Today was AWC's Club Sunday and- for reasons best left at present - I found myself running Charlie Don't Surf (CDS) again.
However, the twist was that I wasn't running a scenario devised by someone else, nor had I resorted to using the handy scenario generator within the CDS rules. Instead, we were going to playtest a scenario of my own devising, based on a historical action. With regard to writing the scenario, the sole observation at this point is that it had not been as difficult as anticipated. This was no doubt due to the flexibility of the CDS rules, as their mechanisms seemed to take a lot of the pain out of the process. Of course, writing the scenario was one thing; could it stand the rigours of play? Club Sunday seemed an ideal opportunity.
As ever, Mr. Smallridge took the role of the Communists, whilst two new AWC members shared command of the Free World forces. This in itself was instructive, as one had never encountered CDS, or indeed Lard rules before, whilst the other had seen watched the games I'd run at the recent shows. Both agreed that the rules were straightforward, realistic and deceptively simple to pick up.
I don't really want to give too many details of the scenario here, but equally there's no harm in a little narrative. An advancing Free World company found itself coming under fire from its flank. As such, its platoons came off the road they were travelling along and sought cover. Quiet descended once more, until a trailing platoon seeking cover in jungle became a sniper's subject of attention. A second platoon spent considerable time and effort trying to pinpoint the enemy's location, whilst both the third platoon and company headquarters went to ground amidst the hooches of a nearby hamlet. This platoon began to sweep the hamlet, in search of a reported sniper, only to be subject to fire of such intensity that they withdrew a good 150 yards or so at speed.
Eventually the various Free World commanders managed to steady their troops, and the platoons began to establish the locations of enemy positions. Despite appalling weather, smoke was laid in an effort to cover the Free World's coordinated advance across the expanses of paddy field present. Now brimming with confidence, the first platoon sought to close with their sniper nemesis but in so doing presented a hitherto unnoticed enemy position with a fine target. It was the platoon's good fortune that the enemy appeared to have kept their weapons in a state of poor maintenance. As the rains continued to fall, however, the enemy managed to slip away, leaving the Free World free to report the engagement as a clear political coup.
In terms of playtesting, the players felt it was pretty much a sorted scenario; they certainly didn't feel that the outcome was inevitable, and liked the ebb and flow of the encounter.
Nevertheless, changes have been made to the Free World deployment, based on Mr. Smallridge's commenst, and something still needs to be done to model a particular factor that affected the support available to the Free World.
It was also decided there'll need to be a note or two about changing some aspects of the scenario, depending on whether players have access to a 6' x 4' or 8' x 6' playing area.