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News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. Or follow me on Twitter @Balkan_Dave
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Saturday 21 May 2016

Sharp Practice 2

My first purchase at Carronade was Sharp Practice 2 and today was the first opportunity to give it a go. I played the first edition, but wasn't entirely happy with it. In particular, I found it a little too random, with units hanging around for several turns without moving.

The new edition is without doubt an improvement. The use of command cards in addition to the leader cards balances out the random element and means you can at least move key units when the Tiffin card ends a turn. 

Each force is made up of a number of 8 figure groups for regulars and 6 figure groups for skirmishers. You start with a deployment move and then each leader can make one or more group activations, depending on their status. An activation allows two activities i.e. Move and shoot or shoot and reload. Movement distance is by dice, which I find a bit too random, but it's OK. 

The combat mechanisms are very straightforward and groups lose figures for kills and shock points. As units accumulate shock points they find it more difficult to move and firing becomes less effective. Not dissimilar to Bolt Action. 

Each force starts with a morale value and loses points for each incident e.g a group withdraws or breaks or a leader is wounded or killed. When you get down to zero the game is over.

The rule book is well laid out with some nice eye candy, without going OTT. You can purchase the cards separately or use chits in Bolt Action style. There is no QRF in the book, so I hope that is coming as a download.

The thing I most like about the new version is that it is no longer limited to the Napoleonics wars. It covers the whole black powder period 1700 to 1865. My trial game pushed that boundary a bit, using my Russo-Turkish War figures. It's 1877, but there are rules for breach loading rifles. I didn't use artillery and it looks like a house rule may be needed for the Krupp guns.

Here is the set up after deployment. There were 4 groups of foot and one of cavalry with three leaders per side. 

The Turks boldly advanced and shot up the Bulgarian group. Then, because three command cards were drawn in a row, the last active unit rolls for a random event. It this case a group of Turks decided their volley was so good they would charge in. They pushed the Bulgars off the hill but then got counter attacked and scattered by the Cossacks.

At this stage the cat intervened in his UN peacekeeping role! This was also the first outing for my new Deep Cut battle mat, which clearly met with his approval.

After the fisticuffs, the Russians got the better of the firefight until the Turkish morale collapsed.

Really good set of rules with lots of additional features like characters that I haven't used yet. They certainly live up to the positive reviews.


  1. Very interesting report about the ruleset, and very nice game (and cat).

  2. Very interesting report about the ruleset, and very nice game (and cat).