Kommerschiedt After-action Report

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Kommerschiedt After-action Report
« on: August 28, 2012, 03:32:44 AM »
We were down a player for the ongoing game of The One Ring, so I took advantage of the brand new playtest version of The Regiment to see how it played as a one-shot. I used Jason Morningstar's Kommerscheidt scenario to try and get going with minimal prep.

There was a bit of discussion around which playbooks to take, but in the end we had what I imagine is a fairly common choice: Officer, Sergeant, and Soldier. Bonds gave us a bit of background - the sarge and private had been in the outfit a long time, and the officer was new to both the unit and war.

Character details:
2LT Buck Larrabee took fire support (which came in handy later).
SGT Leroy Smith took battlefield awareness and veteran instincts, and not as bad as it looked as an improvement during the action.
CPL Jack Brownlow took battle tested and section 8, then later added comrade and arms and heavy weapon (I think - not sure which were from the beginning and which later).

The early stages, in which they decided where to put all the units at their disposal went fairly smoothly. Once dawn hit, it became clear that the fighting over in Schmidt wasn't going well, so they took a squad out on a recon patrol. They met the first friendly tank in town along the way, and helped the commander find a good spot to wait for the rest of his unit. Then they headed towards Schmidt to try and make contact with the friendlies fighting over there. Instead they saw a bunch of people running away - lt and sarge tried to order them to halt but both blew their impose will rolls so the guys just kept running. Close behind was a German combat patrol that had flushed those guys out of their position. Our team, already in cover, laid a nasty ambush for the pursuing unit and drove them back. They decided that they had a clear enough idea that everything was FUBAR so headed back to the rest of their platoon's firing positions in the houses lining the road between Schmidt and Kommerscheidt.

There was a bit of blowing off steam while they awaited developments, mainly with smokes Brownlow had looted from the house they were holed up in. They also sent runners back and forth to the mortar teams and command post to coordinate things. They brought some of the bazooka crews up, too, as they'd heard armour moving in Schmidt on their patrol.

When the remnants of the 112th starting coming through during the morning, they managed to rally a few and get them into a useful position, although subsequently those guys pretty much just held their position and kept their heads down.

Next up, Brownlow was sent back to the CP for more gear, and he ran into 1LT Simon who immediately started giving ludicrous orders for 2LT Larrabee. On his return, these orders were totally ignored.

At 1400 the first serious German advance on A platoon's position began. They kept in position and held them off under withering fire. I'll note that I missed a few rules that probably would have made things worse for our heroes, although I suspect they would still have held on. Brownlee took the bazooka teams out of cover and led a suicidal attack on the panzers, with some success and many casualties. This is when he took the heavy weapons move, in the fiction taking the bazooka off a dead comrade to continue the attack. Larrabee managed to get the 229th artillery to send a few barrages their way, too.

The advance was halted for the time being, and A platoon spend a little time sending casualties back to the aid station and moving some of the squads into better positions for the expected next assault. Larrabee was on the verge of cracking by this point, and Brownlee was shaken and shot up but still carrying on (playing up the "reckless" profile and section 8 move).

Brownlee's next heroic effort was when the air support became available. He volunteered to go on the roof of the house they occupied and put the banner to warn the pilots off up there. Despite this, there was some damage - the LT had called the air strike in on the most advanced German positions, only 100-150m out from the row of houses. The planes did some good work against the enemy armour, too. However, by this point the LT had lost it and sarge sent him back to the aid station with a couple of wounded men.

At 1630 the Colonel checked out A platoon's position and made sure they knew they had to hold their position at any cost. Soon after this, another major advance came on. Again, our boys held them off with plenty of casualties - they were making the most of the buildings they had holed up in. This time, as night fell, some more panzers came up, flanking the stalled infantry advance and heading right for the heart of the town (where the aid station and command post were). Brownlow had been sent back to try and find some more bazooka rockets, and met the tanks coming the other way. He made two more brave (or crazy) attacks on them, knocking out one (bazooka from right behind it as it passed his hiding spot).

The LT, at the aid station, had recovered a stress and was back in action when reports of the tanks approaching arrived. He burst into action and, finding a satchel charge, made a suicidal attack on the lead tank. His crazy roll was a huge success, and he blew a track off the tank and stalled their advance. Brownlow took advantage of the chaos as the other tanks maneuvered off the road and around to take another opportunistic shot and set an engine on fire. When the crew bailed out, they were ruthlessly gunned down. The remaining three panzers decided to hunker down with all this unexpected opposition.

On the front line, the sarge was keeping the platoon together. He rallied the men before each assault and led the defence to great effect, which meant that when the rest of the regiment turned up at 2300, they still held the line of houses they had started the day in (more or less).

Overall, we had a fun game and I felt like the playtest kit definitely gave us a war story in the style I'd hoped. My Monday group has fairly short sessions - typically 2/2.5 hours. That meant I had to zoom out the action a little more than ideal. If we'd planned on two or three sessions, I think we could have played out the battle in greater detail and probably that would have repaid the time. I definitely missed a few rules, which is entirely down to me reading it very quickly right before play - several of the questions that came up in play were answered when I re-read it this evening. And my rules mistakes were almost all in the PCs favour - I am a little scared to imagine how it would have gone if I had got all of those right first time!

Questions that came up:
- When you get a move that gives +1 grit or +1 tough, is that just a one-off gain?
- What actually happens when your stress is filled up? We played it as extreme combat fatigue, so that the character was no longer able to do anything. Is that right?
- We started bonds at +1 and reset them at +4, like AW. Is that correct?

I'm going to put the players here, too, in case they have anything to add.

Re: Kommerschiedt After-action Report
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2012, 04:23:58 AM »
Thanks for the report! Sounds like a fun session. We'll probably have some questions for you, too, but I'll answer yours first.

1. Yes.
2. Yep. If you fill in the last box of stress or wounds (the one with the line through it) you're done; out of action for good: dead, stressed beyond sanity, whatever. Time for a new character.
3. Yep. I usually do starting bonds as: one at +1, one at -1, and all others (including NPCs) at 0.

Re: Kommerschiedt After-action Report
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2012, 11:55:44 AM »
Cool AP! I think your style of play is spot on.

I haven't seen officer/sarge/soldier in play in a 3 player game before. Most of the 3 player games I've ran favor commando/soldier/medic.

For bonds, I usually give them +2 with one PC, +1 with the other PCs, and 0 with all other friendly soldiers.

Re: Kommerschiedt After-action Report
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2012, 04:56:22 PM »
I haven't seen officer/sarge/soldier in play in a 3 player game before. Most of the 3 player games I've ran favor commando/soldier/medic.

Huh, I feel like officer/sarge/soldier is normal. Possibly it's my group, or playing lots of 3:16? That said, the soldier was very nearly a medic instead.

Re: Kommerschiedt After-action Report
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2012, 01:37:16 AM »
To me, officer/sarge/soldier or variations on that theme seems normal. It's just not what I, personally, have seen in play with groups of three. Obviously, groups of 5 or 6 cover it. I've played about ten different games with 3-ish players, so not a huge sample. I think the context of the game and the folks playing it may also have something to do with it. I have a lot of D&D aces in my group, so shaking the need for a "cleric" is tough -- no matter how many times I tell them there's a medic somewhere in their unit, they just won't trust a "hireling" ;)