Thursday, 19 November 2015

Fool if you think it's over

The observant among you will have spotted the song reference above, and indeed a review of an Elkie Brooks concert will follow in due course; as soon as I can steel myself for the subsequent, and inevitable, flood of comments from Elaine's biggest fan. Instead the title alludes to the current game ongoing at James', which appeared to have ended in a resounding defeat for the badly generalled Russians - that would be me - but then leaped from its deathbed to continue into the third act just like an operatic soprano.

James has chronicled the first week here, and as he was taking loads of photographs will no doubt write up last night's second week, so I will only make a few general observations. (By the way, any readers with OCD prepare yourselves for some pain and discomfort because experience tells us that he won't write up the concluding evening at all.) So, it was the usual good fun, full of the normal swings that Piquet gives. I rolled the worst set of officers I can remember so haven't tried to rally very much, and at one point rolled about ten threes in a row on a variety of size of dice, but overall it flowed along reasonably evenly.

On the downside - and I know James won't mind a little criticism; despite apparently having been promoted recently from wargaming aristocracy to wargaming demigod - I'm not sure about the scenario. It rather relies on the Russians switching their forces around and/or counterattacking with their left flank, and they don't have enough Infantry Move cards to make it work in practice, or enough space behind their barricades to move around in even if they did.

There was much debate about Cossacks, and I agree they still seem to be too powerful. They can be rather good at shooting down flanks, although I suppose the moral there is don't let them get on one's flank. James made one of his trademark mid-game rule changes regarding their ability to close with enemy units; indeed he actually made the alteration mid-charge, which seemed a bit harsh to me. If I understand the new rules - and I'm frankly not confident that James is very clear on them, so I'm not sure what chance Peter and I have - things have now gone too far the other way. If we started over again with the current rules then at the earliest opportunity I would move all the Cossack units off the table and save myself the morale chips for losing them; and whatever one thinks of their fighting abilities I suspect that wasn't what he had in mind when he painted them. My own preference would be for their chances of closing to be dependent on the state of the enemy unit and the direction from which it's approached. I'd also make the penalty for failure becoming disordered rather than becoming shaken.

Which brings me nicely to the morale rules in Piquet, or, to be more precise, the morale rules in the version of Piquet currently being played (provisionally entitled "When life gives you lemons, squirt someone in the eye"). I don't like them. The original rules seem to have been designed so that a small game would come to a definite conclusion one way or another in an evening, which is fair enough. But they've been bastardised to such a point that they now lack - in my opinion - any real internal consistency or validity as a game mechanic. There, I've said it.


  1. "There, I've said it."

    Yes you have! How do either James or your group address these concerns?

    1. James' house, James' rules.

      Should I ever get round to playing any full Piquet games in my annexe then I do have one or two alternatives to try. It's unlikely though; Seven Years War is the only period that we currently play using the original rules (albeit modified quite heavily) and when the Hussites make it to the table (current progress, absolutely none) then it will be FoB based instead.