Linebattles are a more formal style of Holdfast play than you will encounter on public servers. These events revolve around (surprise surprise) lines - these are officer led groups of infantrymen, who are only allowed to fire their muskets when they are stationary and shouldered together in a line. They follow strict rules on gameplay, dictating class limits, movement styles, and how specialist classes (support, artillery, and skirmishers) are used. Linebattles will have administrators watching proceedings either in spectator camera or as on the ground riflemen. They will provide guidance, warnings, and punish those who break rules (normally by slaying them until the next round). While the below page attempts to explain linebattles in general, these are custom managed gametypes and as such each event may be very different depending on the host. Your mileage may vary.
The majority of linebattles are single life per round. Once you are killed you will have to wait for the next round (a new map) to spawn again. They broadly follow three phases:
- Setup: For a few minutes at the start of each round, spawning is allowed and people will form into lines in their spawn. Regiments who are present will generally have pre-defined their lines, so will use this time to find their line leader (Officer) and form up. Public players will either join public leaders, or are welcome to join regiment led lines. Players wait until the admins announce that the game is Live.
- Live Combat: This is the main phase of battle, as lines will manoeuvre around the map and attempt to break enemy lines.
- All Charge: After a certain amount of time (or if a stalemate has occurred), an all charge will be declared. At this point everyone fixes bayonets and charges, with no more musket fire being allowed. The All Charge proceeds until one team remains the victor.
Linebattles will either be open to all-comers (Public) or restricted to Regiments only (Private). A schedule of linebattles (and other events) can be found in the Official Holdfast Discord Server. Public linebattles will generally be attended by regiments as well as public players, and they should welcome anyone to join their lines if they wish.
All linebattles will generally have rules published in chat by the admins, but here are some pointers to get you started.
- Crouching is not allowed unless you are a skirmisher, or firing in a double rank (two lines of muskets, with the rear line standing to fire over the forward line).
- You can only shoot when you are part of a formed line. If you do not have another soldier on either of your shoulders, don't fire your weapon. It should be noted that almost all linebattles will be held on Hardcore mode game servers - this means that bullet drop and horizontal deviation is considerably higher than on the standard community servers. You may also find that friendly fire has been enabled, so be careful where you're aiming!
- You should stay with your line when moving out, keeping a bit of spacing between each man to avoid offering a juicy target to the enemy. Lines tend to either move one or two abreast (single or double column), and you will likely hear officers calling for which formation they would like.
Common Terms & Abbreviations
There are a number of terms you'll encounter in chat during linebattles, whether from admins or fellow soldiers. Most relate to rule breaking, and can result in you being slayed by an admin if you are not aware of their meaning and able to follow their instruction.
- The most important term - this is the start of a linebattle. Troops should not move out from spawn until Live has been called by an admin.
- Fire Out (of) Line. The action of firing when you are not properly positioned as part of a legitimate line.
- Fire In Charge. Firing when your line is engaged in a charge (whether or not they initiated the charge). For a line on the receiving end of the charge, you are generally deemed to be "in charge" once one of your line is engaged in melee combat. As always, there are exceptions and you should pay attention to individual linebattle rule sets.
- Running off as a lone solider (sometimes in small groups) to attack lines using no formation and not as a result of being forced into a charge.
- All Charge (sometimes abbreviated to AC)
- Towards the end of a linebattle / after a fixed time an All Charge is called. At this point nobody is allowed to fire (unless specified - often classes are allowed a single pistol shot), and everyone should endeavour to find the nearest enemies and charge to engage in melee combat. Running away or hiding is often frowned upon and will result in a slay for delaying the next round.
- Officer Aim. A rather questionable rule to enforce given musket (in)accuracy, but it is frowned upon to target enemy officers. Linebattles enforcing OA rules will generally consider OA to be a factor at short range and where the officer has made sufficient effort to not be adjacent to their own line.
- Reloading Out of Line. In some situations, lines are not allowed to reload on the move, so can only reload while they are stationary as a fixed line. Exceptions may be made for any skirmisher lines.
The lines are the core of the battle. They will be formed from a number of rank & file classes following an officer. For a group of men to form a line, there is normally a minimum musket requirement - for example, if the rules state that a line must be 3+ muskets then there must be three infantrymen shoulder to shoulder before they are allowed to fire. If a line you are a part of falls below this number, you can either charge the enemy in melee or attempt to retreat and join another line. Some linebattles will specify a number of men, rather than muskets - in those cases an officer or support class can count towards the minimum requirement, but must remain shouldered to the other soldiers to allow firing. Officers leading the lines will use voice chat and in-game orders to command the lines. If the officer goes down in the line of duty, generally they will have a second in command designated to take over.
Support classes do not need to form as part of the lines, and are encouraged not to do so to minimise the chance of them getting killed if the line comes under fire. Generally the buff granting classes will attach to a line but keep themselves at range, while classes like sappers and surgeons can either remain with single lines or roam from line to line as needed.
Rules for firing as support classes vary, but most commonly they are required to shoulder themselves to a line (i.e. stand immediately next to a formed line) if they wish to fire. Often they are allowed a single pistol shot on charge.
Some line battles will allow artillery to be used. It may be pre-distributed by the admins, or operated on a first-come first-served basis. Any limitations on what artillery pieces can be used on a given map should be identified in the rules at the start of each round. In many battles, artillery will not be allowed to directly engage the opposing artillery pieces until a certain time on the clock (admins will define the time for arty v arty).
Skirmishers are also an optional feature of linebattles. They are mostly issued as Light Infantry classes, and have much more flexibility in their positioning and shooting rules (i.e. they do not need to stand shoulder to shoulder to fire, can crouch, etc.). They have their own rulesets that will restrict under what circumstances they can operate - they may be dependent on a parent line, have spacing limits between each skirmisher, and have their own minimum number of muskets needed to be considered a valid skirm detachment.