Some of our group have recently been looking at Sharp Practice, and yesterday we payed what was, for some, their second game and, for me, my first.
The game was a straight head-to-head kill the other side kind of affair. I had a force of ropey French conscripts, bolstered by some reasonable voltigeurs. Caesar had some troops that claimed to be British, but actually looked like Prussians - Pritish or Brussian, perhaps?
Both sides deploy as they are activated near entry points, shown as the red markers in this picture. We both went for the open side of the table. The very open side. Initially Caesar's Brussians managed to get a couple of groups of line infantry and some skirmishers in position, whilst I managed some line infantry under the most junior of commanders.
However the rest of my commanders soon began to turn up, and it put together an impressive-looking, if brittle, firing line. Caesar attempted an advance, but his skirmishers outstripped the rest of his troops, and ended up closer to the French than they possibly should have done.
The French piled on the musketry, and the unsupported Brussian skirmishers were badly chopped up.
Overwhelmed by my success I moved some voltigeurs off to my right, and put them out of command.
Caesar looking thoughtful. On the right can be seen the main body of his infantry, in a tasty-looking column formation.
I deployed my skirmishers, and they opened fire on Caesar's column across some low hedges. Once my voltigeurs got back in command they fired too. I kept these troops firing as fast and as often as I could, stopping Caesar's troops in that part of the field in their tracks.
They were taking lots of hits and, more importantly, lots of shock.
My centre was also suffering badly, though. Caesar was also firing briskly, and the Brussians were better at it. In addition the troops I had there were not of the best quality. Casualties started to mount and questions were asked about whether running away was a good plan.
I kept up my fire on Caesar's main group, wounding his overall commander, Lord Jeff Blucher of Cheam.
My centre decided that running away was a great plan.
However I had other troops working around to my left, aiming to ensconce themselves in and around the church there. They took Caesar's centre under fire.
However it was on the other side of the field where the action was being won, with the French voltigeurs pouring fire into the Brussians there. With Lord Jeff Bucher wounded, there was little that could be done to rally them, and they started to fall back. Brussian morale began to collapse.
The Brussians fled, and the action was over.
The game seemed to involve a lot of shooting and not a lot of movement, although the fact that we were mostly fighting over a flat open field probably didn't help. We suspect that it's one of those games where the rues are mostly straightforward, but where mastering how you actually achieve your aims and manage the card draws (for it uses a deck of cards to run initiative) takes a bit of effort. It could have certainly done with more terrain to block, or at least interrupt lines of fire, but without it slowing movement too much. Still, it was an entertaining evening, and thanks are due to Gary for the figures and umpiring, and Caesar for being a gallant, if nationally confused, foe.