Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Nell's First Date

A Headless Body Production

All Quiet on the Martian Front After Action Report: Canadian Steam Squadron vs Martian Tripods
Location: Phil's Basement
Game: All Quiet on the Martian Front
Scenario: Dump the Box!
Players: Stephen Turn, Garth Parker:
Marvin's Martians
               Phil Gardocki, Bruce Potter:
Canadian 2nd Armoured Squadron

The Forces: "Monty’s Pythons", the 2nd Squadron, 12th "Three Rivers” Regiment*, 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade.  Consisting of 5 Infantry Company's, a MG Company, command stand, a troop of Mounties,  3 Field Guns, An Anti-Tripod Gun, 6 Mk III's, 12 Mk II's, a clamp tank and Nell.  About 2,290 points

Elements of Pod का क्रोध आपका, hive एक पल का क्रोध आपका भविष्य बिगाड सकता है, a total of 11 tripods, 7 Assault, 2 Grenadier, a Slaver and a Scout, supported by 9 Drones and 9 Lobototons.  About 2190 points.  

Scenario:  I am in the finishing stages of my second wave delivery and a few pieces I bought around Fathers Day.  This greatly up scaled both sides adding four more tripods, two batteries of guns, four units of infantry, three more steam tanks and the centerpiece, a Land Ironclad, affectionately named "Nell".  For a humorous back story of Nell, click here.

We were using some of the guidelines outlined in scenario two, "Bunker."  The Humans deploy everyone on the board.  The Martians deploy on the board edge, with up to half their tripods available in reserve.

The Board:Fort Edmonton, 155 acres of recently cleared area in western Canada.
Humans have all their units on the board.  Some 18 blips have been place to represent hidden infantry units.

Having the advantage of seeing the deployment, and seeing the specs of Nell's "Big 12 inch", the Martians put half their forces in reserve and hide the rest.  The only obvious forces are the drone/lobototon horde and the Scout Tripod.

View from Nell's port hindquarter.  Of the tripods in the distance, only 3 are actually on the board.  The Spanish Inquisition is behind the coaling station.
Drone/Lobototon horde deployed, with Grenadier and Scout Tripods.  Mk II's are hidden behind the wood.

Anti-Tripod and Field Guns, with men standing by. 
This is the long view.  Clamp Tank, Anti-Tripod gun, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Field guns and 4 troops of Seam Tanks.
Captain Palen stepped out from his tent, shaking his head at all the telegrams that had arrived overnight.
There were messages from the American Ambassador, (calling us thieves), a faux legal opinion from the British, (Damn, why can't you colonist's just get along?) and the most polite wording for "Up Yours" he had ever seen that was the response of the Canadian Ambassador.

He looked up at the cause of all the kerfuffle, there, 80 feet up, was Thomkinson.  "Thomkinson!", he called, "What are you doing?"

The sweaty man snapped to attention and threw an exaggerated salute, while the boiler room personnel, "Sooties" made a hasty retreat to the interior of the monstrosity that was Nell.  

"Sir, I am following your orders, Sir!"

"Which orders Thomkinson?"

"Returning Nell to where I found her sir!", responded the Junior Subaltern, "We are filling up the bunkers with the coal needed, Sir!"

"And do you have enough coal, Thomkinson."

"Not as such, sir."

"How much do you have, Thomkinson?"

"The Sooties think with a full bunker we can make Vegreville, or maybe Wainwright, Sir!" 

"And that would be.", Captain Palen prodded, now worried because those names were familiar to him.

"Half way to Saskatchewan, Sir."  

"How much coal will that take Thomkinson?"

"All of it, Sir."

"I see.  Thomkinson?"


"Suspend that for now.  We have come to realize that it will take all the available coal in three provinces to return, "Nell" to the Yanks.

Turn 1:
The Martians have the initiative.  Most of their Assault Tripods are off board seeking a flank march.  The Scout Tripod moves forward to use, for the first time at this table, it's illuminator.  Two Grenadiers then lay out a barrage of shock rounds onto the Land Ironclad, Nell.  Just to see the effectiveness.  Nell was unharmed, but the hidden movement counter under her was revealed to be a phoney.  The Assault Tripods also managed to destroy one of the Field Guns.  The Martians did their best to then pull back behind the cover of the

Then it was the humans turn.  The Martians had only managed to destroy a Field Gun, but then ducked for cover, almost.

Nell surged forward, moving full speed, a full 4 inches.  The big 12 inch "Super heavy" gun found a target and squeezed off a round.  Boom, the first shot exploded a tripod.  A most splendid portent for the new model.
The view from the Nell's starboard bow.
Replacing a tripod with a smoke marker.

I have to admit it, Garth took this one well.
The remaining shots missed their targets.  On to bound 2!

Turn 2:

The Martian drone/lobototon horde moved forward.  The disquieting jerkyness of the no-longer- human lobototons offering a quiet contrast against the smooth gliding motion of the drones.

The Grenadier Tripods fire again, assisted by the illumination of the Scout Tripod, and take out two elements of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and another Field Gun.  Both units however passed their morale checks and stayed on the board.

The remains of the RCMP hug a wall.  The surprise is the Anti-Tripod gun, far right, has a shorter range than the field gun, forward above.
The last Field gun destroys the Scout Tripod, blinding the Grenadier Tripods.
The 12" gun misses, but the 7" gun doesn't.  Scratch the Slaver Tripod, and with it, the entire Drone and Lobototon horde.
Turn 3:
So far the humans have had this all their way.  3 tripods destroyed, and major forces defanged.  It is making me question the value of the Land Ironclad, that at 750 points, compared to 200 for an Assault Tripod, it is too cheap.

The Martians maintain the initiative, and bring on a replacement Scout Tripod.  That should keep the Grenadiers in action.  They use their shock rounds on a unit of Mk II Steam Tanks, destroying two and causing the third to flee.

The Larch.
Two Mk II's gone, the third is leaving.
One of the flanking Assault Tripods is brought on early.
Turn 3:
The Humans gain the initiative, but have no targets to shoot at.  The Martians manage to get a cheap shot on a unit of Mk III Steam Tanks.  Destroying one, and the others of his troop flee to near the board edge.
Largely uninvolved till now, the remaining tanks get a taste of the heat ray.
Nell continues to move forward, but the Martians cannot be seen.
The only target is the Guinness Stout.
Turn 4:
The humans keep the initiative, but have no targets.  The tanks start to charge across the board.  The Martians peek out, shoot, then scoot, picking off a tank or two.

The Steam Tanks of the 2nd Squadron, 12th "Three Rivers” Regiment charge across the board.

Steadily advancing, Nell reaches the Mill Creek.  Be vaweee, vaweee, quiet, wee are hunting Machens.
Turn 5:
The Humans keep the initiative.  But once again are frustrated by a lack of targets.  The Tripods sense an opportunity, and leap out within sweep range, and flash their heat rays over and over the 2nd Squadron.

Nell creates a impromptu dam while crossing Mill Creek.

The plucky Clamp Tank takes the bridge.  The thought is I'll grab one of the tripods and hold it still.

Turn 6:
The Martians gain the initiative, effectively giving them a double turn.  They leap out again, and sweep the tanks of 2nd Squadron, destroying most of them.  With that, more than half of 2nd Squadron knocked out of action, the Martians are declared a winner!

In just two turns, the proud Canadian tank force is turned to rubble.

With only the Buzzards remain to morn their passing.
This fight was quite a turnaround from the beginning, so we'll give the Martian players another victory photo.
*Canada and England have different titles for their units than the Americans.  A Canadian Brigade is the equivalent of an American Regiment.   The Canadian Regiment is the equivalent of an American Battalion.  The Canadian Squadron is the equivalent of an American Company.   The Canadian Troop is the equivalent of an American Platoon.  One element could be a Section.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


A Headless Body Production
All Quiet on the Martian Front Introduction: Nell
Game: All Quiet on the Martian Front
Writer: Phil Gardocki

The Forces: "Monty’s Pythons", the 2nd Squadron*, 12th "Three Rivers” Regiment*, 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade* is about to get a new arrival.

Scenario:  Background information on Canada's latest weapon against the Martian invaders.

The Board:Canadian Base Edmonton.

Captain Palen was enjoying his tea and pondering how Camp Edmonton's 122 acres would make a wonderful shopping area some day.  In the background sounds of the RCMP's rendition of the Lumberjack Song started up.  "Bloody hell", he thought, "How much effort would it take to learn a second tune."

He put the tea cup back on it's saucer, and noted the strange, rhythmic, concentric rings forming on the surface. 

He turned in his chair in time to see a pair of Larch trees separate, then crash to the ground, a before him was a monstrosity!  A full 80 feet tall with two luminous eyes  glowed, it ground slowly towards the tea set.  Then it stopped, a massive steam whistle let out a cry that would be heard for miles.

Captain Palen finished his tea, wiped the biscuit crumbs from his fingers, placed his hat upon his head then stood up.  
Nell, starboard forequarter.
Hands on his hips, he confronted the monster, looking upward, he squinted into the distance, "Thomkinson, is that you?" he shouted.

A small figure in the distance leaned over a rail down at Captain Palen, "Yes sir."

"What is that thing you are riding on?"  

"It's a model of a Land Ironclad, sir."

"A model?" queried Captain Palen, "What scale model?"

"One to one, sir!" came the answer.

Exasperated, Captain Palen stated, "Thomkinson,  if it is one to one scale, then it is no longer a model, but a real ironclad."

Thomkinson looked confused, but affirmed, "Yes Sir."

"Get rid of it."


"Get rid of it, we can't have that noisy thing announcing our presence to Martians."

"But sir, it weighs 8,000 tonnes!"

"I don't care, it is silly, so return it where you found it."

"Detroit?  Sir, that's 1,921 miles from here."

"I don't care, and remember you have potato peeling duty later."

There was "thwonk" followed by a collapsing Private Concorde, "Message for you sir".

Captain Palen retrieved the arrow buried into Private Concorde's chest, and unrolled the message around it.  It read, "To whoever finds this note, I have been imprisoned by my father, who wishes me to marry against my will. Please, please, please come and rescue me. I am in the tall tower of Swamp Castle."

He looked around and then pointed the arrow to one of his men, "Private Lancelot!  How many times must I tell you not to use official communications equipment to receive your cries of distress, we are running out of Private Concordes!"

"I'm getting better sir", squeaked Private Concord.

Private Lancelot stepped forward, and exchanged the roll of paper with one from his hand.  "Sorry sir, I must have gotten your message by mistake."

Captain Palen unrolled the second message and read the message.


"Yes Sir!"

"You didn't just happen to find this thing now, did you?"

"Yes I did sir, it was under a rock sir, and I thought what a useful thing to have with the 12 inch main gun, all those 5 inch guns, and the bunkers just full of coal."

"Is this?" Captain Palen looked down at the message, "The Spirit of Detroit?" He then looked up again, "Reported missing by the Yanks 6 days ago?"

"No sir, this is Nell, and I found her!"

Captain Palen took a slow stroll around the giant machine, giving it his best inspection attitude normally due a preinspection check by the General.  "I see, so you named it Nell, right after you crossed out The Spirit of Detroit, painted here on the, ah, stern?"


"Now, now Thomkinson, fess up", consoled Captain Palen.

"You got me sir.  But it was just sitting there, all shiny and new and fully loaded  and me and  three score of the boys thought this thing hasn't been tested and wouldn't it be neighborly of us to make sure everything works before giving it back."

Sergeant Idle spoke up, "Sir, it seems to me that if the Martians are so busy shooting at Nell that the rest of us might not get hurt at all."

Captain Palen seemed to ponder that point. 

At that point the Colonel showed up.

"Alright now,  we all can see that this is getting silly.  After all, this is just a cheap writeup to show off our newly painted toy (which was purchased at 30% discount) using some Monty Python dialog taken out of context, to justify how the Canadian Army would have managed to acquire one of the preeminent war machines on the planet, while demonstrating that the writer is still king of the 'run on sentence', and I'll have none of it!"

*Canada and England have different titles for their units than the Americans.  A Canadian Brigade is the equivalent of an American Regiment.   The Canadian Regiment is the equivalent of an American Battalion.  The Canadian Squadron is the equivalent of an American Company.   The Canadian Troop is the equivalent of an American Platoon.  One element could be a Section.

Nell, receiving coal from a nearby coal tower.  Three Mk II's are standing by.

The Bounders have arrived.