Sharp Practice:
American War of Independence

Well, a new day, a new set of rules....this time "Sharp Practice" from the "Too Fat Lardies" stable. There are a number of lardies (in both senses of the word) but this was the first time our little sub-group had tried out the rules...

The sides were:

CiC - Colonel Archiebald Andrews on Horse (IV)
2 x Guard Companies (Good), each with a Big Man (II) + 7
2 x Guard Companies (Good), each with a Big Man (I) + 7
1 x Light Infantry Detatchment (Good, Lights) with a Big Man (I) + 7

The British troops (except the lights) MUST remain in Line throughout the battle.

CiC - Colonel Jerimiah Jabberwocky on Horse (II)
2 x Continental Companies (Average), each with a Big Man (1) + 9
1 Virginia Rifles Company (Average, Lights) with a Big Man + 9
2 Militia Companies (Poor) each with 10 (no Big Man)
1 Militia Captain - Big Man (II)

I'd scaled the battle at somewhere between 1:5 and 1:10 and loosly based the idea around Guilford Courthouse...I wanted to see if a small unit of decent British troops would be able to get through a bigger group of poorer troops...

...there were a few design problems with the scenario, but I'll come to those later.

Initial deployments were:

Initial Deployments

We didn't use blinds, as this was our first game. The British Regulars deployed in line formation in one big group, with the Lights sent out as a skirmish line. The American Militia deployed on the left of the road, with the rifles on the right - both behind a fence, which we counted as soft cover. The Continentals deployed as a second line to the rear.

Virginia Rifles

The British Are Coming

US Militia with Continentals Behind

The British split their force into two wings and advanced through the cornfields, whilst sending the light troops to their right to take the trees.

As the British emerged into the open, the Militia Brigade gave their first Volleys, the Poor Troops (combined with poor dice) contributed to only minor casualties and shock points...

The British Advance

A Second Volley, and a random event (the captain got rather scared) forced one wing back into the cornfields, however, the other wing brought down devestating fire on the first of the militia companies reducing it's numbers to less than the shock points it had.

A Desperate Situation

The lights in the meantime had advanced through the trees, and started bring fire down on the same militia unit. It broke, following a bayonet charge - 4 times the dice rolled by the British meant the Militia unit legged it before contact was made...

The two Continental Companies moved up in support, whilst the Virginia Rifles moved out and started bringing their firepower to bear on the British unit still in the cornfields. They had some effect causeing casuualties, shock points, and halting the advance.

Almost Over

The front British units (and lights) turned their attention to the Continentals suffering only minor casualties before unleashing a devestating series of vollies on the Continentals. Three turns and it was all over....

Thoughts on the Rules and Tactics

I've had the AWI figures for ages, but have searched for a set of rules I really liked. British Grenadier was too much like hard work for me, and Age of Reason / Volley and Bayonet don't feel right for this period.

Sharp Practice is perfect...the feel is right, and even though it's supposed to be a skirmish game, works really well for larger games...and once I've painted up some more figures, we'll try some historical battles scaled at 1:5 or 1:10.

Light Troops are devestating (particularly the greater ability to kill Big Men), both sides losing important Leaders to light troops. Their ability to hit with increased accuracy is also powerful...lifght troops will obviously need to be limited in number in future games.

The ability of units to assume formations is also effective...the British operated in two wings, each consisting of 2 groups of 8. Volley fire, though straight ahead, is just one point, 22 dice were thrown by one group hitting on a 4, 5 or 6.....ouch !!!!

N.B. We missed the rule that meant formations fire by group here....whoops!

Weaken the opposition with a Volley or two, pile on the shock points, then go in for the kill with the bayonets.....historical tactics, and it works!

The Americans should have combined their Continentals into one similar sized unit, and just gone for it...their combined fire power may well have made a difference.

On reflection, the British should have had a lower grade CinC (a grade II Big Man would have been sufficient) as it meant the British were able to act first on almost every turn....though of course, the American CinC card seemed to come after Tiffen EVERY turn, reflecting indecisiveness rather well I thought....

....also, we didn't use Blinds as this was the first game.....this would have speeded things up at the start, and allowed the Americans a few more options.

All in all, a great game, though I have some rule questions which I'll post to the Lardies Yahoo Group.

Graeme, DWG.