Mars Attacks can be played in a variety of ways. When you start out you’ve got a single mat and a box full of models to fight with. To get you straight into the action the box also includes a number of scenarios (we’re thinking about 8-10 at the moment). These tell you what you need to set up the board, which models to fight with, and what they need to do to win.
The scenarios are designed to do four things:
- Get you playing quickly.
- Teach you how the game works.
- Show you what each of the types of Soldier and Hero do.
- Tell the story of Greenville.
As a scenario driven game, the forces are fixed and the board is planned out for you. This allows the scenarios to be carefully balanced, which in turn gives you more replayability. This is the approach I used in Dwarf King’s Hold and Project Pandora. However, this is only the start for Mars Attacks.
As the range expands, new models will have new scenarios written for them that spotlight their specific talents. This means that you can explore the whole of the story of the Martian invasion of Greenville yourself, on the tabletop. Of course, we’re still talking about single mat games here. This may be all you’re interested in, and many people enjoy this story and this wide choice of different ways of playing the game (because that’s essentially what each scenario is – a different way to play the game). You never need to go further than this to have many hours of fun games, but we know that some of you want to. Never mind this skirmish, you want WAR!
Another way to play Mars Attacks is to pick your own armies. This style of game will have its own supplement (possibly called Escalation, though I’m not sure we’ve entirely settled on the name). Whatever it’s called, it will have a full points system for all the models in the range. You may want to play the scenarios in the first box or not, but either way this expansion will allow you to pick a force to an agreed points value, comprised of whatever you think is coolest from the range. Lots of big robots? Sure. Squadrons of flying saucers blackening the sky? Absolutely. Companies of gallant GIs defending the land of the free from alien invasion? You bet.
And what are you picking these armies for? My current plan is to have just two scenarios in this book, and they’re basically the same. The difference is that one is designed for single mat games and the other for four mat battles.
In this context, what I mean by “scenario” is a set of rules for how you set up the scenery, where you deploy your troops and how you win a game. Any story will be up to you to invent.
These scenarios will be straightforward fights with a random twist to keep things interesting and varied from battle to battle. I envisage this taking the form of a fixed set of VPs for kills and then a small table with a sub mission to get more VPs for fulfilling a specific task. This variation in secondary objectives, plus different forces and table layout will mean that every game will be different.
This is your opportunity to get your whole model collection on the tabletop and fight out the really big battles. This is where Mars Attacks moves from being a small and relatively intimate skirmish to being a full blown battle; it pulls back from a close up on the Heroes and you can see an endless vista of smouldering ruins as Greenville burns.
As the man said: prepare your tabletop for invasion!
PS: One final thing for this book of Big Battles is an optional rule about destructible buildings. I really dislike optional rules (why is another rant, another day), but in this case it has to be so because you may not have enough ruins to replace whole bits of wall with and it’s potentially a bit fiddly swapping whole buildings for trashed ones every time a giant robot falls on a house, or a saucer crashes through the church. Blowing up Martian stuff is winning Greenville back for humanity, but it’s making an awful mess.
Basically what I wanted to do is just let you know what blowing stuff up really should be in the big battles version, so it will be 😉