Saturday, October 29, 2011

Landship Down Revisited

A week ago we gathered for a massive Martian game at the Game Matrix.  I'd talked Mark Waddington into a game a few weeks ago, wanting to sneak in some of my newer units.  He agreed and offered to pull out Landship Down, a scenario he developed a few years ago in which a landship, together with British infantry and auxiliaries were being rescued by an overland expedition fighting its way through Martians interdicting their advance.
The naked initial terrain set up from the Martian left.  The center woods tied down a fair number of Brits, but would also cost a lot of dead Martians.

The damaged British landship with its defenders.

 Simple concept.  Mark made me a Martian commander and allowed us 25 units plus some additional goodies.  15 of the units had to be Martian, but the remaining ten could be various mercenary/allied troops.
The initial British setup for its rescue force. You can see the force of mechanicals at the British disposal.

The Martians decided to ring the broken landship and its escorting force with foreign troops that could keep them under considerable fire.  This led to a lot of British casualties as the German and Fenian units were on a par with the Brits, and superior to the Martian auxiliaries.  As things devolved into a kind of trench warfare, the Brits waited for help.
The Martians had a small flyer which never had quite the effect on the game the big British Zeppelin had.

The Indians set up on the right side of the table.  The steam elephant has already sustained some mechanical damage due to a bad breakdown roll.
 Help was indeed coming.  The remaining Martian units were hunkered down in or behind every terrain feature left on the board, hoping to delay or degrade the mass of troops and, tanks and walkers coming our way.  The battle that progressed down the length of the sixteen foot table seemed to divide into a left, center and right.  On the (Martian) left troops defended a ridge and valley to the some woods.  In the center quite a few Martian units defended the woods and two important hills in the chief killing zone of the table.  On the right was another ridge line lined with troops and Martian weapons. 
Things are starting to get tense for the Indians. The steam elephant is down and destroyed and Gatling fire from the "Big Walker Spitting Death" has caused casualties among the Madras infantry.
 The Martians opened the game with a quick attack on advancing British units with a unit of Amazonians.  John McEwan hoped to catch the Brits napping and knock out a couple of quick attackers.  Unfortunately the dice gods didn't go our way (for most of the game) and he was repulsed.  The British were able to advance with a mechanical lancer unit that did considerable damage on that flank and to the rear of the woods, rendering out center tenuous. 

In the center it was a meat grinder.  Advancing with a tank, British regulars with Martian auxiliaries were able to slowly advance through the woods tearing up Martian defenders, but at considerable cost to themselves.  Without an effective answer to the British armor, there was little they could do to the tank.  The first hill in the center was not occupied by our troops.  The Brits parked an enormous walker there, which we were able to damage pretty well with artillery fire, but just could not a strong enough hit on to penetrate it and get it out of the game. That walker generally served as a fire base, blasting away with its medium gun and  However Brits did not move troops into what we called the "valley of death."
It's the last turn and the Indians, together with Martian troops have launched a last glorious charge.  The flying Martians on the left flank were repulsed, but the Indians and Martian legion were locked in a continuing melee.
 On the right, my Indian troops defended, together with a Martian Legion against a couple of British regular units.  After being bombed and shot by a British zeppelin, the Baluchi unit was down to 60 percent strength.  The Madras infantry also was peppered by fire and by the time it was engaged was down a couple of figures.  Eventually they made their way to the front and ended the game with a charge on British units attempting to advance on the Martian gun positions on the right flank.  As the game ended, both units were involved in a hairy continuing melee on the British right flank. 

The one unit we had few answers for was the British airship.  Though we scored one rocket hit on the leviathan, it did little damage, and didn't set the catastrophic fire needed to get it out of the game.  With three bomb loads and some guns to boot, it really tore up some our defenses.  

 The game was massive and we played four and a half hours, considerably longer than any of our other games.  At the end of our time, and players needing to leave, the game was still a draw.  However, the Martians were pretty thin everywhere, and one turn of  of bad die rolling anywhere would have led to a British breakthrough.  I didn't see the same problem for the Brits anyplace. 

Mark did a fabulous job of running the game.  Usually I would help with one end of the table and he would run the other end.  But, I confess, I wanted to play with my new units.  There are a couple of times when the game bogged a bit, but it was fun.

 Alas, my new troops didn't do that well.  The Indians go smacked a bit, but redeemed themselves with their final charge.  The steam elephant damaged a British tank, and exchanged shots with the really enormous walker.  It was an uneven fight and eventually had its legs shot out.


Pat G said...


My condolences to the Nellie crew.

Don M said...

Great looking game! Like to try and run one in 15mm scale, think
I have everything but the steam elephant!