W1815 vs Pub Battles

W1815 is a zip lock game on the battle of Waterloo by U&P Games.  It is fast, small, simple and has a period looking map with wooden blocks.  Is this the same thing as Pub Battles?  How do they compare?

This is a great little review by

Chris Rakowski

Q:  What is the difference between W1815 and Pub Battles?  How do they compare / contrast?

Pub Battles is a very traditional miniatures-ish wargame. You choose where to set up. There’s terrain with modifiers. You measure distances and maneuver. You get close to and attack the other pieces and if you roll high they get hit and lose strength or fall back.

There is some hidden info about which units exactly you’re attacking until you start fighting. Cavalry is fast but weak, artillery has range and defensive first fire, and elites ignore a hit. There are no formations other than the occasional road column. It’s a full fledged black powder battle with no bull.

W1815 has none of this. The pieces go in their places and don’t move. Either they’re there or they’re not. The game board is more like a very pretty chart showing you how strong each corps is. The “game” is in the notecard for each corps showing whom it attacks and what can happen when it does with modifiers for the state of the game.

There’s a back and forth as one attack opens up the opportunity for a counterattack and you follow that branch until one side can’t stand it anymore and focuses somewhere else.

Your attack can hurt you more than it hurts the enemy, sometimes even as the best possible outcome. Instead of fighting, the Allies can shore up the line with reinforcements or roll for more Prussians.

As things get worse, each side has to roll rout tests on an asymmetrical table to see who quits the field first. It’s elegant, has strong narrative, is very easy to teach and really can be played in 15 minutes leaving you wanting to have another go with a different strategy. It’s a wargame bonsai.

I love this block aesthetic. It’s like l’m looking at a page in a military atlas. The actual games are very different, though, both accompishing what they’re going for, which is a game you can pull out and just play, without needing to make it a big event, and without your head in the rules. I happily have both and would get more in both series as they come out.

Marshall has several more in the pipeline. If UP isn’t interested in making more I’ll probably try to do more of those on my own.

Where to get them:


Pub Battles

2 thoughts on “W1815 vs Pub Battles”

  1. I have both games. While I enjoy both, I prefer W1815. They both depend heavily on the luck of the die rolls, but W1815 provides a more accurate historical narrative. The Pub Battles (Brandywine) map is of considerably better quality and is quite beautiful. The Pub Battle pieces are much larger and each is identified by its commander and type (infantry, cavalry, and artillery), which is nice. The W1815 pieces are smaller and only distinguished by color (French blue, Anglo-Allied red, and Prussian black). The location that these units occupy identifies them as to which Corps or formation they belong and whether they are infantry, cavalry, or artillery.

    I think it is important to realize that the only thing these games really have in common are that they have wooden blocks representing the military units. Pub Battles is all about maneuvering and terrain, while W1815 has none of that. W1815 uses cards representing the historical formations and their historical abilities to attack or defend. In both games once the decisions have been made (moving in Pub Battles, and choosing a card for an action in W1815) they then depend on the roll of the dice. Pub Battles has a 5 turn time limit for the length of the game, while W1815 has a variable limit that depends on morale of the armies to see which one breaks first.

    Because the games are so different, I don’t think it comes down to “which one should I buy?” I also own other wooden block wargames (Napoleon’s Triumph, Bonaparte at Marengo, most of the Columbia games,etc) and they are all different. I remember years ago, as I introduced the game of Diplomacy to the students in my history class, one of my students said “Oh, it is like Risk! Wooden cubes and blocks!” Sorry, but Diplomacy and Risk have very little in common.

    • How do you like the ‘no dice’ combat system of Simmons Games? Can you explain some how that works and compares to traditional dice resolution?

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