|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|
|Tirailleurs in blue and Militia in Khaki advance toward the objective|
|French aerial flotilla under fire|
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 groves. Or they might be attacking the Royal Kraag itself, in an attempt to capture King Xaathgar. Once 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.