Sunday, January 29, 2017

Play Test of MM37 Bicycle Race from the Kansas City ASL Club's upcoming Scenario Pack

For our Saturday game, Dan Best and I decided to focus on play testing a scenario from the Kansas City ASL Club's latest scenario pack. This pack should be available later this year. The scenario to be tested was Bicycle Club, which had just undergone some minor tweeks. Dan and I would be testing out the revisions to ensure that the scenario balance was intact. There is an old ASL axiom that play testing is Playing and I can attest to the truth of that statement. 

Of course not all play tests are the same...

Bicycle Race takes place in Normandy on June 6th, 1944 and is based on the movement of 1st Special Service Brigade, 6th Commando as they moved towards Pegasus Bridge. As he attacker, I would take the role of Lord Lovat and his bicycle riding Commandos. I was pretty jazzed about using bicycles. This was something new for me in ASL and it's always fun to see how new things play out. 

My  force would consist of 7 x 6-4-8 Commandos with 4 bicycle counters, 2 x LMG, 1 x 50 MTR lead by a 9-2 and an 8-1.

On Turn 2, I would receive three Sherman tanks. One of the special rules allowed me to hold back up to 3 squads to enter on Turn 2 with the tanks...and I would definitely take advantage of that.

Facing my Commandos would be Dan's German 736th Grenadier Regiment of the 716th Infantry Division. They would be charged with keeping my Commandos from reaching Pegasus Bridge. They would consist of 2 x 4-6-7's, 4 x 4-4-7's, an 37L AT Gun w/heat, 2 x LMG's and led by an 8-0 and a 7-0. All in all, not quite the force you want to go up against British Commandos.

 The men of the 716th Infantry Division were one of the static divisions stationed in Normandy. They were not necessarily the caliber of the 352nd at Omaha Beach. But nevertheless, these Wehrmacht troops would successfully delay the British advance on Caen.
The victory conditions for this scenario give the British Player an immediate victory if 12 VP are successfully on or west of Row Y on Board 53.

Failure was not an option...I couldn't let down Howard and his boys at the bridge. We had to get through!!!

 The battle begins. One of the SSR's allowed for the British to freely deploy. So I elected to deploy 4 x 6-4-8's and sent them across board 16 on their bicycles on a Tour de Force...

Dan's Germans were initially bemused by cycle touring commandos.... after all...the Tour doesn't start this early in June...

 The ability to mount and dismount with no penalty was hugely beneficial and I was able to quickly pedal towards board 53.

 On Turn 2 my Sherman Tanks came roaring on with Lord Lovat and 3 x 6-4-8's in an armored assault movement. My northernmost Sherman would foolishly stop within panzerfaust range of the Germans. One of those..."what was I thinking moves..."

 I would pay for my lack of focus.
 Dan's first attempt at a Panzerfaust was  6, so I survived D-Fire...but Dan would knock me out in Prep. And I richly deserved it...

 The Panzerfaust is pretty much an auto-kill all you can do is hope your opponent will miss you...
The German 2-3-7 that took out my first Sherman would go on to fall at the hands of my "no quarter" commandos. My Turn 3 advance would have to content with a nicely laid fire land by  Dan's 8-0. It would force my cyclists to quit the road and amble through the French countryside.

 The German 8-0 with the LMG and 4-6-7 presented us with our next big hurdle and I knew I couldn't lose too much time wrestling with them. So I sent armor and infantry right at them.

 My armor would stay close to my infantry to provide protection throughout the battle.
 With a huge force bearing down on them, the German 8-0 made the decision to relocate. They made a dash for the J8 building, but the squad would be DM'd in I9.

 The door along the southern route was wide open. With the 8-0 trying to rally his boys, I was able to move into the next belt of German defenses. Up until this point, I also had seen hide nor hair of the German 37L AT Gun. I was hoping it was in a "mission-killed" position. Sadly for was not.

 Dan's boys were patiently waiting for the just the right moment to pounce...
 I didn't have to wait long. My Shermans moved towards the L6 crossroads and bammo...a HEAT round from the German 37L AT Gun slammed into my Sherman and knocked it out. I had moved all around the L7 building hex...but never entered it. I was stunned...and said goodbye to my second Sherman Tank.

Nice shooting boys...but Lord Lovat has added you to his bucket of list of things to eradicate during his European tourney.

 Lord Lovat and a host of Commandos quickly jumped on to the German AT Gun crew and would eliminate them in CC.

 The clock was ticking away on me as I made my way through the village and Dan's defenders. I threw half-squads on bicycles at Dan in order to draw his fire and send my main units ahead. I would lose 3 x 3-3-8's overall as they dared Dan's Germans to shoot them down.

 The German 8-0 had managed to rally his boys and made a final stand against me in the South.

Dan's 8-0 would turn in a great performance and even at the end took out a 3-3-8 in CC and kept me in Melee a turn longer than I could afford.

 With the final German resistance overcome in the south, I gave my boys the order to make for the Victory line at Row Y.

 Dan's remaining Germans didn't just sit and watch, they moved aggressively to interdict and stop me. I was down to my final turn and had to go for broke!

Dan's boys kept up their fire till the very end.
My 8-1 would cross the line first.

 Lord Lovat and others would follow and give us the necessary VP's to secure the win.

A final look at a great game. Dan and I managed to play 7-1/2 solid turns in just under 4 hours.  A successful play test was completed and a really fun scenario was enjoyed.

And Lord Lovat would reach Howard and his boys in the nick of time!

My thanks to Dan for yet another great game and for the opportunity to play test a great scenario.  Be sure to keep your eyes open for the release of the Kansas City ASL Club's next scenario pack.

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