In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Some Sharp Practice on the Frontier!

And I bet you'd thought I wasn't going to post about gaming anymore, didn't you?

Now that Cadets has wrapped up for the year, I managed to find both a free evening last night and a couple of my friends were available, so I set up a small Sharp Practice game. I haven't gotten any of my Napoleonic Russians painted yet, but I've been thinking that SP might also be jolly good for skirmishes on the Frontier. Get some real Boy's Adventure stuff going.

Now Richard Clarke maintains that Sharp Practice is for the muzzle loading black powder era; French and Indian Wars, Napoleonics and up to the American Civil War. Anything getting into breech loaders is stretching things a bit. But we're gamers and we always modify rules out of period don't we? (Witness all the Warhammer mods for WW2, Colonials, etc. etc.).

I haven't done too much really. British infantry with the breech loading rifles don't require an action to reload. I also treat them all as light infantry and use the light infantry with Minie rifle line for firing. The Pathans have generally poor fire discipline and since they are equipped with a mix of ancient jezzails to new breech loaders, I require them to spend an action reloading. Gurkhas are elite and aggressive. British and Indian infantry are Regular to Good. Highlanders are aggressive in fisticuffs. Haven't thought much about the Guides. Elite obviously, but I haven't decided on anything else for them.

So last night, Capt. Wooster of the Blandingshire Fusiliers, with some Gurkhas and an attached screw gun had to go visit a den of troublesome dacoits (bandits) and sort them out. Can't have them stealing sheep, kidnapping the daughters of tea merchants and generally upsetting the neighbourhood.

I only used about half of my table, giving me an area roughly 5'x5'. I thought maybe a smaller scene of action would get people stuck in faster and we might have a heroic storming of the native stronghold. The village and chief's tower were in the far corner. A river ran up one side through some rocky hills and jungle. Opposite the Imperial entry side was a long rocky hill and a dry stream bed.
Peaceful natives or den of thieves?
Busy market day
The Imperial force came on in long skirmish lines (after I pointed out to Mike that his gaggling columns just wouldn't do); Blandingshires opposite the stream bed and Gurkhas facing the hill.
On the tribal blind card a couple of groups popped out to fire at the invading ferenghis. The lead company of the Blandingshires charged into the stream bed to bayonet the dacoits, while the Gurkhas stormed up the rocky hillside to overrun the sangar.
Gurkhas storm the sangars

close up of the action
Patrick kept forgetting to activate his screw gun, even though the Gurkha captain was a level 4 Big Man and thus had loads of actions he could perform. So the gun only came into play on the last turn, firing one shot into the tower.
The screw gun comes up
The Blandingshires sent one company to the left to pursue another group of dacoits sniping from some ancient ruins, while a second attacked the village and captured the camel stables in another round of fisticuffs. The Gurkhas meanwhile came down from their hill and stormed into the village from the other angle.

Storming into the village
The first company of Blandingshires cleared the ruins and captured a hill on the edge of the jungle, but were then charged by a howling mass of tulwar wielding Ghazis. Despite their aggressive bonus, I rolled badly for the Ghazis and they were pushed back with a few martyrs and shock points.

Ghazis charge out of the jungle!
They rallied a few turns later and charged into the flank of the third Blandingshire company hoping to drive it back from the village but with similar results.

That's where we left it, the Gurkhas and fusiliers were clearing the village and moving up to the tower supported by the now deployed screw gun. The chieftain decided to head for the hills.

Not bad, deploying the dacoits in small groups (6 figures vs. the Imperial 9 or 10) to make them more fragile and limiting the tribal command and control was quite effective.


  1. I missed the game to attend my daughter's graduation at Western.......this game report is just one more reason to despise Western!Looks like lots of fun my friends.

  2. Excellent AAR! I love the figures and terrain. I also use an adaptation of SP in my Colonial gaming. The major difference to your interpretation is I add three Breechloader cards to the deck, allowing any force so equipped to fire that move. It's saved the British more than once. Oddly enough, my light artillery support also seems ineffective...

  3. looks like the game was fun!

    And i like your mods for colonials.

    1. Cheers. Still pondering things. Had some ideas for Pathan command and control to try and have big swarms without excessive numbers of Big Men.

      And I've noticed there is no "Form Square" which is a must for Colonial battles.

  4. The SP rules are so versatile and ideal for this sort of thing.
    Great looking game.