PiquetWhen these rules first appeared a few years ago, I was vaguely interested, since I have a nasty habit of purchasing new rules for no apparent reason. But the price was a little steep, so I let them be.
A couple of years passed, and through a strange set of circumstances, I found myself urging a friend of mine to dust off those "Piquet" rules he'd bought (and never opened) to use them with his new brigade of Austrian Napoleonic troops. We did...and we never looked back.
The rules are different from most others, which seems to cause a love or hate relationship with them. Some gamers dislike them, others love 'em. I'm in the latter category, and have been since I first played them   Why? A number of reasons.
The Command and Control rules. Elegantly and simply, your control over your troops is limited. Read the primary accounts of historical battles. I find it amazing that generals could exert any control whatsoever over the battle.   Piquet simulates this nicely. It is similar to the DBA pip control system in some respects. The finite number of pips limit the tabletop general's ability to move all his troops. There are some differences however.
The Fog of War. In most rules a player can quickly judge threats. That is, he usually knows how far the enemy can move in one turn and by measuring on the table (or eyeballing the distance, depending on your houserules) can calculate how many turns it will take before that unit can move up to threaten yours.
Piquet eliminates that ridiculous foreknowledge. This is because Piquet does not have a fixed turn sequence. A deck of cards provides the randomly determined sequence of events. Units can only perform certain actions when specific cards are turned over. So a unit of horse may move 12" in good going, but it can only move when the card "Cavalry Move in Open" is turned over. Both players therefore have no idea when the card will appear. If it ever does appear. Most often a turn is over before the deck is exhausted. It is possible that the card will never even appear during a turn. (Murphy's law - especially if you really, really need a certain card).
Obviously the card system also eliminates the artificial I move/you move/I fire/you fire type game. Now it is possible for a unit of cavalry to move twice before a an infantry unit gets to form square. Not probable, but possible. (As happened at Bad Sausagehausen). It also incidently makes the decision of when exactly to form square (or line, or deploy from column) much more interesting.
Tweaking. Miniature wargaming, unlike board wargaming, has a much more relaxed attitude with respect to rules. A lot of players have great fun writing their own homebrew rules. Others can't resist tinkering with a commercially produced set. Piquet is wonderfully easy to modify. Each army has its own unique deck of cards. For example - the Prussian artillery at Königgrätz in 1866 was poorly handled. To simulate this in a scenario, the Prussian player may only have one artillery move card and just one artillery reload card. The opposing Austrians, who used their artillery very effectively in this battle, might have two or three cards of each in their deck.
Excitement! Finally Piquet generates more excitement and fun than any other ruleset I have tried. Not only is the uncertainty more "realistic" but this very uncertainty also creates a sense of suspense. I always feel as if I'm teetering on the brink of disaster when I'm playing Piquet. (Which may be more of a comment on my playing skills than the Piquet rules). It is this suspense and tenseness that combine to make a game of Piquet a lot of fun.
And when it comes right down to it, that's what I'm here for. Fun. All in all, I heartily recommend giving Piquet a try.
Some Piquet links -