AQM: All Quiet on the Martian Front – Kickstarter

The postie arrived today with a large box from Renadra that I didn’t remember ordering.

Turns out its the “All Quiet on the Martian Front” kickstarter stuff that I subscribed to 12-18 months ago. A great big pile of plastic kits and some metal infantry. I’d assumed it’d all be coming from the rebel colonies – looks like they took advantage of UK plastic manufacturers.

So a basic summary of All Quiet on the Martian Front:

  • H.G. Wells’ War of the worlds happened;
  • The Martians having been defeated by the British, have regrouped and come back again;
  • The main invasion is the rebel colonies (USA);
  • The British have reverse engineered the Martians’ technologies;
  • The rebel colonists (Americans) have put their industrial scale factories to work;
  • Using the Lease-Lend British technologies;
  • But the Martians have a few new devices up their, err, tentacles !
  • So a major battle is happening in North America.

Byakhee Rich conned me into this new shiney stuff. I rationalised that as it was 15-18mm scale I could use some or all of it for my existing Laserburn stuff.

I’ve long been into H.G.Wells’ War of the Worlds, having listened to Jeff Wayne’s musical that my father had borrowed from a work colleague when I was about seven.

Unloading the box, not all of the kick starter components are in there, but that is not a problem, what is there is highlighted on the shipping note. And as you can see BlackJack is diligently checking the contents.

A slightly louder review is here, so I won’t repeat a lot of the stuff he has to say:

The other positives of this, is that they have designed it to be used with HO/OO scale buildings and scenery, and as my father is a railway modeller I grew up with many such buildings, in particular the SuperQuick buildings. This would make the scenery cheap and cheerful – as scenery boy I could nothing other than provide the scenery !

My initial response is very positive. The kits and figures are very well produced. The cut down rule book looks really well produced and an initial read through makes sense. D10s are used throughout – a growing trend in wargames I note as we break free of the old d6 paradigm.

Two downsides:

  • You really need the main rule book. I didn’t opt for this and its my fault. I have now pre-ordered it, but if you want the full force composition (army lists) and scenarios then you need to get the full rule book;
  • The Kits need detailed build instructions. That’s a slip up by Alien Dungeon. A pile of plastic sprues is great, and many can be put together with intuition by experienced modellers. It would have been much more helpful to have had instructions though. Many such exist in particular on their own forums such as here.

Right I’m now off to listen to somemusic and start to build some kits !

BoB: Support Weapons

Some pictures of figures I’ve painted in the last fortnight for the BoB Big Game…Yes I still do paint figures as opposed to scenery !

Matt had indicated he needed a seco nd Turkish field gun, I knew I’d bought one years ago, and promptly found it on the play room floor in a box. Great, so i started painting it up. In an exchange with Matt I suddenly thought it was strange it only had three crew when all the other Brigade & Copplestone field guns had four crew. A quick squizz at the Brigade site confirmed that my pack was one short – having bought it years ago at a games show, I decided to just bite the bullet and order a new gun crew from Brigade who are based in the rebel colonies.

Friday lunchtime, the postie turned up and she gave me a package from Brigade Games – about a week from order to delivery across the pond ! An excellent service from Lon as usual.

So I decided to blitzkreig the painting and get the fourth crew member done !

Having got up at about 6.45am, I had just enough time for the paint and glue to dry before handing it over to Matt at 10.30am. I didn’t have time to add static grass though.The fourth crewman is standing at the back holding a shell. Matt further embarrassed himself when in an accident, the field piece tumbled to the floor. Luckily no harm done.

I’d similarly promised Roo a Bolshevik HMG which was finished on Friday.

And I just about finished the second Bolshevik HMG for Nick on Saturday morning (note lack of static grass !). I varied the paint job and this Copplestone Castings set comes with variant heads for the loader, so obviously varied the heads just to make the two stands different.

An elite Bolshevik HMG was well under way, but as it was not needed got put to one side.

BoB: Big Game – Важно полустанке Wash Up

So at the end of the day, and with some time for reflection, how did it all go ?

The Whites and French on Table 1, The Village didn’t do their job and hightailed it.
The Whites and Kuban Cossacks on Table 2, The Steppe, did their job but at a heavy price. The train was nigh on unstoppable.


  • The layout of the tables was good – just enough cover but not too much.
  • You have to prevent players turning up, and with good intentions adding more stuff to steppe terrain – the Umpires have to be quite firm on this both for BoB and AVBCW.Adding too much terrain, or unexpected terrain can screw up the scenario(s).
  • Attacking forces MUST have extra troops – a balanced table just doesn’t make it feasible for attackers to break through.
  • Adding at least one extra unit per attacking Player starts swinging the balance the right way (see below).
  • For long games, especially for BoB, standard forces should be of 4-6 units to ensure players have enough troops to play for a full day. We started at 11.30am, Table 1 finished at 4pm, and Table 2 at 4.30pm.
  • I’d have liked to see both tables go til 5pm, as we are now getting very adept at tidying up and clearing the hall.
  • Players need to read the f***ing game rules and scenarios beforehand !
  • Umpires like me, need to get the extra units to hand much earlier. As it was I was up before 7am on Saturday busily painting stuff to hand out to players at 10-11am.
  • All of that said, the scenarios worked out well, with it all being a close run thing on both tables.
  • On Table 2, the players chose deployment zones in areas that I had had in mind with virtually no input from me.

The feedback from the Cats, was unequivocal – they stayed out overnight before coming in on Sunday and sleeping it off and demanding a lot of food and fusses. they really don’t like 8 strange humans in the house being loud, eating curry and drinking booze.

The feedback from the players has (so far) been unequivocal – they enjoyed it.

So playing unbalanced games with proper scenarios is possible, and it still leaves the players in a happy mood. So I have learnt from past Big Games and will do this again in the future. If you do so, then an Umpire / GM is definitely needed.

Even if I am going to get into trouble with the Cats for doing more games in the future !

To follow, I’ll post some of the stuff I was painting before the game, and also some of JP & my plans for the next AVBCW game.

BoB: Big Game – Важно полустанке Part 4

Both tables were now at crunch points:

Into the melee, the Don Cossack artillery shell landed – deviating from its target. It killed more Kuban Cossacks than Don Cossacks and allowed the Don Cossacks to win the melee, and then charged into the Kuban Command unit. They captured the Kuban Commander and wiped out the rest of the unit (high fives all round).

Meanwhile the Turks charged and wiped out another White unit and added the Captain’s Wife to their Harem !

At the village, the Whites failed their morale test after being hit by an LMG anda HMG and abandoned the foremost key building causing a ripple effect as the victorious Reds poured in.

Then the train arrived ! Slicing through the melee between the Don and Kuban Cossacks leaving each of them stranded on the wrong side of the track.

The Reds broke through into the village as the ffrench and Whites streamed back.

The Don Cossack plan to leave the A/C on the track was foiled by the Kuban Shock Troopers who assaulted it with grenades and immobilised it and destroyed one of its weapons. They paid a heavy price for this.

Despoite a shot from a field gun, nothing could stop the train getting through.

Which was a shame, because the french and Whites in the village admitted defeat and retreated.

So a Red victory in capturing the village, and a phyricc White victory in getting the train through.

BoB: Big Game – Важно полустанке Part 3

Back at the village…

The Senegalese troops retreated, no doubt inspired by the French troops who really wanted to just have another glass of wine, some cheese, and to go home.

Even the White “we’re not brigands” did better than that standing up and counter charging the Reds as they advanced to the fence on the outskirts of the village.

Another generic panoramic view !

The Whites also made a brave charge with a cavalry unit on the flank towards the column of Reds, and the somewhat ineffective Red armoured car that was pottering along on the far flank of the board.

Before the French managed to land a lucky shot on top of one of the Red command groups, AND the veteran squad tagging along.

Not much was left behind, and though “seeing red” the Bolshevik advance paused for a moment as they regrouped.

Before more Reds moved in and the momentarily replused Reds surged back towards the perimeter fence.

BoB: Big Game – Важно полустанке Part 2

Out on the Steppe, deployment was complete:

The ragged Whites were reinforced by a horde of Kuban Cossacks !

Nominally “defending” the rail line to facilitate the passage of their General’s train, the ragged Whites surged forward towards the advancing Turks.

The Kuban Cossacks surged forward enraged by the sight of the Don Cossacks in the pay of the enemy invader !

Generic panaoramic view of the table. 🙂

The Whites decided to bring on their reserve unit of some…Cossacks…

And accompanied by an infantry unit, advanced in the centre to prevent the Turks sabotaging the tracks.

The Kuban General moved his infantry and allied Shock Troops up and through a corn field in the centre to link up with the ragged Whites.

Whose advancing troops collided with head strong Turkish troops, who came off better.

The two Cossack cavalry wings also met in close combat.

At this point all four players were thinking this was a key round of combat, and all were wondering when the train would arrive, with much speculation as to how the Umpire (me) would handle an armoured train ploughing through a mixed melee combat with nearly two dozen mounted troops !

BoB: Big Game – Важно полустанке Part 1

Yesterday’s Big Game went well. The tables were set up, with one featuring the village, and the other the steppe.

Much more open:

On Table 1, at the village the French interventionists and their White “definitely not brigands” set up their defensive lines.

There was much chat about the french running a brothel.

The brave French pushed their colonist levies forward.

The Whites pushed forward.

To be faced by hordes of Reds !

On Table Two out on the steppe, the ragged White Russians set up their defensive perimeter.

Whilst the German hirelings, the Don Cossacks swept in across the open steppe.

Along with their Turkish allies (NB: Matt’s Turks were based for mountain warfare, hence the white bases !).