Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sharp Practice Battle Report: Listen To The Drums, My Fellows. The Hunt Has Begun!

For the past few years I've heard about a game called the Big Hunt which is hosted by one of the local gaming groups.  From what I'd heard, this game is usually a bizarre little affair as hunters from various countries try to take down a vast array of big game along with the other hunters and anything else that might happen to wonder through.  One year there were dinosaurs, another predators... you get the idea.  Unfortunately I've never been able to make it to any of the previous games but this year finally proved to be different!  I quickly assembled my troops (quite literally) and downloaded the rules so I'd at least have a vague idea what I was getting into.

The day of the hunt, I arrived at Avatar Games and Comics where my friend Sky Captain was planning on running the game and I managed to catch the tail end of the Battletech game his was playing in.  Oddly enough, the most dramatic kill went not to a battlemech but to a squad of militia aircraft that dropped bombs right on the enemy commander's head.

Go figure, right?  The game ran a little long which gave me a chance to check out the store and found this really sweet statue of Deadpool... on a Vespa... with a cannon.

Once the Battletech game finally broke I helped a few of the other players roll up the Big Men for their forces (though what purpose this serves in the game beyond flavor was not readily apparent) and we gather around the table eager to begin!

About forty five minutes later, my troops had moved a massive 7 inches and were still waiting to activate again in the hopes of being able to get off at least one shot.  Thirty minutes after that... well, they got tired of waiting and headed off to get some tea.

So the question that comes to my mind is what went wrong?  There were a few things that immediately spring to mind.

1) New rules that no one really knew that were also for the wrong era: It seems that there are many different sets of rules out there covering all different time periods and combat styles when it comes to historical games.  The one that we were using, Sharp Practice, was not only new to most of the group members but it is also meant for Napoleonic era combat with muskets and cannons while the Colonial era featured bolt action rifles and carbines which caused much consternation for the resident Sharp expert.  Which leads to point number two...

2) Being an expert on the actual rules doesn't necessarily help with house rules: This is one that is really a double edged sword.  Having someone who is familiar with the ins and outs of the rules can help you adjust things to fit new and unique situations but only if they are open to the idea of modifying the rules as written.  In our case the expert was a little to focused on the actual rules and seemed to have a hard time adjusting which really made things grind along as we tried to figure things out, which leads into point number three...

3) If you are going to house rules things, make sure you playtest before the actual session: While this was on the gaming club calendar as a scheduled event there was little or no work done to see just what needed to be changed to make the game run smoothly which further contributed to the grind.

As for how the game ended I unfortunately have no idea.  After almost an hour and a half with only one turn I decided I should just pack up and head for work.  Sky Captain told me the next day that things did run a little smoother as the session went along but it still leaves me a little leery about the upcoming Colonial games which are supposed to use the same rules.

The whole experience has also left me with a few ideas brewing in my melon that I'm going to have to look into, including doing a post-apocalyptic Big Hunt using the Mutant and Death Ray Guns rules.  In fact I've already got ideas for some of the critters that would be wandering around those desolate wastes.  I've also gotten to thinking about other systems that could be used for the traditional Big Hunt scenario (including other Song of Blades systems of course...) but more on that later.  Until next time...


MIK said...

Sounds like SBH might've been a better choices of rules for an open 'con-style' game in the first place.

For these games it's important to keep it rules light and everyone involved...and for the GM to be abole to adapt on the fly at the roll of the dice.

Sounds like a fun scenario, but lost a lot in actual execution. Try some Mutants and Death Ray stuff, that would be fun.

Sin City Snowman said...

I'm thinking something more flexible like SBH would definitely be a better choice but I think Sky Captain was trying to show everyone how Sharp Practice works to get them ready for future games this year.

Its really too bad the game went the way it did as I had high hopes for it but its definitely given me some inspiration. In addition to the MDRG scenario I'm also looking at running the scenario in the Colonial era using Fear and Faith. Might sound crazy but Andrea from Ganesha suggested it and it looks like it might be a really good fit. I've already got a number of ideas bouncing around so I'm excited to see how they work out.