Monday, 12 June 2017

Another outing for my Nine Years' War armies

Following the last playtest of my modifications to the standard SP rules, I was keen to have another game with the revisions I'd made since the last battle. Luckily, young James at the club was happy to take the field commanding the Anglo-Dutch army while I, once again took control of the legions of Louis XIV. Both armies are made up from the excellent NYW 15mm figures from Lurkio.

James wasn't at all familiar with the Sharp Practice rules, but turned out to be a quick learner, as well as a pretty keen opponent, as he demonstrated as the battle unfolded. The table was laid out with few obstacles, because the main aim was to get large numbers of regiments into combat with the minimum of delay. The French were on the left and the Anglo-Dutch the right in this photo.

Both armies took advantage of the Moveable Deployment Point available to Dragoons (in my mods), which allowed one wing of the army to deploy 24" away from the main DP. James, especially, took advantage of my column march rule to get his Foot across the table as quickly as possible. Something else that we agreed should be allowed was for the senior general to be able to activate units assigned to his two subordinate commanders. This is a change that I'll certainly keep in my modifications for future use, because it gave the feel of a large-scale battle being commanded by a senior general or even a Marshal of France. However, on reflection, I think that this feature should be restricted to the senior leader only being able to use a maximum of half his activations for this purpose. After all, he still has to command his own troops.

The Anglo-Dutch deployed first, with Artillery, Dragoons and the Earl of Oxford's Horse taking a dominant position in the centre. The French were next, with the senior French general deploying his elite Gardes Françaises Foot and Régiment Du Roi Horse, plus two other foot regiments directly in front of the French camp (a.k.a the primary DP).

These foot regiments would take the brunt of the Anglo-Dutch assaults. The next deployment was the second Anglo-Dutch command, mainly Horse, supported by the Scottish First Regiment of Foot.

This was soon matched by a deployment on the French left, with Dragoons, Foot and Horse all emerging to counter the Anglo-Dutch Horse.

However, in the centre, the Anglo-Dutch began to advance against the French, with several regiments in column.


The French centre soon began to suffer casualties from the Anglo-Dutch artillery

The battle began to hot up pretty quickly as the two armies joined battle. Remember that in Sharp Practice, muskets are pretty ineffectual except at close range.

Note the complete absence of the French right wing. This was beginning to become a major worry.

Hurrah! The final French troops finally began to arrive, just as the battle in the centre started to become serious.

French musketry caused havoc with the advancing Allied columns, as the Earl of Oxford's Horse charged the Gardes Françaises.

However, the Horse came off worse in this fisticuffs and were effectively destroyed as a useful force. Over on the French left, a colossal cavalry battle was about to begin. This carried on for several rounds of combat with both sides becoming depleted, but eventually leaving the French with the advantage.

With both sides becoming fully-engaged shock and casualties mounted on both sides.

Finally, the French artillery took up position on a hill and began to fire upon the Danish foot on the Allied left.

Although they had taken fire, the Allied regiments in the centre looked strong.

On the left, the Régiment Du Roi rode to reinforce the weakened French Horse.

On the French right, musketry and artillery caused many casualties on the English First Foot Guards.

At this point, we ran out of time. The battle was pretty evenly balanced, with two lines of infantry, supported by artillery on hills, giving them a good line of sight across the battlefield. We discussed the way things had gone, noting that the Force Morale of the French was higher. In fact, the Allies were a fair bit closer to entering the Red Zone, but the French centre had been weakened to such an extent that it seemed unlikely that they could break through against the strong Allied defensive line, so we called it a draw.

My reflections on the revised modifications are that I think I have a workable way of using my NYW armies within the SP Lardie universe, which I think is a good thing. If nothing else, it means that I can sell my FOG:R rules at next year's club Tabletop Sale.

The mods I've written give a decent playable game, but you definitely need plenty of time to conclude a battle, which seems fair enough with so many units on the table. I'm happy with the result, which, at the end of the day, is all that really matters. I think that I'd never have been able to get this project resolved without the excellent SP rules, written by Richard Clarke. His simple to grasp and clever mechanisms have been easy to adjust for my larger armies. It really says exactly how good these rules are.


  1. Very nice, hope to see the modifications in the summer special.

    Are your troops organized into brigades?

    1. In effect, yes, they are brigaded into three commands, the classic left, centre and right is how I think of them.