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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Escalation Part I

It's pretty common for my wife and I to use each other as sounding boards for pretty much everything. This week's game was no exception. I wanted to test out a complicated scenario idea, as well as a new Martian unit - Sniper Drones. While the scenario needs a bit of work, I feel like I got a pretty good idea how those Sniper Drones work in combat - they're just terrible, awful, horrible things. At least if you're playing the humans. My wife, as we'll see below, has a very different perspective on them. And yes, she's back to playing the Martians.

The scenario was interesting, but I'm going to try it again with some changes later in the week and see if I can make it play a bit more how I was hoping it would. Here's the first draft, so to speak.

Background: General Pershing and staff are very worried about the recent setbacks in the Mississippi Delta Region. If the area is lost, it is only a matter of time before everything south of Memphis is lost, straight down to New Orleans. He's ordered General Morton and the 29th to engage the enemy and push them back wherever they are found. Scouts are sent into the swampy terrain and farmland north of Vicksburg, trying to get a clearer idea of the situation. At a bend in the road Southeast of Mayersville, they encounter a single Scout Tripod, their Martian counterpart.  Both sides call in reinforcements, and the battle escalates... and escalates... and escalates...

Scenario (Draft): This is a staggered entry battle, where each turn, additional points enter the battle as reserves (although unlike regular reserves, you never need to roll for them, they always come in). The winner of that round's initiative places first, then the opponent, and then the round begins when both are deployed. If all the opponent's deployed forces are destroyed, the game is over.  Similarly, if the army's break-point is reached at any point, the game ends.

Deployment: Sides and deployment order are random. Each side works out the total deployment for the first 5 turns out in advance, writing down which units come in which round on a card, keeping it carefully hidden from the opponent. Each turn, the amount of points deployed escalates as follows:
Round 1: 150pts
Round 2: 300
Round 3: 600
Round 4: 1000
Round 5: 2000 (or whatever is left, which in my case left the humans a bit behind, something that I will correct).

The table is set up by mutual agreement, with a variety of cover in various places, but the strongest cover to the right in the above picture, with a heavy forest, swamp, and some ruins. Speaking of the swamp, check out my new swamp piece. Purdy, no?

Humans deploy first, and win initiative to boot.  I deploy two units of infantry, a HMG, and a unit of rough riders, well behind some cover. I split my units between the two sides of the board, hoping to take the ruins on my left, as well as the heavy woods to my right.  The Martians deploy only a scout, and move it up, but neither side can shoot that round.  The Martian is visible below only in the distance.

The second round sees more action. The humans go first again, deploying more infantry, HMGs, Rough Riders, Mortars, and a command unit. Everything pushes up either into the woods to the right or the ruins to the left. The Martians bring on an assault tripod with attached sniper drones, deploying them at the center, and marching them straight to the middle of the board. The human infantry deployed last round push forward, the ones on the right moved out of the woods and into the farmhouse to shoot unsuccessfully at the sniper drones. The infantry in the ruins on the left also pushed up, daring to cross the road into the woods and swamp on the Martian side of the table, at this point, entirely unoccupied by the enemy.  The rough riders burn an order and immobilize the scout, and on a series of lucky shots (mortars and HMGs mainly) it is destroyed! On the Martian turn, some shots are fired at the infantry unit hiding in the house, killing one and routing the rest, but otherwise, there's not much action.

Round 3: Things get intense. The Martians deploy a Black Dust Assault Tripod, as well as a slaver and various drones, all on the left side where I'd advanced my infantry. The humans brought on a MKII tank unit, a MKIII tank unit, another commander, and Heavy Artillery. The drone placement was particularly unfortunate - it allowed the Martians to immediately dominate the forest on the human left, and to very quickly exterminate the infantry unit hiding in the swamp, at the loss of only one shock drone element.

Further, the MKIIIs were instantly destroyed by the drones after weakening the assault tripod they were attached to.  The wife rolled three hits with them, and three kills. That really, really hurt.

Of course, the wife immediately professed her undying love of the Sniper Drones, "I love them. We need to get more."  If she loves them so much, she can buy them herself...

Round 4, Aka, put everything else on the table.  3 units of MKIIs and 1 unit of MKIIs for me3 assault tripods, a scout and a grenedier for the wife.  Worse, the Martians won the initiative for this round which cost the humans dearly.

Things started looking grim almost immediately.  The Snipers took out another entire unit of MKIIIs, and the drones started their trek across the road to challenge the humans hiding in the buildings. The big guns, so fantastic when they hit, seemed unable to hit even immobilized tripods.

However, in combination with the newly arrived tanks, they did manage to destroy the damaged and immobilized tripod at center, stranding those damnable sniper drones far from the slaver (which we house-ruled as being able to reprogram them, at least until the Scientist comes out).  The scouts on the left were cut down by the human forces hiding in the building, but some black dust took care of most of them.

The Martian advance was harsh, dropping black dust and slaughtering my tanks, and finally breaking the American forces at the bottom of the 5th round.  A Martian victory and a very smug wife. A pretty dramatic game and a fun scenario.

"Yeah, we definitely need more Sniper Drones," she says.  No, no we really, really don't.

Some things I've learned:

1) Sniper Drones are scary.  I should have put my MKIIs a bit ahead of them, so they would have been forced to target them instead of my more valuable MK IIIs.  But yeah, scary. They're better than a unit of MKIIs (I'd say the +2 over the tanks defense is more valuable than the -1 to armor, and they count as infantry in terms of cover bonuses.) They're just as powerful (+2) as the tanks, get 3 dice to attack, which means they can potentially wipe out a full 3 element unit at their maximum range of 30", while the tripod they're attached to can, at best, kill one and rout the others. Yes, they have weaknesses (a roll of one on an attack roll removes them from the game - out of ammo), but as long as they stay in, they will do serious damage. Next time, I'll be sure to screen my MKIIIs with MKIIs. The drones are unintelligent and must fire at the closest vehicle before any other target. This is a good reason to have more MKIIs than MKIIIs, to act as less expensive screens.  Speaking of expensive - 75 points for the drones, to a tank's 165/225 respectively. This one unit took out over 450 points by the time I deactivated them by taking out the attached tripod.  My wife did a good job in deploying these two on the second round.  It ran right up to center where it could shoot at all of my units as they deployed.

2) The scenario needs a bit more time between deployments.. I liked the staggered effect, the small scale stuff forcing you to deploy differently to react to what's happening on the table, rather than a single plan and single deployment, but it felt rushed.  Obviously, having to deploy every turn also slowed the actual pace of the game down a little bit but it was worth it for the fun tactical elements.  So, as a solution, I'll try this later in the week:

Turn 1 -150pts

Turn 3 - 350 pts

Turn 5 - 600 pts

Turn 7 - 600 pts

The first few turns will be pretty quick, but it also felt crowded at the end, so I'm going to cut back on points the last round. Besides, my painted up forces aren't even... yet.

3) I need more American forces.  Yes... more...

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Convoy

This scenario was epic, one of the most interesting and challenging games of AQMF I've played.  I introduced my good buddy Jamie to the game a few weeks back, and he's been itching to get another game ever since. We'd talked possible scenarios after our last game, and when I mentioned this one to him his eyes just lit up. He kept mentioning it over the past few weeks, so when he finally made it over, I thought I'd give him what he wanted and set up "The Convoy".

This time, he brought his girlfriend Sabrina, who is completely new to anything like this kind of game.  I set up a quick scenario for the two of them so she could learn the ropes, and she stomped him into the dust. Then we moved on to the big game.  After winning with the Martians, Sabrina wanted to try out the human forces, and Jamie also naturally wanted to play the Americans (his favorite force) in this very difficult scenario.  We split the Americans into two groups, while I commanded the Martian force.

The Convoy:

Background: After the recent Martian incursion into the Mississippi Delta region, a strong column of reinforcements has been rushed (perhaps a little too quickly) into the difficult and sparsely populated area. The last reports from the region suggest a serious Martian attack, and that the US forces in the area were in retreat. The convoy of American reinforcements raced to the front to hold the Martians at the Mississippi, but arrived far too late. The human defenders have been scattered and the few survivors pushed into the bayous. The reinforcements from Vicksburg march down the muddy road to Mayersville, set into a narrow strip of land between two marshy rivers. The column is slowed by the muddy road, tragically bunching the line at a vulnerable moment. The commander's worst fears were realized when, amid sounds of splashing water and breaking trees, massive tripods rose from the swamps on either side of the column. It's a trap!

The Scenario:   Realizing the trap, the Battalion commander has given the order to withdraw.  The human objective is to pull their forces out in the best order possible, or failing that to drag as many of the invaders down to hell with them. For the Martians the objective is to destroy the humans completely, preventing them from regrouping later and to diminish resistance to the Martian advance into the Delta.

Yes, the Americans are completely fucked here. This isn't meant to be a "balanced" scenario, just an extremely challenging one for the American underdogs. I'd love to see if other players can do better than we did. If you do, let me know in the comments!

Deployment: Humans deploy entirely on the road, 12" from either edge, all facing the same direction.  For our games, a unit of MKII tanks is seeing dual use as a tow for the Heavy Artillery and regular tank group once they detach. The Martians deploy next, 6" from either edge on both flanks of the road, in any proportion they like.
Once the Invaders are deployed, the humans must choose which direction they intend to exit their units. They can press on into the swamp, intending to wheel on their enemy once in proper order, or they can fall back to Vicksburg. Either way the chosen exist is thereafter the only way out.  After this is announced, the humans are allowed one movement phase for free, as the tripods are far too massive to completely take the humans by surprise. They have just enough time to dive for cover.  No shooting though, not even the usual pre-game bombardment with the artillery.

Score: This isn't expected to go well for the humans. They are in a terrible position. I mean, look at that again:

Just awful. The Martians will be immediately in range with just about everything.  So, the only hope is to get the hell out of there. The humans get a point for each unit that escapes out the "exit" table edge (routed units are casualties though). They also get one point for each enemy unit they take screaming to hell with them. The Martians only get points for kills.

Here's the massive lists we used:
US Army:
4 MKIIs - 165 (660)
2 MKIIIs - 225 (450)
2 Mortar teams - 45 (90)
1 Heavy Artillery Battery - 160
2 HMG - 40 (80)
2 Command units - 30 (60)
4 Infantry Squads - 30 (120)
2 rough riders - 45 (90)
Total points: 1710

6 Assault Tripods (2 with dust, 2 with gas): 200 or 250 (1400)
3 Scout Tripods w/targeters 155 (465)
2 Slaver Tripods 100 (200)
1 drones - 60
1 scorpion drones - 100
1 shock drones - 60
1 lobototon blaster - 20
1 Grenadier - 100
Total Points: 2315

We ended up playing 2 games with this scenario, as after the first game I wanted to try my hand at salvaging the human position as best I could.  Unfortunately, my phone seems to have malfunctioned and I lost about a dozen pictures. Inferior human technology...

First game: Jamie and Sabrina as humans, and myself as the Martian Doom. Jamie takes the lead group, and Sabrina the rear. Their forces are exactly split, with the exception of the Heavy Artillery which Jamie took and placed in the very front of the column. Generations of military strategists are turning in their graves as I write this, but it doesn't actually pose a problem in this scenario. Although it might explain why the column is so bunched up!

I split my slavers and drones and placed them in cover on each side of the table, and distributed most of the Tripods evenly, not knowing yet which way they would choose to flee.

The humans choose to try to push forward, rather than falling back to Vicksburg. With their free move, the humans rushed into cover on either side of the road, and a good thing too, as the Martians won initiative for the first turn. The drones pushed forward, rushing into the fields.

Two assault tripods and a scout cut off the human escape, frying the Artillery and using Shock drones and their black dust to clean out a cluster of troops taking refuge in the ruined factory. This attack claimed a mortar unit, and crushingly Jamie's command unit. Forces on the opposite side of the table also used black dust to annihilate Sabrina's HMG unit and her commander as well! The humans lost all of their orders on the first turn, without having a chance to use even one. This made the odds of a human victory very, very small. Ouch!

The humans counterattack. The tanks flee from the scorpion drones, making a desperate dash for the exit, while two full units of Sabrina's infantry wheel and assault a Tripod, nicking a point of armor off.

Rough riders emerge from the corn fields and immobilize a Slaver Tripod and fail to immobilize a scout. The fleeing tanks take shots at the immobilized slaver, reducing its armor slightly.

The MKIIs flee, and the MKIIIs stay close to cover to offer support, but without orders to double their movement, the table edge might as well be twenty feet  rather than twenty inches away...

Sadly, the remaining pictures from the first game were mysteriously lost. But the next initiative saw the Martians with momentum (-2 to the human roll for the lost commanders), and turning the withdrawal into a route. It went into the third turn, with the humans winning initiative, but with so few forces surviving the Martian attack the scattered forces could neither effectually attack the Martians, nor reach the table edge safely. It became obvious that there was no way the humans could come back, so we called the game there.

Final Score: Martians 9, Humans 3 (2 off the table, 1 martian kill).  Ouch.

This just made me all the more excited to try the human side. I just had to see if it was even possible for the Americans to win this scenario.

Game Two: I deployed slightly different from Jamie and Sabrina. Assuming that the Artillery would be lost quickly, I left the battery at the rear, hoping the Martians would send strong forces against them, leaving the forward position open (I had already chosen that as my exit, although hadn't announced it yet). I backed those up with slow-moving Mortars and a command unit, and assumed that none of them would make it out alive.  My hope was to tie up as many Martian forces at the rear as possible, leaving the forward position less defended.  I also pushed as much of my infantry, HMGs, etc as I could fit towards the front of the line, with tanks dotted throughout so what I was doing hopefully wasn't too obvious.

Jamie and Sabrina decided to divide the Martians up such that Jamie got the slavers and drones, while Sabrina got the grenadier and an extra scout.  Otherwise they were exactly even.  I suppressed a smile when I saw Jamie weight his line towards the artillery at the rear.

The humans' free move: I rushed the forward soft targets into cover, but left my commander out of line of sight, not wanting to give Jamie's shock drones the same target he'd given me. Otherwise the deployment looked rather similar to Jamie and Sabrina's in the previous game.

The Martians again won the first initiative, and it really hurt. On the free move I'd turned my guns to have a long field of fire, and detached the MKIIs towing them, but I didn't even get to fire them once. They were instantly heat-rayed and routed, and naturally Jamie used a move order to rush up and destroy them on the second movement phase. My heart sank a bit at that. I knew they were lost, but I had hoped they'd tie my opponents up for more than one turn.

Sabrina rushed in from the other side, frying a unit of MKIIIs and then rushing the routing units with a scout.

On the human's first turn, I used almost all of my move orders to bring four units immediately off the table edge, and to bring several tanks very close to the edge. A combination of mortar and machine gun fire took out a unit of drones, which was the only Martian casualty this game. Then, apparently, more pictures mysteriously vanished. But what you're not seeing is several other units making it off the table edge on the next turn, even as the remaining tanks were destroyed.

The last turn became a desperate retreat. With no tanks remaining (either destroyed or escaped), only two separate elements of mortar units, a commander still hiding alone in the woods at the opposite table edge (to keep my orders, as my main commander had withdrawn), and a HMG and Infantry unit pushing towards the exit, the humans went into the round actually tied with the Martians. However, I was out of orders.  The Mortar teams and Command unit were impossible to save (as I only give mortar teams 4" movement), so I concentrated on moving the infantry and HMG team into good cover near the back of the board. If I could keep them alive and win initiative, there was a chance I could pull off a draw, but not a win. Sadly...

A Tripod emerged dropping green gas on the HMGs, routing them (and then naturally destroying them with a move-ordered advance). With that loss, it was impossible to win, so we called the game.

Much closer this time!  Martians claimed 10 kills (including the mortar teams and commander, assumed lost) while the humans scored 9 (1 kill, 8 units escaped).  A very, very challenging scenario.  It is definitely possible for the humans to win, but a lot of luck went into it.  I think if I'd won the first initiative, I might have squeaked out a victory, and there were a few other turning points (routed units, etc) that could have gone either way. I definitely want to try this one again sometime soon.

Still, all in all, a sad day for the 29th Division.

Anyone want to take up the challenge of this scenario? If so, post your results in the comments!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Viva L'Empereur!!

Ah, the Napoleonic Wars, possibly the last time marching slowly in easily targeted lines towards the enemy could be considered a good idea. This is my second game of "historicals" ever (the first being a game of Johnny Reb), and the rules feel very, very different from AQ and the other games I've been playing with Fritz and others.

I found it initially frustrating, as it was a bit more complicated than the other games (certainly more complicated than AQ), but I think a lot of that is not knowing the rules, and not finding out about important rules (like the fact that only one unit can attack a target at a time, unless they're in support) until I had already wasted turns getting into position. Frustration aside, it was fun and different, and I plan to read the rules fully before playing again.

After Fritz's buddy Burt trounced me (no pics, I was busy trying to learn the game), Fritz and I faced off across the table.   I got to carry the standard of the Revolution and play the French, while Fritz got to be true to his German roots and play the Bavarians.  It was a little slower paced than I'm used to, but playing with Fritz is always fun - we keep a solid pace. Thanks to Burt for reffing and bringing the models.

Fritz deployed much as he saw Burt do the game before: artillery at center, forces mostly in a line, but he made a few changes to the standard line.  He put his cavalry next to the artillery, kept his main line in the trees, and guarded his (my) left flank with an understrength regiment. I (the attacker) deployed 2nd, and I had no intention of repeating my mistake of the last game (putting my forces straight in front of the artillery). I split my forces, a risky move, hoping to take advantage of what I perceived as weakness on the left.  I hoped to push my skirmishers and cavalry up to take the forest, and wheel around into the artillery.  It was my hope that by the time our main lines clashed, the left would be belong to the French.

The left did indeed engage much quicker, as my cavalry and skirmishers had faster movement than regular infantry. It was a bloody affair, as Fritz turned his artillery towards the skirmishers which worried me deeply, and by all rights should have shredded them. My artillery meanwhile managed to destroy one of his two cavalry stands. The remaining one he slammed into my main lines, which turned out to be ineffective, in fact pushing it back and shaking it, disrupting his own line in the process. The next turn, he charged his shaken cavalry again, despite knowing that the odds were severely in my favor, saying "Yes, but imagine the glory if I win!" and shortly thereafter the cavalry was gone.

With the lines nearing each other, a poor dice roll ended up working strongly in my favor. In this game, you roll a die to determine how many groups (figures whose bases touch) you can move per turn. With my forces split, I needed more moves, but rolled poorly. I concentrated my few moves on the left, which left none for my main lines. They just stood there, waiting for orders.  However, Fritz rolled better, and moved his lines up.  Earlier, I had wheeled my whole line slightly, intending to straighten them out later, and so when he advanced the lines were at an angle that allowed two more of my units than his to be in range. If I'd rolled better, I would have made a mistake and brought the lines into even combat and lost that edge!

The attack on the left went very well, the cavalry destroying the two infantry units hiding in the woods by hitting their flank. The skirmishers got very lucky and managed to not be killed outright by the cannons, and in fact ended up giving as good as they got.  They were only there to keep the artillery busy and let my cavalry finish their job anyway...

Game ended with a French victory as the left collapsed and the cavalry turned to charge the vulnerable artillery and the Bavarian general.  Glory to l'Empereur!!!

Slaughter by the Water

My usual Thursday night game of All Quiet had to be a bit abbreviated this week, as Fritz's wargaming buddy was joining us with some Napoleonics. As it turned out, this was probably a mercy, as the game was phenomenally one-sided.  I decided to play the Martians again, since I've played the Americans in the past few games with Fritz.

A Martian force has crossed the Mississippi just North of Vicksburg, hoping to draw away some of the defenders gathering around Memphis to engage them. This is a break-point game, where both sides are trying to cause the other to retreat by eliminating half the enemy force. Martians needed to kill 8 human units, and the Humans needed to kill 6 Martians. Points were about even (not that it matters).

 The board was dotted with hills, with the humans taking the watery area. There were fields to the Martian right, and hills and open ground on the left. I put the slavers and drones on the right, escorted by a scout tripod, the remaining two scouts, a black dust tripod and the grenadier at center, and two more tripods on the left.

Fritz did much the same (I deployed first), concentrating his infantry on the right, backing them up with mortars. The center was home to the heavy artillery, the commander, and some MKIIs, while on the left he matched my strong assault tripod force with 2 MKIIIs, 1 MKII, a mortar team and a HMG. He would have had another HMG, but my wife broke one of the elements during our game the other night. I'm told it was "accidental".

 First turn saw little action. I won initiative, which in a long table game isn't the best thing. I pushed forward, but was just out of range, even for the grenadier. I was, however, in range of the heavy guns.  Fritz wasted his first couple of shots shooting his big guns at the grenadier which was highly obscured by the large hill at the center of the table. But he quickly shifted his attention to the softer targets on the right.
 He managed to destroy several elements of drones, but no full units. The Martians were able to get their drones into the corn fields, and the shock drones poured black smoke on the infantry hiding in the adjoining fields. The scorpions and regular drones followed the smoke in, securing excellent positions.  Fritz used the artillery well, and managed to frag the rest of the scorpions, but sadly that was his only kill in the game...

The left was a massacre. The lead tripods swept their heat rays over the MKIIIs, and as the MKIIs gathered to hide behind the hill, the tripods chased them, routing both units in one turn.
A scout tripod quickly rushed up and finished them off on its second move. I was worried about the rough riders, considering how close they were, but Fritz had other plans for them. He used a move order and rushed them into base with the nearest Assault Tripod, which he clearly regarded as the larger threat.
 The rough riders immobilized the tripod, and the few American forces left concentrated every scrap of fire on it.  It was a tense moment, as we both knew that the only way the humans had a chance was to kill this tripod here and now.
But it was to no avail. The armor took it all.  Despite the best American weapons, it ended the turn with an armor of 3, and both weapons and movement systems damaged, but when the smoke cleared, it still towered above the terrified humans.  Seeing it, they sounded the retreat.  The Martians marched unimpeded into the swamps north of Vicksburg...

Bonus:  A look from the other side (and more pictures!)by my buddy Wargamer Fritz.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Switching Sides

My Martian-loving wife, traitor to humanity that she is, is playing the humans in this one.  She'd been talking about trying out the "piddly humans" for a little while, purely in a "know your enemy" capacity, but it was always something she would get around to "eventually" or "at some point". We only had time for a quick game this week, so I asked her if she wanted to try commanding the US forces. She didn't precisely agree... but she didn't immediately disagree either. She wasn't quite willing, I think, to actually say "I want to play the piddly humans". No, the only way she could accept it is if it came down to a random die roll. So, we rolled off to choose sides and thus it was fate, not my wife, that decided that she would play the humans. I credit her for only mild grumbling.

This was to be a simple "break the other army" scenario. 

The Table: We rolled everything off, which way we'd play (length-wise), and which side we'd start from.
 The Martian Left is heavily forested, posing a problem for everything but the drones. Same view from the human side, below.
The Martians won the deployment roll-off, and forced the humans to deploy first. My wife deployed her forces evenly, distributing her MKIIs on the far flanks, the MKIIIs at the center, and an even distribution of infantry down the line. She placed her Heavy artillery behind a ruined factory, and guarded them with a machine gun unit.  She also had a MKII unit in reserve (came in the first turn)

 Having no reason to fight in the difficult woods, I concentrated my Martian Hoard on the far right side of the table, planning to drive them straight at the factory to take out those big guns, and force her to waste time on bringing around the left flank (and taking them out of cover) to stop me from walking over the right half of the table.

The Martians won the first initiative, and pushed everything up, using two orders to bring the scout into line of sight of the Heavy Artillery, and in range of its targeter. Synching the scout with the grenedier, I intended to destroy the big guns. Sadly, I missed.  I also moved up a tripod at center to make an early attack on the center's MKIIIs, which was more successful.
 The Human counter-attack was fierce, with the artillery, mortar team, and MKIIIs targeting the lead tripod which remained in range of a fair amount of human forces. They managed to destroy it, giving themselves some momentum for the next initiative.
 The humans got two turns in a row, but only managed to damage some tripods and kill some lobototons. I recognized the expression on my wife's face. The momentum had slid away from her and she was feeling the difficulty of penetrating all that Martian armor. It was a feeling I knew well.
 Meanwhile, she began turning the forces on the far left out of cover. The tanks were significantly slowed down by having to move through the heavy trees, taking several turns to come into range, and the two units of infantry down that way didn't make it into combat until the very last turn.
 On my turn, the Martians finally broke through.  The shock drones took up solid positions in the ruins, and routed both the infantry and HMGs which had taken up positions in the factory across the road. Meanwhile, the remaining tripod that was marching up center swept its heat ray across the MKIIIs, killing one and routing the other. On the 2nd move, the tripod rushed up within 3" of the last MKIII, turning the unit from a rout to a casualty.
 It was at this point that my wife began to get angry.
"This is because I'm playing the piddly humans", she said through gritted teeth, "damn cowards!" She continued to rail against the cowardice of the human race throughout the rest of the game, cursing the pathetically frail human forces that she was supposed to be commanding.

 The next round, I won initiative, and finished off the Heavy Artillery with a sweep of a heat ray. The forces at center were having a less... efficient time. The black dust tripod on that side had been destroyed early, and the humans were proving difficult to hit in the corn fields.  When the humans counterattacked, the US Infantry was finally in range to assault. She immobilized the lead tripod with the rough riders, and then rushed 4 units of infantry (including 2 forlorn hopes, just visible in the image below) into the assault. 
 Tanks roared, mortars thumped, and grenades exploded, but when the smoke cleared, the tripod still stood, its armor stripped down to 6.  The humans won the next initiative, and threw all they had against the tripod and a slaver that had joined it on the road.

Then came the roll of the night. The (rallied) heavy machine guns opened up on the tripod after the infantry and tanks had further reduced the armor to 4, and scored 6 penetrations on the damage roll. That's a 50% chance of an exploding tripod! Not that it mattered really, as she rolls a 10 on the Tripod damaged chart anyway, causing it to catastropically explode.

But even as the tripod fell, it was clear that she would not be the one to benefit. Clustered around the exploding tripod were her rough riders and three units of infantry, all of which perished in the blast, breaking her army.  The Martians meanwhile had lost only 2 units total (and several partial elements of drones) and were the clear victors.

My wife is now even further disgusted with the cowardice and weakness of the human race than she was before. She is (if it is possible) even more committed to the Martian cause than ever before. Somehow I don't think we'll be seeing her play the humans again for a long, long while.