Pub Battles -Experimental

By now, Austerlitz was supposed to be out.  Ancient Pub Battles was supposed to be out.  Germantown should be on the cusp of being released and 1st & 2nd Manassas should be ready for summer.  What’s the hold up?  Rules!!!

Before all of these new releases, we wanted to clarify and adjust a few things in the rules.  We figured this would be a 1-2 week process.  Wow were we off.  Instead it developed into a raging and fierce debate among the design team and play testers.  Months later, we are still at an impasse.

A play tester proposed a new approach to combat.  This new method seemed to resolve many issues we were wrestling with, while simplifying and clarifying the rules to boot.  Devout factions have now formed for and against this new proposal.  Some love it.  Some hate it.  What should we do?

We would greatly appreciate input on this.  Would you like to help us resolve this?  We need more eyes on it.

I don’t want to lay out the details here in advance as that can bias and color your reception of the idea.  Here’s how you can help:

  1.  Download the new proposed rules here.  This is only a proposal.  This is NOT the official Pub Battles 3.0 update.  This is also a first rough draft.  Expect formatting errors. 
  2. Print them out and play at least 3 complete Pub Battles games with the new rules.  Try to keep an open mind.  We all naturally resist any and all change at first.  We are hard wired that way.  You won’t like these at first just because they are different than what you are used to.  It will seem strange and awkward.  From my experience, it gets easier once your mind adjusts.  It is not bad, just different.
  3. Give us some feedback by answering the following questions in comments below.  You can send us a direct email if you prefer and feel free to add any other comments you may have.


  1. Do you like this approach better than the previous edition?
  2. Do you like this approach better than the original edition?  (no FoE restrictions)
  3. Is this proposal consistent with the original Pub Battles concept?  Simple, quick and realistic.
  4. Does this approach add more or less complexity?
  5. Does this approach make the game less fun, intense, or enjoyable?
  6. Does this approach make the game take longer to play?  (once you are used to it)






Telestrations -Review

What does Telestrations have to do with wargames and military leadership?  Everything.  Telestrations IS Kriegsspiel. 

We often laugh after playing Kriegsspiel.  What did you think was happening?  What was really happening?  What did you tell them to do?  What did they actually do?  Why?  These differences are often hysterical!!!  Well, I guess we laugh so we don’t cry. 

Real leadership and real command is about communication.  Writing orders.  Getting your team to work together.  How often does this break down?  I have 2 words:  Murphy’s Law.

Remember the Chinese Telephone game we played as kids?  Everybody gets in a line.  Then you whisper a sentence in the first person’s ear.  They quietly pass it down the line.  When you get to the end, the result is completely different right? 

Telestrations is Kriegsspiel without the maps and musket warfare.  It is Pictionary and Chinese Telephone rolled together into a fun, easy party game. 

How does it work?  You pull a card with a word on it.  You have to draw a picture of that word.  You pass your picture to the next person.  They have to guess what the word was.  Here is an example starting with the word:  Recliner

Hysterical!  If you don’t have it, get it!!!  This is one of the best games ever made.  Everyone can play it.  I recommend the big 12 player party version.  Everyone will want to play.  This is a classic.  

Caution:  Do not play this if you have broken or cracked ribs.  You are going to be laughing a lot during this game!

Gettysburg Replayability

I have just completed another game of Gettysburg,  and this was a Union Major Victory (Confederate concede on turn 7 of Day 2 with ten blocks lost).

First off, for simplicity purposes, I count all blocks no matter the type. In this particular game all losses were infantry and both elites were lost.

I find that Gettysburg has a certain flow. On day 1, Lee has a shot at a major Victory. This is a little misleading as he actually has the smaller force for the first half of the day, and not much more than the Union by the end of the day.

Lee may have a chance on the first few turns of Day 2, but somewhere the tide turns. When that has happened is the critical point of the game, and the one that tests the player’s judgement.

If the South switches to the defensive a turn late, they can lose quite quickly. If they switch too soon, they might miss a chance at a major.

Switching from a desperate bid for victory, to a cool withdrawal, is such a major shift in thinking that it more frequently results in pushing too long.

Frequently,  the game then becomes very tense for the Union player, as now they hold the cards. They must push Lee over the edge without ending there themselves.

This is made tricky by approaching night. Come morning, Lee will have had a chance to recover, and Stuart will arrive!

In the best games, Lee manages to wrest initiative away from Meade, as the game see-saws back and forth.

This is why this game has so much replayability.


Mike Strand