December 2012 Game: Piquet Field of Battle Cowpens 1781

February 3, 2013

Last December Mark and I were able to get together to fight the battle of Cowpens (1781) from the American Revolution. We used Piquet: Field of Battle (first edition) with a few modifications. Given that we have an entire day to play, we were able to play the game twice. Sadly, both games did not turn out that well. Simply put, I found that the rules did not produce the game I was interested in playing. The twin horrors of triple moves (which I have come to hate) and the lack of sufficient Army Morale Points produced two games that left me feeling let down by the rules.

The biggest problem in both games was insufficient Army Morale Points, which determine when a side breaks and thus ends the game. We found that if either side took minor casualties and then pulled back or halted and reformed, they we reach their army break point very quickly. The problem is that the rules give you an average of 1 Army Morale Point per unit (which normally have 4 Unit Integrity Points). So if you took 25% casualties (Unit Integrity Points) and then stopped and reformed and recovered all lost UIs, your army would still have reached its breaking point, which is what happened in both games.  It seemed rather silly to see an entire intact army (all UI lost rallied) have to withdraw.

I compared Piquet Field of Battle with the original Piquet rules, which also used an Army Point System and found that the original rules had twice as many Army Points per unit. In the original Piquet rules, you could not recover lost stands, which meant when your army was liable to break, you had lost 25-35% of your stands. We never found battles ending with a force having all of its original stands on the table, but that wasn’t the case with Piquet: Field of Battle. This issue and the silly triple moves were a rule breaker for me. I have now decided to retire my Piquet: Field of Battle rules to the pile of rules I used to use.

Both games started with fairly aggressive British attacks which broke one or two of the American lines (there were three), but in each case, the British side quickly reached their Army Morale Point total and eventually had to retire (failed check on the Army Morale Card). In both cases, the British forces had very few casualties on the table as they had rallied most of their lost UIs, but as they reached their Army Morale total, they had to check Army Morale, which is not the easiest thing to pass.

Not great games, and we will be trying out the Battle of Cowpens with a different set of Rules (Die Kriegskunst modified for the American Revolution) in March. Hopefully those rules will produce a more historical and realistic result.

That said, here are some pictures from the two games. All figures are mine, the table and lunch were provided by Mark. Figures are all 15mm and included figures from Old Glory, Blue Moon, Minifigs, Polly Oliver and Frontier.

Initial Set Up:

Initial set up

The British Advance:

The British Advance

First Shots Fired:

Initial Shots fired

American Militia (Old Glory 15mm):

American Militia

British Legion Dragoons (Polly Oliver 15mm)

British Legion Dragoons

British Legion (Dragoons are Polly Oliver 15mm and the Legion Infantry, actually Queen’s Rangers stand-ins for the British Legion Infantry, are Frontier 15mm)

British Legion in Action

British 7th Regiment of Foot (Old Glory 15mm)

7th ROF

American Riflemen in action with retreating Militia (Riflemen are Blue Moon 15mm and the Militia are Minifigs 15mm)

American Riflemen with militia in retreat

The British Reach the Continental Lights (Maryland/Delaware Light Battalion)

British Reach the Continental Line

British 71st Highlanders attacking American Riflemen (both Blue Moon 15mm)

Close Combat

Tarleton (Frei Korps 15mm) and the end of the 7th ROF (Old Glory 15mm)

Tarleton and the end of the 7th ROF

Me pondering why Piquet: Field of Battle is turning out to be such a bust (for both games):

Me pondering


Cowpens (1781) for Piquet Field of Battle

November 11, 2012

Next Saturday, Mark and I are planning on playing the American Revolution battle of Cowpens (1781) with Piquet Field of Battle (1st edition). I’ve got all the figures painted and based, so I took some time to revise the scenario. If you are interested, here it is: Cowpens FOB


Ramillies with Piquet Field of Battle

September 4, 2011

Today I was able to play another Piquet Field of Battle game. Ian Croxall of warflag (http://www.warflag.com/blenheim2004/) fame hosted a refight of one wing of Ramilles. We had 4 players per side and we used a few of Ian’s variants for the War of Spanish Succession. One of the notable changes was that we omitted brigade commanders and only used division and higher commanders. The reason for this was this half of the battle had about 70 units per side, which at first looked huge. Ian and another player had play tested the scenario before hand and assured us that it would work with so many units. I was a bit surprised that the rules did work with so many units per side and the omission of the brigade commanders. I did find that with so many units there was a lot of player fatigue by the end of the game, however, we were able to play the game to a conclusion, with a French defeat in about seven hours. All in all it was a good gaming experience and I hope Ian runs more games in the future (he’s in a band now and that takes up most of his hobby time).

I didn’t bring a camera (as I can barely use one) and no one else took any pictures, but here is a picture from one of Ian’s playtests of Ramillies with his convention set of rules:

My favorite unit was this funky Allied light gun mounted on a wagon:


Piquet Field of Battle Colonials

December 16, 2010

 

I was able to play in my first colonial game using Piquet Field of Battle. It was hosted by Ian of Warflag fame (http://www.warflag.com/). This was his first go at FOB with his massive colonial collection, but he has played FOB before in an American Revolution game I ran and in a War of Spanish Succession game he ran. In a moderate length day (10 am to about 6 pm with a break for an excellent North African style lunch provided by Ian) we were able to play two smaller games. Both games were based on the French colonial operations in Northwest Africa. The first involved African forces attacking a French colonial outpost and the second was centered on a French attack on an African held village. I wish I had some photos but I am photo inept and Ian didn’t take any photos.

The mechanics were pretty much regular FOB, but we played the game at a lower scale and simply doubled the weapon ranges. All in all it worked well. It also played historically accurate as the French were the clear winners of both games, primarily due to the poorer quality of the African forces and the superior quality and weaponry of the French. Also most of the players had played before or had read the rules, which really helped things move along.

I did learn a few things in playing the game. First, I think our second game was too small. To make FOB work, both sides need at least 10 units per side, especially with 8 players involved. Secondly, FOB played well with four players per side, something that regular Piquet did not do well at. Finally, colonials are a hard period to play as the non-European forces have some real disadvantages, but then European forces tended to win larger colonial battles unless they made some really poor decisions. Most importantly, all of the players seemed to have a enjoyable time playing FOB, which is a high endorsement given that we had 8 players.


Piquet Field of Battle American Civil War Game

June 9, 2010

Mark and I played an American Civil War game with Piquet Field of Battle for our May game. It was loosely based on the Lynchburg scenario from the old Johnny Reb scenario book. I modified the orders of battle to accomodate the figures I have. I also added some cavalry as I wanted to see how they played in the American Civil War. The orders of battle in the Johnny Reb scenario book are not the most accurate, so I also modified them a bit to be a bit more like the actual forces available in the area of the battle. The Union had 12 infantry regiments, 2 cavalry regiments and 4 artillery batteries organized into six command groups. The Confederates had 13 infantry regiments, 2 cavalry regiments, and 4 artillery batteries organized into five command groups. Like the original scenario, the Confederates were counter-attacking a slightly disorganized Union force.

Like our other Piquet Field of Battle games, this one played remarkably well. We played the scenario twice in less than six hours of actual play time. After the first battle, we switched sides for the second game. The only downside was that Mark won both games! Otherwise, the rules played exceptionally well. I don’t think I have ever enjoyed a set of horse and musket rules as much as Piquet Field of Battle. We played a number of regular Piquet games over the years, but I feel that the Field of Battle set is a marked improvement over the original rules in terms of playability and enjoyment. At first I was not sure I’d like the even initiative, but it makes the game more realistic and enjoyable in terms of play. Also the card and movement distance variables makes things like a flank march a real threat as you might not be able to react to it. Finally, I like the way that the game now emphasizes commanders’ ability far more than other games without unnecessary and cumbersome rules. Both games were very interesting and exciting from start to finish.

 

Most of the Confederate figures in the above photo are old Minifigs, some of the first figures I ever painted. The Union are a mix of Minifigs I painted in the 1980s and some Old Glory infantry I painted in the 1990s.

The Confederate artillery has advanced from their initial starting positions to wipe out some Union cavalry (must be when Mark played the Confederates as they seem to be winning in this photo). Again, most of the figures are old Minifigs I painted in the 1980s. They look better in the photo than they do in real life!

Union infantry and artillery have also advanced (must be Mark’s troops again as they look like they are winning!). Infantry include old Minifigs, Stone Mountain, and Old Glory. The artillery include old Minifigs and newer Old Glory figures. We used Fire and Fury markers (ammo boxes and stacked rifles) for units that had fired. The casualty figures were used to mark UI loss.

 

 

 

Confederate infantry advance. Both regiments are old Minifigs and the general is from Old Glory. The stacked rifles indicate the unit has fired. The casualty markers indicate UI loss. The pink puff indicates out of command (I haven’t found a suitable marker for that yet).

 

This photo shows the inital set up for the scenario with Confederates on the left and Union on the right. The scenario was played on 4′ x 8′ battlefield. We used 2/3rds scaled rulers with the 15mm figues. Infantry are based 3 figures on a 1″ x 1″ stand with 4 stands per regiment. Cavalry are based 2 figures on a 1 1/4″ x 1 1/4″ stand (both mounted and dismounted) with 4 stands per regiment. My artillery is based on a 2″ x 1 1/2″ stand with 1 gun and 4 artillerists, but with only 1 stand per battery.

 

 

This is the last photo from the second game (Me = Union, Mark = Confederate). This is right before my side’s morale broke and Mark won the game.