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Saturday 25 March 2017

Sharp Practice, our first try at the club!

Today, at Lawrence's suggestion, we tried one of his favourite games (He plays at the 3-D club in Whitley bay ) --Sharp Practice.
This is a card driven activation game, and we played a version of one of the scenarios in the rulebook... a sweep, where the French had to burn as many buildings in a settlement as possible.

The table, from the direction of the French attack.
 The focus of the action appeared likely to be the bridge over a stream.
Ahhh, lovely Last Valley terrain... 
 We (Phil and I) started with a D10 for our army morale, we had to provide 2 deployment markers, so I provided 2 ladies, hiding from the French!
(The French had rather sinister looking bushes to mark their deployment area)
 The French got first activation, and a group of militiamen appeared near a small hut.
 No British were on table yet....
 The militia sat glowering into the settlement, and were soon joined on their left...
...by a group of French metropolitan infantry, regulars. (some Indian allies also arrived behind them)
 Finally, Phil's Rangers arrived on table, opposite the French regulars. 
 These edged towards a wood, keeping it between them and the French!
 The French had fallen foul of the 3 flag card rule, and got a random event. The officer was lost and was calling for a map!
 Phil got another activation, while the French dithered, a party of Indians.
 My British regulars were next, we were all on table!
Phil's Rangers pushed forward. 
 A large force of French native allies moved quickly to intercept him!
The Rangers fired!
The Indians took a casualty and 2 'Shock'.
Their Chief was unharmed, however.
My regulars got another move! We entered the settlement! 
Suddenly, the hedges to their front lit up with the fire of a unit of French militia! - 2 of my men fell. 
 The  other militia, who had arrived first, were obviously getting bored, and set fire to the hut! 
Phil's Rangers were getting attacked by the Indians, fire from both sides caused casualties.
Finally, the surviving Indians charged in hurling tomahawks!!!
 Both sides fought until only the officer on either side survived! and the Indian officer had been knocked unconscious!
The other Ranger unit took his scalp.... 
The other Indian unit now became uneasy.
My regulars became active, and fired at the militia who had fired at me. 
The militia scurried for cover behind a large rock.
Alex brought more militia up the road. 
Phil's Indians had them under fire. 
 They were soon looking ready to run!
My regulars seemed content to stay on the road. 
Phil retired his Rangers to the stream, as they had seen the French regulars approaching. The French officer even got their Indians  to move toward another house with instructions to burn it.
The French's Indians came under fire from the Rangers and British Indians. 
They seemed to get pinned, and began to take losses and shock points. 
My regulars finally got another move, and advanced on the bridge. 
The French now had their regulars firing... 
 ...the poor rangers took the damage.
The French Indians now managed to fire the house. 
 2 other units were burning another farm.
 The badly shot up militia were hiding in a wood!
The 'incendiaries' now moved towards me, but I managed to get a firing line facing them. 
 Phil's Indians had, meanwhile, crept forward and attacked the French Indians who had fired the building, they massacred them, and this put the French army total down to 0, making the remaining French retire from the field!
The British had won! - but apparently, the French commander managed to spin the story as a French victory to his superiors!

Never mind!

So, how did we find Sharp Practice? I think it is a lot better than other card driven systems I have played, and the 'feel' of the game was (probably intentionally)-- reminiscent of the TV programme 'Sharpe'.
However, I still feel card activation makes weird things happen, which are difficult to rationalise, and SP has (in my opinion!) not entirely eliminated this problem
(Weird things like one unit doing loads, where others do nothing, even when their situation would indicate no risk or reason for stopping! - another quirk was the shot up French Indian unit and the ranger unit wiping each other out, which did not feel right, especially as tribal Indians always tried to avoid taking heavy casualties. These fought like Imperial storm-troopers! - etc, etc)

I also feel there is rather a lot of unnecessary detail in the rules, and lots of modifiers to dice, I think this makes mistakes in calculations more likely, and question if a simpler, composite set of factor modifiers might be better?

I think it is more suited to 2 players, as Alex and I both had too much sitting around waiting to do something!

Still, it is a popular set of rules, so I accept my opinions are just that, and I hope players who like the system continue to enjoy playing it!

I still want to thank Lawrence for his efforts in running the game and playing as well!

1 comment:

  1. Guys in my Group don't like the card driven system either, so I went to the Shako II Initiative system Roll 1D6 for each Big Man and highest goes first. Any with same number go simultaneously. Then each side rolls 1D6 to see how many Flag Cards they get for the turn. For every three Flag Cards there is a 50% chance of a random event. random roll to see who gets them after they activate. At end of turn roll 2D6, a "2" or "3" means its a "Turn End". Worked great and moved a lot faster. You might want to limit the use of the Four Flag Card to only one unit getting an extra turn,