Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Solo Piquet Tutorial Part 5: The Battle of Cross Keys

The battle continues.  10:30 a.m. turn.  New Initiative.
Confederates 23 morale chips.  Union 8 morale chips.

Initiative Roll (d20)
Union 16 / Confederates 3; Union win 13 IP

At this point, Fremont needed to do a little soul-searching.  His morale chips were low to begin the battle and now the Union were down to only 8 morale chips.  I scrapped the initial idea of a quick rush across the creek because frankly, I didn't think the Union had the stomach to handle the losses.  Instead, I adjusted my strategy and planned to move the Union artillery battery to a position where it could pin and damage the defenders at range while the Union attack columns would head across the creek to the west in an effort to outflank the 15th Alabama.  Otherwise, the battle might be over before my reinforcements came on at 11:00.

  • Flipped Artillery Move card (12 IP).
  • Limbered up artillery battery (11 IP).
  • Flipped Dress Lines card (10 IP).  This a waste card.
  • Flipped Command Indecision card (0 IP).  Dang it!  If you remember, this is one of two cards that were added to the Sequence deck because Fremont is Abysmal.  It wipes out the remaining impetus and really hurts since the Union had a good impetus run going.
Initiative Roll (d20)
Union 15 / Confederates 6;  Union win 1 IP because Phase pool is down to 1.
  • Flipped Melee Resolution card (0 IP).  No units in contact to melee.
Initiative Roll (d20)
Union 9 / Confederates 16; Confederates win 7 IP
  • Flipped Dress Lines card (6 IP).
  • Flipped Move in Difficult Terrain card (5 IP).  Confederates are cycling through the deck looking for their other Musket Reload card.
  • Flipped Infantry Move in Open card (4 IP).
  • Flipped Maneuver card (3 IP).
  • Flipped Melee Resolution card (2 IP).
  • Flipped Deployment card (1 IP).
  • Flipped Artillery Reload card (0 IP).  Confederate artillery doesn't arrive until 11:00 a.m.
Initiative Roll (d20)
Union 19 / Confederates 11; Union win 8 IP
  • Flipped Dress Lines card (7 IP).
  • Flipped Artillery Move card (6 IP).
Limbered battery moves out in accordance with
Fremont's whims and dreams.
  • Moved limbered artillery battery (5 IP).  I moved the limbered battery down the hill to the left and left them behind the 45th New York Regiment.  The 45th will stay there and screen the battery until I can get them safely unlimbered.  The Piquet gods only know when that might happen!
  • Flipped Dress Lines card (4 IP).
  • Flipped Dress Lines card (3 IP).
  • Flipped Infantry Move in Open card (2 IP).
  • Move routed unit (1 IP).  Routed units have to move on all Move cards at a cost of 1 IP each, so that stupid routing unit just burned an IP I really wanted to use to move my infantry.  I wanted to pay 2 IP and move the 3 regiments of the entire brigade's second line all together in a 45 degree maneuver/move to begin my flanking move.  When units are "in command" you get a discount and can move the units together for the same cost of moving one of them.  I have to burn this last IP, so my choices are to fire the 45th NY for 1 IP at the 15th AL or to just move one of the infantry regiments.  
  • Move an infantry regiment obliquely ( 0 IP).  Oblique movement is a normal move and costs just 1 IP.  The Infantry Move card is still face up and in play, so I can use it to move other units when I get more impetus.
    Union movement.

Initiative Roll (d20)
Union 6 / Confederates 13; Confederates win 5 IP because Phase pool is down to 5.
  • Flipped Maneuver card (4 IP).
  • Flipped Deployment card (3 IP)
  • Flipped Musket Reload card (2 IP).
  • Fired 15th Alabama at 45th NY (1 IP).  I have to check for the quality of the 15th Alabama again because the last result I rolled for them was Vacillating.  I roll a d20 and get a "15" ("14" die roll +1 for Confederate infantry in 1862).  This makes them Ready and is their quality for the rest of the game.  Their dice will be Fire d12/ Melee d8/ Morale d8.
  • 45th NY spends an opportunity impetus chip to opportunity fire at the 15th AL (1 OP).  After seeing what happened to the other NY regiment,  the Union isn't going to just stand by and get blasted.  Since they are opportunity firing against enemy fire, the effects will be simultaneous.  I rolled quality for the 45th NY ( a regular regiment) and rolled a "19"!  They are Determined!  Their dice will be Fire d12+1 / Melee d10 / Morale d10.  Okay, finally some luck for the boys in blue!
  • Confederate fire is DOWN1 for shooting at a target in Extended Line.  No other modifiers.  d12 Fire die modified down to a d10 vs. a d6 defensive die.  "1" vs. a "6".  No effect.  Union fire is No Change with modifiers of UP1 for First Fire and DOWN1 for target in Extended Line.  d12+1 vs. a defensive d6.  "4" vs. "3".  1 hit but they need 3 hits to cause a stand loss.  Trimble is marked for Officer Risk since one of his units took a hit.  Both units are marked as unloaded, but....
  • 15th Alabama reloads on the Musket Reload card (0 IP).
Initiative Roll (d20)
Union 16 / Confederates 20; Confederates win 4 IP.

15th Alabama in action.
  • Flipped Melee Resolution card (3 IP).
  • Flipped Artillery Move card (2 IP).
  • Flipped Elite Reload card (1 IP).  This caused Fremont to groan since the 15th AL is an elite regiment and can reload on this card.
  • 15th AL fired at 45th NY again! (0 IP).  Same modifier as the previous shot.  45th NY is unloaded so it can't opportunity fire even though the Union has 1 more opportunity impetus pip.  d10 vs. d6.  "9" vs. a "4".  Difference of 5 means the 45th NY loses 1 stand (for every 3 hits).  The Union army also loses another morale chip for the stand loss (down to 7).  
  • Confederates challenge the morale of the 45th NY.  45th NY has a d10 Morale die.  Modifiers: Both flanks protected UP1 / 1 stand loss this turn DOWN1 / Initially full strength UP1 / Enemy is Near but not Close UP1.  Overall UP2 to a d12+1.  d12+1 vs. a d6 because the Union caused 1 stand loss (d4 for no stand loss, d6 for 1 stand, d8 for 2, d10 for 3).  "6" vs. a "5".  They actually tied the die roll but the 45th NY passed because of the d12+1.  Confederates pay a morale chip because they unsuccessfully challenged (down to 22).
Initiative Roll (d20)
Union 5 / Confederates 15; Confederates win 10 IP.  Brutal.

  • 15th AL reloads on the Elite Reload card (9 IP).
  • Flipped Heroic Moment card (8 IP).  This card allows to improve the quality of the next card in some way or it can be used as an UP1 to a fire action...
  • 15th AL fired at 45th NY (7 IP).  This shot is now a d12 because of the bonus from the Heroic Moment card.  d12 vs. a d6.  "12" vs. "1".  Difference of 11, 3 stands lost.  45th NY is obliterated.  3 more Union morale chips are lost (down to 4).  And the limbered battery is now exposed, but 15th AL is marked as unloaded.  Finally.
  • Flipped Officer Check card (6 IP).  No actions needed, but Trimble has to check for Officer Risk because 15th AL took a hit earlier.  He needs to beat a "1" on a d20 and rolled an "18".
  • Flipped Move in Difficult Terrain card (5 IP).
  • Flipped Heroic Moment card (4 IP).
  • Flipped Dress Lines card (ignored because it followed the Heroic Moment card).
  • Flipped Infantry Move in Open card (3 IP).
  • Flipped Move in Difficult Terrain card (2 IP).
  • Flipped Artillery Reload card (1 IP).
  • Flipped Artillery Move card (0 IP).
Confederates are done with their Sequence deck.  The turn ends and it is now 11:00 a.m.  The Sequence decks will be re-shuffled and reinforcements for both sides will arrive.  Current morale chips are Confederates 22 to Union 4.

The turn was fun and actually played out in about 45 minutes of game time.  I was able to drift in and out of the game room over the course of two days, playing a few Initiatives in short spurts of free time without the wife even realizing I was playing a wargame!    There was a lot of cackling and laughing as various things went wrong just as I though they might be going right.  

The hard part about solo play is I naturally start to favor one side over another as the game progresses.  Piquet really, really controls this tendency.  When I pulled the Command Indecision card, I groaned so loudly that my wife actually came in and asked what the heck was going on.  Busted!

The next report is here.
The battlefield at the end of the 10:30 a.m. turn.


  1. Although more fun face to face, Piquet is really a lot of fun to play solo, and really prevents your favoritism from unduly impacting the outcome; my first 3-4 games at least were solo while I learned the rules. I cannot think of any other wargames rules nearly so well sited to solo play!

  2. Another good report. One question though: it was my understanding that when rolling for vascilating troops it was only rolled the first time that it was required not every time. I don't have my rule book on me so i may be wrong.

  3. Vacillating means you roll again later for the quality. A second Vacillating result makes then Battle Weary.