So last time we stopped with the Americans in dire straits, having almost lost a full fireteam to the Insurgents converging on their position...
If you´ve missed the first part of our internal playtest, check it out here: http://riflesandmuskets.blogspot.de/2014/09/csar-part-1-developer-playtest.html#more
Starts with casualty checks on the unit in the centre and the GPMG-Teamo n the right. The Americans find both of their buddy lightly wounded and patch them up to keep their units functioning.
For the time being, the seriously wounded casualties on the left flank are alive, none of them dies but without the presence of a Medic of an evacuation to a safe zone this will not remain so by default.
The Insurgents seize the opportunity of the moment and take initiative....
The mob on the left flank converges on the neutralised team on the left flank, effectively overrunning them without any opposition. The American fireteam on the lower end of the table tries to interrupt but is pre-empted by the Insurgents.
The US soldiers come under some very effective fire and barely manage to avoid further casualties - they are suppressed however and unable to lay down effective fire on the Insurgents.
On the centre, the HMG-group has finally adjusted its gun and opens up on the unit in the centre that has just made contact with the pilot. Again, the Insurgents are lucky and manage to walk in their rounds with quite some effect, sending the pilot into the dust and suppressing the fireteam with a heavy barrage of 12.7mm bullets. The team hunkers down and stays in place...
Observing this, one of the Insurgent leaders sends in the assault team to finish them. With no American team in position to give covering fire and a rare case of functioning command & control on the insurgents side, the assault commences successfully.
Five Insurgents charge the American team which is also 5 men strong but suppressed by HMG-fire and unable to repel the assault by fire. In the following close combat, both sides lose 3 men before the Insurgent morale breaks and the attackers retreat. Barely surviving the close assault the US unit is reduced to two operators...
Finally the American fireteam in the compound finished to clear the house and takes position to engage enemies along the road - a few seconds too late for their buddies by the ruins though.
The team engages a battered cell close to their position and kills the remaining fighters, while the GPMG-Team exchanges fire with the second team nearby the compound. The MG-fire pins them after killing a rebel...
The US Commander establishes a radio connection to the approaching helicopters, but the only news is bad: the Helo are still on the way, so they will have to hold out a little longer...
At this point we called the game and concluded it with an Insurgent victory - the next turn would inevitably have seen 4 more casualty checks and 3 bleedout tests. Though the chances are actually just 20% per roll it´s very likely that the Insurgents would finally have started generating Victory Points... plus they got some hostages as well that we didn´t consider for VPs so far.
And the situation didn´t look like it would be improving anytime soon for the Americans with two teams suppressed and one team overrun. Very hard to turn this around, the only hope for them to win at all was speculating on sheer luck of the helos arriving and scattering the Insurgents.
But we had what we wanted, a good impression of how the game plays out on the board. Some post-game analysis:
-System: The Reinforcements where priced far to cheaply and I´ve already started cutting down their effectiveness drastically. I just called for reinforcements three times and got a shitload of units about 200-250pts worth, far too much reinforcements for a 500pts game.
-The Insurgents where priced a tad too cheaply from the start as we had the points based on a few extra rules that don´t apply anymore but restrained their effectiveness. Think we need to increase their price by about 30% or find another way of nerfing them slightly.
-I did make a mistake as I had pinned Insurgents shoot back. This was not supposed to happen and further increased the perceived effectiveness of the Insurgents.
On the other hand, there where some tactical problems on the American side. As Volker didn´t have any practical experience with the system while I played quite a few testgames with the old FoF-houserule set and a few tests to flesh out the new system, he inevitably ran into some problems. Add to that the limited view of the table in the PBEM-game...
In my opinion the Americans where a bit quick to advance - of course playing it safe means a lot of reinforcements coming in (and they where definitely overpowered as I said above) - but rushing into their graves without getting their positioning right didn´t exactly help.
Their problems began in turn 2 with units running around in the open without another team providing the much needed fire support. NEVER maneuvre without a base of fire! Well, it could have worked out, but it´s just too dicey - if you fail your reaction test you´re pretty much done.
I´ll cite the famous sentence again: "Fire without maneuvre is indecisive. Maneuvre without fire is fatal."
With one team effectively out of action with three casualties I could do my bidding on the left flank and focus my units on pressuring the centre.Rushing in to grab the pilot without setting up a base of fire was just a repetition of the previous mistake - the fireteam was suddenly exposed to the concentrated fire of all my Insurgents, got pinned down and suppressed, did not fall back as it should have and then got a bloody nose during close combat.
Lesson of the day: Your units have to support each other, win the firefight and only then start to maneuver.
Though to be perfectly honest, there was quite some bad luck involved as well. The Americans just kept failing their reaction tests, which is always bad...
I hope you enjoyed our little playtest, any comments or suggestions are welcome. We´re still working on the system, it´s not available yet and won´t be until it´s ready to see the light of day. If you own Force on Force however, you can contact me to try out the houserules, which are very similar for pure infantry-combat and should give you a rough idea of where we´re going - though the new system is much more streamlined and has some neat new features.
Thanks for reading!