This FAQ is an effort to consolidate many of the common rules questions that have been presented on the the Piquet Yahoo Group.  The answers in this FAQ might be changed or contradicted by specific rules in the Piquet supplements.  Since Piquet is a toolbox ruleset that usually leads to multiple variations on how certain rules are played, I will type in italics house-ruled answers or answers where there is no clear consensus in the Piquet community.

The following abbreviations will be used throughout the FAQ:
  • (MRC) Melee Resolution Card 
  • (PA) Peter Anderson, author of Band of Brothers, Hostile Realms, and Blunders on the Danube.  
  • (EB) Eric Burgess, author of Archon 2, Barrage, and Din of Battle 2. 
  • (IP) Impetus Pip

  • During the Army Characterization process, players can trade in non-morale chip ACD cards to draw ACD cards that give them morale chips.  A player cannot trade in a non-morale chip card to draw another non-morale chip ACD card.

  •  Command impetus discount.  Units in command receive a command discount for acting on a card.  All of the in-command units in the command can act for the impetus cost of a single unit activation.  For example, all of the units in a command can change formation on a Deployment card for 1 IP if they are in command.  Similarly, all of the units in the command could advance-maneuver if the player paid 2 IP for that command.
  • Mixed commands.  In many Piquet supplements, cavalry and artillery units will be part of an infantry command.  Let's call these units "mixed units".  These mixed units move with their infantry command on Infantry Move cards and move at the infantry movement rate.  Once these mixed units act on an Artillery or Cavalry Move card, they are no longer part of the mixed command, they move at their normal movement rate, they no longer move on Infantry Move cards, and are permanently out of command.
  • Out of Command (OOC).  Units no longer go OOC when they move or act differently from other units in their command.  A unit becomes out of command in the following situations:
    • It becomes disordered.
    • It wins or loses a melee.
    • It is outside the command distance from other units in its command.
    • It conducts any type of compulsory/uncontrolled/retreating or routing movement.
    • It's commander or sub-commander is killed or otherwise leaves the table.  
    • You could also consider putting units OOC if their commander is attached to a unit that is routing/pursuing or otherwise conducting compulsory movement.
  • 1/3 Rule.  This is an optional initiative method that is highly recommended.  Both players roll opposed d20's.  The winner gets the difference in Impetus pips.  The loser gets 1/3 of the difference in Impetus pips (round up or down as you prefer).  The winner decides who goes first.  If you still use phases with this method (I do), the winner's Impetus amount might be limited by the remaining amount in his phase pool.  If it is, the loser gets 1/3 of the reduced amount received by the winner.  

  • Routers and Pursuers.  Routers and pursuers move on the Move in Open cards for their unit type and Move in Class III/IV cards.  They do not move on the Maneuver cards.  Routers and pursuers move before all other units move and cost impetus to move.
  • Maneuvers.  Generally, a unit changes facing on a Maneuver card by pivoting on its center.  It cannot use a Maneuver to become engaged (in contact).  During an Advance-Maneuver on a Move card, most units wheel on one of their flank corners.
  • Engaged.  When a unit makes contact with its front edge against an enemy unit, they become Engaged.  Until melee is initiated, either unit can move, fire, rally, or take any other normal action.  For example, a longbow unit can make a voluntary retreat out of contact on a Move card and then fire at point blank range at the previously engaged unit.  This would cost 2 IP.  1 IP for the Move and  1 IP for the Fire.
  • Firing and reloading.  A loaded unit can fire at any point in your Initiative for the cost of 1 IP.  If you have a Missile Reload card showing, you could fire a loaded unit (1 IP), reload it with the card (1 IP), and fire it again (1 IP), thus unloading it.  A total of 3 Impetus would be spent.  A unit could also move forward on the Move in Open card for 1 IP and then when it's movement ends, fire for the cost of another 1 IP.  
  • Initiating melee.  The Piquet Master rules state on p. 16: "In frontal attacks, at least half of the attackers total stands must be in contact with the defender's unit."  In practice, this is extremely difficult and most players are not this rigid.  The one aspect of this rule that everyone agrees on is that the attacker's front edge must contact the enemy to initiate melee.  This is all I require for my games, but some players will allow melee and not award the initiate melee bonus is the contact is minimal.
  • Multiple units in contact.  If Unit A is engaged (in contact) with Unit B and Unit C, Unit A can choose to initiate melee with either Unit B or Unit C.  Unit A is not required to initiate melee with both units.  Alternately, if Unit B and Unit C want to initiate melee with Unit A and gain the Superior Numbers modifier, the player must pay impetus to initiate melee with both B and C, prior to rolling the melee dice.
  • Meleeing routed units.  Routing units can be meleed without an MRC.  They fight back with an automatic d4 in Melee and cannot cause losses in melee.  No bonus Impetus is awarded for routing an already routing unit, but the non-routing unit must check for pursuit if it wins the melee.  The only morale chip loss is for stand losses suffered by the routing unit. 
  • Melee results.  Occasionally, you might get a melee result that routs your opponent, but your opponent is also destroyed by the stand losses.  Although the melee loser doesn't actually rout, the winner still gets the bonus impetus and the loser takes the morale chip loss as if the loser had routed.  The loser never takes more stand losses (and the morale chip losses for them) than he actually lost in the melee.  So, for example, the loser begins the melee with 3 out of 4 stands already lost.  The winner wins the melee 10 to 1.  Differential of 9 means 3 stands lost, but the loser only has 1 stand to lose (-1 morale chip).  Loser loses the melee (-1 morale chip).  Loser was more than tripled so even though he is destroyed, he loses an additional morale chip and the winner gains 2 bonus impetus.  Total of 3 morale chips lost.
  • Opportunity Actions. These are actions taken in response to your opponent's actions during his Initiative.  For example, you might conduct an Opportunity Action in response to being fired at, a unit's movement, or a formation change.  Opportunity fire when fired at makes the resolution of both fires simultaneous.  Opportunity fire at a unit performing any other action is resolved before the acting unit can fire back.
  • Cavalry Opportunity Charge (COC).  The requirement to be able to initiate a COC is that:
    • the cavalry must be within one move of the target, 
    • the cavalry can charge straight ahead to engage the target, 
    • there is no intervening terrain between the charger and target, 
    • and a MRC is not required to initiate melee. 
    • The COC is an opportunity action and can only be done by the inactive player.  As long as the requirements described are met, the inactive player can stop the active player at ANY POINT in his turn and declare the COC.   PA has opined that the COC should not be able to automatically preempt non-movement actions such as a Rally attempt.  For example, if the inactive player declares the COC after the active player flips the Leader Check card, the active player should make an Other Difficulty Check to see if he can rally the target unit before the COC is made. 
  • Opportunity Impetus PipsThe number of Opportunity Impetus pips listed for the army lists are designed for army sizes of approximately 12 units.  Larger armies should have their available opportunity pips increased proportionately.  Opportunity Impetus pips can only be spent by the inactive player. Opportunity Impetus pips can be used to conduct:
    • opportunity fire, 
    • cavalry opportunity morale tests, 
    • cavalry opportunity charges, 
    • and initiate melees that result from opportunity charges.
  •  Opportunity Fire.  
    • If you fire at an enemy unit with opportunity fire and rout it with a subsequent 
      morale challenge, you can use the 2 bonus impetus pips for routing an enemy unit 
      to recharge your opportunity pips.
      • Discarding sequence cards.  In classic Piquet, players discard sequence cards from the deck at the end of each turn and replace them with Dress Lines/Milling Around cards for each routing/destroyed unit, lost commander, etc.  Many Piquet players found this process tedious.  Instead of discarding sequence cards, they just add the appropriate number of Dress Lines/Milling Around cards to the deck.

      • Morale chips.  You must pay a morale chip every time you lose a melee, one of your units is routed, a unit suffers a stand loss, or one of your units is disordered.  This includes when one of your units is disordered from flank contact by an opposing unit.    The exception to this is that you do not pay a morale chip when:
        • one of your units is disordered as the result of failing a pursuit check and pursuing,
        • or when your unit is disordered because it was unformed and became unformed again ("double unformed")


        Flank attacks in Piquet are determined when the attacking unit makes contact with the defending unit.  The example in the Piquet Master Rules is a pretty obvious one, so the Old Dessauer has prepared some general guidelines for determining if an attack qualifies as a flank attack.  However, the Old Dessauer also thinks that if your friends argue about things like this, you should thrash them with your walking cane:

        • The center of the attacking unit (in other words, at least half of the attacking unit's frontage) must be behind the front base line of the defender.  This will be called the "flanking frontage".  The front base line is a line drawn across the front edges of the defender's bases.
        • The angle formed after contact by the flank edge of the defender and the flanking frontage must be less than 45 degrees. The angle is measured from flank edge to point of contact to flanking frontage edge.
        When considering attacks from behind the defending unit, replace the term "front base line" with "rear base line" to determine whether an attack is a rear attack or a flank attack.  Now here are some examples using line and attack column:
          Obvious flank attack.  Duh!
          Flank attack.
           Center of attacking unit is behind defender front base line.
          Angle of approach is less than 45 degrees.
          Flank attack.
          Center of attacking unit is behind defender front base line.
          Angle is 45 degrees.
          Flank attack from rear direction.
            Center of attacking unit is obviously behind defender front base line.
          Angle of approach is less than 45 degrees.
          Flank attack from rear direction.
            Center of attacking unit is obviously behind defender front base line.
          Angle of approach is  45 degrees.
          Not a flank attack.  Center of attacking unit is obviously behind defender front base line.
          But angle of approach is greater than 45 degrees.  The good news is that this is
          a REAR attack!
          Not a flank attack.  Frontal attack.
          Center of attacking unit is NOT behind defender front base line.
          Angle of approach is less than 45 degrees.
          Not a Flank attack.  Frontal attack.
          Center of attacking unit is behind defender front base line.
          But angle of approach is GREATER than 45 degrees.
          Not a flank attack.  Frontal attack.
          Center of attacking unit is NOT behind defender front base line.
          Even though angle of approach is 45 degrees.

          Okay, so having a 45 agree angle marker might be a pain in the ass, so here's an easy solution to test the approach angle if you use square bases like I do.  Take an extra stand of troops and align it along the open edge of the angle.  It should touch the un-contacted flank corner of the defender and the attacking unit with both of its corners.  If it can't touch both, the angle is too wide and it's not a flank attack.

          Flank attack.
          Not a flank attack.
          Flank attack.