Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Martians March on Memphis! - All Quiet on the Martian Front AAR

June 7, 1915.

Captain George Patton listened from atop his command Monitor tank as the lieutenant gestured and spoke frantically from the ground below. If the reports were right, a large force of Martian tripods were heading straight for his section of the line, apparently intent on forcing a breakthrough. He chewed at an unlit cigar as the younger junior officer continued to talk. The Martians couldn't have picked a worst place to attack - the Mississippi was at its shallowest and thinnest here, and wouldn't present much trouble for the gangly, metallic monsters. 

"Goddamned three-legged bastards," Patton muttered, half to himself. The lieutenant stopped, unsure if he should continue at the risk of interrupting his commanding officer. Patton saved him the trouble. "Is the infantry in position?" he asked.

"Yes, sir," the lieutenant replied. "Tucked up against the river banks and dug in as far as they can go."

"We'll just have to hope it's enough," Patton said, watching a column of armored infantry march past his vehicle and into the woods. Patton pointed at the lieutenant. "Get back to your post, son. We probably don't have much longer." 

The lieutenant nodded and saluted, then ran off to join the infantry in the dense trees and underbrush. 

Patton looked up at the distant roar of motorcycle engines, and could see the scouting squad of Rough Riders returning. They were coming back early, which meant the Martians wouldn't be far behind...

And Memphis had run out of time. 

***

I recently had the opportunity to try out a game of All Quiet on the Martian Front. I didn't have the opportunity to participate in the Kickstarter, and no one I know plays locally, but thanks to Dennis and company at On Military Matters I finally got the chance to see how the game works. 

The scenario was an attack by the Martians, who started on one table edge and had to pass to the other to score points. In their way was a combination of U.S. infantry and steam tanks.

While many of the human infantry units started the game hidden, those on the front line who weren't were instead heavily dug in. They lined the river, knowing that it would impede the tripods' progress for at least a turn.


The human's also had a great deal of armor ready to respond against the Martian assault, with squads of steam tanks, mobile artillery, and Captain Patton in a Monitor (that huge tank with all the guns). My favorite models for the humans were probably the Rough Riders, especially the guy with the machine gun laid across the handlebars of his motorcycle.

The Martians consisted of six Assault tripods, three Scouts, and a Slaver with three Drones. 

Dennis said that all the paint jobs for the miniatures had been done by one of the guys at Architects of War, and they were fantastic! 

The Martians were split into three groups - as there were three Martian commanders - and planned to come at the humans in a single wave.


As the Martians approached the Mississippi, the humans opened fire. The Martian's heavily armored tripods withstood the attack and pressed on, revealing some of the hiding infantry.

  
The tripods under my command moved up along the right flank, pushing into the densely forested area, aiming to take out the human command post. 

The other two groups of Martians advanced against the other group of dug-in infantry, who managed to destroy a tripod. The result explosion pinged against the armor of the tripods in range, but the damage was insignificant.

Once they were through, the Martians wasted no time and focused on the greatest threat - the Monitor! Patton was forced to make a run for the rear after a heat ray swept through his tank, destroying it.


My tripods advanced further into the woods, taking fire from machine guns, rifles and grenades. Waves of armored infantry tried to hold the tripods back, but both sides were equally ineffectual in close quarters.

The infantry hidden by the fork of the river, supported by one of the steam tanks, had a better time of it, destroying the approaching scout tripod.


A lucky strike from the armored doughboys destroyed the other scout tripod. Unfortunately, the resulting explosion wiped out every human unit in the woods!


On the other flank, the humans were having a better time, with three tripods down and another so severely damaged that its Martian pilot was fighting against its controls. The humans took heavy losses as well, losing much of their infantry and the unit of Rough Riders.


The remaining two tripods destroyed the unit of tanks in the orchard, forcing the artillery to fall back. The last of the steam tanks rolled up against the hedgerow and started to fire on the Martians.


I decided to swing my Martians into the flanks of the steam tank platoon. They pushed through the hedgerow and spun around, but with both sides deep in foliage, hits were few and far between. 


One more tripod fell, but at this point the humans conceded - there was no way the remaining humans were going to stop all the Tripods before being wiped out. And with that, the breakthrough was complete, and the Martians strode onward as klaxons began to blare in Memphis.

All Quiet on the Martian Front turned out to be a fantastic game, and I found it both easy to pick up and deep enough to want to try it again. If there's one bad thing I can say about the game, it's that I know want to buy the starter set!

7 comments:

  1. I've been curious about this game for a hot minute now....but it was pretty obvious right from deployment who was gonna win that one!
    Do the Martians not have troops? Can they only run the Tripods?

    This looked like a bunch of 40k Imperial Knights going up against some random Guardsmens with a single Leman Russ and a few chimeras. Really lopsided. Also had a bit of 'gunline versus assault army' feel, since the poor humans could only win by gunning down the Tripods before they hit their lines.

    There's certainly a bunch of potential for coolness with War of the Worlds kinda stuff happening here, but that Martian army looks like the most optimized thing available, while the more interesting, balanced force just got stomped the heck out. The outcome was never in doubt...

    Game balance is definitely one of my top priorities when I'm interested in a new system. Too many years of playing 40k just broke me. I'm always on the lookout for a cool new thing. One batrep obviously won't tell me everything, so I'd certainly like to hear more 'bout this game...It does look cool, but I hope there's more variety on the Martian side of things...
    Thanks fer the batrep!

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    1. Actually, according to the guys I was playing with (who've played the game 2-3 times already) this was the first Martian victory they've seen!

      Martians can field 'Lobototons,' basically human zombies controlled by Slaver tripods, but for the most part tripods are the mainstay of the alien invaders. As for Martian variety, you have your Assault tripods (and the rarer Veteran Assault), which are the core of a Martian force. Scout tripods have lighter weapons, but can move faster. Grenadier tripods act a long range artillery. Slavers can control Lobototons (which can either be ranged or close combat) or Drones (of which there are four varieties. Regular Drones, close combat Drones, artillery Drones, and anti-tank drones). There are also three types of Tripod yet to be released, which are the Slaver, Dominator, and Overseer.

      However, for all the shininess of the tripods, they have some major weaknesses. While they have very strong armor, they're easy to hit, and once they're hit they become easier to deal damage to thanks to the following damage chart (available and essentially unchanged from the Kickstarter draft rules):

      -1-5. The Tripod is damaged. The Tripod’s Amour stat is reduced by 1.
      - 6. The Tripod is damaged and crippled. The Tripod’s Armor stat is reduced by 1. In addition, every time the
      Tripod wishes to move, both players roll a die, and the highest scoring player can move the Tripod up to the
      score rolled number of inches. If both players roll the same the Tripod does not move.
      - 7. The Tripod is damaged and its weapons disabled. The Tripod’s Armor stat is reduced by 1. In addition,
      every time the Tripod attempts to shoot both players roll a die, and the highest scoring player selects the
      target up to a maximum range of double the score rolled number of inches. The target must lie within range
      and line of sight of the Tripod, but otherwise any unit from either side can be selected as the target. If both
      players roll the same the Tripod does not shoot.
      - 8. The Tripod is badly damaged. The Tripod’s armor stat is reduced by the score of a D10. If the Tripod’s
      armor stat is reduced to zero or less as a result it is destroyed as 9 below.
      - 9. The Tripod is destroyed and crumples to the ground in a heap of tangled metal!
      - 10+ The Tripod is destroyed and explodes in a spectacular fashion! If there are any other units within 6” of
      the destroyed Tripod, whether Human or Martian, then these are all caught in the explosion. Each unit
      suffers 3 attacks with a Power level of +2.

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    2. Since the turn sequence for the game is move-shoot/assault-move, human tanks can easily scurry out of cover, fire, and retreat. And human infantry starts the game hidden and dug in, which means not only do the Martians need to get close to 'see' them, but they're also harder to hit. And while rifles might not do much, they do have grenades that can hurt tripods in close combat, and massed machine gun fire can chink off enough armor to make a Martian commander worry. In fact, I probably would have lost more than a single tripod in the woods if the Scout hadn't exploded. They're aren't that great in close combat, preferring to fire they're weapons where the humans can get too close. Also, this scenario encouraged - demanded, really - that the Martians get in close. In others, the Martians are actually the defenders, which I kind of want to see. As for the humans, they can get some pretty cool stuff - different varieties of infantry (thanks to some free PDFs that are coming out) and tanks, including the Land Ironclad - a monster miniature that looks to be about the same size of a Baneblade, but in a 18mm scale game! The British are also being released, and they have different vehicles, like the oddly shaped Monotank, and Tesla Cannons. The Germans and French are also slated to release in the future, and as this is still WW1 period Earth, I'd expect to see some human tensions escalating into full-on war. Also, we should be seeing Venusians in the neat future, and Underdwellers (basically Morlocks) later on. So the variety in game-play should be increased exponentially.

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    3. I have TONS of the stuff - fun game! I find the Martians regularly out-gunned by the human tanks / artillery, so I'm adding more drones & artillery to the Martians. I have run one game at 7th Dimension Games & plan to run many more this summer. I'll keep you posted.

      Gary

      Gary

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    4. Did you see the new veteran assault tripod that was just released? It has reaper tentacles & can assault! I don't like the mini, but will convert my own.

      Gary

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