Sunday, September 14, 2014

CSAR (Part 1) - A Developer Playtest

Hello folks an welcome again to the revelation of a strictly guarded secret.

You might remember that I´ve been developing a set of Houserules for Force on Force as I grew discontent with some of its rule mechanisms and set out to change certain things... well, things have progressed since that time and the more I changed on the game system, the more I realised I didn´t need Force on Force as a Basis anymore. At some point the restrictions of basing my mechanics on another system became so obvious that I did away with the foundations (read: FoF) and set up my own game system, evolving from the set of houserules I once designed.

Today, for the first time, you´ll see these mechanics at work in our little playtest...

I will not go into detail however. This report will give you a feeling of how the game will play. It´s an early alpha version, still work in progress and one of the first complete beginning-to-end tests since redesigning and debasing it from FoF, but I´m confident that it will play out well.

We´re playing a developers game (myself and my buddy Volker who´s helped me a great deal in progressing with the rule design) via email, figures are on my table, I roll everything and report back to him so he can give new orders.

We´re playing a 500pts game (yes, a point system is being developed, but there´s a twist...)  with  Modern US Army Infantry versus Insurgent Mobsters (Irregulars). Volker built the lists for both, testing the point values I´ve been working on and we just set out to test their validity.

The scenario he set up was a small US Task Force of an understrength Platoon (2 Squads + MG Halfsquad with a Platoon Leader taking command) against a huge mob of 40-odd local Insurgents that will be swarming the area.

The US Forces have to Search and Rescue a downed pilot while the Insurgents only have one task: To kill as many US Servicemen as possible (including the pilot).

These are the forces with a demarcation of the deployment zone for game start. They are actually the same size, but perspective distorts the picture.

And after deployment:

Turn 1

US Forces take the initiative and advance on the left flank, making contact with a small group of Locals in the open. Recognizing them as hostile elements, they open fire and kill two Insurgents. The Insurgents are outraged and spray into the bushes, almost hitting a US soldier. The Team is pinned in place but takes no casualties.

Second Squad pushes through the vegetation on the right, spotting signs of movement in the mosque. Unable to identify the OpFor, they riddle the building with bullets, but cause no damage to the occupants. Return fire against the conceiled Americans is ineffective.

With covering fire laid down, the US troops advance towards the suspected position of the downed pilot, making a rapid movement across the open. The Insurgents PKM-Team spots them but they are too hesitant, first requesting permission to engage from their commander before pulling the trigger, therefore wasting the opportunity. The US forces take cover in the scrubs.

The troops on the right actually targeted the other group inside the mosque, left of the yellow marker.

The Insurgents open fire on the US team in the center, failing to inflict any damage or morale effect as they have trouble spotting the unit.

Frustrated, one of the Insurgent Leaders calls in more reinforcements that prompty arrive in the form of another large mob in the big white building.

Turn 2

With two teams pinned, the US commander decides to rally his troops before advancing further. Then, first Squad is ordered to advance on the left flank, crossing the open and repositioning to the edge of the ruin in the centre.

They open fire on the exposed team between the building block and the mosque, killing two Insurgents and forcing the other into retreat - though he is put down while falling back towards a better position.

However, the large Insurgent team in the building block now opens fire on the US team. Being out of cover and under a withering barrage of fire, the US troops take two casualties, decide to fall back and lose another man on the way back to their old position, where they duck down and check their wounded.

Second Squad diverts another Fireteam towards the center, marching through the field. Meanwhile, the MG-team engages their prior target again, this time spotting the exact location - failing to inflict any physical damage their fire pins the insurgent PKM-team in the upper story of their building and leaves them disabled for some time.

Second Squad´s other fireteam engages the Insurgents in the mosque again, this time killing a single insurgent.

The US-Team in the centre is now coming under fire from the ruin again on the right flank again - this time to more effect. Suffering from a strain of bad luck, the team takes two casualties and are pinned down and in grave danger of receiving devastating flanking fire  from the left in the following turn...

The Insurgents then reposition one of their cells towards the left flank, trying to deny the compound on the centre-right to the US forces..

More Reinforcements are ordered onto the table, a DShK-Team arrives, setting up their HMG covering th road running from the top-left corner to the centre.

Turn 3

 The US commander is again forced to rally it team in the centre to keep them performing, he then orders the fireteam on the right into the small compound while the GMPG-Team provides covering fire on the nearby enemy.

The MG-barrage kills three insurgents, including the leader of the cell and leaves them disorganised and crawling for better cover - their return fire is inaccurate, but the RPG-shell lands close enough to the MG-team to riddle a soldier with shrapnels.

The Fireteam in the centre moves through the heavy terrain towards the pilots hideout and recovers them, but finds itself in a crossfire from two sides.

Fortunately for the US team, the Insurgent crew on the newly arrived HMG is still busy setting up it´s weapon and does not get off any shots yet.

The three Insurgent cells concentrating their fire are shooting badly even for insurgent standards, bullets fly wide off the mark, but a ricochet still manages to hit an unlucky US soldier and has the rest of the team ducking down behind the rocks. Fortunately, the other insurgent cells spraying at them don´t manage to create any more hits.
The Insurgents on the other hand are well entrechned in the buildings, so the Americans only take down two rebels among the three groups they are defending against, one of the cells fails its morale and is pinned in place.

The Insurgent leader on the far left ceases the opportunity to charge out of the house, across the open in an attempt to close with the whittled down American team stuck on the left flank.
Shooting on the move but on close distance sees the lone survivor in the US team put down and the left flank is wide open for the large Insurgent mob to do their bidding...  Four unconcious US soldiers lying a mere few metres away from them and the mob prepares to advance on their position...

But help is on the way, evac helos are in the air, escorted by powerful air assets...

Can the Americans stop the Insurgent mob from overrunning their team on the left flank?
Will evac arrive in time to save the day?  Or will the Insurgents slaughter the defenseless team before they have to retreat from the incoming helicopters?

Stay tuned for part 2!

EDIT: Part 2 is up, continue reading here:

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