Grognards (grumblers) was the name Napoleon affectionately gave to his Old Guard, and it is now used to describe older wargamers. Pub Battles is relatively easy to learn…Unless you’ve been playing regular wargames for years! I had some difficulty wrapping my head around some concepts because they were so unlike typical Hex and Counter games. This is a hybrid system, really; part Hex and Counter, part miniatures. Because the rules are so short, one is tempted to skim over them, and get right to the game. This is what you should do! Just be aware that you will probably be doing a few things wrong. Before you dismiss the system, and accuse Command Post Games of poor rules writing, be advised that close and careful inspection of the rules should answer most questions.
To help others who might be climbing the steep learning curve, I’ve put together a handy tip guide to draw your attention to a few points that are commonly missed, or misunderstood by many who are learning this system.
The Map Those who are used to hex and counter maps may be a little overwhelmed by having no hexes. A block is considered to be in the terrain that most of the block occupies. Make sure your block is clearly in one terrain type, clarify it with your opponent if you anticipate a question.
The Units The blocks can be thought of as representing divisional level units, but not specific divisions. If a Corps had 50% green troops and has two blocks, one of those blocks will be militia. It does not mean that the division named on the block was historically composed of all green troops. The system is accurate at the Corps level.
Elite/Militia All units have the same attack strength, even spent units. The difference is how well they stand up to enemy fire. Spent units are very brittle, and don’t last long in combat. Militia are liable to run away and dissolve from combat. Elites tend to keep coming, like terminators!
Detachments are not specifically attached to any HQ, but they are only allowed to move once a turn when a friendly HQ is drawn.
Artillery bombards in the movement phase, instead of moving. In the combat phase it only defends when attacked.
Baggage Trains must be unpacked to rally friendly units. They may rally any friendly unit in command range. When a Baggage Train is packed up again, it signals the owning player is admitting defeat and bugging out. If a unit is in contact with an enemy Baggage Train at the end of the movement phase, the enemy has been beaten, the game is over.
The Chit Draw You may always move when your chit is drawn, even if previously contacted. The chit draw simulates simultaneous movement.
Alter Turn Order It is not always advantageous to move earlier or later in the turn. It depends.
Command Range is 1/3 mounted move.
Difficult Terrain reduces total movement by one third. It does not matter if you spend the entire turn moving through a single terrain feature, or if you move through multiple features. Think of it as being able to move a full three thirds if you spend the entire move in clear terrain! Terrain features that are less than half a base width have no effect on the game and are only for there for aesthetic reasons.
Combat Mods no matter how many conditions may add or subtract from a die roll, when all is said and done, the final mod can never be more than plus or minus one. Essentially, you either have an advantage, or you’re at a disadvantage.