Sunday, May 12, 2013

2 x Modified Sharp Practice at Hotlead

Saturday night and Sunday morning I played two games of "modified" Sharp Practice (the Toofatlardies game) with the Kent Essex Gaming Society (KEGS) fellows. About half the players Saturday night were KEGS members, the other half newbies; Sunday's game was mostly newbies. Each side (French, British) had seven players, each with a unit of cavalry, infantry, or artillery (British only). I was the British artillery Saturday night, on Sunday I was an infantry platoon.

The goal of the game was to seize and hold various objective markers on the map, each marker was worth a hidden number of victory points - once you grabbed a marker you knew what it was worth, and there were fifteen points available spread over five markers. The main modifications from Sharp Practice seemed to be that there were no Big Men cards or factors, you moved as your unit was drawn. The play was also streamlined a bit for that many players, although to be honest, it did bog down a fair bit - but that may have had something to do with the fact it was Saturday night and people were more into having a good time than speeding through the game.

As a wild card in the game, there was a British rocket battery under the umpire's control that would fire when its card came up, but where the rocket would go, nobody knew (usually it'd screw the British up, including sending most of a troop of cavalry diving off a bridge!).

Here's the table on Saturday night, my artillery's in bottom right:

I got my artillery into a nice position quickly enough, but sort of buggered my infantry protection in the process (got in their way). I fired off one shot with the field gun at the French light infantry advancing on me, and had a beauty of a shot with the howitzer - right in the middle of the French cavalry - but the stupid fuze failed! Then I hammered by the light infantry and grenadiers, and my guys either died or ran away (but they did come back again eventually!) - here's after running away...

One other random element was that once your unit's card was drawn, you had to roll for a random event - sometimes this meant getting a special card to hold onto (e.g. ammo resupply, fast movement, good shooting) or something weird. In this photo, the officers and NCOs from two separate units are all taking a leak behind some trees!

This is from Sunday's game - my infantry platoon is getting onto a bridge and victory marker. As it turned out, the whims of war would keep them on that bridge the rest of the game, but as a result of having the best marker on the table (5 pts) we were able to tie the French, who had two markers, but only 5 points too!

Some of the action in the town.

More of Sunday's fight around the town.

Saturday and Sunday's games were pretty light, but a nice way to end the convention, particularly as I was on my way down with the flu, and wasn't fully functioning. Can't wait till next year's Hotlead!

ACW Naval Action at Hotlead - Union Triumphant!

Real-life work has dampened my ability to post often, plus, as I think I've mentioned before, Blogger's stupid interface has dampened my enthusiasm to load picture-heavy posts. But anyway, here's my Saturday afternoon battle from Hotlead back in March. It was a 1/600 ACW river action, four Union ships vs. three damn Rebel ships and three shore batteries.

The battle started with the Union fleet set up in the middle of the stretch of river, not knowing which (or both) ends of the river the Rebs would show up in, nor knowing where the shore batteries were. So we (Union) started in the naval equivalent of a square, facing off every which way. Turns out (lesson learned) that doesn't really work for ships. Once we started peeling off to engage the Rebels, we were a bit disorganized for a while - it was sort of like that fire drill you aren't allowed to mention in polite company any more. I won't mentioned that I accidently rammed a fellow Union ship in the process - luckily it was bigger and ironclad, so I didn't do any serious damage.

So here's the Union at game start:
I'm the USS Switzerland (the "all brown" ship), we also had the Benton (my ironclad friend), the General Price, and one other ship I can't remember - but it was the "one that sank".

Once we got sorted out, I started heading upriver, only to find the CSS Webb, with a lovely spar torpedo on its bow, aiming for me. The game ("Steam and Sail", I think) is broken into two movement phases (part of the reason I rammed the Benton was because I hadn't quite figured that out), so with the initiative, I begged our CinC to go first so I could dodge the danger.

I did escape the Webb, and then found on the second movement phase that I had a lovely shot at the CSS Indianola, and I took it! She sank like a rock (I rolled a crazy number of criticals) and I was the hero of the moment.

Here's the fast-sinking wreck of the Indianola, and me stuck (and gloating) beside her, with zero movement.

And now the Webb is coming back for me, angry over missing me the first time, angrier for me having sunk the Indianola, and not sated after sinking a Union ship along the way (the "can't remember").

Luckily the Webb was also slowed by sinking a ship, so I was able to get my speed back up and started roaring around in circles to avoid her, while looking for another target - the rest of the action had been going on downstream, where a Union and Rebel ram had been taking potshots at each other. The Rebel ship had also been avoiding our slow but deadly Benton as well. The Rebel shore batteries were taking pot-shots whenever they could.

Our other ram, the General Price, finally got to nail the CSS Queen of the West, but wasn't able to sink her - and you can see the Webb lurking and waiting to get its shot in.

And so after the Price rams the Queen, and gets turned sideways, in comes the Webb with another spar torpedo!

But the Webb misses! The torpedo doesn't hit and the Webb glances off the Price.

After some more maneuvering, the badly damaged Queen of the West gets nailed again by the Price, and finally sinks. At this time the game gets called - the Rebels were down to one ship, we had three (two of us in good shape).

One more shot of the game at the end:

This was a fun game, the rules were relatively easy to pick up, and we were helped a lot by our host, Glen B. I'm not sure I'd use the rules for my own ACW gaming, as I have a couple sets I think will work, and these ones were heavy on damage tracking, but for real rivet-heads, they'd be the cat's meow.

As a result, I promptly spent about another $300 on 1/1200 ACW ships to add to my collection, although I'm sure it will be 2019 before I get to painting them!