Friday, August 23, 2013

Finishing up My Skirmish Playtesting, Normandy '44

    So I decided to go one last time with Brits and Germans in Normandy '44, for one last playtest with the skirmish (i.e., individually activating) rules, as well as to put an end to the sort of linked scenarios.  Last fight the Brits got a toe-hold in the village, and the Plt Sgt decided to take a token force forward into the village to see what was there.  A token force of Germans was left behind as a delaying force to cover the withdrawal of the remainder of their forces.  So, here are the forces:
 For the Brits, an M4 Sherman, a Platoon Sgt (Plt Sgt), a 2" mortar, a PIAT team, a Bren Group (BG) (NCO, Bren gunner and A-gunner, and two rifles), and a Rifle Group (RG) (NCO, Sten, and three rifles).
 The Germans have a PzJgr IV, a Fire Group (FG) (NCO, MG-42 gunner and A-gunner, 1 rifle w/Panzerfaust), and an Assault Group (AG) (NCO, MP-40, and three rifles, one with PzFaust).

The Brits decided to go a little unconventional, putting the Bren team, the Plt Sgt, and the 2" mortar in the house.  Then the BG (minus the Bren team but plus the PIAT team) started on the right, and the RG on the left.  The Germans started on blinds, except the PzJgr, which started on the road on the German baseline.

Turn 1: The BG moved up on the right, spotting the German FG in the house to its left front.  The FG NCO and rifle fired at the BG, pinning the PIAT gunner.  The BG returned fire, to no effect.  All the commotion exposed a dummy blind and the German AG, in a house further to its front (with all German forces on the table I removed the other two dummy blinds).  The AG fired, pinning both members of the Bren team in the house at the British baseline.  The Sherman moved up and busted the house the AG was in, pinning the MP-40 and NCO.  The 2" tried to drop an HE round on the FG, but it dropped long, harmlessly.  The RG sprinted up the left side behind a wall, while the PzJgr moved up a little.
 Overview after Turn 1.  Brit Plt Sgt, 2" mortar, and Bren team (pinned) in the house at bottom left, the BG up against the wall in the center, with the M-4 behind a hedge to its direct rear.  The German FG is in the center house to the left of the crossroads, the German AG in the center house to the right of the crossroads, with the PzJgr on the road directly above it.  The RG can just be seen at top center, behind the stone wall.
 The Brit center, showing the BG with pinned PIAT gunner.
 The center, from behind the German FG, with Brit BG at top right.
 The German AG and PzJgr, with the AG showing the ill effects of eating 75mm projectiles.
 The Brit house, with 2" mortar at top left, Plt Sgt at bottom left, and Bren team on right (both pinned).
 The Rifle Group, moving up unopposed.

Turn 2: The German AG NCO unpins, fires at the pinned PIAT gunner, and kills him (the assistant takes over the PIAT).  The M4 puts another round in the AG house, killing the MP-40 and two rifles.  The Bren A-gunner is unable to unpin himself, but the Bren gunner does and looses a burst at the AG NCO, to no effect, while the mortar drops smoke on the German FG, causing the MG-42 team to dash forward to get a better view of things.  Once there they get the gun in action, killing one of the BG riflemen and pinning one.  The FG riflemen falls back to his left, loosing a shot at the BG, but missing.  the BG NCO ducks into a shell crater and sprays SMG fire at the German MG-42 team, hitting nothing, while the FG NCO darts left into the field, wildly spraying his MP-40 at the BG, but hitting nothing.  Three of the RG move right into the house opposite the German MG-42 team, though their NCO and one of the rifles fail their command rolls.  The PzJgr blasts the building recently occupied by the RG, pinning a rifleman.
 Overview after Turn 2.  The smoke (in the center) forced the German LMG to move up to get a better view, making it a bit more vulnerable, though the Brits couldn't take advantage of it, while the M4 was able to rack up a few casualties in the AG (in house, center, far right).  A few RG guys made it into the house at top center, opposite the MG-42 team.
 Bodies starting to stack up for the B, with NCO in crater and PIAT at bottom of wall.  That's the German MG-42 at top center, in the house, FG NCO in the field, and German rifle w/Pzfaust at far right behind the wall.
 The German PzJgr just blasted the house at bottom left, pinning an RG rifleman.  This is a good view of the AG casualties at top right, a result of the Sherman's determination.
 The Brit center-right.  The Bren A-gunner being pinned is severely limiting the amount of fire the gun is putting out.
 A view from the other side of the table, showing the RG in its new house, with NCO and rifle still behind the wall, unable to pass their command rolls.

Turn 3: Right off the bat the Sherman fails, but the Bren A-gunner unpins, and the Bren team pins the MG-42 gunner.  The BG NCO got in on the act, but wasn't able to hit anything.  The FG rifleman/PzFaust sprints out from behind the wall at center into the treeline on the Brit right, starting to cause a little concern for the Brit M4's safety.  The FG NCO in the middle of the field moves up to get a better shot and pins the PIAT.  The mortar tries to drop smoke in front of the PzJgr to screen the RG, but it misses right, and the PzJgr fires at the RG bldg again, but somehow hits nothing!  While the AG NCO sprints left towards the treeline (to meet up with the FG rifle/PzFaust), the RG Sten opens up and kills the MG-42 gunner, though the A-gunner takes over the gun.  The Plt Sgt, seeing the AG NCO in the open, takes a shot at long range, but hits nothing.
 Overview after Turn 3: Both sides' armor sat tight, while the RG scored a big kill, getting the MG-42 gunner, though the Germans are making some progress on their left.
 From behind the German center, showing the AG rifleman in bldg to left, PzJgr in road, with RG at top right.  The FG NCO is visible in the field at top left, shooting at the BG directly in front of him (not pictured).
 From behind the German lines, showing the FG rifle/Pzfaust at far left (the M4 is off camera at top center), with the AG NCO in the open to his right, and the FG NCO in the field to his right, opposite the remnants of the BG, at top center.
 A better view of the center, with M4 at top left, behind the BG.
 The German LMG survivor (the A-gunner that took over the gun) on the left, and the RG on the right.  Stilling missing one rifleman that just can't seem to muster the courage to join his mates...

Turn 4: The first card was German, and their first move was to get the AG NCO out of the open, so he went left into the treeline and fired at the PIAT, missing.  The Bren team fired at the FG NCO standing tall in the middle of the field, pinning him (ridiculous! One hit on six dice, needing a 4+).  The PIAT still couldn't unpin, while the BG NCO took a shot at the MG-42 gunner, to no effect.  He promptly returned fire, pinning the NCO and killing the rifleman next to him.  The mortarman dropped a round in upside down, but the M4 pinned the MG-42 gunner, though the German AG rifleman shot and killed an RG rifleman.  The FG rifleman/PzFaust moved further up into the treeline, stalking the M4, while the FG NCO unpinned himself (in the middle of a field) and sprayed the PIAT, but missed him again (the PIAT hasn't been able to activate the whole game, minus the first turn in which he moved up to the wall, where he's been pinned ever since, but no one can kill him!).  The Plt Sgt, feeling a bit threatened on his right flank, decides to descend from the bldg and moves into the treeline housing the FG rifle and AG NCO, though he's in command proximity to the PIAT now and so maybe that will help him.  the RG NCO and Sten both fired at the pinned MG-42 gunner, missing, while the rest of the unit failed their command rolls...  The PzJgr decided to fall back and start moving to the German left.
 Overview after Turn 4: On the far right you can see the PzJgr repositioning to its left, and at the center bottom you can see the FG rifle/PzFaust and AG NCO in the treeline.  The Brit M4 is still in the same spot, as is the BG, Bren team, and mortar, though the Plt Sgt charged into the treeline at bottom center.
 From behind the German lines, showing the AG rifle at top center and the PzJgr.
 The Brit RG, still trying to put away the MG-42 at top.  Pvt Snuffy still chilling out at the bottom behind the wall...
 The center.  M4 at top left, with BG looking pretty beat up at top center (the PIAT is pinned at the bottom of the wall).  The Plt Sgt is at bottom left, with the FG rifle/PzFaust at bottom center and the AG NCO at bottom right. The FG NCO is still in the field opposite the BG.

Turn 5: The turn starts with the RG Sten moving up into the street (in order to make better use of his SMG), but missing the MG-42 gunner, who can't unpin and is finished off when the RG NCO moves into the street next to the Sten gunner.  But then the Bren team failed (a much higher probability with the Plt Sgt cavorting about in the treeline instead of up in the bldg with them).  The PIAT fails but the BG NCO unpins and pins the German FG NCO (in the field).  The M4 goes back to pumping rounds into the old AG house, pinning the rifleman there, though he unpins and sprints forward, while on the right the AG NCO moves up and takes a shot at the PIAT, missing AGAIN.  The Plt Sgt takes a shot at him, but misses as well.  Then the 2" mortar activates and drops an HE round right on top of the FG NCO, killing him.  In the treeline the FG rifle/PzFaust takes a shot at the Plt Sgt, missing, and the PzJgr moves up.
 Overview after Turn 5: The M4 has been more of an emplacement than a tank, while the PzJgr inches forward on the far right.  The treeline is abuzz at bottom, though it really helped having the mortar round take out the German FG NCO in the field.  The RG is slowly getting guys across the street, but the AG rifle moved up to take them on.
 The Brit right, with the situation getting interesting in the treeline.  If he'd have been close enough, the German NCO in the treeline (right) might have moved up into close combat with the Plt Sgt (treeline left), and, if successful, the rifle/PzFaust (treeline center) could have moved up and tried to put a rocket into the side of the Sherman.
 The Brit left, making some progress.

Turn 6: The AG NCO and FG rifle/PzFaust both end up firing at the Plt Sgt, but only manage a pin, before the Bren team activates and empties a full, 30-round magazine into the AG NCO, killing him.  As per usual, the PIAT fails...  On the left, the Sten gunner charges into the house in a one-on-one, dead even situation (you should really try to pin the bad guy before moving into close combat), and subdues the AG rifleman!  This clears the way for the rest of the RG, except the NCO, who fails and stays in the middle of the street.  Then the mortar and the BG NCO failed, while the PzJgr moved up and pinned the Bren team.  Lastly, I'm feeling bold, so the M4 moves right and fires at the PzJgr, scoring not one damned hit on 6 dice!  End of turn...
 Overview after Turn 6: The M4 and PzJgr are practically touching noses, while the pinned Plt Sgt is the only thing keeping the FG rifle/PzFaust (in the bottom treeline) from moving up and popping the Sherman.  On the Brit side, only the PIAT gunner is keeping the PIAT gunner from popping the PzJgr (he's only activated once this game, in Turn 1).  The Brits have suffered some casualties, but overall have the infantry situation in hand...
 It's all going to come down to the armor squaring off.  I'm fairly confident my card will come out first, but I'm really scared the M4 will fail its command roll and get toasted.

Turn 7: Which is what happened,  but here's the whole story.  First card out: Brit; as I'm scared of the M4 failing its command roll, and I'm pretty sure another Brit card will come out next, I try to unpin the Plt Sgt so his command bonus (+2) will assist the M4 with his command roll on the next card, but the Plt Sgt fails.  Next card: Brit.  I figure it's now or never, so I roll up for the M4 to shoot the PzJgr and, FAIL!  Another Brit card: I try to activate the 2" mortar to drop smoke in front of the PzJgt (to screen the Sherman), but he fails.  Finally, a German card.  The PzJgr pops the Sherman likes it's cool, but only knocks out the main gun.  A Brit card; I look at the PIAT, and he winks at me, so I roll him up, PASS!  He hit that PzJgr so hard it knocked the turret off that damn thing, and it doesn't even have a turret!  The German rifle/PzFaust in the treeline, now the only German on the table, packed it in.
 The final situation.  Please note the PIAT at top left (bottom of the wall), not sporting a yellow pin marker for the first time since Turn 1.  Also, please note the Sherman sporting the red bead in front (destroyed main gun), and the PzJgr covered in glorious flames.
Today's hero.

Thanks for taking a look.  I've got to figure out what's next; so many things I want to do, so little time.


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