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Pub Battles 2.0

We have an all new rules update available for Pub Battles now!  This is going to make things much easier going forward.  

The new format is made to fit in a regular 3 ring binder.  We like to slide the Terrain Effects chart into the back cover for easy reference.  This will keep our rules from being curled. 

It also makes it easy to keep all your Scenarios, rules and expansions all in 1 place.  



We have complete updates for Antietam and Marengo Scenarios.  The rest should be complete soon. 

You can get zip lock pouches for these that are perfect for storing your dice, measuring sticks and chains:


Fields of Fire

What has changed in the rules?  Very little.  Mostly just some minor tweaking, re-wording and clarification.  There is one ‘change’.  We don’t consider it a change because it is the way we’ve always played.  Strangely, as a system evolves, sometimes you have to ‘change’ the rules to keep the game the same.  This is one of those cases. 

We have introduced the concept of Fields of Fire.  The sets firm restrictions on how you can maneuver when you get close to the enemy.  The basic idea here is that if you are going to attack, then attack.  If you are going to fall back and avoid the enemy, then fall back.  You can’t do gamey things like disengage but only fall back 1 mm, or you move up to attack the enemy but you don’t attack.  You stay back 1 mm.  

In real life terms, that IS combat.  You are still in close range of heavy musket fire.  We didn’t want to bog the system down with complex rules on assault vs ranged fire attacks.  This simple restriction forces you to maneuver like an Umpire would require you to.  No more trickery.  Fight like gentlemen.  🙂


Some of you will immediately think of the different musket ranges.  Yes, there is a difference between smooth bore and rifled.  At this scale, we are only talking the difference between 1/2″ and 1″.   We are still in the same 1/3 move range if you round.  You may want to mark the exact ranges on your sticks and chains if you want to use the real distance.  

However, while testing new Ancient battles between Rome and Carthage, we noted that this rule still mostly holds true even without any muskets at all.  A better term might be:  Proximity to the Enemy.  When the enemy is that close, everybody is kind of on edge.  Either side could rush at any moment.  There isn’t much time to react at that range.  It is very….   uncomfortable.  

In all ages, troops didn’t tend to get real close to each other and then just sit there all day.  You either attack and fight or you pull back and plan.   

How do I Get the New Rules?

If you already have Pub Battles, you can get the new updates for FREE!

Just send us an email.  (we won’t put you on a spam list)  We will send you a pdf of the Rules, Terrain Effects and Scenarios we have now.  You just need to print them out double sided and get a 3 ring binder.  We think black looks best with the clear view pockets.


Pub Battles -mini review

Pub Battles.  What is it like?  Is it really good?  Worth the price?  Blah, blah, blah.  I could talk all day about the system.  “Yeah, of course YOU say it’s great.  You’re supposed to say that.  What do other people say?”  It always carries more weight if somebody else says you’re great.    

We get feedback emails like this all the time from people.  I thought it would help to post some online.  This isn’t meant as a formal review.  It is hardly even a mini review.  The important thing is that it is not from us.  I think it does a good job of capturing some key concepts in the game.   





There is a fine line between simple enough, and too simple. As far as wargames go, Pub Battles is so simple that many feel the rules are incomplete. And yet to new players it is still intimidating.  

Pub Battles is perfect for me. It gives the feel of commanding an army without all the minutia that is actually required to run an army. 

I like how it mirrors the look of maps of the battles that we see in history books. The long rectangular blocks. It is as if you just blew up the map from a book and placed your blocks on the starting positions. I had always dreamed of doing that, and then Pub Battles! 

I’m also of the opinion that the more detailed the rules, the farther away one gets from an actual simulation. 

It’s like this; you have a mental image of a battle that the game is attempting to simulate. All of the rules are essentially an awkward interface with your mental image. Elegant rules are rules that seem intuitive, the kind you don’t have to keep looking up. Every time you have to stop and check the rules you’re breaking the spell. It’s like the film breaking during a movie. 

Many of my rules misinterpretation with Pub Battles come from never looking at the rules. For months I played Antietam almost daily, yet I never looked at the rules after day one.

I was doing a couple of things wrong, but it didn’t matter. It worked for me and I had fun. None of the grognards that I played it with ever thought anything was wrong either. They played the rules as I explained them and felt they were good rules. 

The biggest adjustment was the non-linear movement. When they would question a block moving out of contact I would just explain that it is simultaneous movement and the enemy wasn’t there when they arrived. If you move second you’ve hoodwinked your opponent. They liked this. 


Mike Strand 

Tracking Time

What is the Black die for?  Tracking time.

Play testing revealed that counters on turn tracks can get easily dislodged by unruly die rolls.  Counting turns with a big square die was much more stable and reliable. 

 What happens after turn 6?  Easy, just keep rotating.  Turn 7 would be a 1.  Turn 8 would be a 2 and so on. 

 While we are on the topic, how do you track commands for the turn?  You are of course free to do this anyway you want to but this is how we do it.

 We place chits near to turn die after they move.  If you string them out in a line, you have a record of who moved in what order. 


 We like to keep the pulled chits that haven’t moved separate, so it is easy to track where you are.  In this example, Greene and Knyphausen have already moved.  Sullivan was pulled to move next but he hasn’t moved yet.

Cornwallis successfully rolls to jump ahead.  So then we place his chit here:

 Sullivan rolls to jump ahead of Cornwallis but fails.  After Cornwallis actually moves, we would slide his command chit over like this:

The Best Kriegsspiel Pieces

Which Kriegsspiel pieces are the best?  Help us decide.

We’ve been working on production of all new Kriegsspiel sets of pieces, maps and historical scenarios.  We need some help figuring out which style to make.

  • The top row is the Too Fat Lardies style,  -laser cut counters.
  • The middle row is our new block pieces styled with the diagonal look.
  • The bottom row is an alternative design for a rectangular look.

Our Question is:  Which is better, Diagonal or Rectangle?

The diagonal lines look detailed and refined.  I like the over all look better.  The down side is that diagonal line on everything can be confusing.  Especially to us modern players used to NATO symbols.  No, these aren’t all cavalry pieces.  The Cavalry pieces are the square shaped ones on the ends.  The rectangle ones are infantry and artillery.

Is the diagonal design more historical and traditional?  No, it’s not.  We’ve been researching this.  Looking at old military maps and antique Kriegsspiel sets, we saw about 50/50.  Some have all rectangles, some have diagonals.  There wasn’t really a standard.

I feel that going with the bottom stickers would be easier for players today to use.  I also like how the font size on this bottom row can be a little bigger.  Much easier for my aged eyes to make out.  🙂  Apart from my weak eyes, I like how we can fit more visible text here for unit names.  I also like the long horizontal line.  Instantly makes me visualize rows of troops.

My only complaint against the bottom row really is aesthetics.   They just look kind of plain and stark to me.  I like the look and appearance of the middle row much better.  The big tall cubes also make the cavalry stand out easily and contrast with the sea of diagonals everywhere.

What are your thoughts?  Which would you rather have?  Do you have any other ideas or suggestions?  Comment below or send us an email.



Command & Control at Antietam

How does Command & Control work at Antietam?  Instead of explaining the rules, here is a good example to show you:

Burnside attacked across the bridge in turn 2.  He was driven back but Jones is now spent.  We are at the beginning of turn 3. 


In this case, Longstreet and Burnside both want to move first.  Half of Burnside’s Corps is spent but he still has 2 fresh units to attack with.  If Longstreet can move first, he can rally Jones BEFORE Burnside can strike. 

If Burnside attacks first, Jones can’t rally.  He must either fight against 2 fresh divisions (good chance of dying) OR fall back.  Falling back is sensible but you would also be giving up your good defensible terrain and allowing the Potomac a bridge head across the Antietam.  –A very bad position to be in on turn 3!

Should you roll now to move first?  No.  This will waste your HQ roll.  Better to sit tight and see what happens:

Wouldn’t you know it, Burnside gets picked to move first.  Disaster for the Rebs?  Not yet…..  This is where the HQs come in.  Longstreet can roll to jump ahead of Burnside.  He needs a 1-4.

Wouldn’t you know it, he fails.  It happens.  Now what?  Game over?  Nope.  Keep your shirt on.  That’s why you keep your Army HQ in range of your Corps HQs.  Lee can do this easily at Antietam.  He has relatively short interior lines.  He also only has 2 Corps to deal with. 

Lee now rolls to Jump Longstreet ahead. 

Success!  Now Longstreet will move first, THEN Burnside.  

Ok, disaster averted?  Not so fast.  The Potomac command hasn’t weighed in yet.  Their HQs can roll to alter this too.  It is harder for the Federals in this battle.  They need 1-3. 

Burnside swings a misses.  Good.  Are we in the clear now?  Nope.  McClellan can roll just like Lee did for Longstreet.  Well, not just like Lee.  He needs a 1-3.

He pulls it off! 

Note what makes this roll possible is that McClellan is both Fresh and in range of Burnside.  It is much harder for McClellan to pull this off than Lee.  McClellan has 6 Corps on the board now with a 7th arriving later.  They are also scattered along a much bigger frontage.  McClellan is able to roll for Burnside now because he is nearby.

Also note the opportunity cost of this.  Staying close to Burnside, means that McClellan is out of range to influence the whole right side of the field.   

Ok, so now where are we?  Can’t we just have Lee roll again?  No.  Only Fresh HQs can roll.  Rolling causes your HQ to become Spent.  It will become Fresh again at the beginning of next turn but that won’t help you now. 

So does that mean we are done and the poor Rebs are about to have a bad day?  Not quite.  There is still 1 more trick up our sleeve.  It just so happens that DH Hill is east of Shaprsburg.  He is in range to help Jones.  The key thing here is that DH Hill isn’t in Longstreet’s Corps.  He is in Jackson’s!  Jackson’s HQ is still Fresh, so he can roll and he does:

Success!  This allows Jackson’s II Corps to jump ahead of Burnside.

What will this do for us?  Jones will still move after Burnside but this allows us to move DH Hill forward to block for Jones.

Next Burnside will move.  He will attack with his lead units and rally his reserve. 

Finally Longstreet moves.  Since he’s not in contact, Jones can now rally.  The tables are turned!  Instead of attacking 1 spent defender, Burnside runs into to Fresh Divisions, across a bridge, on top of a hill.  Not good for the poor Federals. 

Alright you say, clever trick.  What about the Potomac?  Can’t they just do the same thing?  Can’t they just roll in another Corps to jump ahead of Jackson?  Theoretically, yes they could.  The problem is in this case, there are no other Federal Corps in range that could get there.  I know, it’s that darned interior lines advantage again! 

One more thing to note here.  What about the opportunity cost for Jackson?  Yes, this was a clever little trick.  The ANV has used their superior C&C to out position the Potomac once again but this does not come without a cost.  Jackson is now spent and this is only the first couple of chit pulls for the turn.  What is going on in his half of the line?

If a critical emergency like this develops for Jackson’s Corps, he and Lee can do nothing about it.  They’ve been tied up putting out Longstreet’s fire.  Jackson’s boys are going to have to deal with whatever the chit pull gods throw down on them.  I hope they are already in a good position to handle it.

Imagine if they weren’t?  Imagine if they were also facing possible disastrous pulls like this on their side of the field?  What does Jackson do then?  Does he let Longstreet get whacked and save his HQ roll for his own troops?  Which emergency is more important?  Time for the Scotch.

Solitaire Suitability

This is why Pub Battles makes such a great solitaire system.  Look at all the head scratching decisions this forces you to deal with.  Struggling with all of these conundrums is very interesting and rewarding as a solitaire game. 

Multi Player

Surprisingly, it makes for a great multiplayer game as well.  Imagine  playing through this same situation with other live players.  Imagine that a separate live player is Longstreet.  You are Jackson.  You can watch and see all these events unfolding with Burnside.  The only problem is:  You can’t communicate with Longstreet! 

You can’t strategize and work out the best course of action here.  He can’t say, “Well, don’t worry about me.  Your problem is much more pressing.  I think I can handle this on my own.”  OR “I don’t care what you have going on, if you don’t help salvage this now, the battle is lost!”  Which one is he thinking?  What is your assessment?  Agonizing fun!

I know it’s hard to get other wargame players.  It is way worth the effort here.  You also have 2 big advantages working in your favor:

  • It’s easy to learn.
  • It plays fast.



Lessons from Gettysburg

Notes from the Design Table

First of all, this is coming together way faster than I expected.  I didn’t think this would be ready till next summer.  We might be done much sooner.


Losses Not So Bad

This battle is giving me a much different view of casualties.  When a unit is destroyed, that doesn’t mean 100% casualties were suffered.  In real world terms, it means that 50% casualties were suffered which renders the unit 100% ineffective.  Some of those casualties are lost stragglers.  Some have minor wounds.  They will return to the ranks overnight. At first, I thought I had suffered catastrophic losses on day 2.  There is no way I can continue this battle.  Maybe this combat is too bloody.  I resolved the whole battle in 1 day!

Wait a second.  Put half of those guys back on the board and flip everybody up to fresh again.  Oh.  Ok.  That’s not so bad.  That looks about historical.  We can fight from here.

Lesson learned:  All those guys in the dead pile?  They aren’t really dead.  Half of them spring back to life for the next day.  You’re probably ok.


Nice to Have Options

I love the scope of our new map.  Most maps here cut off at both historical flanks.  Ours is open.  It allows you to explore all possibilities.  Turn their flank on the left or right.  You can try.  Realistically, you probably won’t do it.  I like ‘not doing’ it because I chose to, NOT because some game rule or map MADE me do that.  Big difference.

What is also cool about this, is also the possibility of a Confederate side slip to the right.  We are designing this with the possibility of a Pipe Creek defense later as an expansion.  Don’t want to defend in Gettysburg?  Fine.  Fall back to Pipe Creek.  First day is a total disaster?  You lost Cemetery and Culp’s Hills?  Fine.  Fall back to Pipe Creek.  Confederates were able to side slip to the right and skip out south to Taneytown?  Now you better skedaddle down to Pipe Creek!


Interior Lines of Communication

At Antietam, Lee only has 2 Corps.  They are somewhat mixed and Lee can be in range of both of them.  Confederate HQs are rated higher than the Feds.  On top of that, Lee almost always can weigh in with a second opinion when it comes to jumping ahead of a move.  🙂

At Gettysburg, a much different story.  So far we are using all HQs rated the same.  Still, it’s a huge difference.  Mead is on the inside of his fish hook.  He is in range of almost all his Corps.  He also has many Corps to respond with.

Lee only has 3 Corps.  Along the longer stretching lines of communication, which Corps is he able to influence?  Usually the wrong one.

So Pender launched an attack on Cemetery Hill.  They got lucky and forced the Federals back.  In Pub Battles, that doesn’t mean you’ve taken the Hill!  It means you have shoved them back and now have a ‘chance’ to take the hill.

The next turn is a race to see who can get back up on Cemetery Hill first!  The Confederates have 1 roll to jump ahead and get there:  The Corps Commander.  Is Lee in range?  Probably not.

How many Federal Corps can get there?  Almost all of them in one way or another.  So there is about 4-6 rolls.  Can Mead roll also?  Yes.  He is in range of just about everybody.  Easy.  Who is going to get back up there first?  Most often the Potomac.  Why?  Because of interior lines.


Keep in mind that these are very rough and crude play test maps.  NOT the final version.


Confederate Strategy Guide for Antietam

Sounds like the poor Rebs haven’t been doing so well lately on the field.  Here are some tips to raise a little hell with the Feds! 

First of all, let’s consider the mathematics.  IF you are under cover (Hills, Woods, etc) you have about a 2:1 advantage.  Meaning you should take 1 loss for every 2 you inflict on the poor enemy.  (Yes, I almost feel sorry for them now.)  So all else being equal, both armies should reach their breaking point about the same time.  Odds are, the game will be a draw.  All YOU have to do is something brilliant to tip the edge.  Easy. 

Note the key thing to making this work is: 



  1. You must setup carefully. There is plenty of good, covered terrain to go around.  That’s why Lee picked this location to fight.  Every front line piece should be under cover at the start. 
  2. Don’t launch some fool attack right from the get-go thinking you are Stonewall Jackson seizing the initiative. Jackson knew when to lay low.  Remember that you are starting off outnumbered 2:1.  You need to make the Federals pay dearly for everything they do.  The burden of attack is on them.  You are sitting on their home turf.  They have to force you back. 
  3. DO launch vicious counter attacks to keep that key, covered terrain along the front. Here’s your chance to be aggressive.  Consider this:  If you lose your initial position and have to fall back, what is your second line of defense?  Do you have good, covered terrain there?  No?  Then you better fight like your life depends on it, to get that initial position back!  Why?  Because it very likely does!

This is an interesting mechanic in Pub Battles.  Just because you lost a fight, doesn’t mean you lost it.  –What?!  Well, at least not yet.  Here’s an example: 

Let’s say Richardson (Fed Div) crosses over the Antietam on turn 1 and attacks DH Hill (Our Boys) in the Sunken Road. 

Wouldn’t you know it, the dice gods hate you and you get blown out. 

Considering that is the key terrain the anchors your whole center is this game over?  Well, it certainly isn’t good but no, not game over.  You can come back because technically, you haven’t lost the Sunken Road yet.  Richardson may have blown you out of there but he hasn’t taken it yet. 

Next turn is absolutely critical for you to move first, so that you can counter attack Richardson and get that road back. 

With your better HQs, you should be able to get the jump you need to do this:

-Don’t blow all your HQs by rolling to jump first.  Who knows?  You might get picked to move first naturally anyways.  That’s like a free roll, right there.  Wait until you need it:  Richardson’s Corps (or some other Fed Corps that can move into the Sunken Road) gets picked or jumps to move first.    

-Keep Lee in range of both Longstreet and Jackson.  That way when the time comes, if the Corps commander is asleep, Lee can give them the kick in the A they need.  (meaning roll again to jump them ahead in Pub Battle terms)

-Keep your Corps mixed, just like they did in the real battle.  Rebel HQs can command each other’s troops for attacks.  This ups your chances of going first even more!  Let’s say Longstreet fails his roll to jump ahead of Richardson.  Lee blows it too.  Okay so roll for Jackson!  If you keep a mixed reserve of Divisions from both Corps sitting around, you can move up some of Jackson’s boys to take the Sunken Road back.  Problem solved.

  1. I like to keep a few Elites in the backfield as a reserve. These are best to counter attack with into critical situations like this.  Even if you get the chance to move first, it’s still going to be a tough fight.  You are attacking them now.  That means the road won’t help you.  You’re going to need an Elite unit to pull this off. 
  2. Before you do this, pour all the artillery you’ve got into Richardson. If you can force him back, then you can easily saunter back into the Sunken Road without a shot.  Now the Feds have to start all over again. 
  3. Remember that most Federal Corps are only 2 Divisions. That means they go Ineffective very easily:  after only 1 loss.  Ineffective means, that Corps can’t Rally for the rest of the day.  That’s huge.  A good Federal player should become very timid and mousey after taking 1 hit on his lead unit while attacking with a 2 Division Corps in support.  If he has any sense, he should really fall back and regroup.  If he doesn’t have any sense, you might want to remind him how that is the prudent thing to do. 

If your Federal opponent is still being a mule about pressing his attack, it’s time for you to teach him a lesson the hard way.  You need to stick for another round to kill that lead Division.  After you do, you need to counter attack and kill the next one.  You’re gonna take down that whole Corps. 

But what if my lead Division is spent too?  Go all in.  The odds are in your favor because you are under cover right?  -And the Feds have a lot more to lose.  If you do down, you lose a piece.  As discussed before, you can likely get back up there and keep your good terrain.  If he loses his front piece, he has just effectively lost a whole Corps.  Do that another couple times and it’s game over for the Feds. 

If he is fool enough to press the attack, his supporting Division is likely spent also.  If not, a well placed artillery shot will do the trick.  He better keep it safely behind lines for the rest of the game now.  It’s worthless.  If not, this is the other place to launch vicious counter attacks!  Hood’s Elite Texans can mow down these sitting ducks, especially if they are Green.  Heck, even Stuart might be able to start picking off ‘unrallyable’ units like this with the right timing.

Against a Federal player like this, pretty soon half or more of his army will be Ineffective.  This is extremely dangerous for him.  A spent army that can’t rally is paper thin.  Stay calm.  Watch and wait for the right times and places.  Strike at this weakness.  Pretty soon you will start racking up devastating losses on them. 

I’ve seen games like this start to snowball into something that resembles Austerlitz!  50, 70, 80% loss for the Federals.  There was a reason for McClellan to be cautious at Antietam.  This is a real possibility.  Once you ‘teach’ them this, your Federal players will start becoming much more cautious too.     

Historical Antietam

I love the fact that we can allow for a free setup in Antietam.  Not many games can do that.  It is a sign that this is a very strong design and model.  This greatly ups the re-playability, realism and fun.  

Still, it is nice to know what the historical setup was for the battle.  Here ya go:

Some of the pix are little blurry but I think you can make out who started where.



Hidden Reserves

We love Columbia Games.  Great company.  Great products.  We whole heartedly support and endorse them.  They blazed a lot of new ground in wargaming ‘technology’ with their hidden blocks for Fog-of-War (FoW).  They have made some of the best games ever. 

We didn’t want to just copy Columbia Games.  We wanted to break new ground.  We like the look of the long, rectangular Pub Battles pieces.  Unfortunately, they aren’t quite as good as Columbia for FoW.  They do conceal type, command and quality but this doesn’t generate the same level of fear, like most Columbia games.  Is that a 1 strength infantry or a 4 strength SS panzer?  Big difference.

We have been experimenting with all kinds of different systems to achieve this with Pub Battles.  We finally hit the right combination.  I am very excited about this Variant.  This elevates Pub Battles to the same unknown, Kriegsspiel type FoW,  as Columbia Games.  THIS is what we’ve been looking for. 

This is what the board looks like:

What is really there?  This:

Or this:

Hidden Reserve

HQs can act as a Reserve to hide pieces from the enemy.  Pieces can move into Reserve by moving into the HQ.  Remove them from the board while in Reserve, as long as the HQ cannot be Spotted by the enemy.  To move pieces out of Reserve, put them back on the board at the HQ and conduct a regular move.

Simply track which pieces are in Reserve with which HQ by noting them on paper.  An easier way is to hide them under a folder sheet of paper (or cards stock) with the HQ name written on top.     

The HQ marks the location of pieces that are closest to the enemy.  Consider all pieces in Reserve to be within 1/3 Cav move at or behind the HQ (away from the enemy).

While HQs hold pieces in Reserve, they can only move at the speed of the slowest piece they hold.

Pieces can begin the game in Reserve.

Army HQs can also hold pieces in Reserve.

While a HQ is spotted by the enemy, all of its Reserve pieces must be placed on the board. 


Spotting & Line of Sight

Pieces can see up to 1 mile in clear weather. 

Woods, Buildings, Hills and enemy units block line of sight.  You can see into Woods and Buildings up to the thickness of a piece: 3/8”.  You can see onto a Hill up to the center crest line.     

Consider these obstacles to be the same height.  So a piece on a Hill could see over Woods or Buildings to a target on another Hill, up to the crest line.  If the target was not on a hill, it could see them if the target was further away from the obstacle than the observer.  


This requires a little more work but greatly increases the darkness. 

Before the game starts, you can reassign pieces to other commands.  Simply note which units are attached to which commands.  Treat them as a regular part of that command for the entire game. 


Every Command must have at least 2 pieces.

The number of pieces in any Command cannot exceed the largest historical Command of that army. 


Add in multiple players with limited communications and you are very, very close to a real Kriegsspiel without an Umpire.  

Disengaging from Contact

Turns in Pub Battles are fluid and abstract.  They are not I-Go-You-Go.  We consider all units to be in motion at the same time during the turn.  This is why we don’t resolve combat until the end of the turn, after all units have moved. 

This can be confusing at first to experienced wargamers, used to standard games.  This is a common question:

The enemy has advanced to contact me.  If I move next, I can turn and run away with no combat.  Is that right?  Why?

Yes, that is correct.  The short answer is:  Because you never were in contact. 


Here is an example to help you visualize what this represents:

A British unit moves to contact your Colonial unit.  What does this mean exactly?


Imagine being the Colonial Commander.  You can see the British forming up and preparing to attack.  Do you want to receive the attack?  Yes.  Fine.  Do nothing.

Option 2:  You don’t want to receive the attack.  You are on weak ground and don’t intend to fight here.  The British have already started forming up and are starting to advance.  You want to fall back 200 yards to a better defensive position.  You hurry and shout out quick orders to fall back.  How quickly will those orders be implemented?  Will your command respond quick enough to execute this and start falling back BEFORE the British close and start firing?  This is a crap shoot.  Who knows?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  Depends on a lot of things. 

In the game we simulate this with HQs rolling to Alter the turn sequence.  (In Pub Battles you can roll to jump ahead of the next move or delay your move until later in the turn.)  Maybe the British move quickly and your troops respond too slowly.  Your line gets hit before it can fall back.  In game terms, this means you tried to delay your move so that you could respond to the British but you failed.  Now you must fight as is. 

Instead, maybe your men moved quickly and the British dragged their feet.  You pulled it off.  Your men fall back into a better position before the enemy strikes.  The Brits advanced to your previous location  -According to their orders.  Now they hesitate for a moment because they aren’t sure what to do.  In game terms, your HQ delay roll was a success, you move last.  The British move up to contact, you fall back quickly and avoid a confrontation.  –for now anyways. 

Why is there no combat?  Because you never were in contact.  You just successfully fought a delaying action.    

This same concept applies to calling in support.  Let’s say you don’t want to fall back.  You need to hold this position.  You aren’t sure where the enemy is going to attack.  This is why you keep troops behind the lines in reserve.  If the British attack you at this point, are you able to bring up reserves in time to bolster your defense?  It depends.  Who moves last?

If you can successfully delay your move, you can see where the British are attacking and then commit reserves at this point BEFORE combat resolution. 

If you fail the roll you are stuck.  You are forced to fight at the time and place the British choose. 

In real world terms, this simulates how quickly you were able to respond AFTER you saw that the British were attacking.

As you might imagine, HQs have different ratings.  So fast movers like Stonewall Jackson and Napoleon can manipulate these turn sequences with relative ease.  For others, it may be a long shot.