Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Reflections on the recent game

Time for a spot of analysis on the recent encounter in Gwundaland. The Sharp Practice rules rate troops as Poor, Regular, Good and Elite. With the opening of the campaign in Yabhouti the Barsetshires rated as Good to begin with. The course of time and experience would have raised them to Elite, but I considered the casualties sustained in action coupled with the influx of new men to the ranks kept the Company at Good. 

Big Men are rated in four grades, with 4 being the best. Although the later grade really should only be found in elite troops, I ruled Captain Pike and CSM Harrington to have gained enough experience to raise them a level to 4 and 3 respectively. This slight increase proved vital in the recent game, as Pike and Harrington had enhanced command and control capabilities and were able to pull the fat from the fire.

For the latest game I introduced the Cardwell Reforms that swept the British Army from the 1870s onward. It meant a slight reorganization of the basic section strength from 10 men to 8. This has a telling effect on the firepower, as under the rules Good troops gain +1 to the dice for every five men firing. By reducing the section strength, the Barsetshires effectively lost two firing dice and +5 points - something that gave them pause to reflect in the recent encounter with the Gwunda tribe. Before, their volleys had a good chance of stopping a tribal charge cold. Now, it's all to play for.

Fred Pike regrets the change, but it's what he has to use and he will adapt his tactics to deal with it. He has decided on a strategic withdrawal to the river in order to see his badly wounded to safe quarters, recuperate the surviving troops, and gain reinforcements. Then he'll come on again, 'with blood in his eye,' determined as ever to do his Duty to Queen and Country. But for now, the next game will show what's happening on the other side of the hill...


Chris Stoesen said...

Interesting. That would be a degradation of fire power. Do you find that the results you are getting fall outside of the plausible?

A J said...

Yes, the degradation is quite marked compared with my earlier games. I think it's still plausible, as the amount of firepower brought to bear on an enemy would depend on the tactical deployment used by the officer.

One 8-man section lacks firepower. Four 8-man sections would blow away most opposition (32 firing dice, 1 point added to each dice for Good quality troops - That's not including the bonus for firing on a Big Man's initiative under the rules - Ouch!).

It does pose a nice question as to which option is best under the circumstances at the time. Too large a formation could result in it being unwieldy, inviting attack on the flank and rear. Too small a formation could see it overwhelmed. I feel it actually adds to the flavor of the game.


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