Saturday, July 04, 2015

All Quiet on the Martian Front vs Martian Empires - A comparison.

Having received the models after 700 days..... Yes you can actually get to Mars quicker, I summoned up the courage to open the rule book, I wanted to see if the extra items I had ordered would work better within the actual rules rather than adaptions or in house rules for Martian Empires.
All Quiet on the Martian Front (AQOTMF) moves the story on from the orginal HG Wells novel and takes place in the era where of World War I and shifts it's focus from the UK to the US, the Martians launch a second invasion better prepared than the first but so to are the forces of humanity with steam powered tanks and energy weapons.

The rules look very professional are well laid out 30 pages full of fantastic photographs, artwork, and "bumf" to keep you interested it also includes army lists for the US, The Martians, and The British Expeditionary Forces.
AQOTMF uses an "I-go, You-go" system with a number of tweaks , and utilizes d10s for dice rolling. Individual models or bases of infantry are referred to as "elements" which roll up into units and each have characteristics, the rules have very much have the Rick Priestley imprint. always a winner for me.

Players roll off for initiative to decide who goes first. When you activate, you move all your models, fire and move them again, the next turn you roll for initiative again but you modify this by how much you destroyed in the previous turn, a nice touch all very nice and simple....
But as I continue to read it becomes very apparent that they are geared to rather more significant models than I had in mind they seemed geared to encouraging the gamer to purchase vast swaths of tanks and tripod models and given the track record in releases - well..... you can imagine my concerns.....
Whilst it is nice to get a rules set designed speicifcally for fighting the Martian invasion of earth, it was moving to far away from the traditional novel and I would struggle portray the right spirit of the period of warfare in pre-1900 England.
So after all the waiting around it looks like will be returning to Martian Empires inspired by the Huzzah! rule system, whereby leaders give units orders to advance, retire, manoeuvre or deploy, with success being based on the character’s Command Factor. 
Good leaders get more done and motivate more units than poor ones.

Each unit has a Fire Factor and Combat Factor. Bases take different numbers of hits depending on unit type, and casualties are measured in terms of whole bases, which means painted figures stick around on the table longer.

The larger Tripods and Human Steam tanks have a damage system similar to AQOTMF, but can be repaired in game.

The dice mechanics use two six-sided dice throughout, with a 2 always being a success and an 11 or 12 being a failure.

The rules lack the depth of the fighting forces available in AQOTMF, but tweaking the Fire and Combat scores new units are easily created with house rules, besides does anyone really need a model the size of a dinner plate on a 6ft table :-)

Despite playing numerous sci-fi/fantasy games I guess I am a traditional historical gamer at heart even if it does come on 3 legs....


  1. I've seen your tripods (ooh er)their great get your own kick starter going !
    Cheers Gav .

    1. Just not enough hours in the day buddy.

  2. There's a core group here in the local Pacific NW that play these rules - with some really nice models too. That said, I've never gotten into one of their games yet ;)

    1. I have seen some of their stuff on the web Dean, very nice venture into Mars, that feels like a step to far for me, so for now will be limiting myself to earth....