News has reached Victoria's Landing of a clash between civilised Europeans and the mechanickal hordes of Doctor Maton. The battle took place yesterdayin the fertile Simla Valley. For those of you new to Mars, the Simla Valley is one of the few really fertile areas on our Red Planet, situated between two major mountain ranges, and the source of the Simla Grand Canal. It is also the site of a major German colonisation attempt, with the frontier village of Simlaburg.
Apparently, Maton and his human and Martian followers have grown hungry in their mountain hideaways. A raid was planned, to take the food and livestock of the Simla Valley for themselves. To this end, Maton's diabolical boring machine, the Iron Mole, erupted from a rock outcropping in the valley floor, very near the village. Subterranean navigation being what it is (which is quite difficult, actually), Maton failed to erupt through the center of the village as desired.
Maton's Minions, and two of his Female "Assistants" emerge.
The Iron Mole is in the background, near the exit to the tunnel.
Luckily for the inhabitants of Simlaburg, German and British troops were engaged in 'training exercises' just outside the village on the eastern side of the valley. Also, a large piece of German 'agricultural equipment', the Bauerwerk, was in the forest just outside the western palisade of the village, clearing more land with its immense powered saw and flamethrower. Slash and burn agriculture indeed!
The Bauerwerk clearing land near Simlaburg.
Just as the Anglo-German 'exercises' were about to commence in earnest, a sharp-eyed, clean-limbed Tommy spotted the Mad Genius's men emerging from the tunnel. According to reports in the German colony, one of the Kaiser's men also managed to spot them, although this journalist believes that to be Hun propaganda. Both European forces immediately turned against the mechanickal menace to attempt to stop the oncoming brazen hordes.
Germans and British about to begin their 'exercises.'
The European forces swung to face the western edge of the valley, from whence the threat came. Before long, even the Bauerwerk noticed the oncoming hordes, and moved from the woods to defend the village and its precious food.
One of Maton's objectives: the swine of Simlaburg.
More and more automatons emerged from the tunnel: steam-powered spiders, piloted half-jacks, hoverbots built from stolen unobtainite, scuttling steam turtles, and finally, the dreaded Destroyer, with its twin Galvanic Accelerator Cannons! The multitude of mechanickal menaces kept Maton and his assistants running about, ensuring all was in ordnung. Slowly, they advanced. Slowly, except for the speedy hoverbots, which made directly for one platoon of our redcoated heroes! For a few minutes, our men fought the swooping villains to a standstill, but their valour was no match for the armour and snapping talons of the foe, and they were forced to retreat. Just as destruction seemed inevitable, the flying machines suddenly malfunctioned and froze in place for a critical moment. Our men escaped their peril, leaving too many fellows on the ground behind them, but allowing the second platoon a clear shot at the hoverbots. The ensuing fusilade of fury brought down all but two of the tormentors.
Meanwhile, on the left wing of the battle, the Bauerwerk fired off its industrial flamethrower, sending some of Maton's human henchmen to their eternal rewards. ASA #27 also brought its flamethrower into action. Though designed only for anti-material use, it worked admirably against Maton's henchmen, and even caught his Oriental assistant in its spray, killing the misguided woman in a mercifully short blast of heat. The second assault group, however, managed to close on the Bauerwerk and attach Galvanic-Magneto Bombs to its sturdy legs. In the process, the Bauerwerk's powered saw shredded a pair of them, but they made good their escape. However, the minions botched the job of placement, and the explosions failed to penetrate the tough metal of the Bauerwerk's legs.
Maton's human Minions assault the Bauerwerk
With the HMLS Prince Charles (affectionately known as Bonnie Prince Charlie by its Scots crew) approaching the battlezone, the minions gathered for a second assault, rightly fearing the searing flame that gouted forth from the landships armoured flanks. The Bauerwerk charged into the steam turtles, destroying one and causing confusion in the mechanickal minds of the others, which froze in place for a considerable length of time, which the Bauerwerk put to excellent use, disposing of three more before they began to react. Maton's troops began to recoil from the strong armoured left flank and the approach of the German rifles on that end of the line. The village was saved!
Back on the right, Maton's fortunes were also going awry. The dreaded Destroyer must have miscalculated the fall of shot with its shrapnel shell, as it failed to explode, and only killed one member of the platoon on which it fired. Rifle and cannon fire from German troops whittled away at the scuttling steam spiders.
It was at this point that Maton's nerve failed, and he ordered his remaining forces back into the tunnel, with the Destroyer in the rear, bringing the tunnel mouth down behind the retreating mastermind. Having made good his escape, I am sure we shall be hearing from the Mad Belgian again.
[Editor's Note: A G.A.S.L.I.G.H.T. game played yesterday afternoon with my sons. Dane played the Automatons. Greyson had the Brits, and I ran the Germans. Anglo-German cooperation was not good (English troops twice masked the foe from the German artillery, for instance). Really, the minions were wiped out by some lucky dice rolls, and the automatons were paralysed by malfunctions. Still need to tweak their stats - too many malfunctions. No units were totally wiped out before time ran out, but things did indeed look dark for the Mad Belgian Genius, Herr Doktor Professor Otto Maton!]