Saturday, 21 May 2016

Steiner & Le Duc - Piquet:Field of Battle WWII

Another game with Sgt. Steiner and a chance to try Field of Battle : WWII.

I've really wanted to try this one for a while, as I think the scale is perfect for adapting hex and chit games (Ardennes right through to Falklands stuff) and is abstract enough to use 20mm without it looking out of place. The abstraction is not so bad that it turns the game into chaos, conversely, it reflects sources that we might read quite well.

Thanks to Sgt. Steiner for setting it up with his excellent 1/300 stuff and terrain.

The key to these rules is that you can't do everything you'd like, and there are times when the card draw means that you have to use the luck you've been dealt - but not in the same way that rules systems like Maurice might do, where you still can choose where to focus. The focus in FoB is more dictated by not being able to move those units when you'd like to - but perhaps being able to fire them, contrasted with getting a break in the action when you need to exploit the opportunity given.

This provides a great 'to and fro' epic style to the narrative of the battle, and it not only feels like something you might read about in a history book, but it is loaded up with the frustrations of plans not surviving first contact, helped along nicely by the multi-sided dice and opposed rolling between players, in order for the mechanisms to work, and to actually get anything done.

There's nothing like the frustration of your opponent rolling more on a d6, than you get on your d12...
(Oh yeah, and anything but a one!)

I recently read 'Brains and Bullets' by Leo Murray (review to follow), and although it is very much focused on the potential for individuals to  'freeze', 'fight' or 'fuss' in terms of how the mind works under pressure in combat, you can almost see the rules in FoB echoing that sentiment.

Good troops will 'usually' move when you need them to, though that might only be once in the battle. You can begin to see how blitzkrieg tactics, and the nature of more sophisticated command structures, actually makes battlefield resource management work.

So some pics...

Russian armour eager to exploit any gaps in the centre.

German armour less numerous, but nonetheless effective.

Russian armour held in the centre, without getting a chance to break through.

 Though this allowed some exploitation on the Russian left, and the hill was cleared of Panzergrenadiers early on.

Masses of Soviet infantry, and units to spare.

JSIIs and Tiger IIs would face each other on the Russian right, through Soviet air would be a little disappointing.

 German morale would be worn down in the end, with a few counter-attacks going poorly for them.

The situation at game end: The right in stasis, the centre breaking, and the left still with Red reinforcements. Great game, and very expandable.


  1. FOB generates a narrative based game and the controlled chaos style I really enjoy.
    This game certainly played very fast !

  2. Just been re-reading rules to check I got everything correct and seems we did with one exception. We forgot to amend Rally rolls by proximity of enemy units. Otherwise fine and dandy.

    1. Ah right yes - that would make sense near the enemy. Must remember for next time.