Saturday 25 November 2023

The Men Who Would Be Warlords of Mars

Above the Liftwood groves, an Aphid class gunboat flies under French colours as Épée 

A well overdue return to some Space 1889 gaming today, with the specific intent to trying to nail down our rules modifications to The Men Who Would Be Kings. We feel they are..okay...but probably the best fit of anything we've found thus far. Regardless, we got to push some models around and thats always fun!

A French expedition from Ideus Fons defends a central position, with Cloudship Épée in overwatch position

Some rules changes we played with included Bolt Action style of pulling chits, to keep the game fully interactive and generate drama and tension with 'who goes next', which can at times be critical (and was!)

Épée (by Oshiro Models) with a crew of Armoured Sailors (by Ironclad Miniatures)

Additionally, for narrative reasons we played:

- a unit that rolls boxcars on an activation may take an extra action immediately (but must declare both at the start)

- a unit that rolls boxcars on Disciple check a takes an immediate free action (heroic reaction to taking fire!)

Units - we have trialled a few options and recommend Space 1889 units under TMWWBK as:

  • European trained Canal Martians as Regular Infantry with Obsolete Rifles
  • Canal Martian Shooters as Irregular Infantry
  • Can Martian Choppers as Tribal Infantry
  • Tharks as Tribal Cavalry
Tharks!!!! (Bronze Age Miniatures)

A unit of Tirailleurs Martiens (RAFM models) prepares to defend their position against advancing Martian Cutters

Canal Martians advance from cover (Bronze Age miniatures)

Give them a taste of St-Etienne steel, mes Amis!

Aerial gunnery takes advancing Martians under fire

New Units:

Shield Gunners as an additions to a Canal Martian Shooter unit. A Shield Gunner takes an additional hit to kill (eg 2 at close range, 3 at long range, 4 at long range and in cover!), and all shield gunners in a unit must be taken down before. A Shooter unit can add 2-3 max at a cost of 1-2 points, adding some much needed resilience against modern European musketry

Cloudship is still in development. We used the Aphid as a Regular Cavalry unit for activation and movement. It carries a half unit (6 men) of riflemen which have to activate separately, and a crewed weapon which also activates separately.  The Cloudship (in this case a poorly armed Scout class type) is operating at low altitude and can be taken under fire by all units as usual. 

Each hit is randomly allocated as:

  • 1-2 Crewed Weapon Crew (4 total)
  • 3-4 Upper Deck Crew (6 total)
  • 5-6 Hull hit (6 total)
  • Weapon fire is reduced proportionally with hits. The cloudship crashes if reduced to zero hull points.

Tharks crash into the Legionaries, devastating the unit

Would love to hear other people's experiences and suggestion for TMWWBK, or other rules sets they use for Space 1889 ground actions.

Sergent Pierre Reno, veteran of the Third Thark Suppression Campaign, revenges his comrades upon the last Thark

Sunday 12 November 2023

Cloudships of Mars revisited

After such a hiatus there are TWO posts in a single week? Good grief! Why so? Because this happened...

I also liked their clever plastic altitude bases

Following my trip to the Woking Tripod, I attended the WARFARE show at Farnbrough and had a chance to chat with the chaps from the Werelords club who were running this "Cloudships of Mars revisited" table. 

Yes they are indeed the same chaps who put on the stunning 28mm display back at SALUTE 06 (see here  Well they are back with a new scale (6mm) and with an all news set of rules they have written, that are faithful to the spirit of the original but updating them and tightening them up for big demo games.

They were super enthusiastic about sharing their game, the moreso when I told them of our own Cloudships agmes and some pics from this blog. I guess its a real niche inside a niche hobby!

The ships themselves are a true delight - each one of the hand crafted and scratch built from all sort of things. It was fun to try and guess,  but the detailing and crew really brought them to life. The flyer at the demo game read:

Building a Cloudship Fleet in 6mm

The Shipds are a wide range of manufacturers: Peter Pig ACW, DeAgostini Star Wars die cast, Heroics and Ross, and Brigade Models.  Weapons include WW1 & WW2 guns, ECW & Napoleonic guns plus gatlings, mitrailleuse and Nordenfelts. Crew range form Colonial & Franco-Prussian, Confederates, SYW Iroquois Indians and Ancient Greeks.

Details was added from Model railways N gauge, supplies for packs of coals sacks anbd sails from plastci ship kits, Mats by Deep cut Studios, and Scenery by Brigade

These pics do something to show what a true delight and labour of love they are.

Look at that liftwood torpedo!

The Majesty of the big Martian Kite under full sail!

Unfortunately I didn't have the time to sit down for a game (though they invited several times!) but it was a real delight to spend some time with these cracking fellows and their creations. 

Thank you gentlemen - I doff my hat to you!

Friday 10 November 2023

The Chances of Anything Coming from Mars...

Currently on a flying work trip through the UK, but I did get the chance to stop briefly in Woking for a homage to HG Wells. He lived in the town while writing War of the Worlds in 1895-97, using it as the setting for the initial part of the book.

The first alien cylinder lands in Horsell Common, assembling heat ray equipped machines where they impact in the sandpit

The 7 metre tall Tripod itself in the centre of town!

With a crashed cylinder and some of Mankind's bacterial allies in attendance

Nearby Wells Plaza has a nice statue of the author; 

Note the martian red weed at the base of the chair, date on the back of the chair from The Time Machine (when the Traveller meets with Eloy and Morlocks) and he is holding the Cavorite sphere spaceship from The First Men in the Moon.

"The Man from Maybury Hill"; 141 Maybury Road Woking, where HG Wells lived while writing the book

Just a nice spot to enjoy a coffee and consider invasion from another world (nice product placement there Games Workshop!)

An exploration of debauchery, vice and other reasons to be a man!

An exploration of debauchery, vice and other reasons to be a man!