Second Bull Run Development Update

I have been tasked with leading the creation and play testing of Pub Battles’ Second Battle of Bull Run. I wanted to share where this is at, so far.

The OB

Developing the Order of Battle for a Pub Battles scenario is, like almost every part of the Pub Battles design, a lot of work to create an otherwise simple appearance. Since every component has a lot of wiggle room (one infantry block can represent anywhere from 3000 – 6000+ troops) it would seem a quick task to whip something up.

Well, yes and no.

It is relatively straightforward to fit the general numbers with the blocks. The trick is coming up with the right feel. You start with a Corps, everything is based off the Corps. How many troops did the Corps have at the battle? When might the disparate parts of the Corps gel into the whole? Where were they, and where might they have been?

This is where it starts getting tricky. The Second Battle of Bull Run really began with skirmishing almost a week ahead of the final day of the battle. Most of that involved two armies groping around trying to find each other. This makes for an exciting refereed Kriegspiel game of cat and mouse, but so much can be arbitrary luck that two players might just as well guess and roll dice.

When to start?

Ultimately, after many fitful starts, it was decided to begin on the 29th of August, 1862. Everyone who could be there, was there. Players can then feed forces haphazardly into the fray while simultaneously trying to outmaneuver their opponent and gaining local numerical superiority, as Pope tried, very unsuccessfully, historically. Alternately, the Union can first gather into a coherent whole before attacking the foe they outnumber. Which is easy peasy IF Lee just sits there and patiently waits to become outnumbered.

Ah, suddenly we have a very interesting battle to recreate!

Jackson and Stuart begin on the map, West of the unconstructed railroad and South of Bull Run. Longstreet enters from the West on the Warrenton Turnpike. The Union player starts with up to 5 blocks on Henry Hill, and the rest of the army arrives from two points: From the East on the Warrenton Turnpike at Centerville, and from the South at Manassas Junction.


This setup leaves the Union player with a lot of interesting alternatives. The Turnpike is a major road and allows the fastest entry, but it is faster yet to have some of the forces begin on the minor roads out of Manassas Junction. Also, if the Union player tries to have everybody use the same road, there are going to be traffic jams and pinch points. A Corps, or two, will very likely spend a turn or two, waiting for traffic to start moving.

By far the trickiest bit to recreate was the Union command confusion. The Union army would have been difficult to command for an able commander, with everyone working as a well oiled machine; historically, it was anything but.

It is never fun to be hemmed in by all the mishaps of one’s historical counterpart, at the same time, many battles wouldn’t have even been fought without them. This is what we have done so far, and it seems to be working quite well:

Two Corps are the original Army of Virginia under Pope’s command. Three Corps are newly added, grudgingly surrendered, Corps from McClellan’s Army of The Potomac. McClellan wanted Pope to fail so McClellan would be recalled to command of the Federal forces, and be hailed as the “Savior of the Republic!” New to the job, and having his fellow officer conspiring against him, may very well be the source of Pope’s timorous command style at Second Bull Run.

This means there are two Third Corps at Second Bull Run. The Army of the Potomac Corps still have that on their labels, to differentiate this “other” Army. Even though you have two different army labels, there is only one army, the Army of Virginia.

We have decided to incorporate the general confusion this whole mess created by first assigning all artillery, cavalry, and Baggage Trains directly to Pope, then having Pope only able to activate when one of the two chits Labeled “Army of Virginia” are drawn. He still commands all the HQs, but he only activates when either of two of the five Corps are drawn

In practice, this makes it very tough to coordinate the army as a coherent whole. It can be done, but it takes care, and is very fraught. This is exactly what we were looking for! The larger Union army is harder to maneuver into striking distance.

Conversely, if Lee just enters and turtles up on the Southwest corner waiting for Pope to exhaust himself attacking Jackson in frontal assaults, like he did historically, he is likely to be disappointed. The Southwest corner can be broken by carefully coordinated bombardments with superior numbers of artillery. Like always, Lee is facing a numerically superior foe, and must choose his ground wisely. With a map that covers over six square feet, Confederate players will have a lot of choices!

The obvious ideal choice is the Southwest corner, but much of this advantage is lost if your opponent knows that’s your plan. What merry chases will you have Jackson lead the Federal forces on?

The Feel

Having that question in mind, let us look at the flow of the battle. On the first day, one can generally expect lots of maneuvering to set the enemy up for their ultimate defeat on day two. This mimics the historic battle. Having laid out this general flow, the victory laurels will often rest on the player that deviates from the expected.

As always, with Pub Battles, the battle is fresh each time it is played, even if you follow the exact same battle plan, because the chit draw is different each time. I explain this fully in THIS POST.

New Rules

As always, we tirelessly work at even more elegant and simple rules to make the game as authentic as possible, while remaining Boom Simple!

Limited Rally Baggage Trains

Sometimes it seems a little too much when you hit a line turn after turn and the Unpacked Baggage Train rallies several spent units from a somehow unlimited supply.

Instead, what if a Baggage Train were limited to a certain number of rallies per game? We wondered what affect this might have, and after several games have found that four rallies gives the right feel (remember, Pub Battles is all about the feel).

This generally means that you can decimate the enemy, or have decimated your army, with an all out attack once or twice, and then your done. It gives a very authentic feel to managing your losses.

This is actually a two part rule change. The first part is that on a night turn, you recover all your lost blocks, except they all are placed in a spent condition, and just like you can’t move and rally in one turn, a block can’t rally the turn it is placed.
The second part is the four rally per Baggage Train limit.

This rule isn’t official yet, but I encourage you to try it out. You can keep track on a slip of paper, or with tooth picks, matchsticks, or dice placed by the Baggage Train block.

I like to use my 1/8″ wood bases that I also use as markers for road column. I remove a block for each rally.

Bases showing blocks in march column, and a full strength unpacked Baggage Train.

If your block is marching on a major road, you place the base on top of the block. Many folks choose to play with miniatures, just using the rules and scaling their table to their preferred base size. If you want to base 5mm or smaller figures on a base appropriate to the canvass map, these are 1/8″ thick bases of the appropriate dimensions for the system. They are available from TRE GAMES INC @ $5 for 30. They have a lot of different size wood bases as well as scale terrain and models.


This project has taken over my life. It is so exciting to work on, and it feels really good when things just work. I started this project thinking “This’ll never work,” this battle isn’t really suitable for Pub Battles. Trial after trial, replay after replay, it was cool to see how well the system captured the feel of the greater battle. Now, I can’t even remember why I thought it wouldn’t work, it seems ideally suited!

Finally, when reading the histories of any conflict, they are mostly focused on much smaller units and actions; yet after playing the scenario, I could imagine those same actions as part of what “the game” was telling me as I played.

I should add that Second Bull Run is simply an add on to “Bull Run: The Big Skedaddle.” It uses the same map, you only buy the new blocks. A very economical way to get what is essentially, a whole new scenario. The map is the same, but very different troops fight a very different battle.

Coming soon! Subscribe to my blog and get a heads up when it is available.

Please share your enthusiasm and any concerns!

Experimental Baggage Train Rules

Keep those caissons rolling!

I think the addition of the Baggage Train rules in Pub Battles was one of those things that just “clicked,” and suddenly everything fell into place. Gone were the days of destroyed lines suddenly appearing as fresh a turn later. Gone also, were the days of grindy combat where it was near on impossible to eliminate 50% of the enemy’s infantry blocks.

The system could stop there and be fine. Which it has. But again, what if there were a simple mechanic for showing an upper limit to how much damage one Baggage Train could fix?

After much discussion with the folks at Command Post Games, I have come up with and tested a new Baggage Train rule. It is two part:

  1. During a night turn all blocks are recovered, but they begin as spent and may not be rallied that turn.
  2. Each unpacked Baggage Train may rally 4 blocks per game.

While this may seem like a simple rule, as in “How much work could that be?” Its evolution through many different suggestions, all of which start out much more complex, hides the effort required to distill a complex concept down to a simple, elegant rule, that does everything initially desired.

What this means is that even after a day of heavy fighting, an army can look pretty good by morning, but it is only an illusion. The troops will be more brittle, and your lines will begin to crack and fail if asked to do it all over again.

Even after rallying four blocks, your Baggage Trains will remain on the field of battle. All the infrastructure they represent will still be present (hospitals, food, pack animals and fodder, smithies, and everything else that keeps a mobile city of several thousand functional). They must still be protected, they still fulfill critical offices.

As always, this is NOT an official rule. Once in its final form it will need to be playtested for quite some time before you see it in an “official” format, which means whenever a new edition of the rules is made available.

Take for instance the number four. Three seems to be too few, and five seems too many, so we’re starting with four. Who knows? Maybe we’ll end up with seven, or one. I really think it will be four.

Down the road, with this tool in their design bag, we might see battles with one side having very tight belts, we might see fewer rallies with more Baggage Trains, or one gigantic Baggage Train. Anything is possible, but always, it must be Boom Simple!

Let’s Talk Value $$$

Pub Battles games are expensive. Just like cars, the high end versions cost more. Pub Battles does offer less expensive options. That being said, what are you paying for, and what are you getting when you plunk your good money down?

I also know, quite well, that for all of us, the gaming budget is tight, “like butter scraped over too much bread,” and there are a lot of titles competing for limited resources.

The Map

The biggest physical expense in producing a Pub Battles title is the map. Just the canvas alone is expensive. Add to that the price of the artwork, the hours spent going over different graphics, and you can appreciate the cost. A Pub Battles map is a beautifully printed piece of artwork, on archival quality canvas, suitable for framing, that can withstand years of abuse.

As a print alone, forget about the rest of the game, it is fairly priced. As a print alone, I can appreciate the cost. I wouldn’t buy it, but I could see the value. As a playable game…Take my money!

That being said, the most sensible option for many is the paper map alternative. And seriously, unless you’re looking very closely, you can’t really tell the difference. The actual biggest difference is the durability of the canvas. You can spill on it, crease it, and use it a lot; it is just plain durable.

The Wooden Blocks

Okay, I’ll admit it. The wooden blocks are what initially sold me on the system. They look so cool! They make me feel like I’m in the command tent looking over the situation map. They are neither cardboard pieces, nor toy soldiers. I mean, I get the miniatures thing, with all the care and pride put into the painting and what not (I’ve spent the time and money on my own collection), but it still feels like I’m playing with toys soldiers.

The wooden blocks feel like I’m in the command tent. For me, that’s a huge thing.

The Rules

You know what’s fun and easy? Dreaming up rules. Nothing is more satisfying than coming up with a cool rule, maybe even adding a thoroughly researched chart or table. You know what isn’t fun? Trying to enjoy a game loaded down with all that chrome!

It is harder to draft a short set of rules that creates an authentic, realistic experience. That is what Command Post Games has managed to do with Pub Battles. Read my discussion of the rules.

It All Adds Up To This:

We all have monster games that cost a lot of money, and never get played, they’re just so cool! It’s fun to set up a huge map, and gaze at the hundreds of counters. Really, I get it.

We all have that dream of getting some friends together and actually playing it…Some day.

A Pub Battles map looks beautiful, and looks super cool when set up, too. But you know what else? It’s quick playing fun. Most Pub Battles can be played in a little over an hour. You can even play best of three, in an evening! They are immensely replayable. They are also ideal for solo play, meaning they get played a lot. The “dollars spent per hour played” can easily make them one of the best value games in your collection.

The Pub Battles Rules

Many folks, quite reasonably, assume that long rulebooks with dozens of tables and charts, are more work than shorter, more concise rules. The truth is, it’s fun and easy to invent rules for all sorts of things. Almost any aspect of the chaos of battle can have a metric applied, and the effect modeled. All this chrome adds to the perceived value of the game, but does it make for a better game?

This is the sort of question that can’t be answered by a single yes, or no. It depends on the aim of the game, and the desires of the players. The issue comes down to whether or not the game feels real. The whole point of a simulation is to simulate. To that end, it seems obvious that greater detail equals greater realism.

Except for a few key observations. Every time you add a rule for something, it calls into question all details at that level. “If you’re going to cover this, then you should cover that.” Are supply points needed? If you have supply points, shouldn’t they be broken down into food, dry goods, and ammo? What is the rate of consumption? Should ammo be divided into powder and ball? Every designer asks these questions and adds to taste. Detailed supply rules are interesting, but never fun. They feel more like what should be somebody else’s job while you plan strategy!

Most rules details are called “chrome.” Designers add them on after the game is designed, to make it look sexy, and sell. “This game has X, and it tracks Y, so you know a lot of research has gone into designing it, and making it realistic!”

Pub Battles began with the idea that the Prussian Kriegspiel system had it right, and modeled off of that. They discovered that you don’t need to know any rules to play, only to referee. The player just writes orders, the referees must decide what happens. The whole point of Kriegspiel was to train officers to command armies.

The Pub Battles rules simulate exactly that. The chit draw determines the success of your orders (movement phase), and the simple combat results tell you what happened (combat phase).

Looking at the end result, it seems as if not much effort was put into the rules, but that is categorically not true. Quite the opposite! They started with a ton of rules, with more being added constantly, as they removed others. The goal became one of determining how many rules were necessary. Over time, it became surprising how much could be cut away, while still leaving a working game.

From that, it was discovered that the game became more authentic feeling, more enjoyable, and quicker playing. Once all the unnecessary rules were stripped away, players could focus on the essential issues of commanding an army.

Imagine that by yourself, or with a friend, you want to reenact a battle. You have a historical map and some wooden blocks. You both know the battle well, so you set it up and begin moving units, when combat occurs, you add a little narrative and describe the outcome. This is pretty cool, but eventually you want to try your hand at simulating different strategies, with different out comes.

So you draw chits to move, simulating the ebb and flow of initiative, My blog about the chit draw. and create a simple combat system to resolve combat, just rolling some six siders. Boom. Simple. You’ve got Pub Battles.

It’s lean manufacturing principles applied to wargame rules.

Experimental Rules: Not Official!

This post will be regularly updated as I work with possible changes to the official rules. Nothing here is official! The guidelines for any new rule are these:
-They must add to the authentic feel.
-They must be clean and smooth.
-They must focus primarily on Corps level command operations.

Artillery can bombard if spent.

Clarification: When a block moves to contact with an enemy block, it is squared up with the block it contacted, along the face the majority of the block is closest to.

The Power of the Chit Draw

One of the deepest, most immersive, parts of the Pub Battles system is the chit draw. It is so much more than just a way to manage simultaneous movement. First, you have to establish that nothing is truly simultaneous. Next, you have to allow that even though we do movement first, then combat, it does not imply that everyone moves, then a bell rings, and everyone fights. In and among all the action of a passing 90 minutes (one Pub Battles turn), a swimming multitude of events occur.

How to resolve this? You could go super detailed, and make it 10 minute turns, fighting or moving, but there is no guarantee that would be any more realistic. In fact, many of us are under the opinion that the more exact you try to be, the farther away you get from simulating anything approaching reality! There are too many variables to consider.

Enter the “design for effect” philosophy. Essentially, what yields the most historically possible outcomes, AND what feels the most authentic? Authenticity is a tricky concept. In Pub Battles, where each player is in command of multiple Corps, you ideally want a system that feels like you’re making that level of command decisions.

The chit draw creates that feeling. Frank Chadwick famously said that the problem with most wargame rules is that they allow the players more control than their historical counterparts could ever dream of having.

Part of this is Fog of War, Generals were frequently at a loss as to where and what the enemy was fielding. Heck, they were often as mystified about their own army! They sent out orders, and got reports. They studied their maps in the command tent and tried to formulate a plan based on their knowledge of the enemy, and their own commanders.

The Pub Battles chit draw system mirrors this quite closely. When you move your units, it is like you are sending out orders. The combat results show the information that’s coming in from the battle. You don’t know until all chits are drawn, whether any of your attackers are still in contact, or if any of your non-attacking units have been attacked. Furthermore, until after the combat phase, you won’t know many of your block’s final positions. Combat results simulate when the historical commanders got back reports from the field.

You will realize this, if you play Pub Battles solitaire, like I most often do. Even having perfect knowledge of the enemy’s units and positions isn’t a guarantee of carrying out your plans successfully. I might know exactly where the enemy’s Baggage Train is, and know that it is within reach of one of my units, but I don’t know if the chit draw will let me contact it, or if one of his units will move first.

For the same reason, I can never be sure if the plan that worked last time, will work this time. The chit draw changes everything! This is the reason that Pub Battles games are so replayable. For a game to play the same way, the chit draws would need to be the same. Waterloo has 12 chits to draw, over seven turns, that’s over 25 million different chit draw combinations! Even Brandywine, with only 5 chits and five turns has over 3,000 different chit draw combinations. Austerlitz with 14 chits drawn over 8 turns yields over a billion combinations! I have played most of the titles hundreds of times. I still find each game has a different feel.

Interpreting the Chit Draw

There is a lot more combat than what is resolved in the combat phase, explicitly. There is also the implied combat.

I use the term implied, because it may have happened, or maybe something else occurred. If you move to attack, and your opponent moves after you, and leaves your Field of Fire, what the game might be showing is that your opponent has fought a successful delaying action.

All the game is actually saying is that the attacker failed to close with the defender and achieve a decisive result.

There may have been no combat at all! There are an infinite number of occurrences that could have foiled the attacker’s plans. First, were the orders received, were they understood? Maybe the commander on the field was uncertain as to the position of the enemy, or was there a perceived threat from a different sector? If the orders were not a problem, maybe a key brigade was delayed and unready to move. Maybe a critical ammo wagon just arrived and caused a delay setting out while everybody got resupplied. Maybe, they aren’t even there! The commander may not have their correct position.

Rather than have an exhaustive rule for each possibility, and you are guaranteed, even that couldn’t cover all possibilities, the chit draw handles it all with one simple mechanic. One’s imagination, aided by one’s familiarity with the history, and human psychology, can imagine whatever event occurred. It is quick, simple, and ultimately more accurate.

Let’s look at combat resolution to discuss the consistency of the “design for effect” philosophy. What about when both units retreat, or one unit retreats even though the enemy is eliminated? What the game is telling you when both units retreat, is that neither was able to gain sole control over that piece of terrain within the space of the turn. The fate of that piece of terrain will have to wait until a later turn. In the case of a block retreating from an eliminated block, it simply means that one side was driven off, but the “victor” was so decimated by the effort as to be no longer combat effective.

The Intellectual and Unnecessary Thinky Bits

No one will ever know what exactly transpired at Waterloo.” Duke Wellington

As an English major, versed in Post-Modern literary theory, I really get into the non-linear narrative aspects of the chit draw. Most gamers fixate on what the board is showing them at every given moment. They imagine an exact depiction of events. Even though no one who was actually there ever had that comprehensive a view.

In a true non-linear depiction, like in those movies that show you a disjointed set of scenes in mixed order, not until after the whole story is told can you even hope to get the whole picture. Pub Battles with the chit draw is like that. All the map really shows you is the best estimate that you can get in the moment; units seem to be in their positions shown, the results after combat can seem to indicate the results, but until one army breaks and runs, or the sun sets, nothing is certain.

For some, this is frustrating and unsatisfying. Why bother at all? Just roll a die and declare a winner! I get that, but it is important to draw the line at how complicated a game should be, because greater complexity, beyond a point, never results in greater realism, it merely limits the narrative.

For many, like myself, the best game delivers the most authentic experience. The really great games immerse you in the narrative. Every time I have to look up a rule, or consult a chart, I’m drawn out of the narrative. I find with Pub Battles, I can play the map. there is no game information on the map. Like my historical counterparts, I am looking at a map, with estimated unit positions. Pub Battles began as an attempt to create a version of Kriegspiel, the Prussian training wargame, except updated, and that could be played without a referee. In classic Kriegspiel, the players are just told the results of their orders, the referee handles all the movement and combat results. To truly recreate commanding troops in the field, this is the way that the Prussian military did it. Today, Pub Battles is used by the military to train officers.

That’s close enough for me.

Solo Pub Battles

Photo by Masaaki Komori on Unsplash

I like playing solo.

Like many wargamers, I play solo mostly. Not always, but mostly. I can certainly find opponents. My Favorite Local Game Store has a large dedicated area for playing games, and it is relatively easy to find a willing opponent. I also have many friends who enjoy Pub Battles.

I prefer playing solo. I don’t have to go anywhere, nor need I accommodate another player’s schedule, or entertain at my house. I can play for awhile, go do something else for a bit, deal with Real Life, whatever.

When my family gets together for a game night, they prefer other games, which I also enjoy.

Pub Battles has many qualities that make it not just suitable, but ideal, for solo. It is smooth playing, by which I mean that it isn’t covered in game chrome (charts, tables, nitpicky rules, etc.). You don’t have a lot of extraneous desiderata laying about the map.

There is a of Fog of War element to Pub Battles. Part of it is the chit draw, part of it is the hidden identities of the fresh units. When I play solo, I turn one set of blocks around so that they are all facing me, so I know what every block is. That’s okay. I don’t play competitively, which is a misnomer when playing two-fisted solo. I play to recreate the battle, and try different strategies. I play each side as if they didn’t know what they didn’t know.

When I play solo, I let the chit draw be the fog of war. I may know exactly where the enemies baggage Train is, and it might be wide open, ripe the picking. Unless the enemy gets the drop on me, and moves first. The chit draw decides. I can even roll to alter change order and jump ahead, it is out of my direct control.

I got a secret. When I play, especially if I’m making a video, I will go with the straight chit draw, even if it means that one side is going to lose. If it makes for a dramatic end, BOOM! I use it. No one enjoys playing, much less watching, a grindy game.

About this blog

This blog is my own creation, not an organ of Command Post Games, the Publisher of the Pub Battles system.

You might ask what I hope to gain by starting this blog.

I want Pub Battles to be successful. The more successful it is, the more titles they will produce, and this is what I want.

I also enjoy talking about it, and sharing experiences. I look forward to hearing from those who visit my blog and YouTube channel.

I am a lead playtester. This means I know the system about as well as anyone. I can certainly answer any questions about the rules, as well as discuss the why behind the how.

Play the Map!

Actual historical map of Manassas Junction.
Pub Battles “game board,” the actual Manassas scenario map!

Ever since I had first started playing wargames (starting with Tactics II in the early seventies) I had this dream of sitting around an oaken table, in a high back leathern chair, situated in a grand library, with a crackling fireplace. Before me would be a map, with blocks for the army units.

This is Pub Battles. In my imagination; I’m in the command tent sending out orders (moving my units) and receiving reports (resolving combat). The chit draw simulates the success, or failure, of my officers to carry out my desires, along with any number of an incalculable happenstances that may thwart or augment my plans. All this from a system that is Boom Simple!

I would look at military atlases that had maps like the one above, and despair that I couldn’t play a game that looked like that. When I looked through the available games, the gameboard was always covered with all sorts of “game” information. I am an avid wargamer, and I have always enjoyed hex and counter wargames, and took it as granted that a game would need all sorts of game information on the mapboard. I had shelved my fantasy of simply playing on a map.

I have also enjoyed miniatures, they’re great, both the rules and the aesthetic of 3D troops and terrain. I did tire of spending much more time painting figures, than I ever did playing the game. The hours painting/playing ratio finally drove me to distraction. And it took up so much space, both storing and playing. All the while, there was still that nagging desire to just “Play the Map.”

Then one day I saw a game simulating the battle of Brandywine. This game was played on a canvas map with wooden blocks. I was so excited, I had to have it. I didn’t even care about the rules. I would make it work. It looked exactly like what I had been dreaming about all these years.

When I got the game, I was amazed at how beautiful it was. This is a little surprising, since my expectations were so high. Then I read the rules, and they were boom simple. Like many simple games, if they are done right, the challenge is in the strategy. It did take me awhile to wrap my head around the Pub Battles system, I had a lot of baggage from other systems that I had to unlearn before I could truly see and appreciate the rules. Here is my post for veteran gamers who may be having the same experience.

Once I figured out how boom simple it was, I have had a game of it setup and playing almost constantly (over seven years)! Yeah, I’m that guy.

Playing Pub Battles as intended

My three ring binder with all my Pub Battles rules and scenario booklets.

One of the most common reactions for veteran wargamers upon reading the rules to Pub Battles is “These rules are incomplete!” This is because as veterans, they are accommodated to the wordsy rules of most wargames. They are used to rules that tell them exactly what they are, and are not, allowed to do. This is in contrast to novices, who find the rules easily understood, i.e. they don’t see what’s missing.

Pub Battles rules are written in a different style from most wargame rules. Wargame rules are written to encompass all possible interpretations, and misinterpretations. Very necessary when played uber competitively and in tournaments.

Pub Battles rules are “Gentlemen’s rules.” Not “Gentlemen’s” in the exclusionary, sexist meaning of the term, but in the polite society way of saying “Don’t be a dick!” Two players, with a fondness for history, should be able to recreate, not unlike reenactors, a historical battle. The rules provide a good general guide to enable two players to refight the battle. If a question arises that isn’t covered specifically in the rules, these same two players should be able to use history and common sense to come to an equitable solution.

Take the Line of Sight (LOS) rules. They basically say “Look at the two points on the map, are they within 1 infantry movement stick AND could they see each other? The only real question is how far into any terrain that counts as cover can you see? The thickness of one wood block. Boom simple.

What about occupying terrain? Whatever terrain the majority of the block is in, is the terrain it is occupying. State clearly what terrain you are in, if there is likely to be a question. Don’t be a dick!

If you are a veteran wargamer, used to hexes or area movement, You might be a little taken aback by a plain map. Think of it like this: Infantry in clear terrain can move one movement stick, if it moves into any terrain, it can only move 2/3; as if there were 1/3 size hexes, and instead of moving 3 hexes, it can only move 2. Boom simple. If occupying terrain requires at least half the block to be in it, then mapboard details smaller than half a block are ignored, other than for aesthetic purposes. Pub Battles maps are meant to be studied, and enjoyed. I like to think I traded studying rules for studying maps. What do you think actual military officers do?

Pub Battles is so authentic and realistic, it is used by the military to train officers. It is based on the Prussian kriegspiel model, but modified so that one, or two, players can enjoy it without a referee.

Pub Battles is so boom simple that any player worth his salt will have a million rules come to mind, I know I have! A rule for this and a rule for that, until I discovered I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. I had made it too complicated. I had made it so “realistic” it was no longer any fun to play. Always remember, Pub Battles is a very detailed Corps level game, with the Corps broken down into component elements of 3,000-5,000 troops, it is not a regimental simulation! It can look like many regimental level military atlas maps, and most eye witness accounts are far more detailed than divisional level. When you’re playing a corps or divisional level hex and counter game, with each unit having 3-5 hit points, you aren’t going to worry about what kind of muskets the soldiers were carrying. You order this unit to attack that unit, and assume the local commanders are going to sort out all the details.

Do you have any questions about the system? As a lead playtester, I am happy to answer any and all questions. If I don’t know the answer, I have a priority line, I’ll find out for you. Command Post Games is a small company, and everyone is very busy wearing several hats. I will try to answer any questions posted within a day, usually much sooner.