This is my last weekend before my college’s fall semester begins (I’m a History professor). So I thought I would get in one more game as this is probably the last weekend I’ll have two days off for several months. I have always wanted to try the Piquet variant where you hold cards in your hand rather than playing them one at a time. So I gave it a try with the same scenario and forces as my last game.
The first time I tried it, I realized that the system as written in the Piquet rules burnt off too much impetus as you had to pay 1 impetus point to put a card in your hand and and then another impetus point to play or discard it. I got through one turn and realized that this would result in turns ending quicker due to the higher number of phases and thus more chances to roll double initiative and thus end the turn. So I reset the game and tried again, but this time I decided only to pay 1 impetus point per card put into the hand. Playing or discarding a card was free. I also decided to start each play with cards equal to their hand, in this case 4 (same as maximum command groups) plus 1 for being Skilled commanders for a total of 5 cards as the maximum in the hand. The turn ended when all cards had been played from a player’s hand and deck, no saving cards in your hand from one turn to the next.
The result was the best Piquet game I have played. No longer were you just waiting on getting the card you needed. You could build your hand based on your plan. If you need to move an infantry brigade up to the enemy and shoot them and then melee them, you could build a hand with an infantry move in open card, a reload card, a melee card, and just in case things went bad, an officer check card. The system allowed each side to often do that. There were still bad hands, like one turn in which the American player got dealt 3 Dress line cards out of 5 cards in his hand to start the turn. Also hands got depleted as players used those cards for planned actions, meaning they had to spend impetus points to reload their hands for their next plan. This really made having a Brilliant Commander card in your hand very valuable as you could use it for anything.
I also allowed players to hold onto Heroic Moment cards and play them anytime to add Up1 to a fire, melee, or morale check. I got this idea from how a similar card works in Piquet: Field of Battle. A player could also use a Heroic Moment card to double the move of one unit.
A further variation I used is to make units that have suffered 1 or more hits from fire combat to take a morale check. The opposing play does not have to play a chip to do this, but if the unit fails the morale check, that side must pay a morale chip.
Unlike my last game where the British won, this was a hard won American victory. At times both sides had run out of army morale chips, but neither side failed their Major Morale check as both sides had the same number of units eliminated or routing. The game went on for 10 turns, and then I ended it as the British were withdrawing and the Americans would not catch them.
The British deployed with the British Legion on their right and center, with the British regular brigade as the reserve:
The British deployed the Guards’ Brigade on their left in hopes that it could turn the American right:
The American left was held by Pulaski’s Legion (two infantry and one cavalry unit):
The American center was held by the French brigade, the Maryland brigade, and the better (Davidson’s) militia brigade:
The weak element for the Americans was their right flank, which was held by the poorer quality militia brigade. I had both sides roll for which had to set up first, the Americans lost and had to set up first, which is why the British were able to deploy against the weaker American flank.
Here is the American starting hand of five cards. In a two player game, both players would keep their cards hidden from the other player. Not a bad starting hand of five cards.
Here is the British starting hand of five cards, again I dealt each side a hand of cards at the start of each turn. Also a decent hand to start the first turn with.
Turn 1 saw both sides advance, the British concentrating their efforts on the American right:
Both sides continued to advance in Turn 2.
Turn 3 saw the British Guards’ Brigade turn the American right flank (the poor quality militia brigade):
In the center, both sides advanced:
Skirmishing took place on the American left flank:
Morale chips were quickly spent and this is what each side had left after Turn 3 (red = British and white = American):
Turn 4 saw the Americans move the Maryland Brigade to meet the British threat:
The Guards’ Light Infantry unit flanked a militia unit, note the other militia unit already routing:
The Maryland Brigade engaged the Guards’ Brigade:
That resulted in one routing Guards’ battalion:
Turn 5 saw the Maryland Brigade destroy most of the Guards’ Brigade, but by the end of the turn the Americans had 1 Army morale chip and the British had zero!
Turn 6 saw the British Guards’ Light Infantry end up right in front of a heavy concentration of American forces in the center:
Forward went the British reserves of the British regular brigade:
Turn 7 saw the American Maryland Extra Regiment rout the British Guards’ Light Infantry (ouch that cost a lot of British army morale chips):
By the start of Turn 8, the British had two army morale chips (got them back by damaging the Americans who ran out of army morale chips). The focus of the game switched to the center:
The Americans sent Pulaski’s cavalry in a flanking move on the British right:
By Turn 9, neither side had any army morale chips. The Americans realized that they had forgotten about Pulaski’s infantry (they literally got overlooked in the trees) and sent them forward to support the dragoons:
Pulaski’s infantry caused a two stand lost on the British infantry facing the cavalry, but when the cavalry charged, they were destroyed in the melee by the defending infantry (the 7th Regiment of Foot)!
The British Legion infantry moved forward and were charged by a squadron of the 3rd dragoons. The squadron of the 3rd dragoons was eliminated by fire from the British Legion infantry:
By the start of Turn 10, the Americans had three army morale chips, most gained from destroying the remnants of the British Guards’ Brigade. This off set their losses in the center and their left. The British attempted to withdraw with the rear guard of a single infantry battalion:
This time Greene (the American commander) was the victor:
The French Brigade finally got into action, even losing one infantry stand:
Casualties were heavy on both sides, here are the British losses:
Here are the American losses:
Again, this was a solo game so I supplied all the figures (15mm) and took the pictures.
This was one of the best games of Piquet I have ever played. I highly recommend using the Alternative Sequence Deck Method found on page 68 of the rules with the revisions I noted above. This really made Piquet a game of planning and less of a game of waiting on the card you needed to be turned over.
Now back to painting. I have also gotten a set of rules for Zombie games, No More Room in Hell by Iron Ivan Games that I have read and want to give a try. I have also purchased and read Chain of Command by Too Fat Lardies and I hope to give that a try in the future as well.