Well, now that I am off to Mars as it were, it’s time to get the troops painted and organized. I’m choosing a 1:10 figure to actual troops ratio. I am going to organize them according to the “Soldiers Companion” by Frank Chadwick. This is a fine set of rules for company level skirmish gaming that was first published in August of 1989.
The units themselves are organized into 20 figure infantry companies and cavalry squadrons and 3 gun artillery batteries. That would make each cavalry and infantry unit equal to 200 men (or Martians). The only exception to this were the Americans who were organized in 10 figure units which equaled 100 men. This was the standard size for an American infantry company. However, it was also the standard size for a British company as well. To this day, I am still not clear on why the US was singled out in this manner. However, I decided to go ahead and use the actual company strengths for the infantry companies of various nationalities.
So now, the British, the US, and the French will all have 12 figure companies. The Germans, however, can field a company that is double that number(24). It will certainly look most impressive on the battlefield. I leave the Canal Martians at 20 figure companies. Well, enough of the paper pushing as it were…here’s what’s on the work table
Well, I think that will do it for now. Stay tuned for Part 2 in which the Germans rear their ugly heads!
Welcome to the Red Planet! This is a map of Mars in the world of Space:1889. I have been adventuring on this world since GDW first released this game in 1989.
Geographically, it is dry dusty old world that is filled with the ruins of a once great civilization. Along the canals, you can see the locations of the various city states that are home to the Canal Martians. The green areas are the old sea beds while the brown are the uplands. The mountains are home to the savage Beast Men while the great steppes and deserts are claimed by the Hill Martians.
Humans first arrived on Mars in 1870 when Thomas Edison and Jack Armstrong made the voyage in Edison’s new Aether Flyer. By 1889, several of Earth’s Great Powers had staked claims to parts of Mars with the British Empire holding the largest part followed closely by King Leopold of Belgium. Japan, Russia, Germany, and France are also on Mars leading to what at times can be a very volatile situation.
So…Welcome to Mars! Check your expedition’s supplies…hire a trustworthy guide…and prepare for a Steampunk adventure.
This is just a brief post to let everyone know that I am in the middle of some seriously exciting changes in my life.
First of all, I’m in the process of buying a house in Gainesville, Florida. That is eating up a lot of my time.
Secondly, I’m getting married…Yep, that’s right…this old gaming bachelor has finally found the right woman…she’s incredible and wonderful and she likes gaming. Her name is Mame and she currently resides outside of Gainesville. That explains why I’m getting a house and moving.
As for Mars, I am a long time fan of Space:1889. I have just about everything that was ever written for it including a really great set of skirmish rules called The Soldiers Companion. With Steampunk becoming more and more popular, Space:1889 is enjoying a resurgence. Part of this resurgence is a new set of Skirmish rules called Mars Needs Steam. I have a playtest copy and I can tell you that they are really good. So, it’s time to head back to the Red Planet!
See you there!
Last Saturday, I got the chance to play in a Great Rail Wars game. This game has been around for awhile. It was first published as part of the original Deadlands series by Pinnacle Games. It was so popular that its’ mechanics were used to create the wildly successful Savage Worlds RPG. It’s a fun game and I had a great time playing it. So without further ado, I bring you the saga of Science versus Sorcery!
The scenery was paper scenery. It looked pretty darned good. It has the advantage of being inexpensive and easy to tote around.
Actually, Wasatch Rails, under the leadership of Dr. Darius Hellstromme, is the Mad Science faction of Great Rail Wars. They have all of the Tech Toys. In this picture, you can see the Steam Carriages, Steam Tank, Clockwork Spiders, my command figure (Professor von Rumptrumpet), a battle suit, two walkers and a group of hired guns. Note that they are wearing Red Shirts. This will have some importance later on.
The Black River Railroad is led by the wily Mina Devlin. These are the spellslingers and such. Actually, there was supposed a third faction, the Confederacy but since only Ryan and I were playing he folded both forces together. The force includes a bunch of hired guns, A Witch, her bodyguards, a wolf pack, a flock of Terror Bats, a Hanging Judge, and a Gatling Gun and crew.
Von Rumptrumpet’s Panzers roll onward! The Dampfwagens (Steam Cars) moved reall fast. The Hired Guns, Clockwork Spiders, the Walkers and the Mechanic head into town to start peaceful negotiations with the Townsfolk.
I got the intiative for the turn and was able to move one of my Steam Cars into firing position and cut loose with the Gatling Gun. I dropped one of the Witch’s bodyguards and wounded another one. The Wolves can be seen slinking into the alley way.
This was a cool showdown. The Hanging Judge is a seriously badass supernatural critter while the Battle Suit is just as badass a Techno Marvel.
Although the Witches didn’t deploy Bazookas, Panzerschrecks, LAWs rockets or Plasma Guns, a good old fashioned Ball of Flaming Doom worked just as well.
It’s really cool how well this game is balanced. While the mechanical stuff is powerful so is the Magical. Even lowly Hired Guns have a chance at taking out one of the Big Boys.
The Battle Suit did indeed take down the Hanging Judge…but only temporarily! You can see the Gatling Gun in the background.
Actually, the Battle Suit was IIRC taken out by a Character with a rifle. Still, it was just a temporary knockdown.
The Gatling Gun took this one out with a really good long range shot. Again, the game is very evenly balanced and the situation can change from turn to turn.
The only Unit/Character that stood a chance of taking out the Steam Tank was the Witch and her Magic. I was going to make sure that didn’t happen.
Ryan Marsh told me that most of these models (the ones in the blue pants) are actually HeroClix models of a character called Man Bat. They look great.
The only thing von Rumptrumpet did really was to go over and hose the last remaining creature down with his flamethrower. Since the critters were already in close combat with the Redshirts, I simply had my two walkers open up on the melee with their gatling guns. Not only did that put down the Terror Bats but it also took out a couple of my own hirlings. Hey, I saved money on the payroll! 🙂
The Final Confrontation…unfortunately the game was called right about then so we could go get some lunch. Methinks the Wolves would’ve won. Overall, the battle was a draw. It was a lot of fun and many thanks again to Ryan Marsh for putting it on. I had a great time and now I’m going to dig out my copy of Great Rail Wars and put together my own faction.
I chose this title rather than “What Period Do I Like Game In” because quite frankly I like them all. I’ll play anything. Like I said before, I enjoy the experience of gaming. So, the more relevant question should be what periods do I have collections in? I’ll narrow it down even further by limiting it to those collections that I currently game with.
Steampunk/VSF: As you can tell from the pictures I posted in an earlier entry, I’m a great fan of Steampunk/Victorian Science Fiction. The German figures are mostly from Battle Honors Early WWI line (www.oldglory15s.com) while the Americans are from Old Glory’s Spanish-American War line (www.oldgloryminiatures.com). The rules that I use are the classic “The Sword and The Flame”. These rules have been around for 33 years and are indeed a classic. They can also be adapted for a variety of periods. They are my go to rules set for whatever skirmish battle I wish to fight. They can be found at http://www.sergeants3.com and are well worth the investment.
I also collect and game the American Civil War. The vast majority of my tabletop forces are from Sash and Sabre Miniatures.
I cannot, however, take credit for the fine paint job. That was done for my by Reinforcements By Post. It is an excellent painting service located in Chittagong, Bangladesh. I recommend them highly. The figures shown are Union Zouaves. The Confederates are just as well done.
Finally, WWII Skirmish gaming. My forces are for Northwest Europe from D-Day onward. My favorite campaign in the time frame is the Battle of the Bulge.
Here you see a panzer recon patrol from the Panzer Lehr Division probing through the snowy forests getting ready to engage the Americans. The rules that I use are Iron Ivan’s Disposable Heroes. http://www.ironivangames.com These are an excellent set of rules for platoon level engagements. Recently, they’ve also come out with Disposable Heroes: Point Blank. I highly recommend these rules. I served as a playtester for them. I’m even mentioned in the credits. (even though Keith left the R out of my last name) 🙂
As for future projects, they include 6mm Franco-Prussian War, 28mm Mexican Revolution, and some more additions to my Steampunk/VSF collection including Canal Martian Infantry from the Space: 1889 universe.
Until next time…Have Fun…Play Games!
This blog is dedicated to one of the great passions of my life , gaming. I like it all. I started with boardgames like Tactics II and Afrika Korps from the old Avalon Hill Company. I got into Historical Minatures in the early 1970’s and into Role Playing Games later on in that decade. I’ve played a lot games since my first go round and truth be told I’ve probably lost more games than I’ve won. It’s not really the winning that is the fun part for me. It’s the socializing that I like. It’s being around friends and having a good time and believe me when I say that I’ve had some epic ones.
So what makes a good game? Well, in my opinion, there are two questions that need to be answered. The first is: Are the Players having a good time playing it and secondly is the Game Master/Referee having a good time running it? If the answer is yes to both these questions then…it’s a good game.
In this blog, I will attempt to explore the world of gaming as seen through my eyes. I hope you all will join with me. Let’s have a good time.