Thursday, August 17, 2017

Sharp Practice-AWI-Small action somewhere in the Southern Colonies

The West Sound Warriors had another try at Sharp Practice v2 on August 6th at Blue Sky Hobbies in Bremerton, WA. I had picked up some Militia in Civilian Clothes from Gajo while at the  Historicon Convention in Fredericksburg, Va in July. I wanted to give them their baptism of fire so put together a small scenario.

Now I will admit its a somewhat dull AAR, but one can always learn from other's  mistakes and there are not enough SPv2 AAR's out there. So with that in mind, I hope you find something entertaining in the following.

Roster(Order of Battle)
First up is the Roster. I went with 76 points per side, not counting any extra Deployment Points. The Americans(Rebels) were actually one point less. The points were verified by using the Sharpulator, so my Militia in Civilian Clothes with No Bayonets came out at 2 points per Group. This seems too low to me and their performance certainly didn't reflect such a low point value. (more on that later)

So the British had two groups of eight British Regulars, two groups of eight British Light Infantry and one group of six British Light Infantry Skirmishers. They were also supposed to have a unit of eight Loyalist Cavalry, but I forgot to bring them, so they ended up with a group of six Loyalist Skirmishers. (They probably would have dismounted anyway).

The Rebels had one good unit of Delaware Continentals in three groups of eight that could stand toe to toe with the British Regulars. There were two units on Militia each two groups of ten, one without bayonets. Finally the Rebels had one light Artillery piece. (Personally, I think the Sharpulator is a bit flawed but would like to hear your comments on it.)

Roster with Unit characteristics is shown below:

For this Scenario, the objective is to hold the crossroads. Rebels start out with half their forces on the table. The rest of the Rebels and the British come on at their Deployment points. The Rebels have a Primary and a Secondary while the Crown Forces have a Primary and a Movable DP. The map and initial deployment positions are shown below.

Rebels are on the Left, Crown Forces enter on the Right. There is a hill on each side of the field and various woods that provide cover and block fields of fire. A Mill is located in the center near a stream at the top of the table. A log cabin sits near the cross roads. Field in lower left quadrant is enclosed by a low stone wall. Upper right quadrant is enclosed with rail fences. Wheat fields don't provide any cover or obstruction to movement.

 House Rules:
Previous games have seemed slow to me. Always took too long to get into action. So for this game we made the 1st Movement Die always a "Six". This worked very well and sped up the game. The only other Mod we used was having two Tiffin cards. End of Chapter would occur if either one came up first although this did not happen int his game.

The Rebel Artillery and Militia(with bayonets) under Captain Oliver Loser start out deployed on the hill facing toward the Mill. The Delaware Continentals arrive in Line near the Primary Deployment point and behind a copse of woods. The other Militia(without bayonets) under Lieutenant Moe Lester arrive at the Rebel Secondary Deployment point just short of the wheat field.

The British Regulars use the Primary DP and deploy on the road in column, The British Light Infantry deploy in the field in line. The Loyalist Skirmishers use the Movable DP and deploy behind the hill. The British LI Skirmishers arrive a turn later  and deploy next to the stream headed for the Mill.

Starting Positions for the Rebels, Militia & Gun on hill, Delaware Continentals near road and Lt. Moe Lester's Militia(without bayonets) about to cross wheat field (near side).

Staring positions for British, Regulars in column on the road, LI in line along side. The Skirmishers, both British and Loyalist are not on the table yet. They arrive a turn later.
View from the Rebel side, Staring Positions.IN background, British Regulars advancing down road with Light Infantry deployed in Line along side.

As I said before,this wasn't a very exciting game and map below shows most of the movement that occurred.
1. The British Regulars moved into the Mill and deployed at all the windows to trade fire with the Militia.
2. British LI Skirmishers moved up behind the Mill and eventually deployed into some woods alongside the road where they suffered some casualties from the Rebel Artillery.
3. The Loyalist Skirmishers advanced past the log cabin to engage the other Militia Unit behind the stone wall. The Militia gave them a thrashing and they had to withdraw.
4. British Light Infantry advanced to support the Loyalist Skirmishers and eventually broke formation to pass around the cabin. They were engaged by the Delaware Continentals and driven back.

On the Rebel side, Capt, Loser's Militia eventually advanced to the rail fence where they traded shots with the British Regulars in the Mill. The Delawares advanced towards the cross roads and stopped to give the British LI a crashing volley. Lt Lester's Militia advanced to the stone wall where they engaged the Loyalist in a fire fight and eventually drove them back. They then engaged one of the British LI Groups, then charged and drove them back as well..

LT. Lester's Militia trade shots with the Loyalist Skirmishers inflicting enough Shock to dive them back. They then moved up to the wall to engage one of the British LI Groups. Rebel Artillery put some shots into the British LI and Capt Loser's Militia move up to the rail fence.

Another view of action showing position of British LI who are about to be engaged by the Delaware Continental and Lester's Militia. British Regulars are still deploying into the Mill and British Skirmishers are still moving up.

Lester's Militia have driven off the Loyalist Skirmishers and have engaged the British LI. They are about to charge over the wall and melee the LI.The Rebel Artillery and the Delawares with a crashing volley, put some Shock onto one of the unfortunate British LI Groups. IN background, British LI Skirmishers have now made it into the woods.

Another view as above. Note: the Delawares got a Random Firing Event that left a large cloud of smoke in front of them that obscured vision and gave a minus one to chance of hitting.

A view from the British Side. Skirmishers soon came under fire from Rebel Artillery.

Here you can see the British Light Infantry Group after the melee with the Militia. They have lost about half their number and gained considerable Shock. The other Group will soon join them.

Here the other Group of Light Infantry has been driven back due to Shock. Also, the British Regulars and Skirmishers have taken a few casualties from Artillery and Miltia fire.

With the Loyalist and the Light Infantry being severely hindered by casualties and shock, the Crown Forces decide to call it a day and give up the cross road to the Rebels. Both the Delaware Continentals and Lt. Lester's Militia are barely touched and the British would have a hard time to prevent them from advancing and taking the British Deployment Points.

Delawares and Lester's Militia have only about two casualties each so are in good shape. Capt Loser's Militia has about five casualties. Brits decided they would have a hard time holding their left flank so conceded the field.
Other than the Militia charging the British LI, there wasn't a lot of excitement in this game. The British Regulars could have done some significant damage but were hesitant to attack due to the Rebel Artillery. Lieutenant Moe Lester's Militia performed admirably and shows what can be done with aggressive play. It should be noted however, that the Rebels had a better run of dice on that side of the table which may have skewed things.

I'm not sure the rules adequately reflect the disadvantages of Militia in this game. Perhaps they should automatically be encumbered with negative characteristics such as "Weedy Coves" and "Poor Shots" to better reflect their historical performance. As it is, a twenty figure Militia unit with "First Fire" and a "Controlled Volley(First fire only)" can do significant damage to a six figure Skirmish Unit or even Formation of Line troops. There is no mechanism in the rules to reflect the historical proclivity for Militia units to run away at the first shot. What do you think? Constructive comments always welcome. Hope you found something here to help your understanding and enjoyment of SPv2.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Dawns & Departures scenario icons for Sharp Practice

I made the table below to help making maps for TooFatLardies Dawns & Departures scenario generator. I posted it to the TFL Sharp Practice forum using photobucket. The url for the forum is

Evidently that use if not allowed by PhotoBucket so I am posting it here instead. If you find it useful let me know.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Enfilade 2017 SPv2 After Action Report

Another Sharp Practice v2 AWI After Action Report. This time from the Enfilade 2017 Convention Sunday gaming session. I also did a game on Friday afternoon, but the Sunday one was more interesting. It's a meeting engagement between a mixed Rebel force of Continentals and Militia versus British Regulars and a unit of Provincial Legion Forces. Summary of opposing forces is as follows:

Points total was 120 for the British and 117 for the Americans. Five Command Flags for each side were used. Force morale for both sides started at ten.To speed up the game, troops were already deployed on the table. There was no Deployment turn. This was done to speed up the game and get players into the game immediately, however, each side had a Deployment  Point on their side of the table at the road entry point. This was done solely to provide an objective to capture. Also, no Tiffin Card was used to prevent one player not getting activated for several turns which was a problem in SPv1. Players opted to leave the troops where I had originally placed them on the Table. So the initial set up and beginning moves was as depicted below.

Below we see the opening moves. The British Skirmishers have all moved up to the center fence or wall. The Fusilier Skirmishers have actually crossed the fence and entered the orchard where they are trading shots with the Milita Frontiersmen skirmishers. The British Regulars in the background have moved to the center of the hill where they will stay for the rest of the game.

The Militia are advancing down the road toward the Highlanders. At the nearer hill on the right,the VA State Line has crossed over the hill and is about to fire into the Highlander Skirmishers defending the wall.

In the foreground, you can see the DE skirmishers have made it to the wall while their brothers in Line are lagging behind. One stand of the British Legion can be seen by the farmhouse on the left.

 A little closer view of the middle and Rebel right side.

 A view from the British right flank where the Legion has crested the hill.

 View from the Rebel right Flank showing the MD Continentals having moved up to the fence after destroying the skirmishers in front of them. In the background, you can see that the Highlander skirmishers have also disappeared. British Force moral at this point was down to about seven.

  The VA State line having cleared the skirmishers in front of them are about to wheel and fire into the Highlanders. It seems most players were content to just sit and shoot at each other at long range.

 Rebel right side showing Maryland troops trading fire with Brits on the hill. Neither player here wanted to get into Fisticuffs so sat in this position the rest of the game.

View from the British right Flank. In the foreground are figures killed. Things definitely in favor of the Rebels at this point.

 Things starting to change now. In the background,the VA State Line has wheeled and put some shooting casualties on the Highlanders. Looks like about four figures left on the Highlander Group on the right.

In the foreground, the Fusiliers used a Thin Red Line Command to fire and advance into fisticuffs with the SC Militia. Poor Militia(No Bayonets). Ouch!

 Militia lost the melee and has ruted back out of site. MD troops still sitting at the wall. No Guts! No Glory!

 The Highlanders have been forced to withdraw. British Force Morale was down to four at this stage. On the other side, the Militia is in bad shape and looks like the Frontiersmen have finally been driven off by the British Skirmishers. Rebel Force Morale was at one.

With nothing to prevent the British from capturing the Rebel Deployment Point, we ruled the game over.

 A view of Rebel left Flank.

 Rebel right Flank

Most of the payers were familiar with SPv1and had bought v2, but hadn't yet played it. They were glad to have the opportunity to try it out. It was actually pretty close and more aggressive Rebel players might have swung the game the other way.

I was surprised that most players were content to engage in long range musket fire rather than come to grips in Fisticuffs. On the left the Delawares were an Elite unit and should have made short work of the British Provincial Legion. Same on the right where the three Groups of Marylander's had a good chance of defeating the two British Groups of Regulars.

In my opinion, it would be better to save one's First Fire for close range and combine it with a Controlled Volley with perhaps a Crashing Volley if the Command Cards are available in order to get the maximum effect. Then you move into Fisticuffs for the kill.

Hope you enjoyed this report and learned something from it. Comments always welcome.  Figures used were mostly from GAJO Minis the exception being the SC Militia and Frontiersmen which I painted.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

That damned Tiffin Card again!

 Our Group decided to start the New Year out right and scheduled a game on New Year's Day at Blue Sky Hobbies in Bremerton, WA. Its a great place to game as they are always friendly there and although they don't have much historical stuff, we always feel welcome and the store has plenty of nice gaming tables.

I chose to do an AWI  Sharp Practice game to help me get ready for a mini-convention (Drumbeat) coming up soon where I am putting on a SPv2 game. We play a lot of different rules so I wanted to get into the swing of SPv2 again. I chose the Rescue Mission, Scenario No. 6 out of the SPv2 Rule Booklet. The Forces are fairly small, only 76 Points per side.Composition was as follows:

British Force:  76 points for core force.

Force Commander Leader Status III: Lt Colonel Phineas Horace Fordham, Ldr 1: 9 points

Line Infantry:  10 points
One Group of 8 men
One Leader Status I: Sergeant Maxwell Frid,  Ldr 4

Light Infantry in Line:  22 points
Two Groups of 8 men
One Leader Status II: Lieutenant Ashley Wickes, Ldr 2

Light Infantry Skirmishers:  11 points
One Group of 6 men
One Leader Status I: Ensign Quincy Slater, Ldr 3

Provincial Loyalist Regulars:  14 points
Two Groups of eight men

One Leader Status I: Lieutenant Lawrence Lockjaw, Ldr 5

Provincial Loyalist Skirmishers:  10 points
One Group of eight men

One Leader Status I: Sergeant David Twitter, Ldr 6


Rebellious Colonists:  76 points

Force Commander Leader Status III: Captain Hercules Kinnard,  Ldr 1: 9 points

Continental Line:  27 points
Three Groups of 8 men
One Leader Status II: Ensign Azariah Clements,  Ldr 2

State Line:  15 points
Three Groups of 8 men
One Leader Status II: Lieutenant Moses Watt, Ldr 3

State Militia:  12 points
Two Groups of 10 men
One Leader Status II: Lieutenant Zebulon Leeper, Ldr 4

Rebel Militia Skirmishers: 11 points

Two Groups of 6 men

One Leader Status I: Sergeant Rufus Pymer, Ldr 5


Specialist (Marksman): 2 points 

Per the Scenario setup, the Rebels(Patriots) roll to see where their Primary Deployment point is. It turned out to be at Blue arrow 2. They then roll to see where the Prisoner is being held and Cabin 4 was the result. The Brits rolled Red arrow 1 as their Deployment Point so everything was destined to happen on the upper half of the table.

Below is a map of the Set-Up and the troop dispositions after the first three turns or so. One Group of eight British Regulars starts in cabin No. 4 with the Prisoner. We started with two sentries outside the cabin and the rest inside.They really have no hope of surviving as the Rebels get to set up six inches away, but they define the Scenario and serve to hold the Rebels up for a few turns until the Reaction Force arrives. British start with Force Morale 10 and the Americans 8.

Rebel Leader 3, Lt. Moses Watts was the first leader to arrive and he deployed the State Line 6" from Cabin 4. They immediately fire on the cabin killing two British and inflicting several Shock. The Brits manage a mediocre reply from the one remaining Sentry outside and two soldiers guarding the door. (there were no windows on that side of the cabin). The British end up with more Shock than soldiers and suffer a Force Morale reduction. With no where to really go, we ruled they could stay in the cabin to defend it from assault.

British Force Commander Leader 1, Lt Colonel Fordham  arrived next bringing along Leader 2, Lieutenant Ashley Wickes with the British Light Infantry in Line. They moved up to the rail fence facing Cabin 4. Rebel Leader 1, Force Commander, Captain Hercules Kinnard arrived with the Continentals who moved up to engage the Light Infantry. That would begin a fire fight that would last essentially the whole game with neither side gaining the upper hand.

Meanwhile at the other end of the table, the Rebel Militia units, Skirmishers under Leader 5 and Militia Line under Leader 4 arrived and deployed to defend the Primary Rebel Deployment Point. The British Skirmishers under Leader 3, Ensign Quincy Slater arrived and moved through the woods to face the Rebel Skirmishers. 
The map below shows the situation after about three turns. All the rebels are on the table, but no British Loyalist units have arrives yet. The Tiffin card repeatedly kept coming up within the first quarter of the card deck making for a lot of short turns. This kept happening for most of the game and led our group to incline towards using two Tiffin cards in the deck the next time we play. It really made it hard to use Command Cards for other than just activating units at the end of a turn that didn't get to take their turn.

Below you can see a picture of the table as depicted in the map above. As I was running the game I forgot to take some pictures at critical times, but you can get a general idea of the action. Tom Condon and I played the British. The Rebels were split between Kevin Walker, Gary Williams and Rich Vandoren. My units, the Loyalists are not even on the table yet.

Below, the State Line successfully assaults the cabin and rescues the prisoner. They also captured the three remaining British including Sergeant Frid(Ldr 4) causing  a significant decrease in the British Force Morale. Fighting in buildings is not entirely clear in the rules, but we ruled only the center Rebel Group could assault, the other two groups giving support. I think we gave the Brits the advantage of defending a Minor Obstacle(or was it Major). At any rate the Rebels got more kills and with nowhere to run to, Sgt. Frid and his two remaining Redcoats surrendered. It took a couple of turns for the Rebels to sort themselves out and reform, but they were then off toward their Primary Deployment point.
The Continentals are still in a firefight with the British Light Infantry, but have suffered five casualties and have about 4 or 5 Shock per Group.

Picture below is slightly later. The British Light Infantry appear to have taken one casualty, but their Leader was hit reducing him to a Level I status. They have also taken quite a bit of Shock. The Rebel Militia Skirmishers have moved to allow the Militia in Line to also fire. Their combined fire proved to be too much for the British Skirmishers who eventually had to fall back being severely reduced.

Ok, below it has been some time since the last photo and both of my Loyalists units  have shown up. The Loyalist Skirmishers engaged the Militia Skirmishers with no better luck than the British Skirmishers. The two remaining Loyalist Skirmishers with their leader, Sergeant Twitter( Ldr 6) have fallen back to the rear of the woods. The Loyalist Line unit has moved up to engage the Militia Line unit. The Rebel State Line unit with the rescued Prisoner and captured Brits has moved up to the stone wall. There is not much chance they can be stopped from reaching the exit point.

The Loyalist Line eventually charge the Militia Line but are beaten by 4 in the Fisticuffs and route back 18 inches joining their Skirmisher brothers at the back of the woods.. The Continentals have taken a beating and due to several push backs from Shock causing the Rebel Force Morale to be reduced to level 2. The British side has also suffered several setbacks and their Force Morale is now at level 1. Now we could have played on, but it was clear that there was nothing the Brits could do to prevent the rescued prisoner from escaping off the table so we called the game in favor of the Rebels.. Perhaps the Brits could have caused the Rebel Force Morale to be reduce to zero, but it was just as likely to be the other way around.

Below is the situation as shown on map above. We had fun playing although the Tiffin card plagued us the whole game. Next time I will use two Tiffin cards. Also we all felt the movement was too slow. It just takes too long to get anywhere and if you have significant shock, you're not going anywhere soon. That's what happened to my Loyalist when they tried to charge the Militia. The shock reduced their movement so they had to endure more fire from the Militia so that their fisticuff dice were much reduced from the shock points. I'm thinking of adding a basic six inches to all movement as long as the unit uses at least one movement die for their actions.

I completely forgot about doing the Random Actions when three Command cards in a row come up. It might have made a difference, probably not. Well hopefully I'll be ready now to gamemaster the Drumbeat event February 4th 2017 at the Lake City Community Center in Seattle. Thanks for looking. Comments or suggestions, always appreciated.