Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sharp Practice - Final Playtest Before the Big 'Un

Thanks to my gaming buddy James R., I managed to pull off one more playtest before Enfilade - only three weeks away. I feel pretty good that this could be a fun and fast playing game. It all depends on the players of course; I think aggressiveness, on both sides, will increase the effect. This was only the second actual Sharp Practice game James played, but he really read up on the rules and it was great to play with him. I managed to snap a few pictures of the game - but, only when I remembered to - as I was playing the French as well as "honing" my GMing-skills :)!
Thanks to the previous playtest, I used a suggestion by one of the players to arrange the groups in a somewhat disordered way to show that they are not in formation. Only when they are formed into "formations" will the bases be on line with each other. It worked out well in the game.
Having been mutually spotted on the Tiffin, both the 9th Legere and 3rd "The Buffs" come onto the table in march column. A French sentry in the bell tower spotted a blind earlier, but it turned out to be a dummy blind - he moved to join his parent unit on the Tiffin as well.
The pictures above show a change of formation from column to line by "The Buffs" using a house rule I came up with from the last game. James bought off on it today, but we agreed it's probably easier to just move the column to the position you want, and then do a 90 degree facing movement.
Initial movements in the center by the 27th Line.
The artillery did well - basically providing a strong deterrent to the advance of the 95th Rifles. The gun on the left didn't fire during the game as no one came into their line of sight. I used a Games Workshop flamethrower template to allow a little arc of fire for the guns.
Spanish Guerrillas placed on the table no closer than 12" to any French unit - James tried to get to the Big Man One on horseback in the center of the garrison, but too many other French units were nearby - ha ha ha!
Soon after the picture above, the Voltigeurs as well as the Chasseurs who later turned their facing fired upon the Guerrillas to good effect. The Guerrillas received enough Shock Points to lose their Bottle and had to leave the table on the next Tiffin Card. This was very different from the last game, when they took out a French Big Man early on. In fact, James played the French in that game - hmmm, there might be a common denominator here - just kiddin' James.
The formation of two groups of 9th Legere Carabiniers and Chasseurs eventually got worsted in this firefight with three groups of  "The Buffs." Although the British were only firing back with the two groups in their formation that had line of sight, they are classed as Good and these 9th guys only Average/Regular - so the British did get a few more dice during firing.
The action, well "action" may be too strong of a description, in the center was sort of bland compared to what was happening on the flanks. In fact, that Fusilier formation of two groups in the distance was intact at the end of the game - they did move to try and outflank the 95th guys though. I think the relative "boredom" in the center was due to a combination of terrain and over-cautiousness of both sides.
Ah, this is more like it. Having already traded shots, the British moved into fisticuffs. The British were in column with two groups along with their Big Man One and attendant musicians and sergeants (who can, and did, join in fisticuff). The sole Voltigeur group, classed as Elite, did pretty good considering the British Big Man was their level 4 guy and the Sergeant leading the Voltigeurs only a level 1. They did receive enough Shock Points to have to move back after the Tiffin Card.

We called it a very close British victory soon after this. The French still had possession of the garrison, but the British were slowly, but steadily, wearing down the French on both flanks. All in all, a great game and hope the one at Enfilade is even better.


  1. As to irregular guerilla action, James R. is definitely the common denominator. Guerillas seem to be my mental green kryptonite.

    It was terrific fun; I can't wait till the mailman brings my Nappies; I'm going to secretly practice at home. I'll especially practice killing/correctly using guerillas.

    In two games, I've learned three good lessons. Keep your blinds obscured, don't send guerillas against overwhelming odds, and never let guerillas attack your big man when he's alone.

    I think for future games we need to have a lamp to quickly shine up before you snap pictures. The photos do not do the painting craftsmanship justice.

  2. Have just found your blog after playtesting Sharp Practice as well for a SYW India game. Must say your miniatures look absolutely beautiful and very impressive. Constructive criticism - your terrain appears a little bland, a shame with such awesome minis. A great blog - keep up the good work.

  3. Everything is looking great. I still love the Spanish Guerrillas the most.

  4. Thanks, Gents. Furt: I totally agree the terrain is lack-luster - geared for gaming, rather than realism. I am in awe of some of the terrain I've seen others use. That will be something I will strive for in the future. Regards, Dean

  5. You have some lovely painting going on there, I do like your new Artillery piece with its crew, very nicely done.

  6. Thanks! Yes, the arty crew was done up just in time for this game. Regards, Dean