Franco-Prussian War with Piquet Field of Battle (2nd edition)

April 1, 2018

It’s been a busy year with work and the rest of life. Fortunately I was saved from another day of work by our local game guru, Ian (of Warflag fame). He invited my son and I to participate in a hypothetical Franco-Prussian War game using Piquet Field of Battle (2nd edition). Ian has scaled up the rules to make each unit a brigade and the ground scale is 1″ = 100 yards. Ian also opted to mount brigades on one stand (ala Volley and Bayonet), which I think has sped up the game at no cost to play-ability.

Overall the game involved a large French corps against a Prussian corps with allied German divisions. I was the overall French commander, but spent most of my time on the extreme right of my side’s force. In the original plan I wanted to keep our forces tight rather than spread out along the entire table, which is what wargamers always do. What happened is that my subordinates spread out like wargamers do. While a close game, the French suffered from poorer leadership (both commanders and a poorer quality deck of cards). In the end we lost, but we did better than most French forces in the Franco-Prussian War. The Piquet Field of Battle rules really do accommodate larger games. In this one we had five players per side with Ian acting as referee. Game time was about four hours, by which time the French had run out of army morale points.

It was clearly a grey-beards sort of game. I’m in my mid-50s and I was the third youngest player. At age 17, my son was by far the youngest. However, the players were exceptionally good overall. As many of these guys had been playing miniature wargames for over 30 years, they knew how to learn new rules, had a good grasp of tactics, and were gentlemanly wargamers.

Here are some photos from the game. All of the figures were provided by Ian and we played in his garage, which was nice as it was a rare sunny Oregon day. Ian also provided the photos.

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Franco-Prussian with Piquet Field of Battle

September 10, 2017

Today I went over to my friend Ian’s house for a game of Piquet Field of Battle. Ian is best know to wargamers as Mr. Warflag (http://www.warflag.com/). We played a fictional border battle with the French and Prussians and allies fighting over the strategically important town of Potzdorf. Potzdorf is the (fictional) greatest brewery in all of Europe and lies between between France and Prussia’s German allies. The goal for both sides was to gain control of the Potzdorf Brewery. In this fictional scenario, the Duchy (?) of Potzdorf was allied with the Prussians.

We used Piquet Field of Battle with the modification that units represented regiments or brigades of about 2000 infantry rather than battalions. Ian had made some modifications to the charts and weapons ranges to make it all work. And I thought those changes did work well. There were a few house rules used, but about 95% of the game was Piquet Field of Battle rules as written. In the game the French had a corps with 4 infantry divisions, an artillery division, a cavalry division and a guard brigade. I was on the French side so I’m not sure of what the Prussians and allies had, but it seemed like their force was roughly the same size as ours with a bit more cavalry. The Prussian side started with mostly minor German forces (Bavarian and Wurttemberg) plus a small Potzdorf division. There was a larger Prussian force on the way as reinforcements, but the battle ended before they reached the battlefield. Likewise, the French Guard Division was never engaged as it was posted to block the Prussian reinforcements.

I had not used the Piquet Field of Battle rules for some time as had two of the other players, only Ian had read the 2nd edition of the rules. Having said that, the game went pretty smoothly with only a few time outs to read the rules. The first turn was very long and bloody. The next two turns ended quickly with doubles being rolled on the initiative rolls. By the start of the fourth turn, both sides were out of Army Morale Points. Eventually, the Prussian and allied side had to make an Army Morale roll. Unfortunately for them, their commander was rated as a d8 and failed his Army Morale roll with a 1 (the opposed role was a 2!).

I didn’t keep a detailed log of the battle, but it was very bloody like a real Franco-Prussian War battle.

Here are some pictures from the game:

The overall game table (click to enlarge):

French Infantry:

French Cavalry:

The French Commander:

Prussian-German-Potzdorf Forces:

The Potzdorf Brewery:

A very cool windmill that I need to find out where I can get one:

Some action scenes:

Best of all was the lunch that Ian provided that included home made pork pies and beer from his actual brewery. I ate half of one of these and had enough “savory” to last me through next week, but it was exceptionally tasty.

So thanks to Ian for running this game.