Sunday, December 9, 2012

Mars Needs Steam Pictures From Celesticon

I attended Celesticon out the San Francisco area last Labor Day and ran a big Mars Needs Steam game. Rick Schutz provided the terrain and soldiers while I shipped out an assortment of special stuff -- unique units and steampunk vehicles -- to flesh out the game. You've seen lots of pictures of the game with our terrain, mostly built by Glenn Kidd. Here's a look at what you can do with terrain originally intended for historical games. I envisioned this as a ground near a "broken canal," the sort where the channel itself has shattered and the water has spread out to make a shallow lake and swamp. Beyond it is arrid ground.

Heres another view. I'm explaining the rules and Rick sits to my right. These photos were all taken by Kyle Talbert, who did a great job. It's definitely a different look from most of our games, but a very nice one. The important thing, in my view, is that the table be well broken up into discrete areas so it remains possible to move and maneuver. Otherwise games (this one or most others involving a fair number of long-ranged weapons) are likely to degenerate into long-range sniping contests.

One of the great things about the show is that Dave Nilsen, an old friend from GDW days and maybe the best game designer/developer I ever worked with, showed up at the show. He pitched in and helped run the game as well as push some troops. Here's Rick seated and Dave standing, with the French contingent in front of them.

Here the French aerothopter is about to strafe the British Colonial contingent from behind. Tres ignoble, n'est pas? Rick's Indian infantry in the lead are supported by Tom Harris's dismounted female hussars representing Canadian "Amazonians."

Here's a different view of the British Colonial contingent from the other direction. You can see the Indian infantry in the background and the Amazonians, while in the foreground Bengal lancers cross a wadi supported by a light scouting landship. 

All in all, we had a great time.


  1. Great looking terrain.

    I remember working with Dave Nilsen. Good to see him (at least vicariously) again.