Reactions to the New Pub Battles Rules
The new rules are out! All the new games are shipping with them. You can get an updated copy by emailing the company and asking for a pdf. What’s new?
There are a few little tweaks and refinements to the main rules. Nothing big. The basic game is essentially the same.
The Fog-of-War has gotten a huge upgrade. The Hidden Reserve rules are now standard. They are also much easier to use. The HQ marks the exact location of the hidden troops. The old way was confusing and open to all kinds of abuse. This is clear and it works.
There are new units: 1 step Detachments. These vastly increase the deception. What are those 2 blocks sitting back there? Elite Guards, waiting to pounce at the right time? Or just a couple of Detachments faking me out? Hmmmm…..
These two rules together raise the uncertainty bar. How close is the enemy to breaking? How many reserves do they have left? Will one more good assault do it? You can only wonder. Perfect!!
The biggest change is Victory. The Baggage Trains are key. As your troops fight, they become spent. Only Baggage Trains can Rally them back to fresh. Here’s the catch: Baggage Trains can’t Rally until they Unpack. What’s the big deal about that? Unpacked Baggage Trains can’t move. Even worse: if they get sacked, it’s battle over. You lose. Yeah, it just got real.
Basically, they are like mobile VP locations, except you lock them into place. We need to take that hill. Why? Because the game designer says we have to. It’s worth a lot of points. No! Because we think the enemy has unpacked their baggage behind it. If we can take that, we win!
YOU decide when and where to set these ‘VPs’ down. In order for your troops to fight effectively, they need unpacked baggage. As soon as you do this, it becomes a target. It is a double edged sword.
The ramifications are immense. Where do you make a stand? What line do you think you can hold? Where do you need the baggage trains to support that? If you unpack too far forward, you won’t be able to protect them. On the other hand, the sooner you unpack, the sooner you can start rallying your troops and the better you will be able to protect them.
I find myself thinking like a real commander with these new rules. Where is the enemy? What are they doing? Can we beat them? Do we even want to fight a battle here? Where do we form a line? Where can we hold? How can we shatter their line to win? Where is their baggage? When do we throw in the towel and give up? You’ll be asking yourself all these questions over and over again because the battlefield results will be constantly changing the answers. What now?! What does this mean? How does it impact our plan? Do we continue to press forward or is it time to reassess?
These very simple rules turn Pub Battles into a very deep, strategic game of position, maneuver and planning. The results are astounding.