Command Piquet covers the period from approximately 1700 to 1900. This time period provides some of the most colorful gaming opportunities available. Command Piquet is a stand alone game - no additional supplements are necessary for play. Command Piquet includes ratings for the War of the Spanish Succession, Great Northern War, Jacobite Rebellion, Seven Years War, American War of Independence, Napoleonic Wars, Mexican American War, Crimean War, American Civil War, Austro-Prussian War, Franco-Prussian War, and the colonial conflicts in Zululand and the Sudan. The same basic rules and procedures are used for all of the different periods. Period specific rules (see 9.0 Period Rules) are provided to add color and unique features to the different wars covered by Command Piquet.
Command Piquet games can be played in one of two scales - Tactical or Grand Tactical. Tactical scale games tend to involve up to 1 or 2 divisions per side (6 to 30 units) , while Grand Tactical scale games can involve up to 1 or 2 corps per side (6 to 30 units). The two game scales use exactly the same rules; only the ground (weapon ranges) and time scales are different. This allows a wide variety of scenarios to be played to cover both large and small battles.
Gamers familiar with Piquet will find Command Piquet to follow the same design philosophy, while providing a game that is much quicker to prepare to play. Command Piquet puts the emphasis on command and officer ability to attempt to meet tactical challenges, while adding built-in morale results to combat.
Command Piquet uses randomly determined Initiative Points to pay for unit actions, and a randomly shuffled Sequence Card Deck to govern when specific actions can be taken. Games will not necessarily have an equal number of Initiative Points for each side. Command Piquet rewards proper planning and efficient use of assets (units, Initiative Points, and Sequence Cards). Remember that while randomly determined Initiative and Sequence may not appear to be fair - there are two key design elements to Command Piquet:
1) Combat isn't fair!
2) Combat doesn't happen in a fixed sequence!
While the physical size of the Command Piquet book may appear intimidating, the rule text includes numerous examples and designer’s notes in order to thoroughly explain the rules and the designer’s intent. The easiest way to learn to play Command Piquet is to read the sections that discuss specifics of movement and combat, and then read the descriptions of actions available on each card. The game mechanics and main combat modifiers are easily memorized. Don’t worry about memorizing individual rules! Quickly read through the card definitions and get a feel for the decisions that will be required during a game. During the first game or two, play with a limited number of units (6 to 12 units per side is ideal for quickly learning the rules). Players will find themselves referring to the card definitions as the cards appear. After a short learning phase, minimal rules reference is required during play. Command Piquet is a mechanically very simple game to play, with very few table references required. Good play will require judicious use of Initiative Points with an eye on the tactical plan in order to make the best use of the assets that are available. Just because a card is available to take an action doesn’t mean that it is a good thing to do!