Sharp Practice at the Club

Shortly after we’ve moved into the new flat, I discovered that one of the few (if not the only) wargaming clubs in Vienna is right around where I now live. Naturally, I wanted to check it out. This week, I finally had the opportunity as Virago wanted to inaugurate his newly painted FIW force. He had scheduled a game of Sharp Practice against Annatar and I dropped by to watch. Sigur and several others were also there and after setting up the table, we watched the guys play the Escort scenario from the rule book.

They both used 18mm Blue Moon figures on a standard 4×6 table without modifying the distances. This looks very good and I’d like to try it out with my own 15mm miniatures.

Annatar’s British deployed in open column, with the grenadiers escorting Lady Katharine in the middle. Their provincial rangers rushed ahead to secure the right flank.

Suddenly, two groups of milice canadienne appeared in the woods in front of the British rangers. At the same time, a line of marines marched out of the woods on the other side of the river and opened fire on the column.

The British commander ordered his first two groups to wheel to the left and check the French marines. Oblivious, his grenadiers marched on only to discover that they had left the column behind. Fearing that their mitre caps might make a good target, they headed into the brush beside the road. Meanwhile, the rest of the British formed line to engage the marines, which were still firing into them. The British gave back enthusiastically – in fact, they were so caught up in the smoke and noise that their commander couldn’t make them stop. A firefight developed across the river.

The French commander feared the massed firepower of the British line and retreated his marines behind a hill. Meanwhile, two groups of Indians were rushing through the bushes to hit the British from behind. On the way, they met the rangers which they promptly massacred. The sneaked up behind the British line… but the British commander had finally managed to get his men under control. Smartly ordering them to “right about face”, they turned around and poured a volley into the noble warriors. At first they were only stunned, but then they realised that their chieftain was hit badly. In fact, he was only knocked out, but his men got panicked and decided to fight another day.

As it was getting late, we called it a day and ended the game at this moment. The French would probably have retreated and the Indian chieftain would have been picked up by the British, who could have continued on their way to wherever they were headed.

Being the person with the most experience with the game, I did some rules counselling. However, having never played with anything other than ACW forces, we had to look up some of the characteristics of FIW troops. I didn’t envy the players when four people were shouting rules interpretations and tactical advice at them!

This was a fun evening. I was impressed by the club facilities – there are lots of tables and a nice selection of terrain – and the people I met were friendly and welcoming. I’m looking forward to going there again.

And thanks again to Sigur for providing most of the images!

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