Saturday, August 20, 2016

Action at San Serafino

Gus, Ron, and Leo came over today and we played our first game of Sharp Practice 2.  Gus and Ron played the British while Jamie and Leo were the French.

The scenario was based on one in the rulebook.  The British were to rescue a Royal Navy officer who had been captured by the French.  That this officer just happened to be the scion of an allied German royal family just added to the urgency.

The British entered from the bottom right edge of the picture below whilst the main French force, sent to interfere with the British plans, entered from the middle of the left-hand side.

The prisoner was in the white house at the bottom right corner of the town square.  He was guarded by a sergeant and eight fusiliers.

Because I'd positioned a building within six inches of the target building, the scenario deployment rules allowed Gus and Ron to position two units of 95th Rifles in the adjacent "gatehouse".  This was to prove decisive.

Jamie's main column of 36e Ligne fusiliers split, with one group heading to occupy the house in the picture below.  Unfortunately they were the victims of an error on my part.  A misapplication of the rules meant that they were rather more badly mauled by the Rifles than should have been the case.  Badly shocked they fell back behind the mule-train.

Meanwhile, a large force from the 20th Foot, led by Major Robert Helmsley, advanced towards San Serafino.

At this point the village (no the real one that I live in) was hit by a power cut!  We were playing in the available light of a rainy Saturday afternoon.  Suddenly it became easier to believe that we were in Galicia in January 1809!

Below we see Jamie's main column about to launch a close assault on the gatehouse (centre left).

While Helmsley's column edge closer....

As the power came back on in Storrs, the fisticuffs in San Serafino were disastrous for the French who fled towards the cover of the barn.

In the end, Helmsley managed to get the 20th Foot's light company into position to assault the target building whilst a groups of Lieutenant Pugin's Rifles threatened to attack it from another side.

Sergeant LeBrun's group left it too late to escape from the house and they elected to surrender and relinquish their prisoner when surrounded by British troops.

My initial impression is that Sharp Practice 2 is a significant improvement over its predecessor.  There's enough in there to tell me that when we've got a better handle on the rules, we could have some good games with it.

Jamie's view is that we've played Sharp Practice in one form or another several times and on each occasion one of the players has had their day ruined by having a large chunk of their force wiped out or badly hamstrung by unfortunate dice rolls or horrible runs of cards.

There's a lot in that view and I can understand Jamie being reluctant to try SP again because he was the victim on more than one occasion.  However, in the defence of the rules, part of the problem was in the way we tend to play.  Our games tend to involve several players on both sides and to some extent I've been giving our players too few units.  I should probably given Jamie and Leo at least another leader and maybe two more Groups of men.

We may try playing it without buildings next time as they did rather turn into strongpoints and to some extent made the game feel more like a WW2 action.


Tales from Shed HQ said...

Great looking game! Would SPII suit a big game. Just thinking of our discussions about maybe doing Napoleonic Andreivia in 2018.
Richard P

Counterpane said...

Depends on your definition of "big". You'd have to do something with the command and control system, which at the moment involves individual Leaders activating at any one time.