Sharp Practice

Washington Slept Here

Some time ago I posted a review here, of some of the fine building kits I had purchased from Charlie Foxtrot Models.  For those of you unfamiliar with Charlie Foxtrot, they are a British company that produces several ranges of some very nice MDF kits.  Shortly after posting it, imagine my surprise to receive an email from Colin, owner of the company.

He asked me what games and genres I played, and if I had any ideas for further ranged or buildings he could provide.  I think that is some pretty impressive customer service, to reach out in such fashion to known loyal customers.

The truth is however, I didn’t know how I could help him.  The only thing that seemed obvious to me was American Colonial.  My job gives me a certain advantage there.  Charlie Foxtrot, however, is a British company as I mentioned.  I didn’t think there would be much interest in the American War for Independence over there. As to American interest, well there is certainly some here, but MDF can be pricey to ship.  I was afraid to suggest that Colin invest in hopes of American customers.  I have no idea how many of us purchase from him.  (I still don’t by the bye).  There, I let the matter drop.

 

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Me at Work…

 

Several months later came the new edition of Sharp Practice from Too Fat Lardies.  Like many others, I was swept up into the excitement.  Sharp Practice 2 makes it very clear that it is not intended just for the Napoleonic period, but rather for the Age of Muskets in general. I found myself drawn to the American revolution, a period I have most avoided as a gamer.  I also noticed a surprising interest in the period of the Too Fat Lardies list.  Maybe interest was greater in Britain than I thought.

I also noticed a dearth of good buildings for the period.  There are a handful of Very nice (and pricey) Grand Manner buildings, but most offerings far too modern, more suited to the American Civil War, or they are log cabins!  I know you Brits think we were completely rustic, but by the time of the war, most of the seaboard was pretty settled.  Log cabins are great for Guildford Courthouse or Kings Mountain, not so great for Yorktown or Boston. Maybe the interest would be there.

Enough of all that.  This is supposed to be a review of the first of Charlie Foxtrot’s New World range, not me bragging about my involvement which was really very minute.  All I did was send photos of buildings I thought would be good choices.  Two of those were the Richard Charleton House and the Grissel Hay house.

Both of these are original 18th-century houses still sitting on their original foundations and footprints.  Colin took these to inspire his “Tidewater Home”.

One of the first things you notice about this kit is it is large.  Far more pieces than most CFM I have (Only my Georgian House is larger).  Lots and lots of pieces.  Many of these are designed to combat the biggest failing of MDF which is it’s inherent flatness.  Colin has used many clever tricks to bring out the 3-dimensional nature of the prototype.  the columns and the portico, the window sills, and may favorite, the dentil work under the eave and the pediment.  This might very well have been neglected by a different manufacturer.

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Dentil Moulding on the upper floor

Of course, the footprint of the building is impressive as well.  Colin told me he saw the house as a focal point of a table and it certainly could be on the 6X4 I am used to.

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I apologize for my Napoleonic miniatures, my Queen’s Rangers aren’t ready yet!

The house is 25 x 14cms or almost 10 x 6 inches and stands about 6 1/2 inches tall to the peak of the roof.  As is typical of any CFM structure, the building comes apart into its separate floors so figures can be placed inside.

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Construction of the kit is easy, with only a few parts being fiddly.  Even the porch steps went together easily which hasn’t been my experience with most mdf kits!  The parts that appeared fiddly were the little pieces to build the tops and bottoms of the inner columns.  The instructions even mentioned to be careful cutting them out and my kit had extras.  Actually however they came out rather easy.

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The porch takes a bit of fiddling to get it all right, in fact, I see in this picture that the top of one of the columns needs work.  Care needs to be taken to keep those little squares, well squared, and to keep the columns at the right height (they can sink into the porch foundation).  The shutters are all separate pieces so they can be attached open or closed or perhaps in poor repair, and one set of the doors is seperated so they can be modeled ajar.

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This is a very useful kit.  While the prototype buildings are urban, there is nothing to distinguish it from several country houses all through the Colonial American South, or for that matter even into the mid-Atlantic.  Suitable for more developed areas in the FIW and obviously for the AWI, but also the ACW. These two witnessed both the Revolution and the Civil War. (or I suppose anything more modern in the Eastern United States as well).  It is probably also worth mentioning that the Hay house served for a time as a boarding house and the Charleton as a Tavern, so they can serve as more commercial establishments as well.  The second in the line which has already been released is a kitchen, and several other out buildings are planned which can really bring this house to life and turn it into a believable home.  A beautiful model, I am sure I will by another one or two to add to my village.

I also feel I should mention, even more so since I referenced the high price of shipping in the beginning of this article, that Charlie Foxtrot now offers service with a new courier.  This courier works with the United Postal Service for a delivery that is easy, convenient, and less expensive that it can be.  Good show!

Now to finish painting the house and shutters!

more later!

Ron

Categories: American Revolution, Charlie Foxtrot Models, Review, Sharp Practice, Terrain, Too Fat Lardies, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dead Men Tell No Tales

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So, on Wednesday I received the long-awaited Kickstarter from Firelock Games, Blood and Plunder.  This was a very successful Kickstarter, which in my opinion is a great example of what a Kickstarter campaign should be.

From the very start, the images on their page were beautiful and attractive.  The tabletop they made to display their models was just stunning.  The Caribbean waters of their little board attracted me to the game and it wasn’t available to me!

Furthermore, the folks at Firelock added interesting well-made videos showing not just their models but describing gameplay.  Their communication during the actual campaign and throughout their fulfillment has been very good and open.

I wish that I had the money to buy more when I joined, but the level I supported at provided me with the rules, all of the game aids for play, one faction, and one ship.  Fortunately, my pal Chris with the Williamsburg Legati was also participating in the Kickstarter and would purchase an opponent force.  I chose the Guarda Costa as my faction and the basic sloop as my vessel.  I am beginning to regret that I didn’t upgrade to the Frigate, and suspect I will be ordering one of those soon!  Chris went for the obvious British Buccaneers.

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So what was in my box?  I received a beautiful hardback copy of the rule book with a QRS sheet and some further clarifications of the artillery rules placed inside of it.  While there are templates printed in the back of the book it would have been nice to have a cardstock copy of that to simply cut out.  There were two little burlap bags that contained the game dice, several custom D10s and the marker dice (d6s marked to represent various game statuses).  A nationality specific deck of cards to activate the models (a regular playing deck can be used).  All the cards that describe the abilities of all the different models.  The Guarda Costra miniatures, 25 prebased figures to make up my force. Of course the plastic resin sloop. Addons I received included a number of different leader and hero miniatures, a second set of heavy guns for the sloop, and some detailing accessories for the boat.

All of the components are very well made, but the sloop deserves special notice.

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The casting is very clean, I just need to trim off a small amount of flash in the gun ports.  Having actually sailed late 16th century vessels, I was pleased to see how much of spars and masts are actually represented.

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In this scale it would not be to great a challenge to increase the detail if interested, by adding dead eyes and fife rails and such.  With the sloop being fore and aft rig, I don’t expect that this will clutter gameplay to much, that might be less true on the other vessels however,

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At least one of my friends participated in this Kickstarter at a lower lever just to gain ships for his Sharp Practice 2 game.  Not a bad idea, and I already know that this sloop will find itself in such a circumstance as well.  Have to decide how to keep my flags interchangeable!

If you missed this Kickstarter you are not out of luck.  I noticed that they are offering pre-ordered offers on their webpage already.  this is presently limited to U.S. costumers but I imagine that will change later.

Very well done Firelock Games!

 

Cheers,

Ron

Categories: Blood and Plunder, Firelock Games, Review, Sharp Practice, Uncategorized, Wargaming, Williamsburg Legati | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Christmas Loot!

Well, another Christmas has come and gone and we have done very well here at Cry Havoc!

I will begin with the required post.  For the last few years,l I have participated in the Secret Santa program organized by Catherine and Ian over at THE BLOG WITH NO NAME.  this is a lot of fun.  The way it works is a number of us wargaming bloggers share are information and post ideas of things we would like for about 15 GBP.  Catherine assigns us people in some unknown magical fashion and we secretly send our little packages to our assigned target.

My gift just arrived today, a little late.  I only mention this because one, my odd sense of humor finds it intriguing that these little guys were cast in England, sent off to Germany and then finally here to the United States!  They have yet to see battle but they are already well traveled.

Secondly, I have been informed that they were sent late due to a family illness at Christmas.  I wanted to share my hopes and wishes for the best of all health to you, whoever are.  I know some of the blogging community have been greatly challenged with illness this Christmas Season, and whether serious or slight I hope that you and yours are doing as well as you might.

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Two packs of fine Perry Brothers miniatures.  One Queen’s Rangers Command and one Queen’s Rangers Light Infantry.  these are destined to be the start of my new project, focussing on Benedict Arnold’ invasion of Virginia in 1781.  the Queen’s Rangers will my  Main Force for this Sharp Practice campaign using Dawns and Departures.  Thank for sending me these and thanks to Cath and Ian for continuing this Yule tradition!

I also received a number of things from Charlie Foxtrot Models.  The huge Georgian mansion, a porch house, the stone barn I have so long wanted and his pig sty.  I also received the driveway, pond and entrance gate to match the Georgian house.  More on these will appear here later.  These are mostly to be used for Chain of Command but I am sure some of them will find themselves serving double duty.

From Sally 4th, for my 7TV THE BEAT game, I have some new photorealistic row houses a Pub and Corner Store.  These are really nice and I am slowly seeing the Greendock take shape.

I am still awaiting my Blood and Plunder Kickstarter, which should arrive any day.  I know they are being fulfilled and look forward to getting mine with great anticipation.  Lastly, I have some more stuff from Colin at Charlie Foxtrot on its way, most notably his new Tidewater House that I linked to in my last post.  That is a project that I have been involved with and am very chuffed to see it come to fruition.  More on that here later as well.

Cheers, and Happy New Year!

Ron

 

Categories: Chain of Command, Charlie Foxtrot Models, Crooked dice, Secret Santa, Sharp Practice, Terrain, The Beat, Too Fat Lardies, Wargaming | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Secret Santa

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Once again it is that time for the wonderful Secret Santa program run ever year by Catherine and Ian at THE BLOG WITH NO NAME.  This is a fun event that I have participated in for the last two years.  (in fact, it occurs to me I never posted the photos of my wonderful British Para I received last year, bad giftee).

Anyways, this is a secret Santa gift exchange for wargaming bloggers, where we purchase a gift (for 15 BPS) for our randomly assigned target.  We inform our own Secret Santas what we want by posting on our own blogs.  I am really chuffed this year with my target as he is a man I consider a friend, and we have some similar interests,  what a coincidence!

Since most of the participants are in Britain and I am here in the States, for my own list I will try where I can do give U.S. suppliers for the British stuff (so as to possibly lower shipping costs).

So here it goes…

Sarissa Precision Radar Station  Need this little guy for a Chain of Command scenario but I think it will come in handy for Pulp Alley and 7TV as well.  I do not know of a US source for these, though Arcane scenery sends me stuff cheaply and quickly.

Perry’s Queen’s Rangers Interested in command, lights and hussars.  As long as we are on the topic any of the Hesse Cassel Jagers would be greatly  appreciated as well.  Working on a Virginia 1781 campaign!

From Brigade Games, Arab Revolt line, Lawrence of Arabia himself, Arab Irregular command, or one of the packs of Arab irregulars with or without lewis guns.

Also from Brigade, the Artisan  Kiss Kiss Bang Bang line, British Operatives or field agents 11, or the Copplestone Kiss Kiss Bang Bang line, Trainee agents, more KGB men, or soul section.

I hope that is enough for ideas,

Cheers, and Merry Christmas!!

Ron

Categories: Pulp, pulp alley, Secret Santa, Sharp Practice, Too Fat Lardies, Uncategorized, Wargaming, Williamsburg Legati | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

War of the Roses and Sharp Practice 2

So a project that I have been working on for some time now has been a War of the Roses game using Sharp Practice.  The original idea for this comes from Pat’s blog Wargaming With Silver Whistle. The Idea was later added to the Too Fat Lardies’ Summer Special 2013. This excellent article with it’s inspiring photographs and the availability of The Perry Brother’s figures certainly called out to me, and I started to build for it.

So I began to buy figures and build, soon I learned that my local wargame show Guns of August,  intended to have a medieval theme.  The die was cast.  Only one problem, Sharp Practice 2 was released…

Obviously, I could have left matters alone and used the old rules, but I decided to revise the old Of All Base Passions  to version 2.  this I have done with no permissions requested or granted so apologies to all concerned parties.

 

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Yorkist Troops Approaching Greenstead from the east

In a similarly unoriginal fashion, the scenario I ran was also from the Silver Whistle blog.  This is a pretty simple scenario.  Completely equal forces approaching an uncontrolled town and the opposing Lords territories.

 

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Yorkists crossing the Bridge

 

 

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Lancastrian Forces approaching from the West

 

 

From the start, luck smiled upon the Yorkists.  Both the command cards and the dice luck seemed to smile upon them.  Actually so did the terrain.  There was a walled field that should have been placed a few inches further to the west.  Its location ended up giving the Yorkist forces a real advantage,

 

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Yorkist Archers Take the Field

I should have placed this field with its center equal to the Town’s main entrance.  Doing so would have been fairer.  This error allowed the Yorkist to take the wall and in the following archery duel, they would not have had such an advantage over their enemy.  The Archers in formation began a long range duel with one another, but with the Yorkists in cover and the Lancastrians exposed the former were slowly getting the worst of it.

 

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Yorkist Billmen Make Their Way to the Side Gate

Oddly, neither Lord realized at first that the walled town had gates on the sides.  Upon this epiphany both sent forces towards those weaker entrances.  The bad luck with command cards, and with their dice for movement prevented the Lancastrians from reaching theirs.

 

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Billmen Break Down the Eastern Gate!

Not so the Yorkists.  After just a few turns they broke through the wall and quickly dealt with the weak defense of the townspeople.  Gisborne, the Town’s mayor was still getting his forces together.

 

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The Lancasters   Reconsider Their Targets

 

The Lancaster Archers realize the weak position but also notice that the enemy’s Men of Arms have been approaching the Town’s front gate and are well in short range.  This proves wise, and while little blood is spilled the foot knights find themselves becoming a little shaken.

 

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Grand Melee!

Seeing that the Yorkist knights are close to having excessive shock, the Tudor commander ordered his billmen to close with them.  While the idea had merit, it failed to recognize the differing quality of the troops involved as well as the armor advantage of the knights.  As would be expected by their Noble Liege, the men at arms suffered very little from the scrape. They were forced to withdraw having received some small addition to their shock, but they lost only one man to the Lancastrian loss of 5.  Not only were the forced back by losing the fight by four, but they were now broken as well.  they routed back from whence they came with a tremendous amount of excessive shock.  The problem is this took them right through a group of their archers with enough excessive shock that they two now were broken.  The Lancastrian luck continued to plummet when an enemy arrow pierced the armor or the Lancastrian’s second in command.  He fell dead.  In a frighteningly quick fashion, the Lancastrian force morale total went from 10 to 3.  Lord Oxford was forced to order his men to pull back fearful that otherwise, they would simply rout.  The only good luck he had was when a random event (and perhaps the Yorkist soldiers breaking through the gates) caused Master Gisborne to place himself and the townspeople under the protection of the Lancastrians.

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So, in the end, I had decided to not make use of deployment points but rather to follow the original idea of marching forces into the game.  Partly I reached this decision due to the scenario predating the new rules and partly because I don’t imagine this period to be one of great stealth.  This was an error, however.  Far too long was spent getting the troops into action.  In fact, oddly the fight went march,  march,  march, shoot a little, charge and then suddenly it was over.  I am also not convinced that there may not be a better way to do armor.  Presently it is a saving throw, but as all hits already have a saving throw for cover it seems redundant and the game starts to feel a little like a Warhammer.  More thought may be necessary there.

 

Cheers,

Ron

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Convention, Sharp Practice, Too Fat Lardies, Uncategorized, War of the Roses, Wargaming, Williamsburg Legati | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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