dimanche 31 mars 2013

My changes to Sharp Practice

Here are my rule changes, based on Silver Whistle's changes with added goodies, both my own and from Jim's Dux Britanniarum mods. I might make them into a PDF if i find out how to do it.


As Silver Whistle, with archers and other missile troops adding a pip to every die and men at arms removing one. I might remove the latter, not sure yet (fully armoured men could walk at the same speed as most men, i've seen a video ;-D )

Nothing new for ranges.

0-12 4+ to hit, 13-24 5+ to hit, 25-36 6 to hit.
This is the same for longbows and crossbows.

0-8 4+ to hit, 9-16 5+ to hit, 17-25 6 to hit.

Rate of fire: Longbows don't need to reload, so can fire once on each dice (two a turn if no move or spotting). Crossbows and handguns need 2 dice to reload.

Effect: As rules, with an armour save. This is the same as SW:
Light, 6
Heavy, 5+
Plate, 4+
Milanese plate (commanders), 3+
Crossbows and handguns lower armour saves by 1, so light armour provides no protection against these weapons. This is to balance out the fact that longbows fire three times as fast!

I treat light as helmets, jacks and maybe some mail/brigandines, usually archers or lightly armoured bill men (militia come to mind). Heavy is jacks, helmets, brigandines and mail and some plate, mainly billmen and the like. Most 'average' melee soldiers. Plate is plate, either full gothic harnesses, 3/4 or just fully armoured men (such as mail and brigandine with plate on the arms). Reserved for the men-at-arms, the elites.

When a groups is hit by archery, they can roll to save any Shock or Kills. A save will seen Shock ignored and a Kill reduced to a point of Shock.

As rulebook, with an armour save for any possible Kills. In melee, there are no saves for Shock, but a saved Kill will result in a point of Shock instead.

Bonus Cards
Like SW, i use a Draw Bonus Card in the turn deck, as i never remember to check for random events. So i have included some of the events in the Bonus deck and added some new ones...

Out of ammo*: A missile armed group runs out of arrows, quarrels or bullets. X2
Ammunition: A missile unit that has ran out of ammo can fire again. X1
At the double: +1 die to move. X2
Stand fast: -d6 Shock. X2
Stuck in the mud*: -1 pip to next move. X2
Church blessing*: No move for one turn. X1
Looting*: Two men loot nearest building, stopping if contacted by a Big Man. X1
Fear*: Big Man and group must retire for one turn. X1
Drunkard*: One man passes out. X1
Hello ladies*: d6-2 men go to nearest house until contacted by Big Man. X1
Damnation!*: Loose all Bonus Cards in your hand. X1
Broken string*: An archer breaks his string. Replace on a 5 or 6 (one roll a turn). X1
I fathom not your intent: An activated Big Man may not move. He may remove Shock, shoot and spot as normal. X1
Well i thought that went well: Loss margin in fisticuffs is lowered by 2, as the men think they did better then they really did. X1
Look out milord!: Cancels one hit of a Big Man. X1
I have a cunning plan: Either Stakes or Pits. Each take 2 activation dice to place. Stakes count as a defended square against cavalry, pits as an obstacle (needs testing). X2
Treachery!: -33% dice in fisticuffs (1 group) as some idiot shouts this in the rear rank. X1

Bonus Cards effect the last Big Man to activate. Some of the cards will be played straight away (such as out of ammo, if a missile group fired last turn then they are effected) but if the card cannot be played right away (last group activated was a melee group for example) then the card may be kept and played at on a latter turn.
The cards with * are the ones i use straight away, just to give you an idea.

So there we are. Any ideas will be welcome, and check out Silver Whistle's blog for the original draft.

Time for something bigger

Right, i know the rules well now. After another small game i'm ready for something bigger.
Before we begin, shown below is my method of drawing the Big Men cards; small counters. They work exactly the same as cards except you draw counters instead, and instead of shuffling, you shake around the box. Simple!

BTW i borrowed the idea, it's not mine originally!
 Right, on to battle! In this game we are in northern France, sometime in the 1470's during the French invasion of Burgundy. Thomas and John Stafford, the English characters from my Dux campaign have been called back north to join the rest of the company under Willian Yelde (more on characters in another post). They have been tasked to watch for French attacks and raids. During one such encounter Thomas was promoted to a dizenier and commands some archers.

The English have two groups of archers, one of billmen and one of men at arms. The French have a group of crossbowmen, a small group of mounted men at arms, some foot men at arms, some pikemen and some handgunners.

The table, with two English blinds on the left, the French coming in on the right. The French must loot the building on the left.

Thomas and his men deploy and spot a column of French soldiers marching between the houses. They let loose a volley, killing a man and shocking the French.

Hugh and the billmen deploy. The target is the building. (Note half finished footbridge, made of plastic sprues)

Two French soldiers begin to loot one of one of the houses.

Under heavy fire, the French decide to pull back, rally and have another go. They move to the shelter of the houses.

French crossbowmen deploy and begin harassing the English from afar.

The rest of the English arrive. John, who leads the other archers, is slightly concerned when on of his men is killed by a quarrel and decides to fall back (the Fear card).

Thomas spots some handgunners by a fence (half finished again) and loose some arrows, killing one. The handgunners return fire, killing no one but surprising the archers.

"Right, you over there, you that way..."
Guillame Legrand, younger brother of Alain Legrand, begins to restore some order to his infantry and gets them moving.

A eye's view from John's archers. The French crossbowmen are in the distance. 

The other way around.

The French infantry move around the village and try to charge the archers, but their progress is slowed by a rain of arrows. Progress slows, and finally the French begin to fall back after making it 10 inches short of the archers.

Hugh decides to advance and meet the French men at arms in combat. He also blocks the line of fire for the archers (damn you impetuousness!).

The French gladly meet the challenge, despite begin outnumbered.
The light was failing at this point so i had to use flash. The little cards in the wheat are the Grasp the Nettles cards, there so i don't forget they're in play.

Avancez! The soldiers aren't having it, and after two of their comrades fall from the bodkin arrows they begin  to fall back.

The French elites charge and after three rounds there is a kill on both sides and they break apart for a breather. The French are shaken though and pull back further.

Guillame, frustrated by the lack of success, rides forward, ready to charge, but comes under heavy fire that shocks his men.

We'll be back... The pikemen have had enough for today.

One of the elites passes out wounded (or drunk!).

Guillame chooses to pull back and save his men for another day. The English jeer them as they pull away.
View at the end of the battle.

I discovered what it must have felt like for the French when charging archers. Two shots a turn is mean, and if the Tiffin card comes up before Big Men can rally shock they get fired at again. I decided that armour is not used when protecting against shock from firing, but i think it might make it impossible for the French to charge. (Silver Whistle, if you read this your opinion will be appreciated, as will all ideas from everyone else!)

I'm keeping these characters to keep a sort of story running through my games and, once i have painted a good number of English i think Thomas might return to England to join in the feuding there (if he's still alive!).

lundi 25 mars 2013

Wagon raid

Continuing my Franco-Burgundian campaign, Steffan decided to conduct a raid into the French lands for some loot before winter. The month is September and with only one month of the campaign year left, the siege would be over winter.
Rolled for a wagon raid, so Alain has the task of getting his column of winter supplies into a small castle. Here the French come onto the table over the hill.

The first Burgundians to arrive are actually the English archers. Using a fate card, the English find one of their groups is composed of untried youths (one group was lowered to 'levy' status). They dash forward and let loose some arrows at the soldiers, who form up on the hill.

Steffan arrives with a group of men at arms and soldiers, and they make their way up the hill, aiming on taking the supplies by force.

Some archers (harassing troops) take cover behind a fence to watch for any reinforcements coming from the castle.

Just afterwards, Perrin Ledoux leads some handgunners, crossbowmen and militia to aid the supply column. They enthusiastically run at the archers.

Steffan aims for the French soldiers, who form ranks and wait for help.

Almost there...

Both sides clash, pole arms swing and despite the uphill advantage, the men at arms manage to push the soldiers back.

(note the 'supply column', made of spare horses until i get some wagons)

Pressing home the advantage, the men at arms charge again next turn, causing casualties. 

View of the table. Alain, the French lord has rode ahead as some Burgundian mounted men at arms appeared to threaten the militia. The crossbowmen on the hill fire at the English, killing one man and suffering two dead in return.

As the soldiers are pushed further back, the supplies are moved down the hill in an attempt to get away from the grasping raiders.

Horse race across the table. The French just miss their target (by an inch or two).

On the hill, the French soldiers under Robin either run or die, leaving only three left who back off with no chance of recovery. Steffan leaves them and turns his attention to the supplies...

Sneakingly, the Burgundian men at arms slip away again from the French with the Evade card, and are ready to charge some militia crossbowmen caught in the open. In the background, the English have advanced on the supplies, defended by only four crossbowmen.

Perrin and his militia watch the horsemen pass by from the safety of a fence.

The situation on the hill. The French feel slightly outnumbered...

'Screw this!' (or 'Merde!') The militia try to panic the horses then leg it, deciding discretion is the best part of valour here.

The Anglo-Burgundians get away with the loot, but are harassed on their way home, seeing their victory being reduced from +4 to +2.

I played this out the other week but only how have loaded up the pictures. I'm getting the hang of Sharp Practice now too, so i'll probably be playing more of that. I may continue the campaign with Sharp Practice, maybe i'll even finish it (don't hold your breathe though)!

samedi 23 mars 2013

First Sharp Practice and some pikemen (two in one!)

First try of Sharp Practice with the 'ol medievals.
As a first go, i can't give you a proper idea, as i forgot several things; reloading times, the bonus cards (might do Silver Whistle's idea) and some other things. I played it a little like Dux Britanniarum at one point! In a way it's similar, but very different. Also i need to revise my force organisation next time. Anyway...

Just a small bash up. Two lords meet in the peaceful English countryside and their aim is to kill or capture their rival. Easy.
Team one, some archers, crossbowmen, billmen and men at arms.

Team 2, men at arms and archers.

Meeting in a little village.

Team 1 (for want of a better name) advances faster and charges first, but the first engagements don't go according to plan...

After a counter attack by the red and black men at arms, Team 1 looses their lord, who is badly injured. I rolled for popularity (to see if his men like him and try to save him) and it turned out he was hated!

So they abandoned the poor devil!

With this i ended the game.
So, next time i will be upping the side (the rules recommends minimum of 30) and adding more Big Men. I guess practice makes perfect, so the more i play the better i'll know.
I also need to think of formations. I might think of creating a knew formation, like a block perhaps, deeper than a line but wider than a column. Not sure though, so i shall play some more and see.

I also decided to make some more pikemen to expand the militia, who shall not re-become Lowlanders. I didn't fancy having shoudlered pikes though, as the pole arm armed chaps are rather more agressive looking. So, i converted them...

That's better! Now they look like they're in a fight, not just wandernig to battle.

They need some militput to cover some gaps, at shoulders and hands.

Most are armoured in jacks and helmets, with a smattering of brigandines, pieces of plate or mail shirts. I will do a couple of heavily armoured men with pikes or poleaxes as Poorters, the richer citizens. I will also do a harnessed leader, with the flag on his helmet to show his rank.

A little WIP to show how i did them. I used the pike arms from the mercenary set.

Cut, trim, slice, glue, curse because it won't hold, then glue again.

Add head of choice: