Piquet (PK)

core rules set

Brief Description

This rules system is intended to provide a "new and refreshing approach to gaming." The Core Rules can be combined with any of a wide variety of historical supplements in order to provide a complete game for almost any historical period.

Central to the concept behind this game system is the notion that a rigid sequence of play can never represent the chaos of a real battlefield. Instead, Piquet (pronounced pee-KAY) centers around the Sequence Deck and the use of Impulse Pips.

Essentially, both players dice for possession of a pool of Impulse Pips (also called Impetus Points). Each pip can be spent to allow one unit or command group to perform one action. However, the only action allowed is that declared on the current Sequence Card. A pip can also be spent to draw the next card in the Sequence Deck.

The Sequence Cards control when movement and combat take place, as well as morale checks and leadership tests. Each player has his own deck, which is customized depending upon the nature of his army and leaders - for instance, great leaders get the equivalent of "wild cards" in their deck, while poor leaders are saddled with "do nothing" or "lose pips" cards.

Armies can be built on a point basis, on a "standard formula" basis, or from historical orders of battle. Modified dierolls determine quality ratings for leaders and units. A draw of Army Characterization cards determine an army's Morale Chip total, and may grant Stratagems (unique pre-battle events) or special qualities (for instance, extra movement for cavalry, or a combat bonus for missle weapons).

Combat is determined by a simple comparison of opposing die rolls, with the margin determining the number of figures lost. Units are assigned various dice for different operations, so that - for instance - a unit with more firepower might have a 12-sided firepower die rather than a 4-sided die. Modifiers apply due to circumstances.

Morale tests are required by two types of cards, and are either unit-specific (for units that suffered casualties) or army-wide. Cavalry units may also force opposing units to test morale. Units which fail a morale check may become disordered or routed, and routed units may or may not be recoverable.

Period Historical, all periods (see supplements for specific periods covered)
25mm scale15mm scale
Ground Scale 1" = 25 yards1" = 40 yards
Time Scale1 turn = 30 minutes1 turn = 40 minutes
Figure Scale Each figure represents 40-60 men
Each model represents 2-3 guns
Miniature ScalesWritten for use with 25mm figures, but conversions for 15mm are provided
"Piquet will work with any mounting system, and any organization as long as the opposing armies are consistent with each other."
Recommended Basing
Unit Type*Figures per Stand** Stand Size
width x depth
15mm scale25mm scale
1.5" x .75"2.25" x 1"
Artillery1 gun
3 crew
1.5" x 1.5"2.25" x 2.25"
Armor/Vehicles12" x 3"2" x 3"
* each of these types are broken into sub-types - for instance, Light, Medium, Heavy, and Extra Heavy Cavalry
** Number varies per sub-type - for instance, Extra Heavy Cavalry uses 3 figures, 2 figures for all other cavalry types

The Piquet core rules are not a stand-alone product - they require the use of one of the period supplements. The Core Rules come in an envelope which contains:

  • 84-page Master Rules for Wargaming booklet
    core rules booklet
  • two identical reference cards (one red, one blue)
    blue ref card
  • two identical sheets of markers (one yellow, one green - must be cut out)
    markers sheet
  • deck of Army Characterization cards
    card backcard front
  • Impulse display
    impulse display
  • two metal "hands" for the Impulse display
  • command caliber (measuring device)
  • dice (4-, 6-, 8-, 10-, 12-, and 20-sided)
    clock hands, dice, and caliber
Designer Bob Jones
Publisher Published by Piquet, Inc. First edition published 1996. Second edition published 1998.

A detailed description of the system is also available.

Supplements Available

MedievalBand of Brothers
Seven Years War
American Revolution
NapoleonicsLes Grognards
American Civil WarHallowed Ground
ColonialThe Din of Battle
WWIIPoint of Attack

Future Products
coming late '98
Thirty Years War
English Civil War
Anchor of Faith
Mexican-American War
Crimean War
Cap & Ball
(all periods)
Colorful Events Deck
(all periods)
Good Old Flashy!

What You Think

Let me begin by saying that I'm a huge fan of Piquet and its Ancients supplement, Archon.

I've been wargaming Ancients on-and-off since 1981, starting out with WRG 6th and Shock of Impact. Neither really captured the excitement of ancient battle for me, with all their little independent units behaving more like modern armored battalions than rigid formations of ancient warriors, in my honest opinion. I prefer historical refights to tournament competitions, so WRG 7th seemed like a huge step backward to me, with all sorts of gimmicky troop types, so I stopped gaming for a few years.

When the new crop of Ancients rulesets came out in the early 1990's, I decided to give them a try. DBA and DBM were just too much like playing chess using a computer manual for my tastes, with all the individual color of various nationalities drained away to make it possible, e.g. for New Kingdom Egyptians to fight Norman Knights in tournament competitions. Tactica caught my excitement for a while, but the heavy restrictions on movement and single-number differential values caused battles to become rather stereotyped after a while. Armati appeared to be an attempt to make the Tactica system more like the tournament-oriented DBM, and just didn't appeal to me. I liked the attention to historical formations and troop types found in Ancient Empires, but the huge numbers of charts and tables guaranteed that a battle would wind down into a mind-numbing attritional slog-fest that seemed never to come to any real conclusion.

I was just about ready to call it quits a second time, when the Piquet system and Archon appeared. One battle and I was hooked! With armies full of individual character and period flavor, semi-randomized turn sequence, and capability of handling one-time special occurences with ease, Archon has at last made it possible for me to wargame battles with all the excitement of the battles reported in ancient accounts. Commanders must prepare for unexpected turns of events and changes of fortune, which happen all the time in an Archon battle. Since it is virtually impossible for mini-maxers to precisely calculate the odds of a given battlefield action, commanders are encouraged to make the smae kind of generalized, on-the-fly judgements that their ancient counterparts did.

Archon is truly different from any other ancients ruleset out there, and because of its de-emphasis on numbers-crunching in favor of the less quantifiable aspects of morale and command, it may not be every wargamer's "cup of tea." But for me, Archon is the first set of rules to accurately capture the wild swings of fortune and morale that I've read about in ancient battle accounts, and it has turned out to be exactly what I've been searching for all these years in an Ancients ruleset!

Nick Stern (jestern@home.com)
I've played three Piquet games using the Din of Battle colonial supplement, and have enjoyed them very much. In my opinion, they are very well suited for the colonial period because they supply that factor of uncertainty so lacking in most colonial rules systems. The games were GM'd by Freddie Avner, who's doing a great job of proselytizing the system here in the SF Bay Area.

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Online Resources

Publisher's Website
Product descriptions, designer notes, guestbook forums, and links. Includes a FAQ, news, scenarios, battle and campaign reports, downloadable playaids, house rules, upcoming convention appearances, a players index, and list of useful links.
Piquet Heretics
The Heretics (heretics@orun.dircon.co.uk) have come up with some house rules to improve play, concentrating on the Napoleonic period.
The Piquet Mailing List
Automated forum for discussing the rules and learning about the latest products. Only members can post to it. To join, email listproc@IntNet.net and type
SUBSCRIBE pkmailer [your e-mail address] [your name]
in the first line of the body of the message. Maintained by Cris Brown (nsbrown@IntNet.net).
Piquet Dispatch on Magweb
This is a sample article from the Piquet Dispatch, the official Piquet news letter. Magweb members can access all issues of the newsletter; non-members can access only this sample article.
Clarifications for the 2nd Edition Core Rules
We posed some rule questions, and with the help of the PK mailing list, came up with some answers.
Piquet Rules
Rules for the 15th Century card game which the miniatures rules are named after.
Piquet: Game Report
Another version of the card game.
To Play Piquet
Another card game webpage.

If you know of other resources for this game, please let us know by sending email to the editor. If you have material you would like to make available to the Net, also let us know.

Last Updates
9 June 2003updated URL for official site
17 April 1999comments by ancientgamer2003
27 January 1999added Nick's comments
5 January 1999new site for Piquet Heretics
24 September 1998rules clarifications added
Comments or corrections?