The following questions were posed to the PK mailing list (special thanks to Cris Brown, Eric Burgess and Andy Finkel), and elicited this general advice:
I think you'd be remiss to present any given interpretation (even Bob Jone's) as "official"... because that's simply not the PK way. :)
One of PK's strengths is that it's a very robust system. Players can change quite a bit -- especially on detail questions -- and the game will play just fine.
Our questions also generated this reply from Bob Jones, designer of Piquet:
Your questions on minutae and your tortured and deliberate attempts at misreading the text, can only mean you work for a government agency, or have a more subtle agenda. Or maybe years of looking for the worm in the apple, the "hidden" meaning of Barker's texts, or Armati's fascination with increments of advantage, have so colored your outlook that you feel you must beat every english sentence senseless so it admits every possible meaning?
We thought we were just asking some basic rules questions, but out of fairness to Bob, we wanted you to know that some people felt our questions were excessive. Judge for yourselves.
A: Officially, no. However, as a house rules, some groups play that the wheel must come before the move:
We enforce this limitation to prevent a unit being allowed to sashay up near an enemy unit, presenting a flank, and then wheel to present its front, all in one action ... before the enemy can take advantage of the flank opportunity.
The exception, for us, is that we allow units to use maneuver-advance to conform their movement to a clearly visible terrain feature -- such as a road, riverbank, or treeline -- regardless of how many twists and turns are involved. We do not allow units to conform movement to hill sections unless there are cliffs involved, on the theory that ordinary hill sections represent contour lines, which aren't visible in the real world.
Or is this an awkward way of saying that you are allowed to both "wheel and advance" as well as "advance and wheel"?
A: This applies to the sequence of activity, expressly permitting both pivot-advance and advance-pivot.
A: No. The movement card needed depends on the terrain you'll be moving into or through, and not the terrain you start in, despite what it says on pg. 36.
A: No. It can only perform one action per card. Thus, an artillery unit would need three Artillery Move cards to limber, move one bound, and unlimber at the new location. This is why it's extremely important to site your artillery well at setup; it's very difficult to shuffle artillery around during battle.
A: No. Artillery, when limbered, moves like a Column of Route formation and may freely wheel and turn as it moves. Also, when you unlimber, you can unlimber in any direction.
A: It should be the same as for infantry or cavalry. But it doesn't really matter unless you have a command group composed entirely of artillery. The minimum move is basically designed to prevent players from making niggling, inconsequential adjustments in order to move every unit in a command group (and thus keep them in command). Because artillery moving on an Artillery Move card is almost invariably out-of-command, the minimum movement really doesn't matter.
A: Yes. The idea was to make cavalry more maneuverable, and hence to make infantry more cautious when cavalry is in the area.
A: "Rough" terrain is Class II or higher. "Difficult" terrain is Class III or higher.
A: By default all units are loaded, but you may unload some for scenario purposes. E.g.: If a battle involved a surprise morning assault on a sleeping encampment, you might start some or all of the defenders "unloaded" to reflect their unpreparedness. (You might also start the defenders with no opportunity chips.)
A: Correct. It applies to elite's and guard's fire, not the fire they receive from enemy units. As I see it, this represents those famed volleys where "the staunch defenders fired as one, a single ear-splitting crack resounding above the deafening din, and the attackers fell in windrows."
A: We apply the Crushing Volley for the rest of the Phase. Others apply it for the rest of the Turn. Again, see my impression of what a "Crushing Volley" is (above). I just don't see that kind of deadly effectiveness continuing for the rest of the Turn.
A: Yes. All units that fire spend one impetus pip each. A good rule of thumb in PK is that everything costs impetus.
A: Most definitely!
A: Correct. Engaged troops are not in melee until they turn a melee resolution card and spend a pip to go into melee. When you move a unit to contact, it's assumed that you've yelled "Charge!" and the attacking unit is "somewhere en route to" the defender. It doesn't actually make contact until someone draws a Melee Resolution card and pays the pip to begin the melee. (Note that if the Initiative shifts to the defender, the defender may actually draw the card and pay the pip, in which case the defender gets the bonus for initiating contact.
Would doing this be an abuse of the intent of the rules, or is such practice an expected consequence of the command group rules?
A: Yes, you could do this...but you might find yourself in serious trouble if the action gets heavy. E.g.: Assume you have Red One and Red Two out on their own. Red One gets hit badly, and routs (16"). Red Two is out-of-command (no other unit within command radius), and now the Red Officer has two units to rescue. If CG Red is getting hit somewhere else at roughly the same time, it's going to shatter before Red Officer can catch up. Note also that units fall out-of-command if they don't perform the same action as the other units in the group. Add all of this together, and dispersing a command group as you describe sounds like a recipe for disaster.
But -- and this is an important aspect of the PK philosophy -- the rules will often permit you to do something dreadfully stupid.
A: Yes. Each command group must be led by a subordinate commander. The defintion of a command group is a collection of units, all performing the same actions, all under the same commander.
A: The C-in-C can only command one command group at a time. Also, note that whenever the C-in-C takes command of a command group, that army loses two cards from its Sequence Deck, reflecting the fact that the C-in-C is no longer free to focus on the overall battle.
A: This is explained in the Officer Check section to keep all of the leadership functions together. However, "Prevent Pursuit" is actually performed immediately after melee. (This is more of an optional rule, since it applies more to certain types of units than others.)
A: Wow, never thought of using it as a Strategem card. As we play it, the Brilliant Leader card can be used for any card in the army's deck for that battle. If the card is used for a one-time-only card - e.g.: certain strategems and optional cards - then that exhausts the card. E.g.: You have a Heroic Charge strategem, which we play as a one-time-only event. You draw a Brilliant Leader card, and decide to use this to trigger your Heroic Charge. You've now exhausted that strategem - that was the one-time-only - so you ignore (and remove) the Strategem card when it comes up.
A: Yes. You can also use back-to-back Heroic Moment cards to have two units act heroically on the next card. It is best to use your imagination with the Heroic Moment card.
A: No. Part of the penalty of the missing cards is that you don't know what cards are missing. This forces players to be more conservative, avoiding plans that will require a singleton (only one card in the deck), because that card might not be in the deck anymore.
A: We play that Morale Challenges must be declared immediately after the combat causing the hits. It can be done during the opponent's move only if you have inflicted hits with opportunity fire. If the player foregoes the challenge at that point, then he has to wait until another combat causes hits.
(Note that you do not have to inflict casualties - i.e.: enough hits to cause a stand loss - in order to issue a Morale Challenge. However, players rarely declare a morale challenge on one or two hits, because the very small likelihood of a morale failure doesn't justify spending the morale chip.)
A: Disordered troops can behave just like good order troops, although penalties apply to their dierolls in combat.
A: No. They have no combat value whatever, except whatever adjustment they lend when directly attached to units.
A: Yes to both.
A: No. When an enemy unit contacts an officer, the officer is taken out of action immediately. As a house rule, you could roll a Difficulty Check to determine whether "out of action" means killed, captured, hiding, whatever. In terms of game mechanics, it makes no difference - he's gone for the duration of this battle.
A: Yes, his cards are removed.
A: All hits must be assigned to the same stand; if it is eliminated, hits are next applied to another stand in the unit. A unit's stands have no individual identities, indeed no individual significance whatever. But collectively, they indicate the parent unit's formations and combat effectiveness. When a unit takes three hits in a single initiative, the unit has lost enough effectiveness that you remove a stand.
A: You need to apply your own LOS rules. The vast majority of cases can be handled with some very simple concepts. We generally discuss and then agree on any unusual situations. We have played for four years on this basis with no acrimony.
For instance, we would say that any terrain that would stop vision of a unit behind or in it, stops fire within it - except at point blank distance (though the class III Dn 2 would still apply). We allow units at the forward edge to fire out, but then they may be fired at. In short, the many and nefarious variations of wooded and rough terrain LOS are best left to situational resolution, or if all else fails, a Difficulty Check.
Logically, you wouldn't allow a unit to fire 11.5" (275 yards) through thick woods, right? But even if you allowed fire at 11.5" (Dn 2 for range) - assuming line formation for the horse target (NC) in Class III, which is forest (Dn2), not Deep Wood class IV (Dn3) - you are down 3 or 4 depending on first fire (what a waste of first fire!). This would mean that even a 12+1 would be a 6 or 8 and anything else a D4! It almost takes care of itself!
You can create more complex rules if you like, allowing units to see at varying distances through different terrain classes. If you feel this helps your gaming, by all means feel free. But PK throws so many other challenges at you that LOS details really don't make all that much difference.
For instance: Say a player has 4 impetus points, has spent 2 of them, and is preparing to spend another - can his opponent now say, "Surprise! I'm buying down your initiative, here are two morale chips, and your initiative is over?"
A: Initiative Buy Down must occur at the time initiative is rolled, before any impetus pips are spent.
|24 September 1998||page first published|
|Comments or corrections?|