Last week, K.’s brother J. and his girlfriend L. visited us for a couple of day. They had a pretty intense program of sightseeing, but we nevertheless managed to squeeze a game in. L. had heard about the strange games we play but had no experience with wargaming. We gave her a short introduction to the Sharp Practice rules and she teamed up with J. against K., while I decided to play the role of umpire for a couple of turns.
The scenario revolved around a broken down cart with the Yorkist regimental cash box. The cart was guarded by a group of handgonners and skirmishers, who were eagerly awaiting reinforcements consisting of archers and men-at-arms. The Lancastrians attacked with archers, billmen and men-at-arms. To repair the cart, the Yorkist players (J. and L.) had to roll 2D6 each Tiffin and add up the pips. If the sum was 28, the cart was repaired and could move next turn.
K. started her attack pretty straightforward, moving her billmen and men-at-arms through the pasture directly towards the defenders. J. and L. had two groups of archers on their right flank, which advanced leisurely, all the while shooting at K.’s group of archers and slowing it down considerably. The other reinforcements rushed through the fields to aid the handgonners and skirmishers. The handgonners got off a volley before being hit by K.’s men-at-arms. The predictable result was handgonners turning tail and running.
Things were looking good for K. However, as I was tired of being umpire, I decided to join her side and help her a bit. Alas, my ‘help’ confounded the Lancastrian command structure and as our styles of playing are very different, our troops soon were following contradictory orders.
In the meantime, the Yorkists had brought up their reinforcements and now had a group of fresh men-at-arms at the cart, while their archers were marching in from the right flank. Another couple of melees near the cart saw the Yorkist skirmishers flee but unfortunately also finished off the Lancastrian men-at-arms.
And then Goofus and Doofus repairing the cart announced they were finished and the cart took off, still in possession of the Yorkists. Our billmen were left standing in the rain, facing enemy men-at-arms, while the still fresh Yorkist archers were rushing towards the centre. A clear Lancastrian victory!
The game was more exciting than I would have thought. At first, it looked like the Lancastrians were doing well and J. and L. were a bit annoyed that their archers were off at the far right, quite a distance from the melee in the middle. However, in the end this was a good decision: They took out one group of Lancastrian archers and then formed a handy reserve that could dominate the field after the tin cans had beaten each other to pieces. For the Lancastrians, speed was of essence and had they reached the cart before the Yorkist reinforcements arrived, the situation would have looked different.
Considering that Sharp Practice is not the simplest set of rules, especially for beginners, L. had the knack of it in no time. Only the number and variety of modifiers for shooting and melee caused some confusion. But she announced that she is looking forward to having another go!