Gunderbad - The sleepy farming hamlet of Gunderbad, in the Jasheen District of the Crown Colony was violently woken last Saturday by the crash of gunfire. A recent eruption of unobtainite just east of the settlement was the object of an attack by that vile fiend, Herr Doctor Professor Otto Maton, the Belgian Mechanickal Maniac. Fortunately, the good townsfolk of Gunderbad had reported the eruption to the appropriate authorities in the Ministry of Strategic Minerals at Government House in Victoria Landing, and troops were already onsite to defend the unobtainite.
Maton led the attack with his usual horde of automated contraptions: steam spiders, hoverbots, and serv-a-tons. But he also unveiled some new horrors in the conflict: steam turtles, piloted armor suits, and a mechanickal giant of fearsome aspect. Thankfully for our gallant boys, the steam-powered menaces were not reliable, and slowed their own advances. [In the first turn, misfortune strikes the Automatons as the hoverbots malfunction right away and tear into the half jacks. The steam spiders retreat instead of advancing.] Our valiant redcoats, stalwart sepoys and a platton of Texican allies bravely held their line against the foe, using artillery to somewhat thin the enemy ranks. [Two shots, one from the Bonnie Prince Charlie and one from a 7-pdr. Both hit their targets, and destroy a few automatons, but the shot on the Giant bounces off harmlessly.]
With his mechanickal devices malfunctioning, the Mad Genius and his assistant, the mysterious Oriental woman known as Yuki Ono, sprinted about the battlefield trying to reprogram their servants' Babbage engines. The great giant remained steady, and fired it's awesome cannon at the puny humans across the field. Thankfully, it missed! More malfunctioning units again slowed the advance of Science!, and the only reliable troops Maton fielded march forward (the two platoons of minions and the midget-piloted half jacks). Steady in the face of the onslaught, many of our valiant defenders were laughing themselves silly as the dreaded mechanickals continued to malfunction, well beyond effective rifle range. [Yet more malfunctioning automatons, though the original problems were solved. Still out of rifle range, the two human artillery pieces traded fire, and Jack the Giant missed again.]
With his minions finally under control, the advancing metal horde reached rifle range. A series of volleys by platoon rang out, felling some of the diabolical machines. The giant landed a shrapnel round on the Texicans, killing two of the steady lads. At the far right of the British line, a troop of lancers charged into the fray, attacking the remnants of the half jack squad with their armour-piercing explosive lances. In turn, they were hit in the flank by the remaining hoverbots (seriously depleted by rifle and artillery fire). In moments, the last of the half jacks was scrapped, the final hoverbot downed, and the lancers fell to the last man, covered in blood, oil and everlasting glory!
More trouble awaited the Automaton horde. Still confused, the steam spiders halted in the midst of an open plain, sitting ducks for the crew of the 7-pdr field gun. When the smoke cleared, only one remained. The human Minions of Maton finally approached rifle range and fired at the Texicans, killing all but three of them and breaking their spirit momentarily. The Texicans fled the line, but in their panic, wandered into the No Man's Land between the armies, masking a platoon of sepoys! An armour piercing shell from the Giant did for the Bonnie Prince Charlie, and more rifle fire seriously hurt a squad from the 23rd Foot, killing their officer. Finally, on the British left, several automatons were approaching the line, with calculating mayhem clicking through their whirring mechanickal brains.
The last of the steam spiders spat venom on the Texicans, felling two, and causing their final fellow to retire from the field to report to the Republic's emissary. The vicious machine's triumph was short lived, however, as the fire of an entire platoon of Martian sepoys was directed upon it, smashing it into bits. On the left, the serv-a-tons reached the sepoys behind their wall, and red ruin resulted! The great Giant, so deadly before, was in need of adjustment following a telling blow that rang off its armoured hide. It wandered aimlessly for several minutes as the battle wound down. Volleys lashing out from British troops hidden in the buildings of the town scourged the remaining Minions of Maton. At this point, the Doctor and his mysterious assistant from the East took the better part of valour, and departed the field. No doubt, we shall hear from him again!
[Editor's Note: We played using Battles by GASLIGHT. Normally, the club doesn't do non-historicals, but with only a few folks showing up (and me with virtually all the lead!), the few chose to play a light hearted game of mayhem. The after action report was favorable, though it is considered that some adjustments will be needed to the Automatons - every unit succumbed to bugs at one point or another.]