Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Harvest

A Headless Body Production

All Quiet on the Martian Front After Action Report: Canadian Steam Squadron vs Marvin's Martians.
Location: Phil's Basement
Game: All Quiet on the Martian Front
Ed Bernhard"Marvin's Martians"
Phil Gardocki: "Monty’s Pythons"

The Forces: "Monty’s Pythons", the 2nd Squadron, 12th "Three Rivers” Regiment, 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade.  Consisting of an Infantry Company, a MG Company, a troop of Mounties, 3 Mk III's, 9 Mk II's and 1 clamp tank.  About 935 points in 8 units.

Marvin's Martians, with 3 Assault Tripods, one Recon Tripod, (subbing in for my yet unpainted model), and 9 drones.  Two are armed with heat rays, one with green gas and one with black dust, a total of 880 points.

Scenario:  Scenario 4, Harvest. There are 15 civilian counters on the board.  The Martians win if they capture more civilians for their unspeakable plans than escape off the edge of the board.  Civilians killed count nothing for either side.

The Board: The partially ruined village of Stony Plain (est 1907), Alberta, Canada.

The humans start with only half their forces on the board, the remainder are in reserve and can be brought on on turn two or later.  Monty's Pythons opt to leave all their infantry and the clamp tank off board in reserve.

After reading the scenario, we decided that it was mathematically impossible for the Martians to win.  The scenario set up is critical.  The humans get to replace a piece of terrain (in this case a building to low rubble) on the center line of the board and populate it with 5 civilian counters.  He then replaces two more pieces (more low rubble) no closer than 9 inches from his edge of the board, populating each of them with 5 more civilian counters.  There is a roll off on the center piece, and if successful, the Martian can move the piece 6 inches closer to the Martian starting positions.  (which happened)

The Martians win if they capture more civilians then are rescued (read: run off the board edge).  Dead civilians count nothing for either side.

Since the civilians move 6 inches, twice a turn, then it is neigh impossible for the Martians to win.  10 of the civilians could be off the board on turn 1, while the remaining 5 almost cannot be captured, because they have a 18" head start on the capturing drones, and both move at the same speed. 

In our case, after we digested the requirements, we modified the scenario so that civilians move only once a turn, and had roll offs for all pieces of terrain containing civilians. 


Marvin the Martian had a conundrum.  "Oh deary deary me, I am out of food pellets.  And the resupply cylinder won't arrive for another schwarmless.  What to do, what to do?  I know, I'll go to the local drive through."

Captain Palin started the briefing, “Right, now since our last fight was such a disaster, the high command has arraigned this training exercise   Since this village is now on the front lines we are going to practice river crossings while assisting the evacuation.”

"Lieutenant Cleese!"

"Ah! I will not buy this tobacconist, it is scratched," monotoned Lieutenant Cleese.

"What was that?"

"Just practicing my American."

"I want you to take Troop ‘A’ and swing right, and cross," Captain Palin squinted at the hand drawn map, "Dog Rump Creek just east of the bridge."

"My nipples explode with delight," continued Lieutenant Cleese.

"And put that Hungarian phrase book away," barked Captain Palin, "Lieutenant Idle!"

 "Nudge, Nudge."

"You are our eyes and ears, make sure you cannot be seen," ordered Captain Palin.

"Say no more," replied Lieutenant Idle!

"Lieutenant Jones, you will be with me, and we will head into town and look of for," he peered at the hand written instructions in his other hand, "Eight score young blondes and brunettes, all between sixteen and nineteen and a half.  That doesn't sound too bad."

"What, with them bathing, dressing, undressing, making exciting underwear, they are going to take convincing to evacuate."

"Say no more," shouted Captain Idle!

Monty's Pythons are ready to meet the invaders.

View from the rear.

Turn 1:
Not much finesse on the deployment.  The Martians have two tripods in the center, Marvin on the right flank, and another assault tripod on the left.  It is disquieting to have to ignore the tanks and kill as many fleeing civilians as they can.  But the strategy is clear, capture the closest civilians and kill the distant ones, as dead civilians don't count for either side's victory points. 
The Martian Tripods begin their search in the closest ruin, and are rewarded with screams of fear from fleeing humans.

A horde of reeving drones run after the fleeing population.
"Oh goody! It's like shooting xkuats in a container with my Illudium Q-36 explosive space modulator. "

Troop 'A' moves out, feeling the sweeps of the targeting heat rays.
Troop 'B' moves out, maneuvering around both buildings and civilians.
Shots are fired, and a tripod explodes, destroying a drone and killing civilians!
Turn 2:
The Martians get the first move and quickly bag a couple of civilians.  The tripods advance aggressively sweeping the panicking populace with their heat rays.  The civilian count is 2 captured, 5 dead 8 fleeing.
"Hmmm, do you want to be fried with that?"
Marvin looms over the village, giving pause to the brave men of Troop 'B'.

'A' troop is having trouble selecting a target.  Between buildings, smoke and civilians, it is hard to get a good combined shot lined up on anyone.
So they go for splitting their fire.  Between Troops 'A' and 'B' a tripod gets both a maneuver control and a weapon malfunction hit.

Filing in between the cracks, Troop 'C' blocks the Martian advance through the village.
The thin, green, line.
Turn 3:
The Martians win the initiative again and gather the last civilian in range.  Heat rays sweep over the defending tanks and vaporize all but 2 of the fleeing populace.  The score is 3 captured, 2 rescued, and 10 dead.  Seeing their mission accomplished, the Martians pull back across Dog Rump Creek to return to their hive.

With drones acting as skirmishers, the tripods retreat in good order behind Dog Rump Creek.

Troop "C' screens one of the last groups of citizens fleeing from Stony Plain.
With all the free civilians rescued, it is time to go after the harvester.  "Better dead then bled."

Lots of shots fired, but they just bounce off.

Turn 4:
The humans gain the initiative.  A good thing too, otherwise the harvester would have left the board for a decisive Martian victory. 
"Where's the kaboom? There was supposed to be an earth-shattering kaboom!"
[KABOOM] "Oh, there it is..."
After throwing about 27 shots at the harvester, a shell pierces the armor and there is, well, an earth shattering kaboom.  Destroying the harvester, inactivating the drones and killing all the captured people.  The score is now 13 dead, 2 rescued.  With that taken care of, it is now down to the war!
Marvin and the remaining damaged tripod (both weapons and maneuver), fall back but continue to sweep the enemy tanks.  While the cloud of inactive drones block progress.
The damaged tripod recrosses Dog Rump Creek and destroys two MK III's of Troop 'A', the causing the platoon leader to flee.

Turn 5:
Sorry, no more pictures, but the action went fast as both sides are looking for a break point here.  Troop 'A' fled off the field, and Troop 'B' followed suit.  The Royal Canadian Mounted Police pursued Marvin and tangled him up in cables preventing his escape.  The other tripod first destroyed a drone, then a squad of infantry that had just arrived.  Steamer tank Troops 'C' and 'D' started picking off drones as the easiest way to force a Martian break point.  Their armor value of 7 is a lot easier to hit then the tripod armor of 9 or 10.

Drones are being blown up rapidly, while Marvin dissuades one of the  RCMP from attacking.  The infantry takes a hit along with a MK II Steamer.  The infantry flees the field, leaving Monty's Pythons one unit from their break point, which would turn this game from a human win to a draw.

Turn 6:
The humans win the initiative and pick up the last drone.  With that, it is 5 dead units for the Martians and a human victory.


Seeing two replacement Mk III's coming his way, Captain Palen struck his driver in the ear with a salmon.  "Turn this thing around," he ordered, narrowing avoiding running over the last few remnants of the village he fought to save.

Off in the distance he could see the smoke still billowing from the harvester tripod.  He thought, "I am glad the wind is taking that in the other direction."

He got out of is tank an kneeled.
"Victory is mine!"
"We thank Thee Lord, that in Thy mer--"


[roll credits]