My Smooth Brew 3.0

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.

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

Chit draw procedure.

1. When a chit is drawn, the owner may attempt to delay. If successful, another chit is drawn before the original chit is returned to the cup.

2. When a chit is played, the opposing player may flip an HQ to spent and attempt to go instead. 

3. If successful, the opposing chit is returned to the cup and the HQs chit is played. Return to step 2. (Else end*)
*for programmers who might get caught in a loop! 

This avoids the pileup of drawn chits awaiting movement. I frequently forget where I am in a line of waiting units!


A unit in contact with more than one opponent is flanked for the round. Continue repeating rounds until contact is broken, then continue to the next combat in reverse chit draw order. If the same command has multiple blocks in combat, the owner decides the order.
This means that a single defender would fight two attackers one at a time, and is considered flanked through the first combat which, if it managed to win, would allow it to fight the next opponent without being flanked.

A unit attacked from the rear is considered flanked.

This allows for simulating a more flexible front than the wood blocks permit and avoids all the fiddling around trying to orient a unit “just so.” If being simultaneously attacked from different directions, one is still at a grave disadvantage. A unit being flanked by a single unit is a very real possibility at the regimental level, but Pub Battles is a divisional simulation.

Multiple Defender Battles

All rounds are resolved between two blocks, an attacker and defender. A critical assumption that I make when resolving combat is that the unit that moved last has the edge! Therefore, I resolve combat in reverse chit draw order, from the outside in. The first attacker resolves his attack completely (until no longer in contact) before continuing to the next combat. If the defender is contacted by more than one enemy, the flanking modifiers apply.

Flanking is quite a bonus, should be difficult, and this makes it so by giving the opponent a chance to counter the attempt.

3/8″ base depth (replaces FoF rule)

If a unit ends its move within one base depth of an enemy unit (3/8″) move it into contact.

This is to make it clear to everyone whether a unit is in contact or not, and recognizes the real limits to precision with a board that gets jostled, or fingers trying to push blocks into place.

This may find units moving just out of contact (3/8″) and might seem too close to be “out of combat.” Let me explain: There is a lot of combat going on all the time and that the combat in the combat phase is that dramatic combat which will end decisively at the divisional level, but there is also implied combat that is shown in the outcomes of the chit draw that represents the tactical edge of chit draw order. Often, this known as a successful fighting withdrawal.

Also, one must always remember that the mapboard represents the best estimates of unit positions. If decisive combat (units in contact) is not being fought, there are any number of reasons why. Please see my post here for a fuller explanation.

Applying hits to units with Support

Hits versus a unit with a supporting unit can be applied in any manner between the two units.

Now when you bombard and roll 3 hits they may end up all being applied if vs. a supported unit. You can also use a supporting elite unit to ignore the first hit. This simulates less steady troops being bolstered by more steady troops.

The official rule is that the unit in front absorbs all casualties and no extra damage is placed on a supporting unit. This works fine and can even be welcome when a Bombardment does 3 hits on a unit. It retreats with the second hit and the third is ineffective, thus allowing the supporting unit to move up fresh (Whew).

Cavalry vs. Defending Infantry
Cavalry attacking spent infantry gains the flanking bonus.
Fresh infantry attacked by cavalry gains the flanking bonus.
Cavalry attacked by infantry gains the flanking bonus.

This rule reflects the likelihood of infantry being able to successfully form square just like the official rules, but it intensifies the result.

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 sometimes occurs occurs.