Friday, 23 August 2019

Potential whooshing noise

"Personally, I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms." - Dale Carnegie

These days what drives buzz around new wargames rules is the size of the marketing budget involved, usually promoting not just rules, but often an extensive range of miniatures as well. The denizens of the lower Wharfe valley are not immune to the effect of that. (I'm sure that we will at some point have a game of of Cruel Seas for example) but there is often a lag of a couple years before we get round to playing sets that have become fashionable (Black Powder being a case in point). One or two of these (To the Strongest! most notably) find a sufficient resonance to stick around as rules of choice for a particular period.

Nonetheless, we usually find ourselves returning to either original Piquet or its derivative, Field of Battle. Neither of those have ever had any sort of commercial push behind them or ever achieved a wide user base, although having said that, we are not the only ones still playing about with the toolbox: check out this for example (and incidentally he is using a variant of which I was previously aware, but have never tried). The reason for mentioning all this is that having had a few games with James' new Peninsular War collection using other rules we have now tried FoB a couple of times. Our decision? We weren't keen. And we weren't keen for a really quite old school reason: we didn't like the ground scale. 

In FoB there is the possibility of multiple moves - a bit like Black Powder (except that it actually predates the latter). We came to the conclusion that we were happy with this for the Crusades for example, because those battles were in fairly small areas and because one actually wants horse archers to sweep around the flanks of the Christians and the Saracens to be in peril from swiftly charging knights. In the Napoleonic era however the battlefields are much larger and one certainly doesn't want cavalry to be able to start on one flank and charge across to the other before the defenders have any chance to react. Our initial thought was to try classic Piquet, probably the version we use for the Seven Years War as amended for the peculiarities of Napoleonic warfare. However, there are a number of elements in FoB that we do like, so, after due consideration, Peter and I have tasked James with melding together the two versions of Piquet into a seamless, playable and period specific form and, oh, doing it by next week.

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