Question: When do the Detachments come in? When do they move?

The Scenario specifies how many Detachments for each side. It doesn’t say when or where they arrive. Why? Because you decide that! You assign them to specific Commands for the battle, before the game. They enter or setup with that Command. They move with that Command.

The point of the Detachments, is to create more uncertainty and fog-of-war. That’s why the OB doesn’t specify which one they start with. It would defeat the purpose. How many more blocks do you have to fight with? Is that a real division or baggage train sitting back there? Or just a Detachment? You can’t tell.

If you put them out front, Detachments can be good for screening and delaying the enemy sometimes but they will likely get killed quickly. I find them more valuable in a reserve position for deception. In fact, I often like to keep them on the Reserve Card. I can throw them out to back up a defense when things get desperate. Sometimes an attacker will call off a fight and fall back before he sees that the scary looking support I have is only a Detachment.

If he only knew!

4 thoughts on “Detachments”

  1. About fog of war, détachements : that’s where a battle is like a poker game. You know your cards, not completely these of your adversary. The will, the fear : the psychology dominates. In french, we say having “le coup d’oeil” : which means understand, see the light in the fog of war
    Nethertheless, the best cards in your hand, you should not forget a part of hazard.

    Hazard in war or the black swan theory.
    Randomness is part of war, of a campaign, of a battle, of command, of execution.
    Every commander must take into account a possible “black swan” in his plans.
    What is a black swan in a battle? An unforeseen event that has a small chance of occurring, that is not taken into account and that leads to great consequences.
    This is how war is not limited to chess: randomness comes into play.
    During the Battle of Germantown in 1777: how could one predict that Smallwood’s detachment would be lost? That Green would lose an hour?
    And there are many examples where orders are misunderstood, badly executed, badly conceived, where the dispatchers get lost, are taken… Lee’s plans discovered by the Union Army before the Battle of Antietam illustrate this well. A real black swan.
    The commander-in-chief must reduce the randomness of the battle to impose his will on the enemy. But reducing does not mean eliminating. Hence the importance of dice in wargames.
    I propose another randomness in Pub Battles: At the beginning of the turn, a dice is rolled. On a SIX, the last command chit is not played. The order is lost en route….
    What the hell is doing Grouchy !!!!!! : Napoléon, Waterloo, 18th june, 1815

    • YES!! That’s what always strikes me about games that claim to be ‘realistic’. Realistic in what? Real commanders don’t know all of that. They don’t even know where their own troops are half the time, little lone the enemy or when exactly their orders will get executed. Timing. Uncertainty. Making a plan. Trying to execute it and having a contingency to fall back on if it doesn’t come together.

      Thanks for sharing these things from a French perspective. I find that fascinating. I’d like to hear more!

    • You know, we experimented with different rules and the chits. There are many good possibilities here.

      We got fairly good results with this approach:

      You start with no chits in the pool. Your Army commanders have to roll, or use their ‘turn’ to place chits in the pool. They only stay in there for awhile. So at the end of every turn, you roll 1 die for each chit. If you roll higher than the number of turns it has been in the pool, it stays in there. If you roll that number or less, you must pull it out. That command deactivates. You have to use your army commander to put their chit back into the pool again.

      Every time a Corps loses a Division, they must also roll to see if they deactivate and pull their chit out of the pool.

      This worked really well. It does extend the game though. I think you’d have to add more turns in the day to compensate for down time. Maybe make a day last 10 or 20 turns. -but then that will make the game take longer to play right? It’s a trade off.

  2. This is something about PubBattles that I think CPG has resisted and handled brilliantly. PubBattles is one of those game systems that seems to cry out for a little more. A little more of this, or that.

    Yet, they all sound great and cool, but are no fun to play. Who wants things to happen even more slowly?

    If the game works without the rule, if the rule just takes longer to employ, don’t use it!

    Thanks for avoiding all the temptations!

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