AQMF: Our first game

Year before last, Byakhee Richrad persuaded me to take part in a Kickstarter for All Quiet on the Martian Front. To quote Rick Priestly, one of the authors of the games system:

The background spins off from the H.G Wells book – the game is set ten years after the events described in the book and is based on a ‘second’ invasion. Although the events of the intervening +10 years are – of course – entirely made up – we based many of the events and characters on real events and people of the day. For example, the (real)story of the Ford Peace Ship is turned into an effort to mediate with the Martians – the (real) offer of Annie Oakley to raise women Sharpshooters is worked in too, together with her famous (real) quote about women handling firearms as naturally as they handle babies. The diary entry about the coroner examining the Martian Zombies is based on real people and real places that existed at the time – same for the piece about aerial warfare (though I doubt the airfield I mentioned was an airfield quite so early on).

A lot of the industrial history is also either accurate or based on contemporary developments or theories – which was interesting for me because my parents both worked for derivations of the company that made the first tanks in WW1 – in fact my Grandmother actually worked on the assembly lines that built them. So – yup – quite a lot of research went into it really. But we definitely made up the Zombies. Amongst other things:)

I’d got my first tranche of stuff before Richard, but as things happen we’d arranged a gaming day, before he got his stuff, and then his stuff arrived, so we decided to have a game or more of AQMF.

The set up, a 4×4′ board, the red weed bases were done ASAP in the morning !

Similarly, the MarkIII Baldwin tank, in resplendent grey plastiuc was stuck together in 5 minutes before we started the game. As it was very much an ad hoc game, many of the miniatures were being painted ‘in ganme’, so apologies for that, but it didn’t detract from our enjoyment of the game.

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The human forces advanced.

The Martian tripods also advanced and were first in range.

The first heat ray attack destroyed a tank and a stand of infantry. The tank unit routed. As they strode over the hill, they continued their attack and the martians fought off the tanks and the infantry uniut, before being assualted by the second infantry unit.

The right hand tripod took damage from the tanks on the other side of the table.

So the threesome (!),. took steps to stop such nonsense.

The American HMGs, finish off the Martian Tripod, only for Rich to roll a 10 and for it to blow up destroying pretty much everything within 6 inches of it !

They didn’t last long these last three tanks !

Comments from the first game:

  • The rules are very easy !
  • The Martian Tripods are hard to kill, unless you concentrate fire.
  • Human forces must make use of (but rely upon) cover.
  • Don’t pick things up when the paint is wet !

More to follow.

Wargaming Burble, or a chance to explain future plans (for World Domination)

Following the Big Game on the 31st I had a few days off – I seem to have a lurking cold and so took some time out for me. During this time I sat down quiet and went through the BoB boxes of troops and re-ordered them. Lending troops out to mates is no hassle, it’s just they never go back in the same order due to a variety of reasons.

One of the outcomes was that I had a fair amount of spare troops that I’d found. So I started flogging stuff off to make room for all the newly assembled troops I had put together. Obviously this lead to requests to other stuff if I had it, so a general clear out commenced.

I’d thought I had a few Bolshevik Cavalry sculling round the playroom, but as it turned out, I had an entire box – yes 32+ command and standards. Against all odds, the separate arms on some of the figures were in the same box, and I had every single one of these separate parts (a later posting illuminates this failing, and the tender heart of a supplier). I managed to attach them and then added liquid greenstuff to the joints so they seem fairly secure.

So it seems rude not to start building them, oh and then painting them.

Then I started on the train station. So far JP & I have got some 14 definites, and another 3 or 4 possibles for our next big game, so we’ll be issuing a deadline shoertly for those who want to attend.

Then I updated my Paint Log.

Sp far this year I have painted the equivalent of 319 figures. Most of this is scenery (61%), so I am going to be switching back to painting some more Warhammer stuff.

In particular, with no planned games until late September, I resolved to organise something every 2-3 weeks on the more fantatsitcal side of things. As such, the newly assembled Morathai figure will be first up for completion.

I intend to complete a new unit or character model for each game I play for the rest of this year. He said with bravado.

So Morathai is due for completion by the 21st.

The shotgun toting unit for AVBCW by 27th september – shirely I can do that they’re been loitering long enough to get a parking ticket ?!

Then there are the Martians, I’d like to get a couple of them done by the end of the month.

Let’s see if I can keep this insane idea up.

AQM: The kits

I’m intending on playing the Martians, so first off the sprue were the tripods.

The mouldings are crisp and well laid out. As would be expected from Renedra, and the efforts by Alien Dungeon do get things right, which delayed the delivery on the kick starter.

The pieces clip off easily, and fit together easy peasy !

This is the tripod hood – three simple pieces that fit together no problem.

The tripod legs, though I complained there were no instructions included, whilst I was printing off the ones from the forum, I managed to work out how these wenrt together. The legs and tentacles slot in to a central section.

There is a small cap to seal in the tentacles and legs on the underside.

The completed Martian. The claw and heat ray again slot in very easily. Its stands about 5.5 inches tall, so will dominate a 15mm battlefield.

BUT, and this is why you need force composition lists in the main rule book. The claws and weapons (heat ray, green gas and black dust) would need to be glued in place, so before I complete the rest of the tripods I need to figure out what force I want to create.

I put together a couple of the tanks, and these go together very easily.

All in all these kits are simply a del;ight to put together.

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 !

Film: Riddick – Rule the Dark

I finally got this at the w/e and watched it, it’s the third installment in the Riddick franchse. I watched Pitch Black and thoroughly enjoyed it. the second film, The Chronicles of Riddick was less enjoyable. It was packed with great ideas, but was really two films/concepts boiled down into one and both stories ultimately lost some of their potency.

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This film was an indepoendent release and returns to the Pitch Black approach, a bit too closely, but is saved from a straight retread for a couple of reasons.

Riddick’ tiring of the Necromungers that he ended up leading at the end of Chronicles. So he cuts a deal with Vaako (Karl Urban’s character), but Vaako’s sidekick double crosses both of them and Riddick is left for dead on an un-named desert planet. Obviously Riddick isn’t about to give up. Cue various deadly interactions with the local wildlife, which start to become boring. Riddick rescues a local Jackal like pup and raises it, before finding a deserted Merc (mercenary) base whose rescue beacon he triggers.

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This is where it gets interesting. Two mercenary gangs arrive to claim the bounty on Riddick’s head. One is lead by hot headed Santanna who arrives first and makes some rather “brave” claims about his intentions WRT Riddick. The second band of mercenaries, is lead by Boss Johns, the father of the merc Johns that Riddick killed in Pitch Black. These guys are rather more professional, and include Dahl (Katie Sackhoff) as a competent ruthless sidekick.

Though the overall pot of the film is a bit of a re-hash of Pitch Black in terms of alien predators besieging the humans (also in the dark with rain), the interaction between the two mercenary ganags and Riddick saves the day. Their different approaches and outlook are well done. The “jet bikes” are also a novel concept (not land speeders) along with the power nodes being incompatible.

It would make for an excellent Laserburn scenario with two highly different sets of mercenaries pitted against a real (anti-) Hero character. Again worth getting is its about £5 or £7 cheap.

PS: There is a Directors cut with an additional secne at the end involving the Necromungers.
PPS: There are very few images for this film on the ‘net, and no decent trailers without advertisement breaks.

Laserburn: The Weapons Factory

We played the scenario I’d written up: The Weapons Factory.

We built gangs of about 5,000 points and each fielded about 10 men each.

The table, as set up, with the factory in the middle.

We start deployment…

Rich deploys his troops including a sniper on the roof of the building.

I waste three recruits out on the far flank, who made little contribution until they got KO’d in an explosion later…

Feline supervision is needed, apparently !

Turn 2 and the first casualty – Rich’s sniper gets a head shot to my guy Lance – after Lance Henrikson one of only two actors to have been killed by an Alien, Predator, and Terminator.

A firefight ensued across the central open area. My guys caused a fair amount of damage to Rich’s team as I had a heavy bolter and my leader involved, so Rich started lobbing smoke grenades, which we improvised by using cotton wool balls stuck to paper templates.

Rich sent forth his minions.

They got Tobbac’A, before one got killed outright (standing in the open).

But this was evened up, when Rich fired on the dangerous materials loaded onto a truck, that blew up and KO’d my 3 flanking guys.

More smoke grenades were deployed, as after looting the weapons factory, Rich conceeded the game.

He got the weapons, I got the glory (experience points).

A good game and complaimnts about the layout of the rule book aside its still a nifty game that is enjoyable.

Further feline supervision was needed !

More photos are here

Laserburn: Aftermath

Byakhee Rich & I played a game of Laserburn today (Weapons Factory), here’s some thoughts:

  • How do we play this game again ? (After 6 months)
  • Even after 30 years of playing them of and on, its still difficult to follow the rules. They’re all in the rule book but just not in a logical or sensible order – they need editing.
  • Setting up gang rosters – we forgot to amend Initiative stats for the weapons and armour
  • Initiative, surprising how big an effect the modifiers had
  • Game was dominated by the three guys who had a chance to hit anything (it would have been four, but he got shot in the face in the second round)
  • Anybody of regular skill level with an inaccurate weapon can’t hit a barn door at 5 paces (cruel)
  • This affects tactics – I certainly wasted three guys who were flanking for most of the game and had little input
  • Cover isn’t much use
  • You’re harder to hit moving at walking pace
  • Move, shoot, move (into cover) is a good option
  • Out of sight is the best option (How not to be seen)
  • Being in the open is a death sentence, being out of sight is best because then you can’t be shot !
  • Take a chance (on me) and do the reaction roll (Rich got lucky on that many times…but when it really counted !)
  • Duckback ! Where the hell is that in the rules ? Turns out it is on p10, but we couldn’t find it when playing Grrr
  • Left leg – the most common location for being hit
  • Laserrs vs Armour = no damage
  • Morale & Unit coherence, applied by the players not the rules, maybe they need to be beefed up
  • Along with the deployment rules these are all missing because it is more like an adjunct to a RPG as opposed to a wargames system.

Next up, some photos of the game. 🙂

(Now editted for the typos, and a new link added)