Thursday, 16 October 2008

First Impressions: Sharp Practice

Sharp Practice are a set of Napoleonic skirmish rules from the TooFatLardies. We've only given them a single outing so this isn't intended to be a review but rather a few initial thoughts.

The strapline for Sharp Practice "Wargames Rules for large skirmishes in the Black Powder era" starts to give you an indication as to whom these rules are aimed. The nearly 70 page booklet is a combination of rules and background information which is obviously heavily influenced by the Napoleonic period and in particular Bernard Cornwell's eponimous hero from the Sharpe series of books. The rules themselves are geared around individually based figures but not in the 1 figure=1 man sense as with TW&T or IABSM. Rather they are intended to be more representative to enable variable sized games to be played.

The origins of several of the rule mechanics can easily be seen if you are familiar with any of the other rules from the Lardies' stable. The card based activation system is present along with Big Men from IABSM along with additional initiative cards similar to those found in TW&T and the combat system bears more than a superficial resemblence to Triumph of the Will. Notwithstanding the clear Lardies heritage these are not a simple repackaging; quite some thought has gone into the "feel" of the game and the combination of formations and background information on tactics and manouvers means these are a decent enough read.

Our first game suffered from the usual hiccups relating to learning a new rule set and we had, perhaps, less figures than might have been idea to test out its full scope; but we came away thinking that these are worth persevering with (something a lot of rules have failed to do after the first game).

Once we've given them another couple of outings I will feel confident to post a full review.

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