Monday, November 12, 2018

Gigabytes Historical Game Day - Part 2: Sharp Practice

Once the Kiss Me Hardy game wrapped up, I managed to get the table reset for a game of Sharp Practice. This one was a Napoleonic game based on the Dewey Lambdin Book, Troubled Waters.

In the book, Captain Alan Lewrie, RN, is in command of a small squadron. These include sloops, schooners and cutters below the rate. In the course of the book, he is dealing with spies as he operates off the coast of France. Near the town of Royan, there is a battery of guns guarding the mouth of an estuary that protects the river leading to the port of Bordeaux. A fort is being constructed at Royan but is not yet operational. Lewrie hatches a plan to take out the battery and then move on and destroy the fort that is under construction.

This is where the scenario picks up the action. Lewrie has commanded two of his vessels to land a force of marines and sailors to attack the battery. Guarding the battery is a small group of voltigeurs from a light battalion situated in the town of Royan. The battalion has sent out strong parties of men to search the coast for British sailors that have been getting water and firewood recently.

The sailors are from the a schooner and a sloop that are anchored off of the coast. The marines are from Lewrie's flagship.

The game had two British players and two French players. The British made good progress getting their men headed to the shore. They had three larger rowboats and two smaller ones. This enabled them to land their entire force without having to return to the ships. One group of marines, however, had some issues moving and remained stranded in the water with the one rowboat armed with a gun.

The French deployed their voltigeurs to block the British advance on the gun and opened ineffectual fire on the seamen on the shore. In return, Both the musket armed seamen and the schooner opened fire on these troops and basically neutralized them for the rest of the game.

The French sent out a runner to get reinforcements from the town this was accomplished quickly, but the reinforcements were distracted by the tavern in the village as they spent several turns there.

The next French reinforcement was in the form of three groups of chasseurs that arrived in the top left corner of the table. These troops deployed in a line and advanced through the woods. They lost formation and were picked apart by the marines and the guns from the the sloop.

By the time the second group of marines landed and the gunboat moved off, the French force morale was largely broken. The force from Royan barely played a part as their cards didn't show up before the Tiffin card until toward the end of the game. The French did have their own naval vessel arrive in the form of a single gun gunboat. This opened fire on the schooner and caused some damage but not enough to make a difference.

It was a fun game and played in 15mm. The ships were Sea Dog Studios models with three of the rowboats being Old Glory models. It was a fun game but probably needed some adjustments. Swapping the arrival order of the chasseurs and the gunboat may have helped. That would have distracted the ships from the infantry.

Originally the scenario was going to make the French vessel a small 4-gun sloop but I ran out of time to paint it. The gunboat, I think, proved to be a better help as it was equipped with a heavy gun.

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