A first flight for the Assault Barges was always going to be on the cards. From the point of starting to construct them, the project was destined to trigger an increased desire to play Steam Wars and get a few of my Naval Marines on the table.
The scene was set for the Navy to come up against one of Coronasan’s armies over the green hills and lush grass of an alternate Steampunk Earth.
The Mission was to get to the objective within 6 turns and what better way than to fly there, laden down with tough US Navy Crewmen and Marines.
Supported by a scout car and a pair of Gyrocopters it would be hard to slow their advance, or so I thought…
The objective was the fields behind the farmhouses at the other end of the table.
The people trying to stop me however, were actually not people at all. Coronasan took this opportunity to bring out his Mechanica Army for the first time and show off their true might. The force was made up of all manner of robotic and mechanical marvels. All led by a man in a flying iron suit and a mad scientist with accompanying hunched lackey.
All they had to do was hold the farm houses and stop my foot soldiers from getting boots on the ground behind the buildings. As my forces advanced slowly into the fields in front of the houses, the Mechanica troops fanned out, ready to start taking shots at the Skyships.
It wasn’t long before their fire had caused enough damage to force me into disembarking my marines from the first Assault Barge. She had taken almost all she could and I did not want her going down with all hands still onboard.
The second Barge was not far behind and as she unloaded her human cargo, they started the job of engaging with the strange robotic troopers. The first casualties fell quickly and the confidence of the Naval Marines rose with such easy kills.
In a fit of overconfidence the flagship, laden with specialist assault troopers, also disembarked the majority of its forces and took out a further unit of robotic troopers.
It was at this point that the first of the assault barges, having safely delivered its charges, was finally destroyed by the Mechanica Fighter jets.
Being almost within spitting distance of the objective, confidence within the Naval force was riding high. Then came the return fire of the robotic ground forces. Not strong enough to destroy the well protected and dug in marines, it did however, start to have an effect. The first line troopers in the centre became pinned and their momentum was slowed as they took cover.
In hopes of encouraging them forward the Command squad forged ahead in their skyship, planning to either draw their troopers along behind them, or take the objective themselves.
In the closing moments of the mission, as the clock was running out, a single Gyrocopter forged ahead. Unable to take the objective itself, its aim was to clear the way for the ground forces to move in. After spending all game without a viable target, and surviving a hail of fire as it flew over the enemy forces. It unloaded its payload of bombs at the robots defending the objective… And missed…
Needless to say, the Assault troopers were still stalled, just too far from the objective to make a difference. Marine troopers began to fall on both flanks as the robotic forces pushed back and, in a last ditch effort, the command team rappelled down to claim the objective themselves. The only chance the Navy had of completing their mission was to assault the robots hiding behind the last house.
And that was the moment I failed to capture on film. Why you might ask? To the great surprise of an exhausted audience, the robotic troopers managed not only to received their charge but managed to wipe their attackers from the face of that fair land. Blood stained, but relatively unscathed, they had held the objective against a plucky effort to eject them.
All in all, this proved to be a great game, and a very cinematic climax to an eventful mission. I will look forward to the next time my Barges have the opportunity to fly to war…