Sharp Practice

Skirmish at Richneck Plantation

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Thursday brought another game of Sharp Practice to the Williamsburg Legati.  Based on a minor event that occurred not far from here on the morning of January 1st, 1781.  Infamous traitor Benedict Arnold had invaded Virginia and was working out his advance upon the new capital at Richmond.

At 2 in the morning, Militia activity was spotted from the James River.  Arnold ordered Captain Johann Ewald of the Anspacher Hessian Jaegers to land with a detail of the Queen’s rangers to investigate.  After a brief assault, the militia were pushed back to a plantation in Warwick county.  There the militia attempted to have the advance of the Germans.

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I ran the game as a meeting engagement, with the exception that I changed the victory conditions, only requiring the British to get across the table.  The original objectives would have actually been more historic but I was very concerned about the game balance.  I created the forces per the point system in the book, but looking at the forces on the table they certainly did not LOOK equal.   Furthermore, the Americans had the advantage of the plantation house in the corner and I imagined a long night of trying to expel militiamen from the house.   The Americans were defending with four groups of Militia in line and two militia skirmishers.  They were further supported by a musician, holy man, water cart and secondary deployment point.

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The Crown forces were two groups of Jaeger Skirmishers and 2 groups of Queen’s Ranger’s Skirmishers.  They also had a musician, spirits/ tinder box,  and a movable secondary deployment point.  The crown forces began with a force morale of 11 and the American’s a 10.

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The Jaegers began the fight by coming through the woods off the Primary deployment point,  on the perimeter of the farm, but most of their forces deployed off of the secondary DP on the American’s Right.

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The American’s responded by sending their second formation of militia to protect that flank.  Unfortunately for the Ameircans, they had placed their secondary deployment forward of the primary Dp, which now left them deploying rather far from that flank.

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Luckily for the Americans, the Crown Forces stopped their forward movement and elected to take positions and fire upon the militia.

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This gave plenty of time for the second formation of militia to get into position and shake out into line.  They fired their one controlled volley into the forward group of Queen’s Rangers, killing almost all of them including their officer, and sending them into a rout.

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The British Force Morale started to drop dramatically but was still pretty firm.  Apparently, here the Crown forces remembered their objectives, and the began a race for the table edge, making great use of the Leaders Staus III level.

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Seeing that they were unlikely to stop this charge, the American’s ordered their own skirmishers to capture the Crown’s primary Deployment Point, hoping to cause a collapse of the British Morale, it was however too late.

 

In the end, the British made it off the corner of the board giving them victory.

In the end, I still feel the fight was unbalanced, and I am suspicious of the pointing system.  even with all the special abilities of these skirmish troops and the superiority of the Crown forces, it did not offset the advantages of line troops firing in formation, therefore I think the skirmish units too expensive.  If I were to do this again, I think I would give Queen’s Rangers in line.

Cheers,

Ron

 

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Categories: American Revolution, Charlie Foxtrot Models, Sharp Practice, Too Fat Lardies, Williamsburg Legati | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Hood’s Battery

I have been working with an idea for a “Pint Sized” campaign for the Too Fat Lardies game Sharp Practice for some time. Last night I ran what would be the first scenario for my club, The Williamsburg Legati.

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This campaign centers upon the action of Benedict Arnold leading an army of mostly loyalist forces in my area of Virginia at the beginning of 1781.  Not completely trusted by Clinton yet, the former American hero was sent to Williamsburg to build a defensible port for British efforts to deny efforts to support General Green in the Carolinas, as well as to disrupt lines of supply and destroy stores of war material.

His ships were spotted coming into the area and the word was sent to Governor Jefferson, who feared that they might really be French Allies decided to do nothing until their identity was confirmed.

Arnold brought with him the Hessian and Anspach foot  Jagers sptsin Ewald, The 80th Regiment, under the Command of Lt Col Dundas,  The Queen’s Rangers commanded by Lt Simcoe, Robinson’s Corps (Loyal American Regiment) commanded by Major Robinson,  The Althause Sharpshooters (Company of York Volunteers), A Company of Royal Artillery and 100 Pioneers.

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A real advantage to playing this campaign is that two of the commanders wrote memoirs that survive.  Captain Ewald, who had command of Hessian Jaegers, and Lt Colonel Simcoe of the Queen’s Rangers. Ewals also made a number of maps which decorate this post.

After landing at Portsmouth, Arnold quickly sailed up the James towards the New Virginia Capital at Richmond. After a failed attempt to land near Jamestown, Arnold continued to sail westward. Where he encountered Hood’s battery.

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Artillery had been placed upon the bluff to stop British vessels from sailing up the river to bombard Richmond.  Arnold needed to remove this battery.  Ewald Jaegers and either the Grenadiers and the Light of the 80th or the Queens Rangers, depending upon which memoir you believe, landed at Wards Creek where the ships are shown on the map above.  From here about a mile from the battery, they marched around the flank to attack the unprotected rear.  The Americans, having spotted the landing boats, fled, leaving the guns to the mercy of the enemy.

This does not a good wargame make.  For this campaign I have decided to propose a “what if” aspect.  The fictio0n of this campaign, is that Jefferson responds by ordering reinforcements be raised, and for some of the Virginia State Line, being raised and trained by Baron Von Steuben to be sent to the Carolinas, be diverted to face a new threat.

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The Americans were defending the battery with two groups of Militia as well as to groups of these Virginia State line.  They also had two groups of militia skirmishers.  for support, they chose an explorer scout and a marksman specialist.

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The British were mostly Queen’s Rangers.  Two groups of line and two groups of Skirmishers.  Ewald was represented by a group of Jaeger skirmishers which they choose to further support by spending their points an a second.

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Early on, the Americans took a strong flank position with their militia skirmishers, much to the chagrin of a local farmwife.  They also dispatched some of their line militia to try to figure out how to turn and load some of the guns.

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The Hessians also had flanks on their mind, and they used their rifles to good effect, safely outside their opponent’s musket range.

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Here things got difficult for the British.  Although inexperienced as artillerymen, the militia at the guns, aided by the withering fire of their comrades still in line,  had a devastating effect on the main body of the Queen’s Rangers, The slowly fell back and eventually one group broke.  That combined with a lack of red cards left the British forces frozen in the field and exposed.

In the end, everyone had a good time, but those guns were an issue.  Now that I look at Ewals map, I think I will leave the actual battery of the table, and center the fight on the redoubt instead.

until next time, Cheers,

Ron

 

Categories: American Revolution, Sharp Practice, Too Fat Lardies, Wargaming, Williamsburg Legati | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

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: , , , , , | 4 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

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