I am trying to find a set of skirmish (1 figure = 1 man) wargame rules that would work for the Ancient era, specifically we are going to use them to play Romans versus Germans. I have tried Two Hour Wargames Swordplay rules, but they were too fast play. I am looking for something with more “meat” like wounds and skills for each figure. Any suggestions? Please post your ideas via a comment and thanks in advance.
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):
The French Commander:
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.
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.
I enjoyed my last American Revolution game with Piquet & the Cartouche supplement, but after rereading both the Piquet Master rules and the Cartouche supplement, I realized that I had made an error in terms of movement. I had forgotten that infantry in open order line and skirmish get to move through Class II woods at full speed. That made a big different as in the game I wondered why anyone would really want to use open line as it seemed to not be that much more effective than close order line. Then I reread the Cartouche supplement and saw my error. The irony is that I was part of the Cartouche playtest, and the rule about infantry in open order line moving at full speed in Class II woods was probably my suggestion.
I had the same terrain and forces as my last Piquet game. Using the rule for open order movement in woods really sped up the game. It gave open order a real use, which is why it was the defacto formation for American, British, and some German units. It allows infantry units to move through Class II woods at 8″ per activation. That is a lot faster than close order line who move only 3″ per activation in Class II woods (6″ but half speed for Class II terrain). It did highlight to me how limited French troops, whose primary formation is close order line, would be in the more wooded terrain of most American battlefields.
Here is the setup from the American side of the table (click on any image for a larger version):
Here is the setup from the British side:
Here is the cavalry element of Pulaski’s Legion (I don’t know why the bases are not lined up, maybe the cats got to them when I wasn’t looking):
Here is Washington’s “Brigade” (really 2 squadrons of the 3rd Dragoons and 1 squadron of mounted militia):
This shot shows the overall set up from the side:
Cornwallis advances with the Guards’ Brigade:
The British plan was to advance on the American right, which was mostly held by militia. To engage the American left, they deployed the British Legion (a 4 stand infantry unit, three 2 stand cavalry units, and a 1 stand artillery unit):
Here is a close up of the British Legion Infantry:
There were two brigade of American militia; the better one (Davidson’s North Carolina Militia) held the center of the American line with riflemen in the front:
Here the 7th Regiment of Foot of Webster’s Brigade advances:
A large cavalry battle between Washington’s Dragoons and the British Legion took place on the American right wing:
The cavalry engagement went poorly for the 3rd Dragoons, here the remnants of one of its squadrons routs:
Things also went bad for the American Maryland Brigade, here one of its regiments routs:
The Americans failed a Major Morale test; here the French brigade retreats and routs off the table:
One of the regiments of the Maryland Brigade fights a rear guard action to hold off the advancing British Legion:
The British advance with a Guards’ battalion in the lead:
Corwallis enjoys his victory:
While Greene flees with the French Brigade:
The game was played solo, so I provided all of the figures (15mm) and took the photos (some of which are better than others). Piquet did a superior job replicating an American Revolution battle. The Cartouche supplement rules allowing open order infantry to move full in Class II woods, worked very well to make open order the key formation, just like in the real war.
After what was probably a six month break from playing games, I’m back with an American Revolution game using Piquet and the Cartouche Supplement. Sorry to be gone so long, but I was suffering from some fatiguing side effects of some medication (now not a problem due to a change in the medication) and my daughter was sick with mono for about six months as well. Like my daughter, I was just too tired to do much other than paint and rebase.
I decided that I liked the look of 4 infantry per stand for Piquet much more than 3 infantry per stand. So that meant a lot of rebasing and painting more figures to fill units out to 16 figure rather than 12 figure infantry units (4 stands). I’m about half way there with the regular infantry. Skirmish infantry and cavalry will stay at 2 figures per stand. Here is an example of a 3 stand American militia unit with 4 figures per stand:
As it has been over six months since I played Piquet, I ran a game (probably too big of one) to reacquaint myself with the rules. The British had three brigades: the Guards Brigade, a regular brigade of three regiments (7th, 33rd and 64th) and the British Legion. The Americans had six brigades: a Maryland Continental brigade, a brigade of French regulars, a brigade of the 3rd dragoons and an attached militia cavalry unit, a brigade with Pulaski’s Legion and a militia skirmisher unit, and two militia brigades. There were 15 British units and 19 American units (not all were regular size, some smaller and a few bigger than standard sized units).
The scenario was fictional, but all of the units were based on units that fought in the Southern campaigns of 1780 and 1781. The first scenario was a meeting engagement with both sides coming onto the table. It was a close game for a while, but then the British got the upper hand and defeated the Americans, who ran out of Army morale chips. The game was a good way to relearn the rules, but I could have probably had less units per side. Here are some pictures from that game:
Initial the Americans got a lot more units on the table than the British, here the Maryland Brigade enters behind a reinforced Pulaksi’s Legion and a militia brigade (click any picture for a larger image):
Pulaski’s Legion seized one end of a brigade that went across a Class II stream:
The British lead element (the British Legion enter):
Many of the American brigades were deploying while the British were still entering the table:
Finally the British Guards Brigade came to hold the British right:
Facing the British Guards Brigade were the French Brigade (two infantry battalions and one artillery unit) and the reinforced 3rd Dragoons:
In the center, the British Legion faced Pulaski’s Legion and a militia brigade:
A newly painted French Dillon Regiment (one battalion) fought its first battle:
In true wargame traditions, the Dillion Regiment managed to rout of the table in its first outing:
The British Guards Brigade deployed on the British right along the stream:
On the British left, the British brigade of regulars attacked the American militia:
The second American militia brigade enters the battle (I kept forgetting to have them come in):
Things got rough for the Americans, and their militia started to rout:
In their first outing in one of my wargames, the British 64th Foot inflicted heavy casualties on the American militia:
The Maryland Brigade faced being cut off, but the Maryland Extra regiment fought a way out for the rest of the brigade to escape through (here the 2nd Maryland Regiment holds off the British flanking attack):
The British Legion dragoons were too late to prevent the American escape:
The casualties piled up (especially for the Americans):
I also played a similar game, but with both sides set up on the table at the start. A description of that will come in the next post.
Overall, I really enjoyed playing this game, even solo. The Piquet rules work very well. They provide some control, but not too much. Also there is a lot of tension with the card system, which adds to the drama and fun. I feel that Piquet produces the most historically representative games of any rules I have played. I like how the actions are not always proportional between both sides (like a game of chess). I remember watching the NBA finals and thinking about how players did not all move the same rate and at the same ratio, which is the same thing that Piquet captures for battles.