All Quiet on the Cat Front

Yes, a long time no update.

I’ve piled up a huge backlog of gaming sessions, but due to my council work have not had time to edit, upload and post stuff.

I’ve also got a load of film reviews to do, so maybe, maybe this week I’l, start to post some more Content, because on a vibrant blog or web site Content is King.

Anyhow, I got home yesterday (Saturday) from a training course for my Council work (Planning & Consultation…yay) to find the above poster, and two screaming cats, one of whom had dashed out first thing and not even had breakfish so it seemed appropriate.

In addition, I have also received the obligatgory Court Orders from the US about the bankruptcy of Robot Peanut Studio which gave me a shcok when seeing the covering enevlopes (I might scan them later). They’ve gone bankrupt so all the excellent “All Quiet on the Martian Front” stuff is now OOP, and likely to remain that way until the courts dispose of the assets and IP. Which is a real shame as the product I received was very good quality.

Base(ing) Instincts & Emplacements

The new AQMF tank sprues come able to build the basic Mark II tanks and the larger Mark III tanks that have a bigger superstructure. Obviously theis leads to lots of redundant/spare parts. My brain cell had a brain wave on Saturday when I was building more tanks as to what to do with the spare parts.

I had already ditched a number of the spare parts, but had retained enough to make 5 turrets, four with cannon, one with an HMG as a “command” turret.

I remembered that the French and Germans in WW2 used dismembered tank turrets as static defenses.

So I chose a 60mm base to mount them on. These are by co-incidence the same size bases that I use to base support weapons (HMGs/Mortars) on for my AVBCW and BoB units.

I’d started off a few years ago using the old GW bases that their WH40K heavy weapon teams came on, but they phased these out. So I did some scratching around on evil-bay for them, but they are few and far between.

In this picture, the top left one if a GF9 60mm base that is magnetic, I picked it up in a store in Cardiff, but its heavy, expensive and as you can see twice as thick as the GW 60mm that is lower right (upside down with the circular pits).

Doing a quick search, I found a new company called Hurlbat that now do 60mm bases as cheap as chips. their only downside is that they are “shiney”, and have no surface texture so you need to spray them before trying to paint them with a brush and normal paint.

By using this regular size of base for support weapons I can use my CD scenery bases and design some so that you can place the support weapon actually in the cover, rather than balance the weapon and crew rather inelegantly on top of the scenery.


The turrets mounted on the bases, just the right size !

the turrets painted up easily. Same as the tank:

  • black undercoat;
  • Foundry Moss Shade;
  • GW Camoshade wash
  • GW Leadbelcher silver;
  • GW Nuln Oil black wash.

Now I have a static line defence to use in AQMF.

Obviously with a little bit of imagination similar bunkers and scenery pieces can be made – loading bays for instance – camouflaged redoubts and so on. Therte are some rules for fortifications in the rule book so I’ll be offf working out what these items really represent.

AQMF: Our third game

Yes, the system is fast enough, and our games small and simple enough to do a third game (we played 11am to 6pm including time for pawing with trembly hands [mine] of the hard back book, and pawing of the miniatures [Richard’s]).

First up we expanded the table. The h/back book suggests a 6×4′ table, whereas we’d been using a 4×4′ table for the first two games. It also allowed me to get out the two storey pyramid to help bulk out the Martain style scenery. (NB: Despite washing the resin before spraying, the spray paint didn’t adhere all over so its a bit scrappy – WIP)

By now we had all 4 tripods ready to go, and all the tanks.

So I gathered the 3 Assault tripods in the centre to move in and defend the pyramids (of Mars), with the Scout out on the flank to deal with the blips which could be human infantry.

Richard deployed 6 Mark II tanks on his right flank, and three Mark III tanks in the centre, surrounded by a cloud of blips.

For pretty much the only time in the entire game, I won initiative and pushed forward.

Unfortunately, this meant they were in range of a heck of a lot of tank guns ! The tripod went down fairly quickly. And then a second one fell in the first turn !

It was only the Scout that had any luck in the game, flushing out BEF troops who ran aay before I zapped them.

the third Assault tripod went down, leaving the Scout on it’s ownsome…

…for two rounds dodging in and out of cover, but it was another loss for the Martians.

So conclusions:

  • The Martians are vastly outnumbered. Loss of two Tripods so early in the game pretty much decided it.
  • Winning Initiative is very important.
  • As per the earlier games, mass targetting of single Tripods is the way to take them down.
  • However, even the Scout Tripod can clear out nests of HMGs and Infantry relatively easily – they also move FAST.

AQMF: Our second game

Byakhee Rich re-zaranged (slightly) the table. I’d done up two more red weed bases, and also the Critical Mass Games Kommados building had dried. So we had a very martian feel to the centre of the board. We also chose more forces, and I’d assembled (as a demo) some more tanks for Richard.

We also started to sue the advanced rules on stealth units – human infantry, so we broke open marker packs.

The Mark III Baldwin tanks remianed assembled but unpainted at this point in the game ! 😀

The Tripods advanced into the centre of the table.

The Scout Tripod on the right flank advanced toward a blip that turned out to be BEF infantry, that through a series of good dice rolls shot at and destroyed the scout. The scoput duely exploded and wiped out the BEF as well as itself. This was yet another example of Richard’s lucky rolls, and not the last…

I’d followed the Scout up, with a regular Assault Tripod, and guess what, it to got destroyed with Ricrad rolling a 10 on the tripod damage chart. This time he got lucky as none oif the tanks were taken out.

Another Tripod was damaged and couldn’t move.

A Tank’s eye view showed the tulip of love above a Tripod ! 😀

It wasn’t reciprocated as the Infantry were wiped out.

That said, the last tripod goes down fighting near the red weed and Martian Pyramid.

The humans won the battle through luck with rolling 10’ds on the damage chart for Tripods and my bad luck on damaging them.

Still it was all fun and it lasted about 1.5 hours for 750 points or so. A very fun game with quick but very good mechanics.

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.


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.

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 !