Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sharp Practice Playtest - 3/27/10

Thanks to Adrian, Scott, James and Lawrence for assisting in the playtesting for a Sharp Practice game being hosted at Enfilade in May. It was a long and grueling day but everyone hung in there and we worked out a lot of bugs. Another playtest will really help fine tune the game; hopefully get in two more playtests before Enfilade.
We actually got in two playtest games today - after the first game, we tweaked the game a little and played another round. The initial scenario is a French unit in garrison awaiting the arrival of a relief column (using blinds). The British with Portuguese and Spanish allies are moving on the garrison - mostly using blinds. Two British Rifle units with Portuguese Cacadores are the only two British units that come on the table without blinds. The Spanish Guerrillas come on with the Blank Card - anywhere on the table up to 12" from any French unit.
The first playtest ended fairly quickly as Scott placed his Spanish guerrillas at a great spot after drawing the Blank Card- next to an exposed French Big Man. They subsequently charged and attacked the level II French Big Man - defeating him and his entourage of drummers and sycophants (drummers, porte-fanion, and pioneer). He was thus captured and my initial Victory Condition was the capture of a Big Man of level II or higher. I didn't realize how quick and easy it would be.
The second game was played with revised Victory Conditions - basically point based, more than certain events occurring that would end the game. Adrian also reconfigured the French garrison to make it more linear and connected. One of the Victory Conditions is for the British to outnumber the French inside walls of the garrison.
We also adjusted the use of Sentries - in the first game we used one lone sentry at a point in the cross-roads - we couldn't figure out a good way for him to get word back if an enemy unit was successfully spotted. Especially since he would use up his two action dice to spot. In the second playtest, we first were going to put three sentries on hilltops, but then decided to place just one in the church bell tower. Here he could spot and easily relay the info to the troops below. It seems so common sense now - but prior to the playtesting, I hadn't envisioned any problems placing him at the crossroads. Okay - no more excuses - moving on to Playtest II.
Another tweak for the next playtest will be allowing the British to come on a bit closer. The two games today had all British come on at table edge - this will be changed to 12" for units on Blinds and 24" the two Rifles units not on Blinds- speeding up engagement or spotting - as some legendary gamers would say, "Let's get to the shooting as quickly as possible!"
Again, many thanks to Adrian, Scott, James and Lawrence for their invaluable assistance and excellent recommendations. They really made the playtesting about as productive and useful as can be imagined. I owe them big time.


  1. Nice AAR! Good luck with the upcoming playtests, not to mention Enfilade!

  2. Ted:

    Thanks! The next round should be pretty close to what we're going to do at Enfilade. Although long, yesterday was really productive. Especially since this was the first one and no one else really had a clue of what the scenario was supposed to be. Of course, having veteran gamers like all the guys who played really helped. Great ideas to mod and tweak the game came up quickly and easily implemented in the second round. Regards, Dean

  3. Great stuff Dean - that's a great-looking little game. Are you doing it as a demo or a participation game?

    If the latter - little skirmish games get good attention as your noob gamers get a real taste and feel of what its like to have a command of a unit. Little scenarios like these are a lotta fun. I'd love to command those beautifully painted guerrillas.

    Enjoy your con - we'll expect a full report (with pics) in the wash-up!


  4. Doc:

    This will be a participation game with up to two players per side. It's being run in the first period of Enfilade - Friday from 2-6pm. This is traditionally the mellowest period - folks just starting to trickle in and so forth. That's why I'm looking forward to running it. I hope it goes off well and will post an AAR of it. Thanks again. Dean