Mittwoch, 22. November 2017

Slow Mo Piquet: Preparations for the first game

Order of Battle

The Oob for the first game consists of the units from the 1759 Zinna combat that I have painted up so far:


  • Kurmainz (4 bataillons)
  • I/Hohenlohe (1 bat)
  • II/Kurpfalz Garde zu Fuß (1 bat)
  • Hohenzollern Cuirassiers
They will use three commands: first line (Kurpfalz and two bat. Kurmainz), second line (remaining inf.) and the Cuirassiers.


  • Willemey Grenadiere
  • Burgsdorf Grenadiere
  • I/Salmuth
  • II/Hoffmann
  • Malachovsky Hussars
  • Plettenberg Dragoons
They will run the Grenadiers as one command, the Fusiliers as the second and the Cavalry as their third.

Game preparations

1. Army ratings

Instead of dicing up and tracking unit specific BDVs, I'm going to standardize as described in an earlier post. I will treat the Prussians by their unit defaults from the Cartouche army lists, and the Reichsarmee as normal regulars, with two exceptions to add a little spice: I will arbitrarily declare the Kurpfalz guards to be elite (or have a really good day), and my Franconian compatriots of the Hohenlohe bataillon trained militia.

The Reichsarmee commander (treated as a Command Group officer due to the small size of the engagement), with a -2 DRM, rolled a natural 1 and is abysmally bad, adding two "Dress Lines" cards to the Reichsarmee sequence deck. His Prussian counterpart (+2) turned out to be skilled and adds a Brilliant Commander card.

2. Army characteristics

The Reichsarmee draws two cards (7 units, plus one elite, divided by 4): 7+6=13 morale chips (white) and 2 (red) opportunity chips.

The Prussians draw two cards, as well (6 units, plus two elites, divided by 3): Combat artillery effect and Combat cavalry effect. They replace the former (useless because there's no artillery, anyway) to draw some morale counters and get 8 (blue) chips, just making the minimum of one per unit. They retain the Combat effect that their two cavalry units melee UP 1, and get 4 red opportunity chips.

On the left: sequence deck and morale chips for the Reichsarmee, on the right for the Prussians.

3. Sequence decks

I will use simple, self printed paper slips sleeved with MtG cards for easier handling, as described in this post

Reichsarmee: Default deck, minus the artillery cards, +2 "Dress Lines" for commander quality

Prussians: Default deck, minus the artillery cards, +1 "Brilliant Commander" for commander quality

I still need to figure out whether the Native Mobility card has any purpose in this game...

Slow Mo Piquet: House Rules

I will try to dig into the Piquet rules by keeping tabs on my first game in "slow motion", i.e. noting down all preparations and game decisions.

Even before the game starts, here are a few house rules I'm going to start with (although I do think it makes sense to play by the rules as written when trying out new games...).

1. Unit BDVs

One of the things I dislike most about some tabletop rules (Games Workshop, I'm looking at you ;) are army list construction rules that require a lot of game or unit specific preparation. I don't like doing a lot of preparation of unit statistics, and tracking the individual units' stats during a game, especially for one-off games and historical context where you need and want less unit individuality than, say, in army lists for tournament or campaign play, or in a fantasy universe where creating and evolving one's own army is part of the fun.

I much prefer games like Shako with a short list of unit types, or Demonworld with printed unit statistics cards you ust have to select. So I appreciate the "Quick BDV Charts" in the Cartouche rules and will combine these with simple defaults to come up with a Shako-like short list of unit types and statistics.

I will use the following logic:

  • Start with BDV 8 for all (can be varied for campaigns or weather effects)
  • sort regular / elite / trained militia by unit type
    • Prussian Line Inf (incl. Fusileers) and Cav is reg, Grenadiers elite
    • Reichsarmee is reg or trained militia (e.g. 1st bat is reg, or by unit)
    • Austrians are regulars, some cav and grenadiers elite, Grenzers elite trained militia
  • Then look up on page 68ff of Cartouche to find defaults like
Grenadiers    12+1 - 10 - 10
Line                    12   - 10 -  8
Bad Freikorps  12  -   8  -  8
Cuirassiers         ×  -  12 -  8
Dragoons           ×   -  10 -  8
Hussars              ×   -   8  -  8

1st rate Grenadiers    12+1 - 10 - 10
2nd rate Grenadiers      12   - 10 -  8
1st rate Line                    12  - 10 -  8
2nd rate Line                   12  -  8  -  8
Cuirassiers                        ×   - 12 - 8
Dragoons                           ×   - 10 - 8
Hussars                             ×   -  8  -  8

Grenadiers    12+1 - 10 - 10
1st rate Line    12   - 10 -  8
2nd rate Line   12   - 10 -  8
Grenzer             10   - 12 - 10
Cuirassiers         ×   - 12 - 8
Dragoons           ×   - 10 - 8
Hussars              ×   -  8  -  8

2. Initiative

At some point I'll have to try the original initiative rules, but most of the online content I find for Piquet has variations that try to avoid multiple inititive die roll wins for the same side. 

I will use the normal rules to identify the winner of the next initiative and the number of pips, but always allocate one third (rounded down) of these pips to the loser of the die roll unless the 20 pips that end the phase are reached.

3. Marching to the battle

One of the things I loved about the rules and the game experience of the Shako optional rules for the seven years war was the option to let both armies enter the battle field in columns of march, and allow one 90 degree turn as a free kind of march movement and a 90 degree front change once units have reached their jump off point in the battle order.

I will allow the same in Piquet, i.e. start marching armies on the table with the normal move... cards, allow one 90 degree turn as normal movement on any move card and one formation change from column of march to line with a 90 degree facing change as a single pip on any move or maneuver card.

Sonntag, 19. November 2017

Infantry Regiment Kurmainz

The biggest unit for my Zinna project is done, the four bataillon Kurmainz regiment.

It was a bit of a three dimensional jigsaw puzzle to arrange the minis on their bases so that the muskets of each rank don't push aside the rank in front, and to allow use of the same bases for normal tabletop gaming and for a three rank, large unit display setup.

Here is the four bataillon setup with six-base, 24-mini, one flag bataillons:

And this is the large unit setup:

The flags are taken from some tabletop web site and speculative. However, many aspects seem to have been standard practice in the various German units, e.g. the general pattern with colored stripes in the unit's or its home territor's colors; the use of the region's or owner's arms on the Imperial eagle, and the initials of the ruler, are normal practice, so this is a rather likely and credible version.

Workbench: Kurmainz and Plettenberg completed

Well, it's hardly taken me more than a year to complete the units shown in the last two workbench updates here and here.

Here are some snapshots of the units before they get their protective glossy varnish, and from assembling the units for display and the tabletop.

Freshly paintend minis before the varnish is applied

Speculative flags for the Kurmainz Infantry regiment

Test setup in the four 6-base, 24-mini bataillons for tabletop gaming

Test setup for the display as a large, 24-base, 96-man bataillon in three ranks

Sonntag, 5. November 2017

Flachfiguren auf dem Marsch

Das letzte Shakospiel ist auf halber Strecke hängengeblieben und wird jetzt abgeräumt, um einer ersten Runde Piquet Platz zu machen.

Ein paar hübsche Fotos gibts aber doch, die packe ich hier einfach mal rein.

Aufmarsch in Marschkolonne

Die Infantrie marschiert auf das Dorf zu, die Kavallerie (die preussischen Husaren wurden auf den linken Flügel teleportiert) setzen zu einem ersten Angriff bzw. einem weiten Umfassungsmanöver an

Die Hohenzollern-Kürassiere stecken eine verheerende Salve von den preussischen Füsilieren ein und müssen sich zurückziehen - gerade rechtzeitig um die Husaren an einem ungestörten Durchmarsch in den Rücken der Reichsarmee zu hindern

Infantrie beginnt den Aufmarsch auf das Dorf in der Mitte

Kavalleriegefecht auf der rechten Flanke der Kaiserlichen

Piquet Shopping List

Piquet doesn't only have unusual gaming mechanics, it also needs some special accessoires. Here are some notes how I intend to cover for these.

Dice: not being a paper-and-pen roleplayer, I do't have matching dice from D3#4 to D12 lying around. I'll probably use the D6 and D20 I have (and ignore higher rolls than allowed by the situation) until I come across a nice set by accident.

  • once per side: up to 30-50 or so for morale (maybe use two colors, one for 5s and one for 1s)
  • once: 20 initiative pips
  • once per side: 5-8 opportunity initiative pips (can be same color for each side)
  • optional: counter for sequence deck cards to be discarded (e.g. routed units)
This could be done with 20 each of six colors of poker chips, this is the set I'll try to use. It is a very cheap set from some Amazon online shop.

  • morale and stratagem cards: I will use the normal poker deck from the set of poker chips - from the pinted cards that come with the rules it is obvious that the rules originally used such a deck, too, so why not?
  • for the custom, army specific sequence decks that make Piquet so special, allow customizing armies to reflect national characteristics and specific battle events: I have printed my own on small slips of paper, and inserted these on top of old Magic-Cards into the simple, transparent penny sleeves. Pictures are partly photos of my minis as shown on this blog, partly from the Internet (so I cannot shere these - Copyright forbid...)
Sample cards from my sequence deck for the Imperial army (left) and the Prussians (right)
Unit state markers
Unnits can have many different states, and some players use markers like casualry caps, pipecleaners in different colors, small dice, or bases with minis or stones as indicators for these. I will try to continue what I started for Shako, i.e. using the arrangement of the bases in a unit to indicate status:
  • fired (i.e. waiting for a reload card): cotton wool
  • square: six bases can be arranged into a neat square without gaps or weird corners
  • skirmish: I think I will not allow units to switch between line and skirmish formation within a game, and base units starting as skirmishers with only 3 minis per base, maybe even 6 minis on square bases (then three per unit, not six)
  • disordered / blown: bases slightly unaligned with a few millimeters distance
  • casualties marked by removing stand (as I have six bases per infantry bataillon, there is always something left as long as the unit is half way usable)
  • routed: facing backwards, small distance between bases which are not nicely aligned

Sonntag, 8. Oktober 2017

Prussian Staff

To make my armies more gaming ready I need to start adding some specials like HQ units. I started with a brigade (or small army) staff for the Prussians. Basically I bought one set of staff officers, and painted them with uniforms of some units I already have, or plan to add to, my Zinna OOB. Plus one officer in the generic staff officer uniform of future-generals-in-training and guest staff officers from allied nations, and a Feldjäger holding the horse for the staff officer getting or bringing instructions to the guy seated at the map table.

Painted, but no clear coat yet (still mounted on the wooden stick I use to hod minis while painting them)
Individual minis set directly on the tabletop
The minis mounted on the oval brigade / army staff base