This week I had the chance to dust off Sharp Practice, the rather excellent Too Fat Lardies Napoleonic rules.
Now I've never been great Napoleonic fan... I really struggle to get to grips with the history, the changing state of the nations and, of course, the uniforms. Apart from the huge variety and the unique wargamey fear of getting the facings wrong on the Queens Own 42nd Camelry. Everybody seems to be an expert in this era which adds to the danger of getting detail wrong.
Despite this I was tempted by SP as it doesn't take itself too seriously and allows you to recreate Sharpe style engagements... the fact that units are often only 10 men strong is a close reflection of the TV series too!
Andrew and I have been trying to get this game played for some time and finally managed it last night. The scenario pitched a British landing party of the 42nd Foot and some Rifles [of course!], supported by a Naval party, making their way to village to rescue a spy who needs to be evacuated. Of course the village just happens to be garrisoned by some French troops who have to drive off the invaders.
|The village... the pigsty at the top briefly became the equivalent of Hougomont as the Voltigeurs defended it|
In theory the village was located somewhere in Spain... the buildings look suspiciously like a mix of Dark age and Fantasy buildings. Similarly the villagers milling about in the fields bear a strange similarity to ECW villagers... needs must I'm afraid!
Andrew's forces made a bold march straight towards the village with a strong core of Highlanders leading the charge.
|The Black Watch vs French Infantry duel...|
His Riflemen skulked about in the woods [as Riflemen are wont to do I suppose] before emerging to pick off the remains of the first French unit to be bold enough to try and take on the enemy.
|The Rifles emerge from the wood....|
|The French faff about in the centre for a while before getting themselves organised.|
Eventually the weight of fire in the centre began to tell and the Highlanders fell back. By this point the French Light infantry who had been guarding the pigsty on their Right flank had decided to advance and were also harassing the British from their flank.
The spy made herself known and ran to the relative safety of the British lines but we ran out of time to determine if they made their way back to their boats.
The rules work very well for this level of game... the card system makes activation very unpredictable. In our game the British were constantly being teased with the prospect of the gaining some bonus 'Grasp the Nettle' cards which would have been a great help by giving them extra actions, only to have them tantalisingly disappear as the Tiffin card was turned [...because of course everything stops for Tiffin...]. They don't take themselves at all seriously but do give a 'proper' game.
I hadn't played these for some time and I'd forgotten that I had painted up quite as many figures as I actually had. I think this may be because I'd tried to blank out the hours of painting Black Watch tartan kilts!! Maybe I'll try and get them out a bit more often...now perhaps I should add some cavalry....