New Year, new project. Or something like that. This venture rather crept up on me. I’d been pondering Martians and HG Wells; even doing a blog post about them. Then Ali Doğan Sayıner mentioned that he thought that it would be interesting if the Martians had landed earlier, and in a more martial country. After all, whilst the British had an empire and an army, there wasn’t much army in England. But what if the Martians had turned up in the American Civil War.
Well this started a lot of hares running. Because I’ve always fancied doing something steampunk.
Also the period between 1860 and 1914 is fascinating in its own right as armies and navies evolved (at times frantically) as they coped with the rapidly developing technology. At the same time you have a number of authors who chronicled the era and the ‘might have beens’ very well. Jules Verne, HG Wells and even Kipling with his stories like
With the Night Mail
As easy as ABC
So we wanted a set of rules which would allow for a Martian invasion, especially as Ali had produced some inspired tripods. But the idea is that you’ll also be able to fight other humans as well if you wish. Also the Martians needn’t be restricted to the Americas or England. Given that the Taiping Rebellion in China finished in 1864, imagine the Martians getting caught up in that!
But once you start working on this period, one issue is the speed to technological change. You turn up with your new breech loading rifles and discover the other chap has towed his artillery into place using steam tractors and has mounted a Gatling on an observation balloon (because it seemed like a good idea at the time.)
So it was obvious that the rules would need guidelines coving technological change. The idea behind the development system is that your state/government/society invests in science and you can now use different weapons.
Indeed because the rules are aimed at 3mm figures (but obviously can be used with other scales with tweaking) the idea is that we take advantage of the sheer size of the battlefield. So, for example, keep your artillery wagons a thousand meters behind the gun line and you won’t run out of artillery ammunition. You don’t have to do anything, you pay artillery officers to worry about the details, they’ll organise collecting it. So we won’t expect you to remember to move every limber to make sure it’s filled. You’re a general, it’s not your job.
Also the hope is to ensure that, if you want, you’ve got an easy campaign background to use. So suddenly Martians also have problems. If HG Wells was right, with ten cylinders falling on Britain, the devastation was caused by no more than sixty Martians. Replacement Martians come from asexual reproduction of the Martians you’ve got (so I’ve had to work out a breeding rate for Martians!) hence whilst losing a tripod isn’t too bad, losing the Martian piloting it could be a disaster.
Then there’s the ships. Everything from cotton-clad riverboats through to ironclad warships. Somewhere in the mists out there lurks the Thunder Child. And that brings a whole new set of things to think about. How well will a Martian, evolved on largely waterless Mars, cope piloting their tripod through deep water. Yes they may have been fast moving out there on dry land, but you know how much you’re slowed down when you try and wade through water up to your chest. Suddenly advancing out into the estuary to intercept the escaping steamers doesn’t seem such a smart move when your feet are sinking in the mud and a torpedo ram is bearing down on you.
So the real work starts. We’ve started to get playtesters tackling the rules. Ali is producing figures, I’m reading up on ACW logistics. We’re getting ready for,
“The Incredible Events of the Century and the Attack of the Inner Planets.”
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4 thoughts on “They’re probably foreigners with ways different from our own. They may do some more… folk dancing.”
Possibly the most interesting aspect of moving it to the United States is geography. I can see there being a very different feel with Martian enclaves at the high population areas and the defenders having to flee and resort to a more guerilla defence very quickly.
And as for the native Americans, how much kudos for counting coup against a tripod (now there’s a great asymmetric game!).
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But also people forget just how few Martians there were. In Well’s book assuming six Martians per cylinder, (which is one conclusion you can draw from the book) there were no more than 60 tripods all told.)
Given the number of men under arms, and sheer quantity of weaponry about, it struck us as a very different game 🙂
I love your counting coup.
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I’ll be watching your progress on this with interest! 🙂 I have plans to have Martians on Earth sometime in the late 19th Century to beat up all my historical armies (in 20mm scale) but haven’t got far with it yet! So although I won’t be using US forces there’ll be nothing to stop the Martians turning up in Paraguay or China!
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Best place for them 🙂
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