Thursday, May 25, 2017

All Quiet on the Martian Front: Battle Report- Counter-attack at Yellow Medicine River

After the defeat at Camp Release, the Martians attempted to chase down the fleeing humans.  However, they encountered unexpectedly stiff resistance.  The delay allowed the Minnesota volunteers to regroup at Fort Ridgeley.  High Command at Fort Snelling rushed reinforcements to the area to bolster the defenses. 

After the success of the rearguard, the Minnesota Volunteers sent an armored column back up the river to blunt the continued Martian advance and to probe the enemy for potential weakness.  A screening force of Rough Riders went ahead of the main force looking for trouble.  Behind this screen came steaming the armored column. 

Little did the humans know, but a Martian advanced guard had been put in place to act as a trip wire for the rest of the cell.  These machines were dug into the woodlands, fields, and bluffs of the region.  There they waited for the expected human counter-attack.


Martian Advanced Guard  
Scout + Target- 150
Grenadier- 100
Slaver Tripod- 100
2x Lobotons- 40
3x Drones- 60
3x Assault Tripods

Minnesota Volunteers
2 Rough Rider Squads- 90 points

1 MkII Command Tank-
3 MK II Tanks- 240
3 MK II Tanks- 240
3 MKIII Tanks- 280
1 Field Gun Battery- 80

The Martians are in hiding using Blip markers scattered around the board.  1 Blip marker per unit, so it is clear Tripods are about, but unclear where they are.  Blips are revealed when you come within 6 inches of them, they move, or they shoot. 

The Minnesota Volunteers will have initiative to start the battle.  The bulk of the Minnesota forces are in reserve.  They will begin to arrive in Turn 2 on a d6 roll of 5+ with each subsequent turn reducing it 1 until they auto arrive at 1+. 

The treeline is soft cover for all units for Def +1.  

The Martians are trying to destroy the human attackers while the Humans are trying to drive the Martians away and press on up river. 

The board is fields to the south, with the dense Great Woods on the North side.  The River is assumed to be just off board to the south.  A few scattered bluffs block off the fields and woods. 

On the Easy side, two squads of Rough Rider scouts are deployed 6 inches in from a short board edge. The Minnesota Volunteers will arrive on this edge.  Martian blips are along the tree line and behind a few bluffs. 

Turn 1:
Initiative:  Minnesota Volunteers

The Rough Riders race forward but are still too far away to reveal any blips.  Those canny Martians are in deep cover. 

However, a scout Tripod chooses to rise up from behind a bluff in front of the first Rough Rider squad.  Instead of using its fearsome Heat Ray, it illuminates the 2nd Rough Rider squad near the woods.  From the distant tree line the familiar double “Whoomp” of a grenadier tripod can be heard.  Dreaded B;ack Dust fall within the squad and kill 2 units, and cause the third to flee.  The Scout, its mission accomplished falls back from the advancing humans. 

Turn 2:
Initiative: Martians win!

The scout paints the second Rough Rider Squad.  This time, Black Dust rains on them from the Grenadier and causes one unit to wither and die.  However, his squad mates stay in the fight!

The fleeing cyclists from 2nd Squad rally and turn their bikes around.   The first squad takes cover behind a bluff, while the remains of the second head for the closest blip in the treeline.  Meanwhile, the rest of their column begins to rumble into the area.  The command tank leads the MkIIIs and a squad of Mark IIs pulling the field guns. 

In their second move, the 2nd squad of Rough Riders revealed two blip markers to be Lobotons! 

Turn 3:
Initiative: Minnesota Volunteers

The Rough Riders scoot along the tree line and reveal a unit of Drones!  The field Battery unhook and set-up to fire.  Meanwhile, the last of the armored column rumbles onto the board. 

 The MKIII’s target the scout and open fire with a deafening barrage.  The scout loses a point of armor. The MkII’s reduce the Loboton slicers to 1 stand.  In response, the rest of the alien monsters stumble out of their hiding places to attack the humans!

Heat Rays reach out to the advancing Tanks!  In the barrage, a MkII is detonated by shock canisters and two of the leading MKII’s are brewed up!  The human remnants stay in the fight.  Martian Drones swarm the Rough Riders of 2nd squad.  The brave riders are all killed! 

Turn 4:
Initiative: Minnesota Volunteers

The human advance is slowed by burning tanks, but they manage to form a firing line to concentrate their fire on the Martian slaver.  The barrage starts with the Command tanks machine gun cutting down the approaching Slicers.  With that, the signal flag goes up and the rest of the tanks open fire on the Slaver in a coordinated salvo!  The Field Batteries also target the Slaver, but the barrage manages to take out a nearby Drone.  Despite all the firepower, the Slaver still stands tall. 

The Martian counter-attack is fierce!  The last of Squad 1’s MKII’s is brewed up by the Blasters.  Meanwhile, various single shots from Heavy Heat Rays eliminate the last two MkIII tanks.  Things do not look good for the Volunteers.  

The Martian infantry presses forward and closes in on the tanks.  Their masters continue to lurk cautiously in the tree line. 

Turn 5:
Initiative: Minnesota Volunteers

The remaining Volunteers slowly start falling back, their cannons blazing.  However, their fire is relatively ineffective.  The machine gun from the Rough Riders only manages to take out 1 Blaster.  The field batteries quickly limber up as the Minnesotans prepare to withdraw off the board. 

The Martians sense victory and their war horns begin to blow to signal for a pursuit.  Their Heat Rays lash out with precision fire.  The Human Command tank explodes from a direct hit!   Black Dust from the grenadier and Loboton fire takes out two more MKIIs.  As the Martian forces close in the last few Minnesotans decide that retreat is not enough and instead break into a rout! 

With the defeat of the Minnesotans counter-attack the Minnesota River Valley returned to a hostile stalemate.  The Martian advance had been blunted, but the Humans had failed to gain back any territory lost to the advancing Tripods.  Instead, a stalemate developed near the Wood Lake area of the river.  Minnesotan and federal engineers began to hastily assemble defensive emplacements there of barbed wire, trenches, and gun emplacements. 

Meanwhile, replacement equipment from the Twin Cities industrial area began to pour into the Minnesota River Valley.  Fort Snelling even received authorization to deploy Federal troops to support the defenses.  A showdown was coming between man and Martian in the Minnesota River Valley.

Final Thoughts
Huh, Lobotons are kind of cool.  They are dirt cheap and forced me to draw back as my daughter pressed forward.  They were hardly worth shooting, but I couldn’t let them just keep coming.  On the other hand, I couldn’t seem to get solid shots on the Slaver either.  In this game I managed 5 damaging hits, to 13.  That will never allow you to win. 

Kudos to my kid for concentrating her firepower.  I got too aggressive with my tanks and pushed them too far forward.  I should have kept them at range and forced the Martians to come to me.  I might have been able to divide them and pick them off piece meal.  However, she stayed disciplined and let her firepower take its toll. 

The Minnesota River Valley Campaign continues!

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