Friday, March 25, 2011

Sharp Practice thoughts - Cards 2


Some more cards for Colonial Sharp Practice. The Stand Fast! cards are the same as the regular deck. Breechloader allows more technologically-advanced troops to use their advantage. Ye Gods! The heat! is the same as Siesta. Mad Dogs & Englishmen is a national-characteristic card that counters this. Men of Harlech of course derives from that wonderful scene in the movie Zulu.

The rules have provision both for the French-Indian War and for actions in India around the time Wellesley served there. Native American tribal encounters can be War Parties or Hunting Parties. Indian ruffians for hire feature as Wallahs. I'm thinking of adapting the American tribal pattern encounters for African tribes. Wallahs will suit Zanzibari/Arab ruffian types very well, although more regular units will be treated differently.

In terms of firepower I think using the rules' Light Troops Skirmishing table will work without any trouble. Natives will have muskets with perhaps a few rifled muskets. Askaris will have rifled muskets for the most part with some poorer-equipped troops toting muskets. European troops will count MiniƩ Rifles as Breechloaders. This will keep ranges in proportion without reworking the table. The maximum range available is therefore 48 inches. Troops firing with a Sharp Practice card will get an increased chance to hit instead of longer range.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sharp Practice thoughts - Cards 1


The mainspring of the Sharp Practice rules lies in the card system. There have been several versions of the classic Napoleonic-era cards posted online, but to date I don't know of any Colonial variant. So much so, I decided to create my own set. Above is the beginning of the British/Imperial set.

As my forces are fairly small at the moment I kept the number of Big Men to just three. A table in the rules shows how this number is worked out. Using images from my own collection and a combination of the Paint and PhotoSuite programs enables me to personalize the cards quite nicely.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sharp Practice thoughts - 2


Some further thoughts on animal encounters to fit the Colonial variant of the Sharp Practice rules.

Under the rules every area of cover such as scrub, jungle or tall grass can be considered a blind in its own right. As such they can hide animals of various descriptions. Encounters are triggered by a group or formation moving close enough to the area and the type of animal is then rolled on a d6.

A score of 1-5 means whatever was in the undergrowth has run off and won’t pose a threat. A score of 6 means something nasty this way comes. Roll a further d6 to see exactly what creatures are encountered.

Scrub and tall grass:
1 = Lions
2 = Baboons
3 = Rhino
4 = Hyenas
5 = Ants
6 = Bees

Jungle:
1 = Gorillas
2 = Chimps
3 = Snakes
4 = Bees
5 - 6 = Ants

Rivers and Riverbanks:
1 – 2 = Hippos
3 – 4 = Crocodiles
5 = Snakes
6 = Bees

Unless driven off by the sound of gunfire lions and hyenas will lurk and watch for three moves, waiting for wounded, stragglers or small parties to separate from the main group or formation. On a roll of 5-6 they will attack such parties. After the third move the animals can be assumed to have decided to seek a meal elsewhere. For Fisticuff purposes lions count as Aggressive, Grenadiers or Guards, and the encountering group is considered Ambushed.

Baboons may attack if disturbed. Roll 4-6 for them to launch an immediate attack on the encountering group. Otherwise they run off. For Fisticuff purposes they count as Aggressive, Defending light cover, and the encountering group is considered Ambushed.

Rhinos will generally move away unless defending young. For Fisticuff purposes they count as Aggressive, Grenadiers or Guards, and add 1d6 for Fervor.

Ants will render an area untenable if a group or formation remains in place for more than one move. The group or formation suffers one Shock point and must retire one move away. Ants cannot be killed or driven off but the area may be passed through after the encounter is tripped.

Bees will render an area untenable immediately they are disturbed. They cannot be killed or driven off, the group/formation suffers one Shock point and must retreat at speed for at least three moves before the bees withdraw. The area cannot be passed through again during the game.

Gorillas and chimps will generally move away unless defending young. For Fisticuff purposes they count as Aggressive, Grenadiers or Guards, Defending hard cover and add 1d6 for Fervor.

Snakes will attack on a 6, otherwise they’ll just slip away. For Fisticuff purposes they count as Aggressive, Defending light cover.

Hippos will attack on a roll of 4 – 6. For Fisticuff purposes they count as Aggressive, Grenadiers or Guards, add 1d6 for Fervor, and the encountering group counts as hit in the flank or rear.

Crocodiles will lurk and watch for three moves, waiting for wounded, stragglers or small parties to separate from the main group or formation. On a roll of 5-6 they will attack such parties. After the third move the animals can be assumed to have decided to seek a meal elsewhere. For Fisticuff purposes lions count as Aggressive, Grenadiers or Guards, and the encountering group is considered Ambushed.

Combat will last for one round then the animals are considered driven off or killed.

Of course, the above depends on what animal models the player has available. Bees and ants don’t require representation as models but a card marked as such would be useful.
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Another couple of National characteristic cards for Tribes.

Witchdoctor = Removes 2 Shock points and adds 1d3 points of Fervor on top of any tribal Big Man’s Initiative. # in deck = 1

Talking Drum = Summons reinforcements within 1d3 rounds. # in deck = 1

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Animal encounters - Hippo

Er... I say, chaps?
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Three stalwart fellows of the British Army Medical Corps set out in a steam launch to deliver much-needed medicines to an outpost upriver. They have absolutely no experience in matters mechanical, but as Barrington said on surveying the vessel tied up at the jetty "How hard can handling one of these things be? After all, it's not exactly brain surgery, what?" When the launch broke down halfway to their destination he acknowledged his words had returned to haunt him.

And so we picture the scene. As the crestfallen but determined Barrington puzzles over the complexities of the steam engine, Nugent-King fiddles with the boat anchor in the bows. All seems calm on the river this morning - but appearances can be deceptive, for Petherbridge has espied a bloat of hippos taking a keen interest in the proceedings.
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The waterlined hippos proved easy to make. Simply take a suitable hippo model (in this case a plastic one from a 'toob'), press the head into a flattened lump of air-dry clay until a suitable waterline is reached (just about level with that enormous mouth), remove, and fill the void with plaster (in this case Hydrostone engineering plaster). Allow to set hard, pop the casting out of the clay, paint and varnish. Some sanding may be required to ensure the casting is level.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Willoughby Pond's Trading Post

Bearers carry goods to the go-down as Willoughby Pond discusses trade matters with District Commissioner Carstairs. The ladies admire the bougainvillea alongside the stoop - a home-like touch in the Heart of Africa.

Another feature for Daftest Africa - Willoughby Pond's Trading Emporium. This establishment consists of a single-storey main building, a go-down (warehouse), in the pattern of those found along the River Congo, all surrounded by a palisade for security against animals and theft.

The palisade is made of twigs cut to size and glued to wooden battens using a hot glue gun. Spackle is used to build up and weight the base, before flocking is applied and fixed in place with PVA. The whole is secured with a spritz of diluted PVA mixed with suitable shades of acylic paint.

The main building is made of foamcore with a spackle rendering, with embroidery battening used for the trellis work along the stoop and behind the bougainvillea. Shutters are simple card, painted with acrylics and the slats drawn on with a black marker pen. Its corrugated iron roof was cut from a pizza box and one of the paper sheets carefully stripped off. This is a fiddly job but the results are worth it. The whole is painted with acrylics before given a wash of India and sepia ink. Barely visible to the right on the roof is the stovepipe, made from a short length of plastic coffee stirrer.

A useful little structure, it can also serve as a schoolhouse, mission, hospital or residence.
 

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