10 December, 2016

Not a Moment to Lose

With the introduction of Too Fat Lardies' Sharp Practice 2.0, the essence of the use of Sharp Practice for small amphibious engagements has been lost. Over two years ago I modified for my personal use, Sharp Practice (1.0) and "navalized" it. Changing terms such as "Big Man" into what Patrick O'Brian's character Jack Aubrey, described as a "Great Man" helps with the flavor of the game. Grasping the Nettle is replaced with "Stand Tall on the Quarterdeck".

Since cards or random generating chips were never sold with the game, it was easy to substitute naval ranks to describe the Great Men. The rules for blinds, movement, firing, and the original naval cutting out rules are largely retained,  but all of the material about cavalry, columns and other land aspects have been omitted. A few home-grown rules on fighting aboard vessels rounds the rules out. Using these rules for tactical small vessel engagements, coastal raids and cutting-out expeditions compliments other rules sets modified for campaign games, role playing and of course engagements by larger vessels. More about those at a latter date.

I hope that the denizens of Lard Island keep evolving Sharp Practice, but I also hope in a future iteration they recapture the sensation of "boarders away", now lost to us in Sharp Practice 2.

~To our wives and sweethearts....May they never meet.

09 December, 2016

Pusser's Gunpowder Proof

No age of sail game should be played without a toast in rum if the players are of legal age and have a sense of responsibility. Pusser’s Gunpowder Proof, the last rum issued by the modern Royal Navy to its enlistees in 1970, launched in seven U.S. markets July 31, 2016 to commemorate the 36th anniversary of Black Tot Day. Gunpowder Proof is an aged overproof expression at 54.5 percent which was the formula last used by the Admiralty. This follows a highly-successful introduction in Europe.
The unique component of Gunpowder Proof is rum distilled from vintage wooden pot stills, a process that provides a depth of flavor far beyond that of mass-produced rums distilled from “modern” semi-automatic metal column stills. The two existing wooden pot stills, first put in use in the early 1700s and located in Guyana’s Demerara River Valley, impregnate the rum with esters (naturally occurring organic flavoring compounds) far beyond those of any other rum. What results is a truly unique, award winning taste.

The name “Pusser’s” is nothing more than a corruption of the word “Purser,” the Royal Navy ship’s supply officer who retained the stocks of rum. Before hydrometers, the ship’s Purser would test rum strength by mixing a few grains of gunpowder with rum to see if it would ignite under the heat of a magnifying glass. If it did that was ‘proof’ the rum was “at strength,” if it was not, the Purser was threatened with bodily harm for “watering down” the rum.

The Admiralty formula, a unique blend of rums from Guyana and Trinidad, was ceded to the Company’s founder, Charles Tobias, in return for his promise to make annual contributions to the Sailor’s Tot Fund, now part of the Royal Navy and Marine Charitable Fund.

Pusser’s Gunpowder Proof has already won several awards in Europe including a Gold at the
International Spirits Challenge, a Master’s and Gold medal in The Rum Masters Competition and Third Place for World’s Best Dark Rum in the World Rum Awards. It also won Gold for Best in Class for the Overproof category in the Rum XP awards at the recent Miami RumFest. This is in addition to the many other awards Pusser’s lower proof 3-year aged and 15-year aged spirits from the same stills have already won.