Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The First Martian Lift Wars - A 'Dystopian Wars' Campaign

Over the past few weeks I've mentioned the idea of running a small campaign to make use of my new collection of Dystopian Wars models.  Since I've always liked the Jules Vern / H.G Wells vision of space travel (being that ships can float through the 'aether' between worlds) I came up with the following premise:

The year is 1877 and scientists from Berlin's Reichsakademie fur Astronomie have been closely observing the celestial bodies, testing the theory that deposits of the valuable new element 'Sturginium' may be present and obtainable on nearby worlds.  Working from observations of Mars made by Giovanni Schiaparelli several German scientists believe they have discovered gas vents located in the north-west hemisphere of the Red Planet.

Giovanni Schiaparelli's original 1877 map of Mars.
The Prussian Empire was delighted in hearing this information, believing that they could mount an expedition to the Martian surface to claim any mineral rights before any of the other Great Powers were wise to the discovery. Unfortunately for the Prussians, their scientists, committed to the spirit of academic freedom and the sharing of knowledge, unilaterally decided to publish their findings in several international journals. When released their findings caused a sensation in the corridors of power.  As a result a race has begun between the four Great Powers to see who will claim the most Martian territory and establish rights of colonization and industry.

Our map depicting the north-west section of Schiaparelli's Mars.
Knowing that time is of the essence, each of the Great Powers has raced to assemble resources to send on an expedition.  The lift capacity of the newly invented aether cargo ships is prodigious, allowing them to 'lift' naval vessels through the Aetherium to Mars. As the Powers are all actively spying on each other during their preparations for the 'Lift to Mars' each nation has roughly matched the others in the composition of their fleets (fancy that!). They also realize that due to the distance of the journey, and the resources required, reinforcement will be very sporadic - essentially what each commander starts with at the outset will be his force entire, with very little hope of immediate resupply until they have exhibited some level of success (either by conquest or exploitation of resources). 

A mixed Prussian force advancing under fire.
Each strategic game turn on the campaign map represents one week. The speed of ships in the tactical game equate to a single hex of movement on the campaign map. For example, a frigate squadron which normally has a movement of 10" in the tactical game will be able to move 10 hexes on the campaign map over a week's time.

Japanese Cruisers steaming at flank speed.
Each nation has 100 'factors' of Marines to act as garrison troops for their land claims. Each nation also has 1000 'resource points' in which to build any installations and military infrastructure in which to aid their campaign.

Confederate Cruisers taking a pounding on their approach.
In our game the British have established their main base on Thyle, the Confederates on Phaetontis, the Prussians on Thaumasia Felix and the Japanese on Nivea. We're in Turn 3 of the campaign and we've already had a major fleet action fought between the Confederates and the British (fairly well-matched but the British did loose a Carrier). The diplomatic wires are ablaze with communication as everyone is jockeying for an advantage.

The doomed HMS Gigantic on fire and crippled...
Its all great fun as the players have really gotten into the spirit of their various roles. Its proven to be a good diversion as we say goodbye to autumn and head into winter. 


  1. Great stuff! Love some the markers you guys have made.

  2. Great stuff, I've seen that picture of the moon before, where does it come from??

  3. I'd play that, sounds brilliant and the models and painting are great.

  4. Very entertaining Curt, look forward to hearing out the tale unfolds.


  5. Thanks guys! We're having a hoot playing it. Ray, the first image is from 'Voyage dans la Lune' filmed by Georges Méliès in 1902. It was loosely based on Jules Verne's 'From the Earth to the Moon'.



Thanks for your comment! As long as you're not a spam droid I'll have it up on the blog soon. :)