Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Raid on Kraag Sagonaar - Partie La Troisième - Attack of the Sky Galleons

High Martian Sky Galleon moves to engage Meduse and Rapiere
 The raid was going well for the French - by turns 7/8, the Sapeurs Martiennes had secured a growing sample of le sirdique and had returned to the kite, Meduse.

Standing by to Repel Boarders
Furious flying Martians hurled themselves at the French for committing such eco-sacrilege, but again, Lebel and Hotchkiss cannon fire were able to break up the charging beastmen.

High Martian cloudships from nearby dependent clans began to arrive piecemeal via the board edges, and the French took the message and made ready to depart.

Almost on cue, the French kite took a random critical hit to the rudder - while facing exactly opposite their designated exit board edge. 

"Make fast and rig for towing!"

Without losing initiative, Colonel Montrie  brought Rapiere along side the stricken kite and grappled both ships together. 

He then made to tow the kite and her sirdique-wood cargo off board.



The High Martian players were not going to be so easily denied, as their heavy Hullcutter galley bore down on both French ships, a smaller Endtime galley attempted to ram the tow lines.

The ram was successful, but the towline held, and le Rapiere, bellowing smoke from her stack, made full steam for the French colony at Idaeus Fons.

The French Won!
Vive la France!
A Hullcutter lines up to ram

Down in Flames

Meduse under tow from Rapiere as the French exit

Post Game Thoughts:

The game was entertaining and amusing.  As I have mentioned previouly, the French play a bit differently than the British, with fragile-yet-heavily-armed indigenous troops stiffened by Marines. 

Losing le Rapiere would have shifted the result toward a French Defeat, as it is their only steel gunboat on Mars - the French players understood this, and were aware that they were never further from defeat than a lucky critical hit. 

The Martian cloudships arrived randomly over a two-turn period, and were positioned to surround the French aerial squadron, but were unable to coordinate, due mainly to the aggressive maneuvering of le Rapiere (and quite a bit of luck).

- Finis -

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Raid on Kraag Sagonaar - La Part Deux - The Raid Commences

French Militia skirmishes with Hill Martian Mercenaries

L'armée Coloniale de Mars arrived in two parts - the main body, comprised of the Native Tirailleurs and Militia, arrived after a day's march across the Eastern Tempe Steppes. There was no rolling for fatigue, as le indigènois were already acclimated to the Martian environment.

The Marines and Sappers arrived via flyer - we deemed it logical that the best troops would protected until their superior firepower and fighting quality could be brought to bear.

View of the approaches from the Royal Kraag
 Turn 1, 2: The Tirailleurs and Militia entered the board while the aerial flyers headed straight for the objective (the peak with the special sirdique liftwood).  Dicing for wind direction gave the French the wind they needed for a straight run toward the peakwith the kite. We weighted the dice slightly in favour of the French for the wind direction, for the first turn only, because we decided they wouldn't launch an attack with the wind against them, élan be damned...

Tirailleurs in blue and Militia in Khaki advance toward the objective

French aerial flotilla under fire
 The hidden High-Martian batteries atop the surrounding peaks opened fire - usually needing a 6 to hit due to the height and speed of the cloudships. The High Martians crew their guns with captives, which doesn't help for accuracy, and they were armed with a mix of power grapnels, heavy guns, rod guns and rogue guns.

When a power grapnel hit, the speed of the target ship would be reduced, giving the larger guns a better chance to hit.

Throughout the game, the French Commander, Colonel Montrie, kept the gunboats moving, and minimalised the damage taken.  There was very little damage done, while Le Rapier shot up the Martian batteries with shrapnel, Hotchkiss shells, and bullets from mitrailleuse and Lebel rifles.

The Objective - the red fronds are the Special Liftwood

Turn 3, 4:  In the playtest, the French assault suffered a setback when the kite was grounded about 12 inches from the objective - this was not repeated in the convention game.  The French kite sailed right up to the peak where the sirdique grew, tossed grappling lines, and indigenous Martian sappers began to clamber down the ropes.

Up to this point, the High Martian players were unaware of the French objective - they could be coming to rescue the numerous slaves, both Martian and Human, who worked the liftwood grovesOr they might be attacking the Royal Kraag itself, in an attempt to capture King XaathgarOnce the kite came aside the peak, the French intentions were made plain.

Flying Martians rally before a charge

Turn 5, 6:
Bands of flying martians began to issue from the Kraags,  while down on the ground, warbands of slave-soldiers, including captured humans, began to fire on the advancing Tirailleurs and Militia.  

Slave troops are a distraction at best: they fire as green - you don't want to shoot your own potential rescuers, their morale is Green, and if they fail a morale roll, they break and surrender to the nearest European troops...and wouldn't you?   

They did give the advancing ground troops something to worry about, which is all we really wanted.

Tirailleurs and Militia form back-to-back

 As the pressure built up, the Tirailleurs and Militia fell back, formed two double lines in open order and fought "back-to-back".

They held off the hordes of Martian Bazingers with Gras rifles and old rifled muskets (probably the Minié, though Chassepots would make more sense).

Coming Up Next: The High Martian Fleet arrives...

Post Game Thoughts:

We probably should have had the ground-based troops dice for fatigue and drop outs - if only for realism's sake.  The trek across the steppe would make an excellent role-play scenario, as the Franco-Martian troops attempt to evade High Martian scouts (with the help of some cloudships) while dealing with the local fauna and the semi-disgruntled Militia.

The slave troops were Bob's idea - and while I didn't like them at first, Bob convinced me that for a convention game, everyone must be kept busy.  In retrospect, I think we'd use some Hill Martian mercenaries, working for gold or weapons.