COCing Sharp Practice?

Moderators: Vis Bellica, Laffe

Post Reply
User avatar
sjwalker51
Posts: 838
Joined: Thu Sep 05, 2013 3:01 pm
Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire

COCing Sharp Practice?

Post by sjwalker51 »

An interesting thread on the M&B sub-group about the pros and cons of adapting M&B to include COC mechanisms, such as the patrol phase and replacing the Action Card deck with command dice.

What would you think about a similar 'updating' of Sharp Practice? We're about to start playtesting the idea as part of the development of the Indian Mutiny supplement, but would be iterested to see what regular players (of both SP and COC) thought?

I'll stay neutral for now, rather than try to influence any playtesters :)

User avatar
SteveBurt
Posts: 459
Joined: Tue Sep 10, 2013 1:17 pm
Location: Cambridge, UK
Contact:

Re: COCing Sharp Practice?

Post by SteveBurt »

My first thought is that it's not suitable. Doesn't reflect how command and control worked in the Horse & Musket era.

EvilGinger
Posts: 990
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:01 am

Re: COCing Sharp Practice?

Post by EvilGinger »

You could do but it would require quite a bit more work to adapt the dice activation system to the Horse and musket period where you would I think only be activating officers or getting a formation regardless of size to fire or reload.

I will have a think about it for my SP-100 years before as I have had to strip Sp down & rebuild it to get it to reflect late 17th early 18th century linear tactics & the difficulties of command and control in such forces which where horrendous to put it mildly.

:evil: Ginger
Dark lord at large....

User avatar
sjwalker51
Posts: 838
Joined: Thu Sep 05, 2013 3:01 pm
Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Re: COCing Sharp Practice?

Post by sjwalker51 »

That's an interesting point you make EvilGinger (or may I just call you Evil? :) )

The original SP has quite a lengthy chapter on how different nations organised and manoeuvered their companies though I'm not sure how many of us read, or regularly use it in our games, to be honest!

It's something that other supplements such as TSS,SFFG etc have not featured, presumably because the small unit tactics were still very similar to the Napoleonic model.

That's likely to hold true for the 1850's (Crimean and Indian Mutiny) as well, but I can see how some more fundamental changes might be needed for much earlier or later periods - less so, maybe, for the usual skirmish game on a 1:1 scale, but if you're modelling a regimental or larger unit, with proper formations it becomes more of an issue - something to think about when I start on a proper 'colonial' supplement with a myriad of different troop types and fighting styles to consider when running brigade sized games.

EvilGinger
Posts: 990
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:01 am

Re: COCing Sharp Practice?

Post by EvilGinger »

well in a period where troops where not even trained to march in step & where the speed of Fredrick the Greats drill let alone Napoleonic ones would be seen as miraculous you have to make some quite heavy adaptations.

Where infantry avoided hand to hand combat unless desperate or Swedish & still using elaborate and rather slow fire drills you can see what I mean.

:evil: Ginger
Dark lord at large....

User avatar
sjwalker51
Posts: 838
Joined: Thu Sep 05, 2013 3:01 pm
Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Re: COCing Sharp Practice?

Post by sjwalker51 »

I've now tried out the idea of adopting CoC action dice mechanisms in place of the usual SP card activation system with a couple of small encounter games with 30-40 figures per side, as part of the playtest for "War Without Mercy"

My conclusion, for what it's worth after a first test, is that it's certainly "Different" but not necessarily "Better". It certainly allows the activating player a better chance of putting together a joined up plan of action, and also reduces but does not completely remove the friction, reducing the frustration sometimes experienced when the cards are not running your way. Allocating the dice reminded me a little of the mechanisms used in SAGA and M&T.

In a first game it's inevitable I was frequently re-checking what exactly could be done with different quantities of 5's and 6's. I'm sure that with familiarity this would become instinctive. But it's not as visual and immediately understood an experience as seeing the "Sharp Practice" or "Tiffin" cards being dealt.

Somehow, although dice pre-date playing cards by several thousand years, it doesn't somehow feel right to substitute cards for dice in a nineteenth century game, especially when it's such a core mechanism of the original SP game. It may be a different, even better, game than the original but, without the card-driven system, is it still SP?

There are, as I see it, 2 major potential benefits for replacing card-driven actions with dice, but in both cases my instinct is that there is probably already a better alternative solution that does not remove a core SP mechanism:

1. The dice make for a faster moving and less frustrating turn: yes, they do, but the same outcome could also be achieved by adopting the proposed amendments to the rules for the use of GTN cards to immediately activate a Big Man whose card is not yet dealt, or add an action to that of an activated Group, as well as their original function.

2. Gamers increasingly expect to buy a complete package (the complete game in a box) and the action card deck is one of the most expensive elements to produce professionally: that may be so, but for a specialist interest sub-genre of an existing successful ruleset, it would probably suffice to produce pdf or similar files for WWM that purchasers could then download. Part of the fun of SP is producing your own characterful, eye-catching action and bonus cards, which a dice-driven set would lose immediately. There might, however, be a good commercial case to produce a set of action cards for SP-Napoleonic as the core ruleset. For most other periods (ACW, AWI, MAW etc) the customer has always seemed happy to download those provided in the Yahoo files or to produce their own.

Well, that's my first impression - different but not necessarily better - but I'm going to try it again (after playing with the big battle rules next!). What do others think?

EvilGinger
Posts: 990
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:01 am

Re: COCing Sharp Practice?

Post by EvilGinger »

I refer you to my thread on SP 100 years earlier for how I propose to do this.

:evil: Ginger
Dark lord at large....

User avatar
abikapi2
Posts: 138
Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2013 6:10 pm

Re: COCing Sharp Practice?

Post by abikapi2 »

I think the job can work better with Mud & Blood, or IABSM but removing sequence deck or Bonus card deck, will delete one of the better aspects of the game.
With the dice system You'll have a fixed dimension game, balanced on a standard unit size (platoon for CoC), that can be bigger as You desire with cards.

EvilGinger
Posts: 990
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2013 3:01 am

Re: COCing Sharp Practice?

Post by EvilGinger »

Thinking about this I think it can be done & I have an idea of how to do it for the hundred years before setting. However I do see the limitations of the system as compared with the traditional lardie card deck.

I also see no need to retro fit it to SP itself as it works fine I am trying it for a hundred years before mostly as a challenge to see if I can get it to work.

:evil: Ginger
Dark lord at large....

Post Reply