St. Valentio Skewered by El Kebab!

I’ve been making steady progress with my plans for playing colonial imagi-nation games. These will be set in Medetia’s exotic 19th century colonies, using the Sharp Practice 2 rules.

Although I haven’t finished my jungle bases, or added any buildings yet, I felt that with lots of figures now painted a game could still be possible. So, I decided that the soon-t0-be rebellious sepoys and natives would start out with an away match – and become the fierce corsairs of the notorious El Kebab, terror of the southern sea. The sleepy, and lightly garrisoned, Medetian island outpost of St. Valentio was their target, with its trade goods and wealthy merchants. General vandalism would also be on the cards of course. My good mate Jase was up some corsairing, and duly loaded his vessels with a horde of ne’er do wells and set sail..

El Kebab’s small fleet, led by his own ship, the Scimitar, approached the main harbour out of the dawn shadows and made straight for the jetties. The alarm was sounded by the lookout in the fort, and the Medetians were roused from their slumbers. A party of sailors in the harbour were the first to see action, as the approaching corsairs let loose with grape from their guns.

The damage inflicted on the sailors was returned with interest by artillery and rifle fire from the shore, which swept away the Scimitar’s gun crew. El Kebab, may his name be forever showered with glory, may have cowered in the stern a bit when this happened.

Acting the part of El Kebab in full, Jase had decided to drive his two larger ships right into the harbour to offload their landing parties, while the (somewhat slower and more inconsistent) rowed boats followed behind.

With their mighty leader heroically directing things from aboard his ship, his trusty sub-commander, Munjit Dhal and ex-Sepoy Sergeant Badbhaji, led their men ashore to start the mayhem.

The Medetian garrison, though somewhat scattered and having to rally from various points of the compass, were reacting however. Their commander, Major Nebbiolo, wasn’t on top form – perhaps due to too much vino rosso the night before! His officers and NCOs were showing clearer heads though, and Sergeant Rigato of the Bersaglieri and Brevet-Lieutenant Lambrusco were taking the fight to the raiders. The main square was the scene of some running firefights and vicious melees, and casualties mounted on both sides as the advantage swung to and fro.

After seeing off one enemy group, young Lambrusco, hero of several previous games, somehow survived his own unit being wiped out by a second horde of corsairs. His bravery must surely see his promotion to Lieutenant now.

By now, despite Major Nebbiolo coming down from the fort to take charge, the raiders were getting stuck into the looting and burning. The church turned out to be more stiffly defended than was expected, but the frenzied clergy and their gamekeeper were sent packing with a howling charge.

Finally, El Kebab himself made his presence felt as he ushered ashore his most feared mob – the savage Big Choppers of Kamul ‘the Blade’.

Outside the harbour, the wily Imlik Bling and his sharpshooters kept a returning patrol of Bersaglieri at arm’s length as both sides traded shots from their boats.

Finally, enough was enough for the defenders who were forced to pull back to the fort and leave the corsairs free to ransack several houses, capture some residents for ransom, and retire at their leisure from a successful raid.

After this vicious assault, the Medetians would be keen to exact their revenge against El Kebab, and would be sure to leave no stone unturned in their pursuit of him and his band of cutthroats…

It was a great game, played in an excellent spirit, and it provided a lot of laughs throughout. The rules, as always, generated a lot of challenges for us, and delivered a believable and entertaining narrative. More soon hopefully!

A Few More Colonials

I wanted to finish off the rest of the figures I’d prepared before and since Ayton, and here they are. These will be seeing some action (hopefully soon) in my 1830s Medetian colonial setting, using the Sharp Practice rules.

First, some RSMs kindly donated from Andy’s cavernous spares box. Two will naturally be Big Men (ie. leaders) for Sharp Practice.

 

The last of the Gripping Beast Arabs:

Artillery crew converted from Gripping Beast Arabs:

 

Finally, an officer for my Fleurian artillery (Victrix plastic):

 

Junk!

Granted, not an original post name.

At the AMG weekend a few people brought along things to sell/dispose of and I picked this up from Paul for a few quid. It’ll fit in nicely with my non-specific colonial setting, either as an operational vessel for the locals or just as a nice piece of scenery. I gave it a dust, added the masts, and repainted the black bits. And that’s it, ready to go. 🙂

 

More Colonial Irregulars

I’m planning to get as much use as I can out of the Gripping Beast plastic Arabs I painted for Ayton, which means using them for colonial games too. Yes, there are a few too many bows in evidence, but I’m not really bothered. That said, I’m adding some musket-armed figures to bring them a bit more up to date!

These are from First Corps’ SYW in India range. They’re a bit shiny despite 2 coasts of varnish but hey. I’ve used the same colour scheme as the medieval types and they should fit together OK.
I’ve painted, but yet to base, a further 6 plastic guys with spears, which takes me to 44 figures. I think I need another half pack from First Corps to get me to 48 (and increase the musket count), which will make a healthy total of 4 Sharp Practice groups of Wallahs.
Additionally there are 4 plastic figures I’ve done as artillery crew, which I just need to base too.
When done, I’ll get the whole lot together, with the leaders and cavalry, for a photo shoot. Then I just need to finish some scenery and we’re off to the conquer some jungle-clad islands in the name of Medetia!  🙂

The Dreaded Re-basing

We all hate it, but most of us have to (well, choose to!) do it from time to time. This one was worth the effort as I wanted my irregular sepoys to be on single rather than multi- bases so that they work better for Sharp Practice. They can still go onto sabots for games where they need to form up in a battalion.

They’re RSM figures, a mix of their Ottoman figures with some minor conversions in the form of weapons added to hands. They’ve seen service in several games, as a battalion made up of 6 bases of 5. With a couple of spares kindly donated by Count Belisarius I will be able to make 4 groups of 8 or 3 of 10 (militia) for Sharp Practice.

Then: the ‘soak the mdf base in water’ method:

Now: on 20mm washers:

Much happier!

Some Arab Artillery Crew

With the Gripping Beast Arab infantry painted for the Ayton weekend I decided to use a few of the remaining figures for something else.

Plastic figures are fairly easy to convert (the drilling is easier for a start!) so I have produced 4 artillery crew for my planned foray into 19th century imagi-nations colonial gaming. I’ve equipped them with items from Minden/Crann Tara artillery packs, plus a powder keg and some cannon balls.

They’ll be painted to match the rest, nice and simple in black with white turbans.

The final 6 figures have been assembled as more bow/spear guys, which I’ll paint at the same time.

Sharp Practice 2 – The Raid – Part 2

In December my friend and I played the first of a 2-part scenario – see the write-up here

A week or so ago we played the remaining part, which saw the Medetian rearguard holding the bridge that the village raiding force would need to use in order to return to the ship. The bridge defence force had been determined by Jase at the start of the first game and contained a bit of a mix of army and naval types.

Jase deployed with a perimeter of 2 groups of line infantry on one side of the river, and a group of Bersaglieri plus the gun (in a central position, on a rise giving a good view in most directions) on the other. He kept a reserve of 2 groups of sailors – at the pub, naturally. He had supporting assets in the form of a Holy Man and a handy additional Level 1 leader.

As dawn broke my Fleurian patrols converged on the bridge. I would be rolling for their arrival points, and had decided to split my force into a cavalry command (2 groups) and an infantry one (1 group of Grenadiers, 2 of Line infantry and 1 of skirmishers). As it happened these 2 commands came on from opposite sides of the table, but due to some freakish card drawing (early Tiffin cards after 3 re-shuffles) no-one actually appeared until the 4th turn. I should have ruled that the sailors would by now be too pissed to fight, but it didn’t occur to me at the time!

My cavalry came on at a canter and presented the defenders with quite a shock. I should probably have held back and kept the horsemen as a threat but, being a typical wargamer, I decided to seize the moment and move to charge the infantry guarding the bridge. Unfortunately one group was seen off completely by a volley from their intended target, aided by accurate rifle fire from the Bersaglieri hidden in the trees on the other side of the river. Scratch one flank then (although I did get the other group to charge late in the game, to their doom!)

On the other side of the table, my pretty 2-group formation was hammered on its approach by canister from the gun, despite my other groups trying to pin down the artillerymen with musketry. By the time I got the line close enough to do some damage it was being hit from all angles, as the nearest sailors joined in the fun from the pub garden. I did see off the gun crew in the end, but losses and shock meant the game was up for the Fleurians and they skulked away, leaving the Medetian raiders free to return via the bridge and make a successful withdrawal back to their ship – and home for tea and medals. Well done Jase, 2 out of 2!

 

 

This was another good fun game of Sharp Practice, and we are becoming more confident we’re playing the rules properly (at least most of the time). Hopefully we’ll return to the fray in a few weeks.

Warbases MDF Gun

Since painting the Warbases engineer cart I thought I’d move on to the the artillery piece kit next. The carriage is all MDF and the gun is metal. It represents a French piece of the Gribeauval system. I’m not expert on artillery models, but it does the job just fine for me. I’ve already painted the limber that comes with this kit, and overall I think it’s excellent value for an outlay of a few quid (£4.50).

I’ll use it as a generic piece for either side in my imagi-nations games, most likely in a colonial setting. If I need any more, I’ll be back to Warbases for sure.

 

More Sharp Practice 2 – A Raid Scenario

Varesi, the Medetian Lieutenant of Engineers, never had liked the bad-tempered nag that pulled his equipment cart. It was ironic then, when it fell on him and the two of them died together on the outskirts of Auterlin. Such are the fickle outcomes that games of Sharp Practice can produce, and a good laugh they provide too.

Last weekend Jase and I returned to the post-Napoleonic conflict between Medetia and Fleurie and played a game of Sharp Practice 2. I devised the plot for a 2-part scenario, and we played through the first game. The second will hopefully take place early in the new year.

The Medetians have landed an assault party on the Fleurian coast with orders to march inland, cross (and hold) a bridge – which will be the scene of game 2 – and destroy part of the enemy’s siege train which is temporarily holed up at the village of Auterlin.

Selecting 5 groups of infantry (a mix of grenadiers, line and bersaglieri) and an engineer team from his overall force, Jase took command of the Medetians and set off on his mission. As the Fleurian commander I had 4 infantry groups and a light gun with which to defend the important heavy guns, ammunition and powder.

The scene of the impending action, as dawn approaches:

The siege guns outside the church, which was being used to store the powder and shot:

 

On the first 2 turns the Tiffin card came up before any significant forces had deployed onto the table. I managed to get the Fleurian light gun crew woken up and assembled in the village square, which was to be very helpful in the early stages of the game.

Before long, though, the Medetians had arrived, formed up in a couple of formations, with skirmishers moving among the trees and Lieutenant Varesi bringing up the rear with his engineers and cart (and its horse).

A bonus move (4 command flag cards being played at once) allowed the commander, Major Corvina, to get everyone dashing towards the village at the double. Goaded into action, the horse shouldered Varesi out of the way and left the Lieutenant sprawled face down in the dirt and being left behind…

With few Fleurians as yet on the table and the Medetians coming on fast, the light gun opened up with canister and did some damage to the lead formation. This slowed things down and gave the rest of the Fleurian force time to make an appearance.

Fortunately for me, my main force then arrived and took up positions to prevent the enemy from reaching the church. The first Medetian controlled volley, however, hammered the Grenadiers and sent them reeling back from the lane, to try to rally behind the cottage.

The shooting seemed more deadly than in previous games we’ve played, with lots of 6s coming up and plenty of casualty removal. This was pretty evenly divided between both sides, so things remained in the balance for some time as various groups took up positions and continued to fire away at each other.

A Fleurian patrol came on from the table edge and started to make its presence felt, distracting the enemy’s Bersaglieri for a few turns.

Things got more interesting when a group of armed locals, led by a monk, decided to intervene when the Medetians finally entered the village. Their timing was good, as they plugged a gap left by a shot-up and routing group of infantry.

Varesi’s big (and last) moment came when the engineers responded to an order to advance and dashed forward at an unexpected pace, leaving them squarely in the sights of both Fleurian infantry and a fully loaded gun! Engineers went down like nine-pins and the Lieutenant was wounded. Almost inevitably the next card out of the re-shuffled pack led to another volley. The horse took the brunt, falling dead and crushing the hapless officer. Thus, their uneasy relationship was brought to a grim end.

As time wore on and Force Morale levels started to drop, the Medetians moved in to decide the issue at close quarters.

With bayonets fixed, Major Corvina bravely follows his men in a charge intended to put the villagers firmly back in their place..

 

Heroically they slaughtered the lot with no loss to themselves. Interestingly, the Fleurian Voltigeurs (top right of the picture below) subsequently charged the Medetians, and not one of the figures in this picture survived the game, including the Major who was killed with the rest of his men. Fisticuffs sounds a bit like ‘handbags’ but it’s VERY bloody in SP2!

Below – pretty much the end of the game, with the last Fleurians about to relinquish the village and the siege train to the victorious attackers. Both sides’ Force Morale took a tumble with the losses from fisticuffs, but the Fleurians hit zero first and that was that. We agreed that it was probably a good thing that the remaining engineers didn’t have to actually attempt to blow the church in-game, as with the way their luck/competence had been so far, it would have inevitably ended in catastrophe!

So, a posthumously successful mission for the Major, and now they’d have to get back to their ship via the bridge that their colleagues were hopefully still holding. This will be the focus of game 2, when Fleurian patrols try to cut off the invaders from the coast.

The game was great fun, played in the best of company.

Warbases Engineers’ Wagon

Another nice model kit from Warbases, this wagon was quick to put together (once I’d worked out the assembly order). Everything fitted neatly and the engineers’ equipment load can remain loose for removal when not required.

Great value and perfect for Sharp Practice, either as a general wagon, engineer option, or just as a piece of scenery.