Saturday, August 23, 2014

Six PDF Rules sets available from Piquet, Inc.

Brent Oman at Piquet, Inc is gradually making a number of titles available in PDF form. While I personally still prefer printed rules in most cases, the lower price of PDF's makes it easy and economical to explore rules you're uncertain about, there are no postage charges (especially good for overseas customers), and there is (nearly) instant gratification. Finally, they don't take up space on the bookshelf or in the basement, etc!  All can be purchased by sending Brent PayPal payment:  Brent will send off the pdf when payment has been received. I've dealt with Brent on multiple levels for many years now, and he is very reliable!  As of today, these include the following, in order of PDF release:

1) PKowboys (Western Gunfight Rules)

 PKowboys is available for $12. The rules include all the needed play and card sheets. Author: Jeff Grossman.

From the rules -
"Pkowboys is intended to represent skirmish combat between rival gangs (outlaws, lawmen, gunslingers, and townsfolk) in the American West between 1860 and 1900. Players represent the leaders of different gangs, or in large battles a player may act as the leader of multiple gangs."

Designer Notes

I suspect most miniatures rules sets start out the same way – the author is frustrated with the some aspect of his current rules and sets out to fix things. I’m an exception to this rule. I had a perfectly decent set of “gunslinger” rules that had served my gaming group well for many years. Instead of trying to “fix” this rules set, I decided to bring some of the concepts from the Piquet rules sets to the Wild West.

Almost immediately I was beset with the impossibility of using the Piquet initiative system with a fast and lethal combat system. If the opposing gangs were in combat range, one side could be completely destroyed in one single initiative run. One of the early solutions was a variable card value system where players would play cards until they had reached their points limit. Someone joked that if the limit was set at 21, we’d be playing Blackjack! From this moment, our series of confused gaming sessions quickly gelled into the set of rules you’re now holding.

Here are the principles behind the design of Pkowboys. If you find a gap in the rules, use your best judgment and follow these guidelines to resolve the dispute.

Western combat was quick and decisive. Gun battles lasted minutes or seconds.
Any shot has the chance of being lethal.
Many gunfighters lost their nerve and fled when under fire.
Leadership was as important with gangs of outlaws or lawmen as it was in large battles.
The Jesse James/Wild Bill Hickock Theory: being unlucky is a bad thing no matter how good you are.
Gunfight tactics in a nutshell: move into a good position and shoot like mad.

Peter's note: I own a copy, but haven't played them, as I'm not a big skirmish games fan; my tendencies run more towards megalomania! Here's a post from another blog from a few years back about the rules: LINK

2) Blunders on the Danube (1809 Scenarios)

Blunders on the Danube is available as a PDF for $15 This one ought to be familiar to most of you!  :-) 

This book contains more than 20 scenarios for use with Brent Oman’s excellent rules for Wargaming in Miniature, Field of Battle published by Piquet in 2006. The scenarios range from quite small (Klagenfurt) to enormous (Wagram). Many of these scenarios would be almost as useful for Les Grognards, 2nd edition, the Napoleonic module for the Piquet Master Rules for wargaming. With some effort, they shouldn't be hard to adapt for use with other rules systems as well. For more information including the list of scenarios, see the 1809 Scenarios tab on this blog.

Peter's note: I think this is one case where the PDF may even be better (as well as cheaper) than the printed book, as you can easily print off the just the scenario you want, when you want to use it, along with the associated OOB's/Rosters. I designed the book to make it easy to photocopy the necessary pages in that fashion, but printing them is even easier!

3) Theatre of War (Campaign System).

Theatre of War, the Piquet campaign system, is available in PDF format for $15. Author: Brent Oman.

Theatre of War was written to allow miniature-based campaigns that provide linked, tactical tabletop games with a larger meaning. In itself, this is not a unique goal for a campaign system. However, Theatre of War is designed to be used with miniature collections of existing, fixed sizes (no more collecting and painting forces for the next game just in order to meet the order of battle requirements!) and provide an entertaining background for a campaign with a definite result. Quite often, miniature campaigns end up as an exercise in map movement, followed by a couple of large games as all available forces concentrate in a clump at one map location. Inevitably, the resulting tabletop games turn out to be games with every figure each campaign participant owns, lined up on opposite sides and marching forward into a meeting engagement! A fatal
flaw in many campaign systems is the transition from the large campaign map to the smaller tabletop tactical map. Theatre of War provides a system of  determining the tactical scenario, based on decisions made by the campaign players.

Peter's note:  I think ToW is a brilliant concept. It will usually generate 3-5 battles per campaign, so that you really can play a campaign to a conclusion! It is designed for use with traditional Piquet supplements. It would be fairly easy top adapt to Field of battle/Pulse of Battle, and Hostile Realms. It would be harder but not at all impossible to adapt for use with non Piquet family systems. My friend Dave, out in LA, did a marvelous series on his blog detailing the adaptation and use of ToW for a campaign using (my) Hostile Realms rules. Well worth reading if you're at all interested in either! LINK (last to first, scroll down to start at the beginning.

4) Les Gronards, 2nd Edition (Classic Piquet - Napoleonic Supplement)

Les Grognards, 2nd Edition is available as a PDF for $15. Author: Brent Oman.

Les Grognards is a "classic Piquet" supplement, covering the Napoleonic wars. LG2 includes rules for 3 different game scales: Company scale (basic infantry unit is a company), Battalion scale (the infantry unit is a battalion), and Grand Tactical scale (infantry unit is a brigade/regiment). LG2 also includes Horizon Moveent rules for the Battalion and Grand Tactical scale games. Horizon Movement eliminates virtually all measuring for movement, with movement instead based on terrain and enemy unit positions. The rules include lists for 37 armies as well as rating recommendations. Ownership of the Master rules is required.

Peter's note: I helped play test and used LG2 extensively until Field of Battle came out, and I think it's still a great rules set for 1-2 players a side. I used it for Dennewitz, 1813 at Historicon 2005, and was handed a GM award by Pete Panzeri there for same. There are a lot of different options/variants in LG2, including the Horizon  Movement option, an idea originally championed by another wargames friend, Jim Getz. I used a Domino impetus variant proposed by Bob Jones for that game and it worked well. The "hand of cards" is another fun variant for LG2 and other "classic" Piquet games. The Piquet Master Rules (only $5 in print form) are definitely needed to play or understand LG2!

5) Field of Battle, WW1

For the 100th anniversary year of the start of WW1, Pat Wingfield's new rule set "Field of Battle WW1" was released in PDF format. It is available for $19.

The rules cover 1914-1918. More details from Pat:
These rules are written to allow the players to recreate Corps and higher level battles of WWI. They use battalions as the combat element, brigades or regiments as the maneuver element and divisions as the command level. While designed with 6mm figures in mind the rules will work well with any size of figure. The ground scale is 1” to 100yds.
This set of rules started life as an attempt to simply modify the Field of Battle WWII rules to reflect conditions some 25 years earlier. However, the troop density and the change in technology, military thought and tactics during WWI means these rules have many differences to the WWII set, while retaining the overall concept.
Innovations in these rules include the use of battalions as the combat element in open field operations but company level units within trenches. There are also simple but effective pre-offensive bombardment rules that may make all the difference to the success or failure of an assault.
Organization Tables, that are segregated by nationality and year of operation, are supplied for the main protagonists.
There are also a large number of examples and designers notes to help the players pick up the rule mechanics.
The rules are supplied as a pdf and the contents page and internal references are all hyperlinked allowing easy rule reference finding. While the rules have been produced so that they are convenient to use on a tablet computer they can also be printed as a hard copy.

Peter's note: While World War 1 isn't my thing ordinarily (see my famed "anti-khaki rule"), I enjoyed playing in Tim's Latema Nek game at Historicon (not sure if Tim used these relatively recently released rules, IIRC), and now Jared and I have a date to play a Russian Civil War game using his 15mm figures next month!

6) Grand Piquet

Grand Piquet 2nd Edition is available for $12 US as a PDF file.  Author: Jim Mauro

Grand Piquet is Jim Mauro's take on grand tactical Napoleonic gaming with the Piquet fog of war view of the battlefield. A fairly simple game that enables very large games to be played.

From the back cover:

Many changes were made for this new edition of Grand Piquet. The Army commander now plays a more pivotal role in the command and control of a Corps. These formations no longer move whenver or wherever they wish. A D12 is now the basis for all initiative rolls, which effectively eliminates the need for phases, as well as mitigates the wild swings in initiative. The Sequence decks have been radically altered. Now there are Action cards, by type of unit (e.g. Infantry Action card), whereby there is much greater flexibility in actions taken by units. Also, the basic Sequence deck is now made up of 20 cards, instead of 28. The combat system is based primarily on Target type, so there are fewer modifiers to calculate. The basic concept of "chipping" within the morale system is intact, yet there is no need to keep track of morale chips. Unit/sub unit designations are determined by numbers of men and not by regiment. Players determine the size and make up of a unit, thereby effectively tailoring each Command Group to a particular situation or task. These are but a few of the changes that have been made.

Grand Piquet has never received the attention that it has deserved - give it a try; I think you'll be rewarded with a unique and fun game experience.

Peter's note: Jim ran a great game based upon Aspern-Essling using the first edition of these rules and his 6mm figures back in ? 2001. IIRC I played one command of the outnumbered French, and not very successfully. That damned bridge kept getting smashed by the flotsam and jetsam floating down from Vienna courtesy of the Kaiserlicks! I used GPK2 (with Jim's help) for a huge Dresden battle at Historicon 2003. GPK is quite unlike any other Piquet family game, and the unique mechanics really make you feel like you're fighting a battle, personally! It is a game best used for fighting the major battles of the Napoleonic wars, with 15mm or smaller figures, and at least 3 players a side - the more players, the greater the chaos of war! A player commands a Corps. I have pdf files of full color cards for these that I made for the Dresden game for anyone who's interested. The new  pdf version  is an ideal way to check out this unique rules set. There is a handful of erata and optional rules/suggestions from Jim in the files section of the Piquet Yahoo group which should also be downloaded (you have to join the group, even if you quit right after you download them): 
LINK. Scroll all the way to the bottom for the Grand Piquet Word document (rules updates - clarifications). Also there  in a folder called Grand Piquet are a set of card files with detailed descriptions of the possible actions for each card - not as pretty as the ones I designed for my own use, but perhaps more functional!

** Disclaimer: Note that with the obvious exception of Blunders, I have no financial stake in any of these, and regardless, anyone who thinks that 98% of miniature wargames rules (etc) authors make any meaningful profit from their efforts has never written or published a set themselves! Regardless, I consider all of these gentlemen to be friends of mine.



  1. It's great that more and more rules producers are making them available in pdf format. As you point out, it makes obtaining and reviewing a set of rules much easier. Then, if they look prospective, it's easy to print a copy so that they may be more easily leafed through and looked at by all.

    Peter, could you please send me an email with Brent's email address? The 'contact us' section of his website is not working and I'd like to get a pdf copy of those excellent 1809 scenarios!

    1. James: Brent's email is as above:

      but I also sent it to you directly in an email. :=-)