants to bring on. Regardless of what he chooses, all HQs begin on the map. If he goes all in, he must win decisively, if he brings minimal forces, the Coalition must win decisively.
This means, as the Coalition player, you must attack aggressively from the outset to win. If you discover Napoleon has gone all in, you need to switch to the defensive; the sooner, the better!
The fog in the morning doesn’t help!
As soon as I get my copy I’ll be doing some replay videos. We can all laugh at my first feeble attempts to master the field!
This video is significant for two reasons. The first is that I believe I have finally gotten all the setup right (my fault, not the publisher’s!), and because I added a speedy recap at the end.
The final detail I overlooked, even though it was in boldface on the setup sheet, was that Detachments could setup as much as one full mounted rang from Howe. This is why, if you place Howe at the extreme North tip of the British setup area, it is one mounted move from Chew House.
This time I figured out how to add an accelerated format clip of the whole battle (20x faster) that allows for one to get the feel for the whole flow of the Battle. Basically, I use the software to export the video in MP4, then import that back into the editing software, then take that single clip and speed it up. Sounds simple, but until I figured that out, it was a pretty daunting task.
A few notes on the Setup, and a video guide as well.
Item one: The scenario rules say that a detachment may occupy Cliveden (Chew House). What isn’t as clear is that the British may setup with a detachment in Cliveden.
Item two: The British command rules are clearly explained and I still go it wrong! Let me restate it here. Knyphausen and Cornwallis appear on turns 3 and 5 respectively. The British start with Howe in command of all British forces and they move when Cornwallis chit is activated. On turn 3 when Knyphausen arrives, his command activates when he is drawn, and Howe activates with Cornwallis’ troops when Cornwallis’ chit is drawn. When Cornwallis arrives on turn 5, he takes over his command and Howe acts as Army Commander, providing combat command to all British troops in range of his Block.
Alright gang, here it is! The new Pub Battles: Germantown scenario. My first play is a little rough, but like the historical commanders, I ain’t never done this before! A quick game stretched across 6 minutes, so I can explain a couple things. I still left a lot out. I cut the hour and a half game to 19 minutes of talking and explanation, then I cut it still further to about 6 minutes of action with just a wee bit of explication. Your welcome! Let me know in the comments if you have any questions.
Soon to be released (I’m betting in a fortnight, barring any hang-ups) is the Pub Battles: Austerlitz scenario. The price point they’re hoping to be able to hold to is around $100 for the Cardstock map, and $140 for the canvas map. You know me, I’m all in for the canvas map. However, short of any concerns about getting ale or salsa spilled on it, the cardstock is a perfectly viable option. I love the green hue of the map!
I apologize for totally missing the boat on the Germantown scenario release. My copy is on its way post haste dispatch, and I hope to be doing an unrolling video and first playthrough, soon.
I am really focusing on “putting on my command beret” when narrating my videos. I’m trying to avoid game terms, except when necessary for clarity. My intent is to create the feel of the battle. What I have realized is just how good a job the game does in simulating command concerns. This is really apparent in my last Antietam video.
In the middle of the game, the Federal drive stalls for lack of supplies. This is a common enough issue for real commanders, but is usually only a concern in games with super detailed logistics rules, or overly burdensome unit health tracking.
In Pub Battles, if you have a bunch of spent units you need to unpack a Baggage Train or they won’t be able to sustain an attack without becoming combat ineffective (eliminated). The game mechanic is very simple, logical, and intuitive. If you hadn’t played the game before, you would assume they are too simple to work, but alas, they work splendidly.
They are more realistic at the command level, too. A general will not have access to an exact listing of a unit’s casualties and supplies in the heat of battle. The best intel will only inform him of the general battle readiness of his various units. It helps to think of Pub Battles as a very detailed Corps level simulation. The unit blocks are given names for color, but they are not intended to simulate their historical counterparts in any way.
At the corps level, Hooker’s I corps at Antietam has 3 blocks. Each block requires 3 hits to be eliminated. I Corps can be thought of as having nine “hits” of strength. It would seem a simple task to assign it nine hit points on a card, done. Except, in Pub Battles those nine hits travel in 3 discrete groups of three. Furthermore, if in range of an unpacked Baggage Train they can recover a hit. One of the hits is actually used to retreat, so it is “recovered” as soon as taken. At any point prior to elimination, if the discrete group attacks, it attacks at full strength. Some Corps can have Elite or Militia troops, further complicating and reflecting differences at the Corps level.
Let’s talk about Corps leadership. The obvious quality rating is the Leadership number that is used to alter turn order, but that is just one aspect of leadership quality. The best officers are paired with the best troops, and vice versa. In Pub Battles, Corps with better leaders tend to have better quality troops, allowing them to accomplish more on the battlefield. Better units translate into a commander who’s will is more keenly felt during the battle. At Antietam, Jackson’s Corps has two elite units! His corps is very powerful, and he is regarded as one of Lee’s best Generals. Napoleon always has the guard Corps with him, and they are all elite.
These differences are not as explicit as giving certain leaders higher ratings, but once you are familiar with the Pub Battles system, you will learn to appreciate them.
It seems with each game that I play, I appreciate the simulation power of this system.
Every once in awhile you play a wargame and it turns out so cool that you’re wishing you had recorded it. Well, this time I did! Pub Battles: Antietam
I mention some upcoming buildings rules. I make them sound much more official than they are. Take them with a grain of salt. That being said, they do work really well. In summary 1. Infantry suffers a -1 when attacking into buildings. 2. Cavalry cannot attack into buildings. 3. Bombardment suffers no penalty when firing into buildings (howitzers). 4. Spent units in buildings cannot recover.
Pub Battles: Gettysburg is a great meeting engagement, but I always wondered what it would be like if the two massive armies had faced each other in a set piece affair. To try it out, this is what I came up with: What if Reynolds had lived, and had judged the situation as too precarious around Gettysburg? Meade maintains his plans of defending Pipe’s Creek.
Lee, does not take the bait. Furthermore, he refuses to become engaged until Stuart arrives and scouts the area.
Finally, Washington will not allow Meade to sit back while Northern papers report “The Rapine and Pillaging of Gettysburg!” On July 8, Meade advances on Gettysburg.
Setup: Confederate – All forces begin on the map. Set up first, anywhere 1 mounted move from the Southern Map edge and one mounted move from the Eastern map edge and North of the Hanover Road. Union – All forces begin on map. Set up within 1 infantry move of the South map edge, and within one infantry move of the East map edge, south of the Hanover road.
Victory Conditions: Meade must at least Force Lee Back (cause him to pack up a Baggage Train), or the North suffers a major defeat.
Here is a video of my first play. I always like first plays because it feels most like how the actual commanders felt. I have played the regular Scenario over a hundred times, that is very different from what Lee and Meade were facing!