Monday, August 26, 2019

When are Light Infantry not Light Infantry?

One of the aspects of the Sharp Practice rules that seems to cause the most confusion of new players is the terminology around light troops.

This is caused partly by some questionable decisions by the designers in choosing terminology and partly by the fact that contemporary military terminology was far from consistent with the needs of wargamers.

Which troops are light infantry?  Well the 1er Regiment d'Infanterie Legere are clearly light infantry in some sense (leger or legere being French for "light") and they'll have worn blue light-infantry breeches during the Napoleonic Wars but were they light infantry in Sharp Practice terms?  Probably not.  French "light" battalions, although in theory trained to operate as skirmishers, would usually find themselves fighting like any line battalion.

I think a Venn diagram is called for:

So some of the time, elements of the 1er Leger will be forming part of a skirmish line or running around in the hills in a loose swarm, making best use the available terrain and using aimed musket fire to dominate the enemy.  In this case they'll be treated as Skirmish Troops if we're playing a game of Sharp Practice.

There are three types of Skirmish Troops.  Light Infantry are the most professional and Irregular Skirmishers the least.  If fact our French skirmishers are "Skirmishers" - the third and intermediate class of Skirmish Troops.  In Sharp Practice terms they will be in Groups of six.

Most of the time, though, the guys of the 1er Leger are fighting in line.  They are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with their comrades and if they fire, they do so without aiming, just pointing their muskets in the general direction of the enemy and firing to order.  In these circumstances they are treated as line troops and deploy in Groups of eight figures.

Skirmish Troops get to take a third action when activated (as long as that action is a move action).  This will apply to our 1er Leger men when they are fighting as Skirmishers (i.e. the second class of Skirmish Troops) in Groups of six figures.  It will not apply to Groups of eight Legers fighting in line.

Hopefully this post will be useful in future when this issue comes up again on the TFL Forum or the Facebook group.

Monday, August 19, 2019

The Virgin and the Rearguard

Last weekend I ran a playtest of the Sharp Practice 2 game I plan to run at Ebor Lard in November.

The game is set in 1860s Mexico.  Ron and Jamie played the invading French whilst Phil and I played the Mexican republicans.

I don't want to reveal too much about the plot so I'll content myself with providing a few pictures here.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Pavis Storeys part 1

Richard Helliwell of Infinity-Engine very kindly sent me a prototype version of his 28mm MDF houses for Pavis.  He' seen the houses I'd built so far and wanted to know what I'd make of the model.

The pack Richard sent would allow me to build two single storey house or one two-storey.  I decided to go with the latter. I originally intended to blog through the process of building the model but it soon became apparent that this was an early prototype with a few fixes needed.  It wouldn't be fair, I decided, to vent my frustrations in public when what I ought to do was to provide honest feedback direct to Richard.

So let's have a look at where we ended up.  First of all, I should point out that I've added the Tetrion plaster coating to the walls.  In addition, the wooden shutters are an addition of my own.

As you can see, the model has a rather nice external staircase and a balcony, both additions that didn't previously figure among my Pavis buildings.

In the shot above you can see a change I've made to the basic building.  The original ground-floor front window was a single large aperture, about three times as wide as it was high.  To me this looked too twentieth-century Earth.  I couldn't see it working without a steel RSJ.  As a fix, I blocked off the centre section with some spare MDF to make the wide window into two smaller ones.

If I had the time again I'd consider scoring planking on the roof but I was anxious to get going with the build so I've ended up using a paint effect to simulate the look of planks.

Some resin is used in the model.  The exposed ends of the roof beams are resin pieces inserted into pre-cut holes in the tops of the walls.  The doors are nice, double-sided resin pieces that slide into slots in the wall pieces.

I've left the roof and the floors removable.  The lines where they separate are a bit obvious but there's some nice internal detailing in the model that I wanted to take advantage of.  I haven't yet completed this so that can wait for a future blog post.

I'm pretty pleased with how the model came out.  I've suggested some changes to Richard but we'll have to see what he takes on board.

In part two I'll show you the interior and what I've done with some accessories that Richard included with the model.

All that remains for now is to thank Richard profusely and to to advise you all to visit the Infinity-Engine site and look out for the production version of the Pavis houses when they come along.


Tuesday, August 6, 2019

If it's August, this must be Claymore

So that's the third time I've been up to Edinburgh for the Claymore show.  It's almost like it's my local event! Well to be honest, I love Edinburgh as a city - even at Festival time.  I'll be back there later in the year.

I did manage to get the three packs of Thirty Years War cavalry I was after from Baccus.  I also bought some pike and shot era civilians (28mm this time) from Warlord and from a box of figures going cheap on one of the trade stands.  From Richard and Mark on the Scotia Grendel stand I bought one resin dungeon bits that will add detail to my foam-core tunnel complex.  And finally, I also bought a pack of 28mm farm animals from Magister Militia.  These will see action in a future Sharp Practice game.

That aside, here are some pics of games at the show.

This lovely Gordon-at-Khartoum diorama was alongside a very pretty looking Sudan war game by The Iron Brigade...

The stone fort was very nice.  It's a remarkably lightweight resin and cast foam structure from a German manufacturer and apparently comes ready painted!

Spot the ubiquitous Renedra tents!

There was a large, 28mm Vietnam (Hue?) game by a group I'd not come across before called SPIT Wargames.  According to a tee-shirt I saw this stands for something like "Stupid Projects in 28 Mil"!

Interesting way of doing flight stands...

The Falkirk and District club did the SAS raid on Pebble Island.  Don't think I've ever soon so many Pucaras at one time...

One of the prettiest games was this Great Northern War Russians v Turks set up.  I think it was by the League of Augsburg guys....

Although I'm not a fan of Wild West games (or movies come to that), I was very impressed the Kirriemuir club's terrain...

It was nice to see a To The Strongest game in play and Claymore Castings' Harlaw 1411 looked good...

Finally, among the prettiest games on offer was this Napoleonic naval action by the Border Rievers...

Friday, August 2, 2019

Planning with beer

This evening’s blog update comes as I sit in the beer garden of the Salmon Inn in Galashiels. I’ve had a very passable beef and haggis burger and now I’m planning my purchases for Claymore tomorrow.

Ironically, having come all this way I’m expecting most of my focus to be on Thirty Years War models from, yes, Sheffield’s own Baccus 6mm.

Inspired by two Swedes (Per Broden on playing smaller games with 6mm models and Michael Leck on Thirty Years War The Pikemam’s Lament) I’m planning a portable mini-game that can be played in an hour or so on a pub table.

Michael’s blog has the outline of a scenario based on the death of Gustavus Adolphus at the battle of L├╝tzen in November 1632. I reckon that three bags of Baccus cavalry (one each of cuirassiers, horse (hat), and dragoons) should do the job.

More tomorrow!