My Wars of the Roses Adaptations to Sharp Practice

When I started the project, I researched how other people had converted Sharp Practice to play games set during the Wars of the Roses. My inspiration and point of depature was the blog of Silver Whistle, who got the whole thing going and had his rule adapdations published in the TFL 2013 Summer Special. I also looked at the variant by Maxamillian Walker and the interesting thoughts by Jim Hale. Then I wrapped up my own thoughts on the topic and put together a Quick Reference Sheet.

My adaptations basically follow Silver Whistle’s. At first, I was a bit sceptical about the additional dice roll of the armour save, as Sharp Practice already has two rolls for shooting. After pondering a while on Jim Hale’s mechanics, which condenses the three steps of ranged combat (rolling to hit, rolling for effect, saving) into two, I decided against doing this as I felt it would upset all the probabilities and thereby the balance of the shock point mechanics. Having now played the game, I can say that the three dice rolls are done pretty fast and are no hassle.

Come on you coward, roll another dice!
Come on you coward, roll another dice!

Another thing I did was something I have already done with SAGA, namely scale down all distances by one third. We play with 15mm figures and our playing space is limited, so this is an easy solution and the distances still look good. Continental chap that I am, I also converted the distances to centimeters. For movement, 1 pip now equals 2cm. This means that movement is a bit sped up in relation to the ranges of missile weapons. I felt that this was ok for the medieval period, where battles tended to culminate in a melee anyway. I also made some minor changes to the weapon ranges, based on my own research, which incidentally turned out to concur with the deliberations of Jim Hale.


I decided to keep signaling, as it’s a fun part of the command mechanism, but reduced it to simple trumpet signals, as medieval armies certainly were not capable of parade ground manoeuvers. I also kept the formations.

For the random events and bonus cards, I followed Silver Whistle but added some additional cards which I adapted from the SP national characteristics. One of them is ‘Once more unto the Breach!’, which allows a Big Men to remove 1D6 shock points, another is ‘The sun lost its brightness’, which doubles the number of shock points inflicted by archery.

We have now played the game a couple of times and everything works fine. It is a testimony to the clever design of the rules that they can be adapted to late medieval skirmishing without much hassle. After these minor tweaks, they certainly give the right feeling for the period!


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