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Monday, April 13, 2015

AQ: Wrong Side of the Tracks

I'm a lucky man. My wife not only supports my hobby, sometimes she'll even play a game or two with me, or even mess around with painting and making terrain. However, thus far, she has steadfastly refused to play "the piddly humans", who she variously describes as "pathetic", "inferior", and "ridiculous".  Works for me, as I enjoy the more varied tactical possibilities of the the American forces in their struggle against the overwhelming technological superiority of the Martians.

This past week, we got out of work early enough to get in a game.



The Scenario:  After the Fall of Memphis in early 1914, the 29th Infantry Division was deployed in the Mississippi Delta region, a web of rivers and farmland that stretches between Memphis and Vicksburg. Desperate human lines of defense were hastily erected around the ruins of Memphis but not all were able to to contain the Tripods. Numerous Pods of Martian invaders streamed through gaps in the human lines to wreck havoc on the American communications. In this scenario, a vital rail line bringing up reinforcements from back East is threatened by a raiding group of Martians. The US Army must stop the Martian force from cutting the rail line and disturbing the American redeployment in the wake of the defeat at Memphis.

Martian Objective: Cut the rail line (by crossing the railroad track with 2 tripods of any type) or breaking the human lines (killing 8 units).

Human Objective: Defend the railway and either break the Martian force (killing 4 units), or hold out until the reinforcements can arrive (the game was capped at 2 hours).

The Board: there's a lot of terrain on the table which will slow down the Tripods.  There are three main areas that the rail line can be crossed: the human left, which is the most open at the point of the rail line, but the approach guarded by a heavily wooded area; the center, which is a dirt road (leading directly from the Martian side) crossing the track between two ruined buildings in a narrow opening; and the right, which is the most open approach, terrain-wise, but the rail line itself is blocked with a stalled train that would have to be attacked and destroyed to allow the Martians to pass (we also allowed that the Tripods could climb over instead, but it would take them a full turn to do so).

OOB:
Martians: 5 Assault Tripods (2 with green gas, 2 with black dust), 1 Scout Tripod, and 1 Grenadier (Martian Artillery). 1480 pts.

US Army: 2 units of MKII tanks, 1 unit of MKIII tanks, 2 units of rough riders,  4 units of infantry (with 3 units of forlorn hopes hidden within), 2 units of machine gunners, 2 units of mortars, and 1 battery of Heavy Artillery. 1140 pts.

Each side received 6 "Orders" counters.

Lets look at the deployments...



The Center: The road down the center is probably the fastest path across the lines, but also the area where it would be easiest for the humans to concentrate their fire. I deployed a unit of mkIIs to guard the narrow pass between the locomotive engine, backed up with a unit of rough riders. The artillery was placed behind one of the ruined buildings. The central road was in sight of the mortar units which I placed on the right and left in cover, and anything coming that way would be vulnerable to multiple assaults from infantry. I was practically daring the Martians to take the direct route down the center. 

 

 The Left: Infantry and mortars took up position in the wooded area on the left, backed up by another unit of MKIIs, and you can see some of the infantry and machine gunners guarding the center from some crop fields.

Sadly, there are no pictures of the right. I hadn't really considered reporting the battle - I'll have more pictures next time.  On the right was the unit of MKIIIs, mortars, and a good bit of infantry (with forlorn hopes).  I figured she'd make a strong play for the right side, even if it meant blasting through the train (in fact, knowing her so well, I figured the prospect would be more attractive because of the destruction), because the lightness of the terrain, so I put my heavier tanks there and other strong forces. Turns out I guessed correctly.

The Martians deployed heavily on my right, as I suspected, with more spread out forces on the left and center. She put the grenadier behind a ruined farm house for protection (wise, as I love to pick those death machines off when they're in the open), but the ruin was far enough back that she initially had some trouble with range. It wasn't able to hit any unit close to the train. This made me happy as she couldn't target my heavy guns.