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Author Topic: Sharp Practice 1809 Project  (Read 18703 times)

Offline Battle Brush Sigur

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Re: Sharp Practice 1809 Project
« Reply #165 on: August 28, 2021, 10:11:45 AM »
@Dr. the Viking: Thanks very much!

@Shahbahraz: Yus, the Tactical Painter's stuff on the subject is very much worth a read.

I'd say that getting bogged down in prolonged firefights is always a risk. In Sharp Practice the infantry line with those big, impressive volleys is a very powerful tool, which often will decide games. The thing is to get to where you want it, when you want it there, and when it comes down to it having more in that place when the right time has come. And once the firefight starts, it very often stays there, and it's hard to get your line out of it when you realize that the situation is not favourable to you.

With the unpredictability of Sharp Practice (via activation cards and command cards, plus the dice factor), it's not easy to foretell that you'll get your firefight where and when you want it, and under the circumstances you want to fight it. In the latest issue of WSS magazine they mention the old phrase "getting there first with the most", which I assume is at the basis of any open, symetrical combat. So the firefight will feature prominently  in those AARs (not the least because it looks good, you can put the puffs of smoke there, it's action-y and you see the uniforms). The nail-biting phases of "can I get my guys there faster than the other guy can?".

It's funny how SP2 toys with our hopes. During the first few phases of the game you work out grand plans in your head of taking an objective or the enemy's deployment point in a glorious coup de main. And while possible, usually those don't quite work out and as time goes on, the game becomes a series of little fires between which the leaders scuttle about, trying to put them out. Having a plan and/or reserves in THOSE phases of the game will really put you at an advantage.

In this latest game yesterday, the big firefight between Cpt.Shandy's three groups of Landwehr and my own three groups of French regulars overall had my guys at an advantage, but only after enduring three or four salvos (which almost made my line crumble). Once I was at the fence though (providing a little cover, leaving the enemy line in the open) my guys were at an advantage and eventually got the better of them.

However, all of a sudden I had all my troops committed (the other two groups in the back basically standing around in a pretty tight spot, without room to maneuver, which they needed dearly) in one way or another. At my right flank the Austrians deployed an annoying group of skirmishers who until the very end of the game tied down my own skirmishers (to protect the flank). The two groups of Grenzers deployed and ran over my left flank were a real problem though. In the AAR you can see how I have Sgt.Bonhomme try to maneuver his two groups to meet and delay the Grenzers, while taking a battering (in hindsight I should have kept them in reserve, but then maybe the Grenzers would have started firing my own infantry line in the flank). When they finally got there, all I could do was a desperate charge, which didn't do a thing really. The Grenzers not just running ahead, taking my wagon away in great parts was just dumb luck (their officer fell over) and the fact that the Austrians had run out of command cards to activate their flanking units.

Another thing with line infantry and their firefights is that once you've committed all of a sudden you got flanks to worry about. Which is the main reason why I always seek to cripple enemy skirmishers early on. An infantry line is pretty hard to knock down once they stand and are led by a high-ranking leader, but getting to fire them in the flank or rear with a group of skirmishers or charging their flank with light cavalry or infantry will put you at a definite advantage.

I think that this game especially showed that the firefight, while deciding in the end, was very much just a ticking clock, while at the same time loads of other things went on.

So yeah, I think that apart from "get there first with the most" (which is great, but uncertain), the infantry line firefight escalates the game to a point where the daring plans and skirmishes fall apart and run into the a series of crises. Having a plan at this point and being able to stick to it (ie having a reserve of two line groups and running them down my wide open left flank) will lead to major trouble for an opponent who decided to stick all his units into a yard. In that firefight I enjoyed an advantage, but the Landwehr held out long enough for the Grenzers to make it dangerously far. If my line had a group break off early on (as they almost did), I would have been in trouble. If I hadn't had the command cards for the Crashing Volley I would have been in trouble (mostly because the Landwehr repaid me with a Crashing Volley of their own right away). If I hadn't gotten rid of the Jńgers very early on and if they'd gotten into the mansion I would have been in a world of trouble.

This game especially had several little events working together, which made it especially exciting.

So much for me rambling on. I think that SP2 works very well for modelling certain problems a commander at that level will face. The firefight between lines always feature prominently, because that's where the stuff hits the fan, but I think it's mostly the circumstances surrounding that firefight which will decide the game (that and dash of dumb luck, as always).

Just to waffle on for a few more paragraphs: I played a lot of Chain of Command, and this game's often viewed as having the problem of getting bogged down in firefights. Maybe it's a bit more of factor there, but on the other hand I've been at the receiving end of a lot of MG34s, with just one Bren gun on my side, which makes the 1:1 firefight undesirable to begin with. Apart from the fact that it cripples both sides and leads to a black hole to which you lose manpower and force morale to, it's unpredictable to a point. You know that the firefight WILL break out, but the trick is trying to have it be on your terms. Which usually leads to having to make risk-reward-based maneuver/positioning/baiting/withholding reserves decisions early on, and once the shooting starts these diminish (as your options diminish because troops are committed to said shooting), and it comes down to trying to keep your men in the fight whilst identifying openings to make the situation less comfortable for the opponent.

At least that's what I think. I mean getting in your opponent's face and rolling lots of 6s will do as well. :D


edit: Oh, there was two more comments while I was typing away. Er... yeah, what shandy said. :D He puts a lot of effort into working out these scenarios, I just show up and try to break them. ;)
« Last Edit: August 28, 2021, 10:13:57 AM by Battle Brush Sigur »

Offline shandy

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Re: Sharp Practice 1809 Project
« Reply #166 on: August 28, 2021, 11:24:05 AM »
@Shahbahraz: Thank you!

@Battle Brush Sigur: This is an excellent piece on tactics in Sharp Practice! I'd be worth putting into the next Lardy Annual...

Concerning how SP toys with your hopes, as you said: For me, SP is one of the most psychological games out there. There are few games where losing initiative - not in a games mechanics sense, but in a psychological sense - can be as devastating as there. This happened in the game before, when I was completely overwhelmed by your aggressive charges and fussed about defensively. I was only reacting and didn't regain my footing.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2021, 11:28:17 AM by shandy »

Offline Shahbahraz

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Re: Sharp Practice 1809 Project
« Reply #167 on: August 28, 2021, 12:27:52 PM »
I do agree with everything said above. SP is one of my favourite games, I think because it can be gloriously unpredictable and really tactically challenging. Prolonged firefights are for mugs.

And the extra twists and turns of individual characters and how their story grows is one of the quiet joys. Much kore so than CoC in my opinion. Right, back to Hornblower, sunshine and beer. Glorious warm sunny day here in Scotland.
Wargaming since the dark ages...

---https://aleadodyssey.blogspot.com/---

Offline TacticalPainter

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Re: Sharp Practice 1809 Project
« Reply #168 on: August 28, 2021, 11:42:37 PM »
I don't have the link to hand but search for The Tactical Painter AWI and he goes into it, as he found in their first couple of games they were making that mistake. He makes some very astute observations.

Thanks Doug, for anyone interested you can find a post here:
http://thetacticalpainter.blogspot.com/2020/09/coming-to-grips-with-sharp-practice.html

The Tactical Painter

Offline Battle Brush Sigur

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Re: Sharp Practice 1809 Project
« Reply #169 on: September 03, 2021, 12:41:08 PM »
heyhey, here's the latest battle report from our Sharp Practice campaign:

https://www.tabletopstories.net/language/en/2021/09/sharp-practice-campaign-game-8/



High stakes, high drama, fire, sheep, this one's got it all!


Also make sure to read Shandy's report of the same game from a French point of view:
https://wargamingraft.wordpress.com/2021/09/02/star-of-bravery-ep-8-loves-labours-lost/


Hope you like the AARs and have a lovely weekend!

Offline Battle Brush Sigur

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Re: Sharp Practice 1809 Project
« Reply #170 on: September 16, 2021, 11:12:27 AM »
Instead I present you with a battle report of the 10th game in our Sharp Practice campaign:

https://www.tabletopstories.net/language/en/2021/09/sharp-practice-campaign-game-10/



This time Capt.Cruchon has to capture an Austrian gun before the enemy can get them back to their lines. Hope you enjoy the battle report, next week we got the big final game of our campaign!

Offline Battle Brush Sigur

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Re: Sharp Practice 1809 Project
« Reply #171 on: September 16, 2021, 12:37:13 PM »

Cpt.Shandy made something for better overview. The cast has grown quite a bit since the first game:


Offline Battle Brush Sigur

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Re: Sharp Practice 1809 Project
« Reply #172 on: September 19, 2021, 12:24:42 PM »
On a lighter note, Cpt.Shandy wrote a piece on his Star of Bravery campaign rules we use for our Sharp Practice campaign:

https://wargamingraft.wordpress.com/2021/09/19/star-of-bravery-special-behind-the-scenes/



Recommended reading, not the least because this is a very clever little campaign system which keeps things simple and very much narrative-driven. If you'd like to see the rules in full (probably as an article in an upcoming Lard Magazine), let him know! Or me, and I'll tell him. ;)

Offline Battle Brush Sigur

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Re: Sharp Practice 1809 Project
« Reply #173 on: September 22, 2021, 07:45:44 PM »

Right, yesterday we had the big final game in our Sharp Practice campaign! So today I present you with a double feature. First, a little article on what Capt. BenÚs has been up to (and why we haven't heard of him in a while):

https://www.tabletopstories.net/language/en/2021/09/sharp-practice-campaign-interlude/

...and then of course the battle report of the big season finale of Star of Bravery. In which both our heroes enter the field as part of a large battle at the doorstep of Vienna. The final clash between Napoleon and Archduke Charles.

https://www.tabletopstories.net/language/en/2021/09/sharp-practice-campaign-finale/




Hope you like the battle report and story!

Offline Shahbahraz

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Re: Sharp Practice 1809 Project
« Reply #174 on: September 22, 2021, 08:53:41 PM »
Great stuff. Hugely enjoyable, and thanks for all the efforts you put into the reports. I look forward to the next campaign. And hopefully the further adventures of Benes and Cruchon.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2021, 09:08:18 AM by Shahbahraz »

Offline Grumpy Gnome

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Re: Sharp Practice 1809 Project
« Reply #175 on: September 23, 2021, 03:09:47 AM »
A great joy to read as always. Thank you for sharing the exploits and I hope we see a season 2 one day!
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