I love using written orders in games. It adds so much depth and fun. Some players however, hate the idea of using them. It just ‘seems’ like too much fuss.
This got us thinking… Is there a simple way to simulate the delays and effects of real Kriegspiel written orders? Instead of written orders, how about some kind of simple order chit system?
We experimented with this extensively. We had hidden and rotating Order cubes along with Directional cubes. We plotted the movement of messengers and implementation times. It was a very accurate model of what goes on. It worked very well.
After all that hard work, we dropped it. What?! Why? Because it was unnecessary. In the end, it added almost nothing to the game. It added complexity and rules. It added work for the players to do. What impact did it have on the outcome and flow of the battle? Almost nothing.
Was I disappointed? Absolutely not. I was very excited by this outcome. Pub Battles is even stronger than I realized. It already incorporates most of effects of written orders in the basic design. The way the turns work. The way the commands move. The way you can attempt to alter the turn sequence. This IS Kriegspiel. These rules are simulating the effects of written orders.
All in a simple, elegant 1 page of rules format. There is a lot more going on with this deceptively simple system than you realize. I think we’ve stumbled upon a gem.
In the end, the only thing we’ve decided to add for the Sharpsburg battle is a simple rule for adding Chits to the cup. That’s all we need. I love it when the best thing turns out to be the most simple thing.