Austerlitz Homebrew variant: Bridgeheads

Austerlitz out of the tube works great. This variant isn’t to “fix” something, but is actually a variant. A “What If.” I have played the regular version over a dozen times, and I want to try something a little different.

What if Napoleon felt that the Coalition wasn’t buying his charade that he was weak. So he starts all in. Davout still doesn’t make it from Vienna until turn 2, but other than that, all French forces start on the map.

There are occasions where both sides are better off defending and making their opponents attack. Austerlitz is one such battle, hence Napoleon’s deception. If the deception, which was daring and not sure of working, had not been successful, then actually attacking would have been necessary. How to make the French attack a larger foe?

To answer this, I have created the concept of Bridgeheads. Not actual bridgeheads, but close enough to make for an adequate label. In addition to the other two ways of winning, routing the enemy, or capturing their Baggage Trains, let us introduce a third way.

By scenario definition, a bridgehead is created when you are the first player to unpack a Baggage Train in a designated enemy area. At the end of the game, if the Bridgehead has not been destroyed by the enemy, you win!

Unlike when a regular Baggage Train is unpacked, when a Bridgehead is created, the label is exposed and the enemy is made aware of the Bridgehead. Only one Bridgehead can be created per game. Deciding when can be critical. Too soon, and the enemy has time to destroy it, too late, and the enemy may deploy it first!

For Austerlitz, The coalition needs to Build a bridgehead across the Goldbach (i.e. the west side), and the French must build one in the town of Pratzen.

My Smooth Brew 3.1

This blog will be updated from time to time as I find smoother and cleaner ways to play Pub Battles.

I am happy to play with the tried and true “official” rules. Pub Battles is quite a robust system and you can add all kinds of rules. These can be fun or satisfying, but most are unnecessary. I am very leery of adding any rules, other than those that smooth or speed play, as the system can quickly bog down. Remember, Pub Battles is first and foremost a command simulation, not a combat simulation.

I have these simplified rules, and an easy written orders system.
1) Single die combat
2) Multiple Unit Combats
3) A block that suffers one hit may either retreat, or flip to spent
4) Infantry that must retreat from cavalry is eliminated
5) Cuirassiers never rally from spent (except during a night turn).
6) Leaders in Combat.

Title in bold. Rule is normal font. Discussion/clarification in italics.

Single Die Combat

Each combatant rolls 1D6 and divides the result by 2 rounding down (1D6/2 round down) Giving a range from 0-3.

Die modifiers are now hit modifiers. 3 hits maximum, ignore the fourth hit if a flanking attacker rolls a 6!

This means that fresh units in cover cannot be killed in one round, they will always have a chance to retreat. This also means that flanked units will always suffer at least one hit. Flanked units can never suffer four hits, but they do triple the chance of sustaining 3 hits.

Multiple Unit Combats

Reduce all combats to two contacting units. Each pair of combatants resolve combat completely before proceeding to the next. Consult scenario rules to determine which side decides order of combat. If not specified: British for AWI, French for Napoleonic, Confederate for ACW.

A block that suffers one hit may either retreat, or flip to spent.
This allows some local commander control, have they been ordered to hold, or give ground.

Cavalry versus Infantry
Infantry that must retreat from cavalry as a result of combat, is eliminated.

Cuirassiers never rally from spent (except during a night turn).
This reduces the likelihood of Cuirassiers repeatedly attacking all day long. Heavy Cavalry was rather brittle, and almost a single use weapon. Lighter cavalry could fight repeatedly, but did not ordinarily fight sustained battles. With the above retreat/spent option, they will naturally fill their more historical role.

Cavalry was the armor of the black powder era. It was scary, but also brittle. This gives it a better feel.

Leaders in Combat. Place an HQ on top of a unit to represent a leader in combat. Add one Hit to the attack. If the block below it is eliminated, the HQ is also eliminated, and that Corps can no longer receive combat command from it. Remove the HQ. It still moves when its chit is drawn, and the Army HQ can still provide combat command and Alter Turn Order.

Almost Written Orders

In development, click here to see.

Written Orders

These written orders rules work well for solo games and two player games between non-contentious players. The fun of using these rules is the delay in transmission and the increased feel of maneuvering as a corps. This is in contradistinction to the “carefully choreographed bar fight” that some wargames feel like.