Needless to say, we both jumped at the chance, not only to play in a game with Richard umpiring (which, believe me, is a treat all of its own) but to also cross swords again across the wargames table. We don’t actually get to play together that often, and I think Mike is still smarting from his defeat at Planetfall early in the year.
This is the table over which we were playing (apologies for the in-game shot – forgot to take one before we started)
The scenario was this:
The French Comte de Langoustine, accompanied by the Comtesse and escorted by a small contingent of French troops have just spent the night in a small inn.
A force of French Grenadiers, long with some ‘Tasty Geezers’ (it’s probably best you don’t ask), led by Captaine Du Gassoulet are building a pontoon bridge.
Meanwhile, the dastardly Prussian, Major Krabbes, along with his Cossack ally, Igor Blimie, have arrived with a force to intercept the Comte and stop him escaping.
Can the Comte de Langoustine lead his beloved Comtesse to safety? Who is the mysterious French Postman? Just how much fun is it playing with magnetised Russian Cossacks? These, and other questions, probably will not get answered in the next few minutes.
The game started with the Comte frantically trying to rouse his men from sleep as the Prussians were seen arriving
Seeing the Prussians in the distance, Captaine Du Gassoulet encourages his men to build faster!
First blood to the Prussians!
The French start to advance up the road, driving off Igor Blimie and his Cossacks with a couple of volleys
Meanwhile, Major Krabbes advances to assault the bridge building party
Despite forming a line to try to defend the river bank, the French find themselves assaulted with cold steel, and fall back
Meanwhile, the Prussians on the hill have laid their gun, and pour shot into the French
As the infantry protect her from the marauding Igor and his Cossacks, the Comtesse makes a break for the bridge, praying that the Prussians ignore her cart with their gun
In the nick of time, voltigeurs reinforcements arrive and assault the Prussians on the river bank, driving them back…
As the game drew to a close, the outcome was still unsure. Major Krabbe’s command had been thrown back by the voltigeurs, who now held the pontoon bridge. However, the Comte de Langoustine’s troops had been severely mauled by the Prussian Jaeger and their supporting gun. Whether they could still protect the Comtesse from Igor Blimie was in some doubt – however, our umpire declared the game an honourable draw…
I haven’t played Sharp Practice for some time, so it was nice to have another game, and to be reminded of just how good a game it actually is. The new mechanics, which include jump off points rather than blinds and ‘Carpe Diem’ cards (though in our game, these had morphed into something a bit different…don’t ask!)
These cards can be used during each turn to gain advantages (using two, for example, can be used to interrupt your opponents move and take an action of your own) – or you can wait until the end of the turn (Tiffin Card) and then use them to activate units that have not yet been ordered. It adds a level of decision-making and resource management to the game which was not previously there.
Whilst there is still a lot of meat to be put on the bone, it’s clear that the basic mechanics are in place, and work together to give a fun and entertaining game – always helped by a very good umpire. In all seriousness, if you have the opportunity to play this game at a show in the next few months, leap at the chance, as it is hugely entertaining.
Thanks to Rich Clarke and the Lardies for inviting us to play – great fun and I’m now wondering if I should start collecting 28mm Napoleonics in plastic “just in case”.
As for “The Welsh Wizzard”? I’ll get you next time, Monsieur!