Wargame Thoughts and Commentary

Initial Thoughts; Part 3 (Final)

In this final section, I will discuss the combat concepts and cotton balls...

Combat in Piquet was essentially a counter-die roll using multi-sided dice and the determination of winning, and the degree of the victory, was simply whose die roll was higher. It incorporated two concepts that were original; The “sliding dice” combat tables that were a step up from the plus or minus 1 or 2 “shopping lists” that many rules used; The infamous firing procedure- where firing once was “free” but you couldn’t fire again without a “reload” card-which rather stood the premise of having a fire phase on its head, but worked well even when it was the source a many complaints-mostly by people that had never seen or played the game that invented “Fire” cards that never existed. It had a separate morale roll that was instigated by the enemy, which I always loved as a very efficient way of making sure morale tests occurred at the moment an attacker or defender was most vulnerable. It worked well on the tactical level. Cotton puffballs were used as indicators that a unit had fired and needed to “reload’ before it could fire again. Fire effectiveness and melee, or close combat, used different initial numbers and varied by unit. Initial ratings could be a lengthy process, though I found it fun.

I determined that this granularity would not work on the higher level that Zouave was intended to cover. All were fun processes and worked pretty well, but several steps were required both pre-game and during play that would be too lengthy once you moved from a few battalions and squadrons to sixty or more regiments in a game. The process had to be simplified. I did, however, want to make it even more interactive between the opposing players than just a die roll. I also wanted to change, by more than just the simple act of renaming, the fire once-puffball-reload pattern.

The Repique system operates off two numbers-the die to be used by the attacker which is fixed by weapon type in firepower situations, and the unit quality die which is variable according to type, training, and a die roll variable, which determines the unit’s ability to maintain cohesion under fire, and its capability in close actions and melee. That quality die roll is the only single roll used to rate individual troops prior to play, and is directly related to the make-up of the sequence deck.

When a unit, usually a regiment or a battery, fires upon another unit it makes a single die roll against the opposing unit’s quality die and that determines the effect of combat. The various effects of terrain, range, relative position, and the cohesion of the firing and target unit are done on two tables one for the attacker, and one for the defender. They are not the “sliding dice tables” but a listing of advantages that each party may uniquely possess-such as high ground, or a flanking position that are quickly added up and the net difference determines what happens next. If neither party has an advantage on the other, the outcome is determined by a straight die roll. If an advantage does exist for either party, they may progressively choose to re-roll their die, force the other player to re-roll, or both! At the extremes of actions, one party may be allowed a bigger die type and re-rolls!

The rules allow a player to fire and keep firing until his firepower loses effectiveness from the smoke, losses, chaos and the stress of battle. Regaining the effectiveness of early battle is hard for units which have been heavily engaged. Every puffball fire marker not only denotes a fire, but as units acquire multiples their fire loses its sting.

Close combat is still just two counter-rolls determined by the engaged units quality, but it is DEADLY. Like a bullfight in a corrida-it is immediately and finally fought to conclusion. This may take several sequential rolls, but, once entered into, close combat will usually leave one party in possession of the ground or pursuing, and one party crushed and routing to the rear. No equivocation or “on-going” melees though there is a small chance that both sides may end up so exhausted that both the “Winner” and the “loser”are just staring at each other over a sliver of ground! Whether a routed unit is ralliable at all isn’t known immediately, but run they will!

The combat tables take into consideration over 40 different factors and their degree, but because of their unique design are easily memorized and require a minimum of time to adjust and use. The process is very interactive and the decisions on whether to initially fire or fire again is very tough-especially since the defender is NOT totally passive and may actually have an damaging effect on you during your own fire!

Firepower comes in several flavors; a harassing fire that
might cause damage, but mostly makes life, movement, and advancing a trying moment for the targeted unit; Effective fire, that can be deadly; intense fire that is often costly for BOTH sides, and ,finally, what is called close combat, but really models extremely short ranged combat-some by fire, some by sword, some by fists and bayonet.

Morale is incorporated into the fire effects, and the rally potential of units, so no separate rolls or steps are taken during combat, though rallying by officers can occur during part of the command cards usage.

The system is easy, quick, decisive, and damn interactive-both combatants are involved-none of this visiting the dealer’s area while the other guy is moving and firing!

Well, folks, that completes the broadest of outlines of the Repique: Zouave system. Of course, the niceties of the use of the sequence deck and the novel aspects of the Divisional/Regimental D12 movement procedures await your discovery in the published rules.

The rules are written in a new FAQ structure which I also think will be a fresh and effective approach to learning the rules-and, of course, easily adapted to the eventual epublication methods that have been discussed on the forum. The original set will be printed in booklet form with heavy card player aids. Support files and add-ons will appear regularly on the Repique Rules Forum in PDF form.