Monday, October 25, 2010

SDS Batrep - The Raid Part 3

After the first couple of debacles the Brits decide to stay and make a real fight of it this time.  Justo was starting to get the system down pretty good by now and he was looking for revenge. I think for the most part we have most of the rules down pretty good at this point but in this game we discovered something we are doing very wrong with the forest terrain.  At least I think we are doing it wrong, so please, any experts out there should chime in and tell us what is correct!
We have been playing that men in the edge of the woods can be shot at with a cover modifier, but after examining the rules closer yesterday it seems that figures outside the woods cannot shoot at units in the woods.  So to attack men in the woods your figures must assault the position to move them out.  At least this is how it looks to me.  Please comment!
Before making adjustments or house rules we always like to learn the rules completely like the authors intended because many times you later think to yourself "aah, that is why!".
In any case, here is the conclusion to our Raid series learning games.  This was a see-saw nail biter!
Some of the pics didn't come out as well as usual.  Jil has lousy lighting and the make shift tin foil backed lights were only partially up to the task.  I definitely know what to get him for his Birthday.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

SDS Batrep - The Raid Part 2

Phase two of the raid on the munitions stockpile.  Even though combat modifiers in SDS are simple and subtle, they work well.  Men with any kind of cover are definitely getting the upper hand like they should.  We are just shaking out the last mistakes and setting terrain rules.  We have decided that you can shoot across one set of low walls even if not adjacent, and giving the target a soft cover bonus. 

SDS Batrep - The Raid Part 1

We had another great afternoon of gaming and managed to get in several games of Song of Drums & Shakos.  We started with a couple of small games since Justo (uncle greasy) showed up for his first intro to the game.  I think he's hooked!  Jil is the French, and Justo the Brits, and I umpired.  Here is the first of three episodes, this one being really short.

I told you it was short!  Episode 2 tomorrow.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Sharp Practice - Mini Review

Sharp Practice by Too Fat Lardies is the second Napoleonic Skirmish rules set I have been raving about.  You have probably figured out by now that I really like Song of Drums and Shakos and may be wondering why in the heck I'm messing around with Sharp Practice.  Well, it is because they are two different animals, and they are both excellent rules for two different styles of games.  I think everyone should own both sets.

Sharp Practice (SP) uses card decks to activate officers and NCOs referred to as 'Big Men", as well as a myriad of other special capabilities and random events to always keep you guessing.  SP is a game that takes a lot of control away from the player and makes him respond to constantly evolving conditions during the battle.  Good tactics are rewarded, bad tactics only compound the arse whooping you will get!

Like Sharp, I have only three rules that I expect from a rules set to pass my test!
1.  SIMPLE.  Must be fairly simple to learn and minimal book keeping if any.  If a new player cannot grasp the basic idea and funtion in a Convention game in three turns the game is simply no good.  Key word here is "game".  I've been gaming for a long time and some historical guys just can't seem to get the fact that they are playing games with toy soldiers.  "Realism" is a myth and games that claim to simulate only make for lousy games you cannot ever hope to finish.  A reasonable amount of historically reasonable results can be achieved with good simple rules much easier than complex nightmares.
2.  PLAYABLE.  Gotta be able to finish a bloody game!  If the game cannot be played in a couple of hours or less it will become a paperweight.  I don't mind getting a little crazy and playing bigger, longer games, but the quick play option has to be there.  You will never get new converts if you cannot finish games.
3.  FLAVOR.  While keeping to simple, fast play mechanics, the game should give you a good "feel" for the period and not allow the player to have God like capabilities.  I like surprises, and it makes for much funner games.  In Napoleonics for example, I like to see troop characteristics and I also like to see my little soldiers having some sort of sense of self preservation.  It is also important that rules can be slightly modified to taste without breaking the system.

I have read the rules several times and only played four games of SP so far but I can already tell you that it abides by my rules.  SP is in my toy chest for the long haul so we are taking our time to learn the rules completely, and are play testing it exhaustively.  Finally we will make our tweaks and house rules.  The main thing I need to completely test out is our basing system which uses multiple figures on a base while they are in close formation.  This will allow us to take SP from company level to battalion level.  I'm convinced it can handle it with a little thought.

Here are some photos with descriptions from one of our learning games.  This is not really a batrep or a review, but just an illustration of what your games might look like if you choose to try out this excellent rules set.  We've only dipped the pinky but are already having a very good time with SP.

It really gripes my arse that we were only able to mess around for about an hour.  I really wanted to see where Jil's Kamikaze column was going to end up.  Up to this point it had taken a bloody nose but was by no means ready to quit.  With the right cards he may have been able to roll through my skirmishers and then I would need to get my close boys deployed or I'd be in trouble.  SP will march again!