Monday, October 22, 2012

Not So Sharp Practice

This month’s Saturday Afternoon WargameTM wasn’t a huge success.  The Sharp Practice rules were OK and I’d even say the scenario was reasonably balanced but sadly an unfortunate series of chance events rather destroyed the balance of the game.

Jamie and Ron - the British commanders
The scenario had French and British infantry racing to capture a bridge that might become important depending on the outcome of a larger battle being fought nearby.  In an effort to confuse things slightly I threw in a patrol of French dragoons tasked with rescuing the wounded son of the French general from an inn next to the bridge.

The British had three (8 or 10 man) musket-armed units and a large (12 man) unit of rifles.  Two of the three British Big Men were “lion-hearted” meaning that the British force would be hard to drive off.  The French had four line infantry units, one unit of voltigeurs, and the Dragoons (all units being 8 men strong).  I gave the French more big men because my play-testing suggested that the Rifles would be lethal in this scenario.

Sadly, the random events conspired to spoil things for the British.  On their second turn they got the “Damnation!” card, forcing them to surrender all but one of the useful cards they held at the start of the game.  On the following turn even worse luck intervened.  Apparently the Rifles’ powder had got damp and none of them could fire.  There was a 1 in 36 chance of this event occurring if a random event was called for and it happened to hit the unit that was crucial to British success!
The Rifles with smoke to show that they've fired - then we checked the
random event and discovered they hadn't! 
I persevered with the game knowing that there were three “Ammunition” cards in the deck that would solve the problem.  Sadly the British didn’t generate enough random events and never got one of them!
The French seize the bridge and enter the inn.  The figures on the roof
represent men who have dismounted and entered the building.
The French are first to form a firing line.

The Rifles did manage to drive off the enemy Voltigeurs by means of a well- timed bayonet charge but there was no way they were going to win the day without firing.
The final position after the Rifles have driven off the Voltigeurs.
Sergeant Dawkins and those sodding Riflemen.

I have to say that the rules, apart from the random event problem, worked reasonably well.  I think most of the players would be up for trying them again, but for now I have to concentrate on Cold War Commander so it’s back into the drawer for the Napoleonics.


Maxamillian said...

Pure bad luck for the Brits!

Counterpane said...

Certainly was! I feel rotten for the British players but short of fixing the bonus card deck in some way I'm not sure what I could have done.

Dex McHenry said...

So Sharpe was on leave (probably off with some woman) and left Major Dampe in charge. Dereliction that is!

Counterpane said...

Yep! Says so in the scriptures.