Saturday, July 20, 2013

Playtesting the Trireme

My wife's cousin Sam visited us in Virginia for the Fourth of July.  We spent one afternoon playtesting across the surface of Mars.   I took the Martian Colonists, and Sam played the Free Martians.  We used the symmetrical scenario and the two attacking lists.

I'd just finished the trireme, so I added that to the Martian list and made up some stats on the spot.  Its armor was too tough for the Colonists to destroy it, but it's open-topped, so it could be stunned on double sixes.

Sam set up the trireme on one flank where it could escort a unit of swordsmen across the board.  He put his other forces on the other side, occupying a hill and ready to advance.  In theory, I was supposed to attack too, but I knew the trireme would kill me in the open, so I settled for hunkering down and defending.  This game would be the trireme's hour of uncontested glory.

The setup.

The Trireme targets some colonists.

The disposition of the colonist's flank.

The trireme opens fire.

While the trireme decimated one flank with its big cannon, Sam advanced his troops on the other flank.  These troops rapidly encountered the Colonial machine guns and mortars.

The Colonists occupy the ruins, while the mortars on the hill behind open fire.

The Martians huddle in a crater.

I loom over the battlefield.

Meanwhile on the other flank, the swordsmen advance on the much-reduced colonists.
Crossing the river.

The foe dies.
 The Trireme is utterly devastating, and clears the colonists out of the center even faster than the swordsmen can chop them up.  In retaliation, I machinegun the swordsmen, killing them all. 

The smoking crater where my center used to be.

Using the template.
In the final stages of the game, Sam advances his forces onto a mesa, where my mortars promptly kill them all.
Climbing the mesa.

The view from the top.
 At this point, both forces have lost significant numbers of squads.  We are both close to a break test, but the Colonist army breaks first, giving the victory to Sam.
A late game shot, showing the carnage.
In closing thoughts, the trireme was really cool looking.  I'm glad I used template rules.  It just looks awesome to drop that pie plate over a squad.  However, I need some rules to penalize the template for moving and shooting.  Since I cannot reduce its RoF, I'll probably give the template a -1 to hit.  Or maybe a reroll of successes.  Sam suggested that the 32" range for LMGs is too long and uses up most of the board.  Maybe I will reduce it to 24", the same as rifle range.

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