When I first tried Pub Battles, I played it like any other wargame with ZoC’s and units frozen in place once contacted by the enemy.
Using Alter Rolls to move first became the order of the day. (Successful Alter Rolls allow a player to jump ahead or delay when they move.) When Andrew and I were playing Brandywine, we would frequently roll for every command. We thought moving first was so critical.
It became a dice-off every turn. We both kind of concluded the system didn’t really work. I went back and reread the rules several times trying to make them fit with my preconceived notions. We were playing it all wrong. After exchanging a few e-mails with the company, I finally “got it.”
That was when I became obsessed with this system. The subtlety of choosing whether to move first or last; and understanding the ramifications is incredibly complex. Which is better? It depends on the situation and what you are trying to do. I was hooked.
I didn’t get the point of adding Baggage Trains at first. Now I love them. It pulls together strategic concerns, C&C, logistics and victory, all in one simple little rule. It’s brilliant.
As simple as the rule seems, it is bewildering to new players. This feels in line with the Pub Battles system. Simple rules, very complex decisions.
It has become my favorite game.
-by Mike Strand