Alt Austerlitz (Schrödinger’s Napoleon)

I really like Pub Battles Austerlitz, especially with the variable French setup. Are the French as weak as Napoleon says? The Austrians must attack as though they were, if they wait too long to find out, then it might be too late.

For enthusiasts like myself, after numerous plays there becomes an optimal French option, just bring on the Guards and all you need to win is not to lose big.

To keep the game exciting, I use a certain variation on the suggested setup. I can not take sole credit for this, it is mostly a particular variation on the setup that could be chosen. It is also optimized for solo play.

The French player has two options, bluff, or all in. The French always have Soult, Lannes, and Davout (III, IV, and V, Corps),. Alternatively, they can bring on Napoleon, the Guard, Bernadotte, and Murat (everybody). There is no option to bring on just one other Corps.

On turn one, the French player adds Napoleon’s HQ to the cup. He must make a note if it is the real Napoleon, or just a decoy. He does not have to reveal anything until the HQ is seen by the enemy. So far this is exactly one of the suggested options. The difference is that IF the French player does not bring on everything, then all that is available are the first three Corps. Not even Napoleon is there!

It is assumed that if Napoleon isn’t there, then he has come up with a different plan, and needs the rest of his army to pull it off. Whatever he has planned won’t work if his other forces don’t last the day at Austerlitz. He doesn’t need them to win, he just needs them to tie down those Allied forces.

If you are playing solo, it is called “Schrödinger’s Napoleon.” Like Schrödinger’s cat, Napoleon is both there, and not there, until you examine the HQ. When the HQ comes within the Allied LOS, roll a die. On a 4+ Napoleon is there with the rest of his army. Otherwise, only the first three Corps are on the map. If you find it difficult to play as though you didn’t know, then this option solves that.

The biggest difference between this and the official rules, is that the official rules allow Napoleon to appear with one other Corps, and the Austrian must still win decisively, or lose the game. I feel it is tipped too much in Napoleon’s favor if he appears with the guard (besides, the Guard is always with Napoleon), and all he has to do is not lose decisively to win. At least, that’s how it is for me after many, many, plays.

As always, let me know how this works for you!

Austerlitz Coalition Variant

Setup, showing forces on reserve cards.

In this variant I reorganize the Coalition army into 3 large Corps. Like many strategies in Pub Battles, there is no “best” way to do something. Large or small Corps have their advantages and disadvantages. Large Corps are great for concentrating a lot of forces on a narrow front for an assault, but can be challenging if trying to react with any precision. They tend to be big hammers. On the defensive, where combat command isn’t so crucial, they can be quite adequate.

(DISCLAIMER) Pub Battles Austerlitz is an excellent game as is. This variant is only presented as an alternative that highlights the flexibility of the system.

Smaller commands can make mounting an effective attack difficult, but can make for a more flexible defense.

The big factor to consider is your Leadership rating. The French (or the Confederacy), with a 4 rating, can usually make their Alter Turn Order rolls, and gain both flexibility in concentrating their efforts, and in reacting to enemy actions. On the other hand, the Coalition (or the Union), with a rating of 2 (or 3), can have a very tough time.

For this variant, while I allow the Coalition player to reorganize their army, it comes with a limit. The original Corps can’t be broken up, only combined with others. This is because of the intermixing of troop quality. In most armies, the lower quality troops were intermixed with higher quality troops. The regiments tended to be of one quality, but different regiments would then form higher level organizations. A Corps may be comprised of 50% conscripts, but those battalions would be spread around. In pub Battles, that is shown when half the blocks of the Corps are militia. The Corps with 50% militia is less effective than one without, so it works at the Corps level. Remember that the names on the blocks are given for color, not because that division was actually all conscripts (or elite!).

In the foto above, I only intend on attacking with Docturov’s Corps (on the left), but to disguise my intentions I have my army organized into 3 large Corps. This disguises my intent, and is very unnerving to the French player as he sees three large threats to contend with. Which one does he prepare for?

Because the French begin with over half their army off board, this gives the Coalition player a slight edge in the early turns. If they can do enough damage early on, the French may never recover. If they decide to remain on the defensive, the French can chip away at their less adaptable army and where them down while watching for an opportunity to administer that “one final blow.” Either strategy is viable, and either can be countered.

War is uncertain. Sometimes, using the above setup and strategy of having Docturov attack the French right, will see all his attacks thrown back, other times will seem him sweep the stretched French defenses, most times it will be a combination. Every game will play out differently. Often the chit draw will serve to compliment or confound your plan! You must have a plan, and yet be flexible.