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Chaos to Order

Pub Battles Strategy Guide

The traditional turn format of I-GO-YOU-GO is very neat and orderly. The turn sequence actually helps organize your thinking.  Handy but that is not the way the real world works. 

Pub Battles forces you to think like a real commander. Real battlefields are chaotic.  Imagine a flurry of reports coming in real time, explosions, musket fire, smoke, orders going out.  Half the time you don’t even know where your own troops are, little lone the enemy.  (In Pub Battles, each Command moves in random order as their chit is pulled.  Your HQs can roll to alter this sequence.)

Just like the real world, Pub Battles are a chaotic mess. This realism is good and exciting.  For new players, it can be overwhelming.  Where do you even begin?  Just like in the real world, you can often find yourself running from one emergency to the next.  You are constantly putting out fires with knee jerk management, always 1 step behind.  It is great if the enemy is doing this.  This is exactly the situation you want to create for HIM. 

You need to be much more ….premeditated. Here are some tips to help keep you on the right track.

Before each turn, look at each Command. What would happen if the enemy moves first?  Is that a total disaster or can you deal with it?  Now what if the good guys move first?  How much hurt will this put on the enemy?  Do you want to move first or last?  How important is this right now? 

In many ways, Pub Battles is like Poker. There is hidden intel.  In many ways it is like a random, chaotic street fight.  New players often overlook the fact that it is also a lot like Chess.  You must keep your eyes firmly fixed on 1-2 moves ahead.  Where is this going?  Where do you want it to go? 



Who has already moved? This is really key.  The enemy command in front of you that has NOT moved, is very different from the one that HAS moved.

Now that you know who needs to go first or last, should you roll now for HQs? No.  Big mistake.  Just sit tight.  Bide your time.  Let’s see who comes out of the chute first.  Maybe it’s you!  You got first move naturally.  Great!  If the enemy doesn’t like it and tries to roll, there is a good chance they miss.  That gives you intell.  You know what the enemy wanted and you know he’s not happy.  If the enemy jumps ahead of you, you can still have the last say by jumping ahead of him.

Notice what happens if you jump the gun and roll to go first?  You just wasted your roll. If the enemy jumps ahead of you now, you have no chance to alter.  You wasted it!   

Sit up and pay attention if the enemy starts rolling to change a chit pull suddenly. That means they are in danger.  They don’t like the way it came down.  If the enemy doesn’t like it, that means you do!  Do what you can to counter their changes.  If this threat wasn’t on your radar, you better start asking yourself why?  What would happen if the sequence stays as it is?  What is the enemy so afraid of?  What can you do to maximize their pain? 




Move First When:

  • The enemy is spent. Move to engage them. This will force them to fall back or fight you on unfavorable terms.
  • Critical terrain is currently unoccupied.
  • The enemy can block off routes of escape.
  • You can move up to block a key route of the enemy’s escape or attack.

Move Last When:

  • You plan on falling back but want to delay the enemy. Just make sure you can still get out!
  • When expecting an enemy attack. If he goes first, you can commit support afterwards.
  • When attacking prepared positions, so the enemy cannot react.

If you do move last, try to think ahead to the next turn. What could you do with a double move?  Try to setup the first blow now.

If your artillery is in a separate command, try to get them to move right before your attacking command moves. That way you can contact the enemy defenders before they can Rally. Also the defenders may flat out run, so you can occupy their good terrain without a fight. 

If you must attack first, make sure you guard your flanks! Attack all the defenders in the line.  If you can’t, you will need an extra piece on your flanks. 

If you attack last, you don’t have to worry about this technically. You can make isolated attacks.  Just keep in mind what could happen if the enemy moves first next turn.  🙂




This is a lot to think about for each command isn’t it? Yes, that’s why Pub Battles works even better with a live player for each command.  Then each player can really focus on just their part of the front.  You can also add in written orders, which opens up a plethora of communication problems.  Now you’re really in command.   


One thought on “Chaos to Order

  1. This article really does capture the feel of a PubBattles game. I’ve played wargames for over 30 years and I have to admit that PubBattles feels the most authentic to what I imagine an actual command feels like. Not Godlike control of every detail, but a more frantic fingertip grip on the situation!

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