I had a phone call at an ungodly hour this morning - I was still in the shower - asking why my blog hadn't been updated for a few days. That wasn't the main point of the call - the first question asked was about whether I had replied to an email from a third party about the possibility of hosting a game for three people - but it is nice to know that someone reads this.
Anyway, especially for my early morning caller, let me just conclude the report on the latest Seven Years War game we have been playing in the legendary wargames room of...well you know the rest. James' own blog has been even more lacking in new entries than mine, which I can exclusively reveal is because he's got better things to do. Oh, and like all the best wargaming bloggers he hasn't currently got a working camera. The game, which you will recall I wasn't especially enjoying, concluded on Wednesday and didn't really get any better. The evening opened, somewhat symbolically, with Peter rolling a 1 on a D12 and continued much in that vein. We actually got quite a lot of initiative, but the die had been cast the previous week and our right flank disintegrated while the attack on our left looked promising, but never delivered.
So, not a good advert for Piquet. But we've had so many enjoyable games with the same rules that we'll just file it away as an experience and move on. The as-written game has a large number of random elements in its set up and play. On this occasion they all fell one way and broke the game, but that is a very rare occurrence; normally they even out much more to provide games that are unpredictable and different one to another. Should anyone want to try Piquet and not run the risk of an overly unbalanced game, then all they need to do is remove any or all of that randomness, except for the initiative - which is the heart of the game. Unit and commander levels can be preassigned (or all deemed to be average) as can number of morale chips and the content of card decks. Even initiative can be managed - i.e. the size of swings limited - using various alternatives to rolling D20s. as mentioned before, we use dominoes. So, just to repeat, this game didn't show Piquet in its best light, but nevertheless it remains my personal favourite family of rules.
A few small changes that I would suggest concern morale chips. As well as requiring minimum numbers of chips for an army depending on how many units it contains, perhaps there should also be a maximum ratio between chips and units. Secondly, the current major morale rules (these are James' rather than the published version) cost too many morale chips if failed. I would do away with paying a chip per commander. Thirdly, and most radically, I would make a morale challenge cost only one chip in total; if the challenge is successful the challengee pays it, if it fails then the challenger pays it.