Friday, 1 October 2021

Unternehmen Maulwurf

Say what you like about zee chermans but you’ve got to admit their language always makes a military plan sound super sexy. 

<<Ahem>>

Where was I? 

Oh yes Maulwurf, the second game in my mini VSF thingy.

Having calculated when the Martians would be landing, Bismarck had persuaded the Kaiser to give the go ahead for Maulwurf Tag, assuring him that this was the moment the British would be most vulnerable. 

Within 48hrs long columns of Prussian infantry were observed descending obediently into tunnels that would take them under the North Sea and into the very heart of England.

(Okay, I was expecting another Martian encounter but the series of die rolls used to determine the game set up decided otherwise. This time the Prussians, skilfully painted by Lee, would be making an appearance).

The die rolls produced the following:

Enemy force encountered: 2 x 12 Prussian infantry

Friendly force encountered: Royal Navy Aether Launch

Extra equipment collected: 1 smoke pot. (+1 already held by Cpl Figgis).

New character traits: None. (Hobbes remains a bruiser and Figgis a scout).

British morale level: 3 

Prussian morale level: 3

Leader ratings: Sgt Hobbes (2) Cpl Figgis (1), Feldwebel Kraus (2), Oberleutenant Lange (3) Gefreiter Kurtz (1)

As usual I’ve tried to make a scenario meal out of the ingredients the die rolls gave me. The most obvious means of arrival for the Prussians for instance was by the Mole that I documented a few posts ago.

The Royal Navy Aether Launch I’d always considered as a one of a kind experimental vehicle, so I thought it’d make a great objective marker for both sides to try and capture. Since you’d have a hard time doing that if it was in mid air I assumed it had been forced to land through mechanical failure and would eventually be fixed and able to fly off again - unless captured.

The Prussians would have a 2:1 numerical advantage over No1. Section but I decided to limit their deployment to 12 men already out of the Mole’s tunnel with the others arriving at the rate of three per turn.

The objective for No1. Section is to hold off the Prussians until the aether launch can be fixed and flown away while for the Prussians it is simply the capture of the super secret British invention or Professor Brown - the egghead responsible for it’s construction.

To capture the aether launch the Prussians need to have more men on or in the vessels front hex than the British do at the end of any game turn, to capture the professor they just need to enter into close combat with him.

The aether launch needs 21 points to be “fixed” and this will be the rolling total of a single card drawn at the end of every turn. Once fixed it must spend a turn rising into the air (during which it could be shot at) before it can exit the board. The crew of the aether launch is made up of Sub Lt Hargreaves and Professor Brown. 

So then this is how events unfolded in what turned out to be a fairly interesting game. The rules used are Mr Lambshead’s diceless ones.

Sgt Hobbes and the remaining 11 men of No1. Section were heading north when the ground began to shake violently beneath them. The vibration became so intense that the chancel and part of a nearby church tower collapsed in an avalanche of stone. Determined to avoid whatever it was the Martians were up to now, Hobbes led the men off the road and through a gate into the cover of a walled field. 

It was while he was consulting his map that an object he would later describe as half boat, half carriage, came whistling overhead. Descending rapidly it skidded across the grass then ploughed nose first into the fields boundary wall. Initially stunned, the soldiers quickly recovered and gave chase.




The “driver” of the contrivance wore a Navy uniform and through a bull horn he ordered the soldiers to keep away. Sgt Hobbes was disinclined to take orders from some snotty “blue job” so he allowed the men to close up and gawp. A civilian descended from the craft, opened a panel in its stern and began tugging at a rats nest of wiring. 


The man was too preoccupied with fixing whatever had gone wrong in the machines engine bay to get into any meaningful conversation though Hobbes heard him muttering darkly about something called an electro inductive aetheric capacitor (oh come on…you’ve got to let me do a bit of technobabble).

The Sergeant was about to offer his assistance when a shout from Pvt O’Rorke got everyone’s attention. 

Prussians!




Almost beyond surprise by this point Hobbes ordered the men to take up defensive positions behind the high stone wall. He had no idea what the strange contraption was that had fallen from the heavens but he instinctively felt it was important to stop the Prussians from getting their hands on it.



Watching some of the men in blue march towards the church Hobbes ordered Corporal Figgis along with privates 232 Jones, 249 Jones, Edwards and Murphy to double around the crashed contraption to cover their right flank. As his own numbers dwindled more Prussians could be seen negotiating the woods to their front. The papers had been speculating for months that the Kaiser was up to no good - and now somehow his goons were here, as bold as brass, marching through Blighty!



Hobbes of course had the element of surprise, or at least he did until Pvt Davies let fly with his Martini Henry. The weapons discharge was followed by guttural shouts of “Achtung” and “Gott in Himmel” though not, it should be noted, the hoped for cries of a wounded target. The Prussians in the woods melted deeper into the undergrowth and those heading for the church rushed quickly into its cover. 




 

What Hobbes did not know was that fresh troops were continuing to exit from the tunnel bored through the rock by the mole. Soon he would be both outnumbered and outflanked!



Reaching the other flank as instructed Corporal Figgis could see that a determined rush by the Prussians would take them straight on to the deck of the defenceless contraption. Blocking that approach meant leaving cover and occupying the bow of the vessel himself. Reluctantly his men followed him over the wall. 

Sensing that the enemy were preparing to to encircle him Hobbes sent men to keep an eye on the road. When he was happy that Davies would not be firing off any more wild shots he went to join them.




After briefly climbing up the church tower, Oberleutenant Lange managed to get a good view of the British dispositions. Noticing his reserves were now gathering nearby he ordered the men below back out of the church in order to rush the enemy defences and seize the Britishers remarkable machine.



Back on the other side of the field Hobbes could hear the Prussians marching down the road as though they hadn’t a care in the world. Such effrontery was too much for the bold Sergeant, and with a curse that would have made even Figgis blush he ordered his men to climb over the wall and give the foreign johnnies what for! Cutting through a gap in the hedge the four British soldiers caught the enemy napping. Three shots rang out and three of the leading enemy soldiers went down. 

(I think that calls for a quick huzzah, don’t you?)



After blunting the enemies advance Hobbes led his men back to the wall, but what this…the downed Prussians have regained their feet?!

(In Mr Lambshead’s rules a downed figure is not necessarily dead. During a turn end admin phase a card is drawn for each potential casualty, red confirming their demise and black indicating that they were only lightly wounded or just took cover. As you can see from the picture, three black cards were drawn in a row and the Prussians dusted themselves down and got back up on their feet. While they were on the floor they’d have been almost helpless against melee, and had Hobbes closed to melee them rather than retreating to the wall they’d have likely have been gonners).




The reanimation of the three sausage munchers, wasn’t the only blow that Hobbes was about to suffer. Oberleutenant Lange and his men emerged from the church and moving quickly into position let rip a blizzard of lead at the British soldiers now arguing with the Sub Lieutenant over permission to come aboard. The doughty Corporal was the first to go down, swiftly followed by 249 Jones and Pvt Edwards. Disaster! With the opposition suppressed the square heads prepared to rush their target.

Just when all seemed lost Professor Brown finally realigned the polarity of the electrically stimulated lift crystal. (I knew he could do it!). Slamming the engine bay hatch closed he scrambled back over the wall and climbed aboard. 



In the wheelhouse Hargreaves watched the dials on the control panel flicker into life and gently he eased the lift lever upwards.

(The vehicle was always going to be fixed when the total of cards drawn at the end of every turn reached 21. Nice idea, but the turns in Mr Lambshead’s rules are of variable length, only ending when a joker is drawn by either player from the action deck. The British were very lucky in that several turn ends occurred quite close together and the cards drawn for repairs during this period were a Queen (12) a ten and a two. If the turns had been further apart, the total repair values drawn  were lower, or the Prussians had received more activations, they would have had plenty of time to capture the target).

The Prussians halted as their target rose slowly from the wreckage of the wall. 



(I’m pretty sure that if my 1970’s Battle Picture Library comics were anything to go by - this would have caused a lot more “Gott in Himmels”).

Unsure of what to do, Feldwebel Kraus fired. The machine seemed unaffected, but one of its occupants immediately slumped to the deck. Professor Brown had been hit! 



The aether launch rose higher and as the Prussians struggled to reload or draw a bead on it, it clipped the tops of the trees. 




Ignoring the dangers of extreme velocity the launch hurtled away from the scene at a mind blowing 30mph. What madness!

The fusillade of shots from the Prussians who’d downed Figgis convinced Hobbes that they were being enveloped from both flanks. With the strange contraption saved from the clutches of the cabbage crunchers (sorry, I’m running out of stereotypical epithets here) he ordered his remaining men to make for the hedge to their rear. 

But what of poor Figgis and co?

The lift off of the aether launch was only seconds ahead of two Prussian soldiers who’d run forward to seize its dangling mooring rope. Frustrated in this they turned their beastly attention to the British casualties lying helpless at their feet. Bayonets swiftly despatched 249 Jones and Edwards and they advanced with measured tread on Figgis. 

On the other side of the wall the remaining two soldiers of the flanking force had been steadying their nerve. The Prussians prodded the recumbent Figgis with the tips of their bayonets (I imagine they’d  have had an evil leer on their faces at this point?) but having recovered their composure 232 Jones and Pvt Murphy popped up from behind the wall and with rifles blazing at zero range, let rip. 

Blam. Blam!

The two Prussians fell where they stood.



232 Jones continued to give covering fire as Pvt Murphy climbed over the wall and hoisted Corporal Figgis onto his shoulder. Dragging him back into cover he made slow but deliberate progress towards safety as his plucky Welsh side kick held back the advancing blue horde.

The men of No1 section made it through the hedge and out of sight as the Prussians reached the wall and took brave 232 Jones prisoner. (Naturally the Huns clubbed him with a rifle butt first)



Frustrated in their efforts to capture the strange British craft, the men of the 128th (Danzig) Regiment had at least managed to secure their initial bridgehead in Britain. Reinforcements would continue to flood in through their tunnel in the days that followed.

A few observations. 

The unpredictable length of a turn in these rules worked hugely in the British favour - on this occasion. It could very easily have gone the other way.

At the end of the game I drew a card for poor old Figgis and it was black, so he survived with what I’ll count as a superficial wound. 

Pvt Murphy should get a medal for rescuing his Corporal but will probably have to accept an annulling of the gambling debt he owes Figgis in its stead.

The whole shebang rattled along at quite a pace with its speedy card draw resolutions - taking just over two hours from start to finish on a 3 x 3 board. 

So Hobbes and his remaining men have survived this  encounter and will live to fight another day. 

I suspect I won’t get around to their next mission before the 2mm construction effort is complete. 

We’ll see.

TTFN




Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Fear and loathing in West Wales - Part deux

Not a wargaming post, sorry. Please feel free to “jog on” as it were, if that’s what you were looking for. It’s a sort of soft rant I suppose. There’s going to be some bad language, politics and occasional scenes of nudity…

Only joking about the nudity by the way. Soz.

A couple of weeks ago I named this missive “Wish you weren’t here” but I deleted it without posting it. Several days back it became “Disquiet on the western front” only to meet a similar fate. I’ve resurrected it today partly because the victim support officer called this morning and partly because the matter has been bothering me and it might help put things into perspective by jotting it down. Hell it may even give you a laugh!

Since Brexit I’ve lost a lot of “friends”. Actually all of them come to think of it. Mr Cameron’s folly revealed a lot of fundamentally irreconcilable differences between us that I don’t think we even knew were there. In the run up to that dreadful vote a lid was lifted on Britain, exposing a hot mess of incoherent ignorance and prejudice. Naively I assumed it was an “English” thing but I was wrong…it’s here in West Wales as well.

In the height of the summer the wife and I toddled into our small market town to do some shopping. We have a blue badge because of my wife’s spinal tumour. The place was full of staycationers and as usual none of the disabled car parking spots were available - though many of the cars in them had no right to be there. We drove around for a while and I will admit I became increasingly annoyed by the situation. Finally at the top of the hill by the castle I found a disabled parking spot with the occupant busily unloading crates of milk from a flat bed truck. I wound down the window and I asked him if he were disabled.

“I’m unloading this milk - boy”, he said.

“I didn’t ask what you were f**king doing,” I replied tartly. “I asked if you were disabled.” (I know I know, not helpful - but hey who was in the wrong here?) It should be noted at this point that my Brummie accent always comes to the fore when I’m angry and it was probably this that became the trigger for what followed.

With English tourists and Welsh shopkeepers looking on in amazement the milkman went off on one - or “lost his sh*t” as I believe young people say.

Go on google it. I’ll wait.
 

“If you don’t like it, you can f**k off back to England boy…” he shouted advancing on the car with his fists bunched. 

I got out to meet him as he continued with a snappy “why don’t you f*ck off back to where you came from.” 

With a sudden jolt of realisation I recognised him as my neighbours milkman! Two blokes blocked his path so now all I could do was shout back, “It’ll only take me 5 minutes you daft twat… I frigging well live here.” 

It was also at this point that I realised I’d become the victim of what is known in modern parlance as a “hate crime”. I know, I know, but think about it for a moment. Okay I’m white middle class and retired…but how would his comments have looked if I’d been black or Asian, or whatever, and he’d told me to go back to where I came from. Was I any less sinned against?

Being single handedly responsible for a half mile tail back at this point, I drove off and finally located an unoccupied space. The missus made me have an ice cream so I could calm down. I mulled the matter over whilst my 99 (yeah with a flake and sprinkles!) melted slowly over my hand. 

Should I drive back down the road and dot the bugger on the nose - “old Skool” - or should I go all “woke” and seek redress another way? The man had, by any googled definition, just been responsible for a hate crime, something the Welsh government apparently was determined to take very seriously.

Mmmm. 

Ten minutes later I reported the incident to the police. I could sense their disbelief over the phone. Whatever the Welsh governments stance on the matter, things always run differently this far west. I assured my wife the issue would be swiftly kicked into the long grass and that I’d probably have to do the same to the milkman if I wanted any satisfaction. It wouldn’t be hard given he’d be delivering milk to next door the following morning!

I got a phone call from a bemused officer as soon as I got home. It was a new one on him he said, but he was mandated to deal with it as a serious matter. What did I want him to do? I wanted a written apology I said, keen to up the anti as it were. “And if Gerwyn the milkman,” (for tis he) “will not oblige?” he enquired. “I’ll be pressing charges,” I said, suddenly coming over all litigious.

Police cars were apparently despatched / dispatched? (guidance please) flecky stab vests donned and words of great import imparted. Gerwyn was all contrition. The next morning I was the proud owner of a very effusive letter of apology. 

Did it change anything? Probably not. If the bloke really does hate the English then making him grovel in a letter won’t improve matters one jot. Probably make it worse truth be told. 

Can you ever win in these situations? “Are haters always gonna hate?” as our American cousins might say?

My Welsh language course is now on semi permanent hold - and I’m once again looking wistfully back at France. Should we consider a return? Is it worth trying to fit in somewhere when you suspect you’re actually not wanted?

Of course with time I’ll be able to laugh this single incident off, rationalise it in some way. It’s already becoming just another one of my stories as I write. It makes me wonder though how others less fortunate than I and perhaps more obviously different than those around them cope with open prejudice day in day out. 

There’s that old saying about walking a mile in another mans shoes…which up to now I’ve always found funny. I mean…the stupid buggers never going to get his shoes back after giving you a mile head start now is he?

Something to mull over maybe and by tomorrow undoubted proof that one should never post while more than a little foxed. Lol.

Hic.


Fiddly diddly naval nonsense

Yep, things are progressing on the teeny tiny front, so I thought I’d post a few photos of where I’ve got to. 

Before I get into the ECW stuff I thought I’d show the miniature medieval cog wars ships I’ve started on. This has been a slow burn project in the pipe line for over a year but seeing as how I’m currently determined to destroy my eyesight I thought I’d better get a few painted before I need an electron microscope. At the rate I’m going I’ll be using grains of rice as units next. Lol.

Anywhoo…


The cogs are of different types as you can see and some are still unfinished. The large cog (or possibly round ship?) is from Outpost games, the dinky red fore and aft castle vessel (medium cog) is from Ral Partha and the poor quality casting of a northern or Baltic cog is from Navwar. All are 1:1200 scale but if you need a size comparison the pointing chap in the background is 18mm high. There are a number of galleys on the way from Outpost which the French used a lot for raiding in the channel. I suspect I’ll be using Mr Manley’s Lords of the Sea rules with them, or possibly Galleys and Galleons.

I’m about half way through the ECW unit production now, having set myself the slightly ambitious project of creating enough units to cover massive battles like Marston Moor. 

Twilight of The Divine Right specifies different sized regiments (amongst other things) and since I want to show a units size directly it’s meant there can be no one size fits all compromises. Hey ho, still enjoying doing them. I’d have liked to have shown some scenery but there’s been a total cock up on the game mat front and as a consequence I’ve not started any as yet. Anyway here’s a few piccies to whet your whistle.

First up are two baggage camps plus a few wagons from the baggage train, sorry, trayne:


Next up is 50% of the foote units I require - the rest are WIP but nearing completion.  There are three groups here. On the right are what TOTDR defines as regular sized regiments, left foreground are small regiments and behind them… large sized regiments.

Dragoon’s were completed early on. Here we have regular and small dragoon regiments in both mounted and dismounted state. Yes I did paint the horse handlers at the back!


Horse - these are small and regular sized regiments, with stands for the two opposing army commanders and subordinate generals.

Lastly we have the gun line and their marrowbone dog treat / fig roll gabions. I’ve banked some earth up around their positions to hide the square edge of the casting since last time. I don’t think it would’ve taken a gun crew and the attendant drivers, wagon chaps etc long to have thrown up a bit of an earthen wall, and they’d look okay in siege games too I think.

Still to come are a shed load of horse (20 units) 6 musket only units of various sizes, then there’s commanded shotte and a few regimental guns as well.

The picture quality is as usual pretty poor and the lighting abysmal…both fairly important things to get right when your trying to show 2mm figures, so apologies. Take my word for it, they look okay. 

Actually when you get up really close you can pick out things like sashes and weapons on the castings which is a shame because even if you painted them in you’d lose all that detail and spoil the overall effect when seen from a distance.

Anyway…best get on painting I suppose. They’re not going to finish themselves!

TTFN


Sunday, 5 September 2021

Teeny Tiny ECW

Just thought I’d do a quick post to document the completion of a few 2mm ECW units. These boys are the first off the production line, but there’s a whole lot more waiting in the queue behind them. 

I tried 2mm about 3yrs ago and made a right pigs ear of it. With no ready access to the internet (where we lived in France was zone blanc) I was unable to copy the work of others who had gone before me. Well that was my excuse anyway. Now that Lee has kindly made me a gift of his unwanted 2mm stuff I’ve got my hands on an example of how it should be done and have been able to copy his technique. Cheers Lee!

With my Wofun troops off on extended leave in the Midlands these will be my only way to fight ECW battles for now. Having already documented my “can’t be arsed” attitude to setting up a big 6x4 table the adoption of this scale might well overcome that issue.







I’ve gone with Twilight of The Divine Right for army level rules and despite a few awkwardly phrased sentences (that led to some head scratching ) they will definitely suffice. My only tweaks will be to have 1 base per unit rather than the suggested 2 since it seems unnecessary, and to adjust the movement distances by a gnats cock to accommodate the 3cm base width.

The scenario book that I purchased with the rules has a seemingly simplified orbat for the major battles it covers but who am I to argue with an alumni of the Wyre Forest games group and member of the Pike and Shot Society. If it’s good enough for them I shall consider myself covered against the comments of trolls like Wulfgar414.

Normal gaming distance

Yes I did put gabions around the artillery.They look a bit like mini sausage rolls. Mmmm.

Even at my glacial pace I should have two reasonably sized armies done in a matter of weeks so my thoughts have already turned to what to do with them. I could do another different ECW campaign, or I could just attempt to refight historic battles. In any event the battle fields will only occasionally exceed 2ft square and with the lovely Vauban and castle sets from Brigade anything seems possible.

TTFN

Friday, 27 August 2021

The Blood Bank

I’ve been blown off course again. <<sighs>>.

I’ve got myself all involved in 2mm ECW. 

It started with ordering a few figures to see what they were like, then discovering that with a bit of guidance from our Lee and a peek at a few websites I could actually paint them. 

Mmmm. 

Then there were some ace looking miniature buildings from Brigade that were so cheap I couldn’t not buy them, and having gone that far it seemed daft not to get a nice battle mat to put them on. Oh and I’d need some Army level ECW rules…Twilight of the Divine Right looked good…

I hope my son is not expecting much of an inheritance.

I digress. While all this down the rabbit hole nonesense has been going on I managed to squeeze in the first game of my VSF campaign - so I thought I’d document it here while the memory’s still fresh. 

I’ve been using Mr Lambshead’s dice less rules for this skirmish stuff, and jolly good they are too, however the Martians required some additional thought since they are being fielded by an AI.

Going north on the campaign map the first zone that No 1 Section have to traverse on their route to safety is an area containing marsh and bog. As it happened the area designated thus on the game board never had any units traverse it so that aspect played no part in the game.

No 1 section contains 12 men including Sergeant Hobbes and Corporal Figgis. Two character traits were randomly generated and one went to each NCO. Hobbes got “bruiser” which gives him an edge in close combat and Figgis got scout which makes him a bit harder to hit when in cover. 

The section are equipped with one shot Martini Henry rifles but in addition Sergeant Hobbes has two MKIII sticky bombs and Corporal Figgis has the hallelujah smoke pot.

When the chaps arrived on the board I rolled for a friendly encounter, a Martian opposing force and a side mission to complete.

The friendly encounter turned out to be the arrival of the previously estranged Lieutenant Asquith, the Martian force was a Tripod and a “pod” of the three soldiers, (The Martians are the third generation to have been budded since the original invasion and have been genetically modified to better withstand earth conditions). The side mission was an interesting one and gave rise to the post title. A group of 12 helpless civilians have been herded into a force field “pen” where they can be contained and kept fresh for later draining by their captors.

Though the main aim is to get some of No 1 section off the opposite board edge, the pre scripted mission had the following points assigned to it.

Free the captives. 1 point for each captive that escapes off board. -2 for each soldier lost. + 1 for each Martian soldier killed. +2 for each Martian skimmer destroyed. Plus 5 for each tripod destroyed.

End game total.

0-9 points = it’s not the winning it’s the taking part that counts.

10-15 points = minor win. You won. Big whoop.

16 points + = major win. Ooo la.


If the group ever accumulate 30 points during the course of their journey I’m going to let them skip a zone across the map.


The game kicked off with Martians in “guard mode”, one of three modes that they can move through as conditions change in the game. Randomly assigned a tile, a hex within the tile, and a facing it seemed like a lucky start for the boys in red since the enemy were standing guard with their backs to the approaching soldiers. Guard mode keeps the Martians relatively stationary but they do randomly turn clockwise or anti clockwise and scan the area through their front two hexes. (I’d decided early on to limit the Martians combat fire power advantage by having them see the world through infra red and limiting their visibility by restricting it to a cone like search arc).


My Martian soldiers operate in pods of three and these particular ones are armed with zippy zappy  ray guns that (if tv has taught us anything) will make cool pew pew noises but fail to hit anything nine times out of ten. 


While the Martian soldier pod is not visible to No 1 section the tripod towers above the battlefield and causes immediate alarm.


Individual humans, machines etc all generate a heat signature and the higher the cumulative heat signature in a hex the more likely the Martians are to spot and target it. Sergeant Hobbes should have ordered his men to scatter and go to ground but the sight that greeted him just off the road side obviously gave him pause. 


Enter Lt Asquith, stage left.

Ordering Figgis to take the section into cover Hobbes takes Private Williams with him to investigate a very strange sight. Contained between three tall buzzing towers are a group of terrified civilians who warn him that an invisible barrier between the strange contraptions seems to kill on contact. Hobbes orders Williams to fire at the nearest tower but just as the young soldier lifts his rifle they hear an upper class voice shout… “I say… You fellows… Over here!”


Williams fires…and misses. 


Pushing the private to one side Hobbes takes a steady aim at the black metallic column and takes a shot himself. The heavy lead .577 bullet punches a sparking hole in the alien column and whatever it was projecting immediately stops. (The Martian’s would no doubt be infuriated to learn that in decades to come humans would use the shape of these force field towers as the design for a cap on a fast setting glue).


“I say you fellows…”


At the Sergeants urging a few of the civilians nerve themselves to run across the line in the grass where the barrier had been and out on to the road. Lt Asquith arrives and immediately takes command of the situation. Corporal Figgis loses no time in getting into cover behind a large stone wall and though a couple of the men follow him, the rest stand transfixed at the sight of the tripod.


Asquith takes command. 

It was only a matter of time before the soldiers luck ran out of course, and even as the panicking civilians ran into the road the tripod turns and spots the commotion.


(The tripod spots numerous heat signatures within its scanning arc, but it will always seek to target the hex containing the highest total. It has a range of 5 hexes. Each human figure in a hex generates 2 points of heat but any hard cover reduces the total by 1. Its potential targets, ie those with an unmodified heat signature are an old guy in the road  and a soldier on the road hex behind him. Both are within the tripods search arc and weapon range, but the old man is closest and thus has to be the target. Having seen him the Martian attempts to lock his weapon on to him. The tripod needs to draw a playing card of equal or less value than the 2 to lock on to him and fire…so the old guys pretty safe. Regardless of the outcome the Tripod places a waypoint marker on the target hex and all the Martians flip from Guard mode into Patrol mode - since they share a psychic link. In patrol mode the Martians will advance towards the way point searching for fresh targets as they go).


Unluckily for the old guy the Tripod draws an ace from the card deck, locks on, fires, and leaves a flaming scorch mark across the road. Luckily for the old guy he was so busy shouting to the others to run that his dentures fell out just as the Martian weapon fired. Stooping to retrieve them he remains uninjured but quite indignant that his hat is now on fire. (Okay artistic license… the Martian missed). Stirred by the tripods sighting, the Martian soldier pod ready their ray guns and lope out onto the road. 


Eee…that’s me best ’at that is…


“Cor blimey it’s got ’is titfer”*


Outraged that an Englishman’s hat should be so rudely handled, Lieutenant Asquith takes one of Sergeant Hobbes two sticky bombs and races around the hedge line to seek redress.



As the enormous silver colossus steps out onto the road Asquith emerges from the bushes and slaps the sticky bomb firmly onto its leg, pulling the chord to detonate the charge as he does so. He has 8 seconds to make good his escape but Asquith “is of the right sort” so he calmly draws his revolver and lets rip at the towering machines underside instead. For the first four seconds the sticky bomb fizzes a bit, for the second four seconds it produces a little wisp of smoke. Then it falls off and goes “pop”.


“Take that you swine…oh bugger!”


Fortunately for Asquith help is at hand. Hobbes quickly unwraps the brown paper on his own sticky bomb and with the right arm of a cricketing dervish he tosses the device over the hedge where it too fastens to a passing metal tripod leg… Eight seconds later it goes off with a very loud bang! 



The tripod sways alarmingly but somehow remains upright. Perhaps realising that further movement is impossible the shaken alien pilot opens a hatch and bails out just in front of the heroic Lieutenant. Asquith only has one round left in his Webley but before the writhing purple monstrosity can get up on its tentacles he thrusts the barrel between its cold lidless eyes and pulls the trigger.


Blam!


Huzzah! 


Now that the Martians have been fired at they move from Patrol mode to Combat mode, which makes more use of cover and depending on the playing card drawn allows a little more movement. There is one outlier which is the draw of a King - the order to close with the enemy and enter into melee. Naturally the Martian soldiers draw this card. 


Lolloping down the road they fire at the old man with their ray guns. Pew pew they went (see I told you they’d make that noise) and though they left some scorch marks on his best Sunday jacket the old fella remains indignant but unharmed.


Their closest potential adversary is Lieutenant Asquith who  is busy searching his pockets for any stray rounds to put in his pistol when they arrive. The first Martian drops its ray gun and lashes at the young officer with its stinging tentacle. Yeah they have those now. Asquith sees the attack coming, ducks under it, and skewers the foul purple beast on the end of his sword.


Now by rights that should call for another huzzah, but unfortunately the other two Martians in the pod are onto him in a trice. 


Trice. 


I like that word. 


Anywhoo, stinging tentacles lash and poor Asquith goes the way that family tradition demands when fighting against the odds. 


Alas poor Asquith.

Pvt Williams who’d not had the pluck to go and help the Lieutenant when he needed him (not enough action points that turn) now races onto the scene, presumably wracked with guilt and determined to take one with him, which in fairness he does. After Williams’ attack there is but one Martian trooper left. 


Noticing the two dead British soldiers at the creatures feet (oh okay then - tentacles) Private Davies who had moved unobserved into range decides not to take any chances. The aliens prowess at close combat proves useless against a slug of high velocity lead and it too joins the heap of bodies.


Oh all right then…huzzah!


With nothing left to bar their route off board the soldiers of No 1 section gather together the refugees and lead them away from the carnage. Totalling up the points earned I could see this was a major victory, and a very different outcome to the two test games I’d played in which nearly everyone got fried by this point in proceedings.


Game notes:


The Martians had been unlucky in their initial facings, their limited force size and their weapon attack card draws. Compelled by the AI card draws to do things I wouldn’t have made them do, like enter close combat, made for an interesting game but using tactics that did not play to their strengths eventually doomed them to destruction.


TTFN






*For the benefit of our transatlantic cousins it’s Cockney rhyming slang. Titfer tat = hat. 


I’m sure that’s probably still as clear as mud.