Martian Empires: Earth invades Mars

Martian Empires is a set of fast-play, big battles rules for Victorian Science Fiction games. The rules cover the Martian Cephalod invasion of Earth in 1880, and the corresponding British invasion of Mars led by General Gordon, and the Scramble for Mars by other European powers. Inspired by Huzzah!, the rules have been rewritten to eliminate bookkeeping.

Updates are available on the Gladiator Miniatures and Fighting 15s Facebook pages at and plus there is a dedicated Facebook group for Martian Empires at

The rules are available through Fighting 15s. Martian Empires is in full colour throughout and runs to 48 pages excluding covers. The original print edition costs £5. The ISBN for Martian Empires is: 978-0-9555686-0-2

A free PDF of the rules, released in 2023, is also available on the Fighting 15s site. A version on Wargame Vault is free but also “pay what you want”, so anyone who would like to make a donation can do so. Fighting 15s can’t offer a paid version of the PDF on its site because EU rules on digital purchases require us to register for VAT in the EU; Wargame Vault, however, takes care of VAT for EU customers.

The Venus Expedition, a supplement detailing the lizardmen inhabitants of Venus with scenarios, plus FAQs and errata for Martian Empires, is available in PDF format free of charge on the Fighting 15s site. It is available on Wargame Vault as a “pay what you want” PDF.

If you pick up Martian Empires or the Venus Expedition free and want to make a donation, you may buy Fighting 15s a Ko-Fi at

Martian Empires uses the Huzzah! orders system, whereby leaders (characters) give units orders to advance, retire, manoeuvre or deploy, with success being based on the character’s Command Factor. Units may receive multiple orders each turn, up to the point where a character fails an order or moves onto another unit. Armies with good leaders quite simply get more done.

Fire and close combat work on the basis of Huzzah!’s unit-based, not stand-based, factors. In Martian Empires, however, the size of units adjusts the Fire Factor or Combat Factor. Combat uses contested 2d6 rolls, with the winning unit being the one that rolls the biggest successful difference between its modified Combat Factor and the result on the dice. Hits are inflicted based on the difference between modified Fire or Combat Factors and the result on the dice. There are no saving throws. Bases take different numbers of hits depending on unit type, and casualties are measured in terms of whole bases.

Mechanics use two six-sided dice throughout, with a 2 always being a success and an 11 or 12 being a failure. Most bases in the game are 4cm by 4cm, with the only exception apart from vehicles being regular Earth infantry on 4cm by 2cm bases.

Black Hat Miniatures launched a comprehensive range of Martian warriors and space-faring Victorian British soldiers in November 2004. Fighting 15s acquired this range in September 2018. The range includes Martian Cephalods and their fearsome tripod war machines that begin the invasion of Earth at Horsell Common, near Woking, and the Imperial Martians and Tribal Martians that fight the British Expeditionary Forces on the Red Planet. These 18mm scale figures are available online through Fighting 15s. Fighting 15s is still working through photographs, updating old ones and providing pictures for codes that do not have them.

Martian Empires was written to suit these figures. 18mm figures are designed to be compatible with large “15mm” figures designed by other manufacturers and the 18mm is merely a true statement of scale.

Martian Empires is copyright 2004, 2023, Mike Lewis, Fighting 15s and Oozlum Games, all rights reserved. Fighting 15s and Black Hat are collaborators in Oozlum Games.

Page updated: 10 January 2024. This page was formerly hosted at Oozlum Games.