Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Zombie update

This is an account of my small, occasional zombie apocalypse campaign. Some of it is solo and some will be played out with one or more of my regular gaming opponents. We use the All Things Zombie rules. In the game described below, Striking Out, I play George and his group and gaming bud Mike plays a group of gang members. We start at opposite end of the board and both groups are searching for resources.



George and Kathy are in a relationship. They are spending a quiet weekend at his place in the little town of Midvale Ohio when the zombie apocalypse suddenly collapses society. They try to get out of town, but they lose their car to marauders.  They escape on foot and take refuge in a fire station in a rundown commercial district of Midvale. There they find other survivors, a middle aged man and two elderly women. The fire station is a solidly built, secure structure and they discover enough food to last the five of them about a month. They decide to dig in there and await rescue.


Striking out

After waiting for rescue for two days George and the others are starting to think no one is coming anytime soon. They have set containers on the roof to collect rainwater and there is enough food for a while, but the only thing moving in their vicinity is the occasional zombie shuffling aimlessly by. They have no radio or TV and no way of knowing when or if help is coming. Feeling they must do ‘something’, the group agrees to leave the two elderly women at the fire station while the rest of the group moves out to check some of the local businesses for resources. The zombies they have seen so far are few in number, slow and clumsy. They bring their firearms with them but agree to shoot only as a last resort to avoid drawing attention. Across the street there is a pedestrian square with strip mall buildings on three sides. They decide to start their search there.

                                   A view of the strip mall from the fire station

Unknown to the survivors, local ‘street entrepreneur’ Sugar Ray, his girlfriend Cheryl and his friend Trey have wandered into the area just a few blocks away on a similar mission. They are all that is left of the Albion Street Rangers gang that opened fire on a few zombies early in the outbreak and found the noise drew a horde of the things. The remaining gangers are now using stealth as their main defense, although they are well armed.  The gang’s first target is a small branch bank. They find the door locked and struggle quite a bit to get it open.   When the door finally gives way, an alarm goes off inside. Undaunted, they move in and find the branch manager barricaded in his office. He looks a bit like Woody Allen, but there is nothing funny about the gun he is holding. After a brief, fruitless negotiation the gangers back out of the bank empty handed, only to find several zombies, attracted by the alarm noise, moving slowly toward them.


Meanwhile, back at the strip mall, George and friends have forced their way into a Greek diner only to find it abandoned and thoroughly looted. They continue on to Office Max, where a grizzled, tough cowboy looking guy meets them at gunpoint. They offer to let him join up, but he is only interested in them moving on and closing the door behind them. The group moves on, quietly dispatching the few zombies wandering in the area. They can hear the bank alarm a couple of blocks away, but don’t know who or what has set it off. In one store front they find a man with a rifle and an unarmed elderly gentleman. The pair agree to join the group but their hiding place has been picked clean. While breaking the lock on the next store front a zombie comes out of the shadows and attacks the elderly man. The zombie is quickly put down by the others, but the old guy has been bitten and can’t walk on his own.


The gangers take out a couple of zombies blocking their path and move on to an insurance agency next to the bank. The only occupant is the receptionist. She has a pistol she found in her boss’s desk and is very interested in joining the gang. There is no usable loot in the office, so they decide to hit the small houses on the other side of the street. As they are leaving the insurance office a zombie attacks and bites Cheryl. She doesn’t seem too badly hurt, but is she infected? Time will tell. The bank alarm has stopped but there are still several zombies in the immediate vicinity that were drawn by the noise. The gang beats down some and evades others while making their way to the first house. They break in and find no one in residence, living or dead. They do, however, find a good stock of food and a set of car keys. There is no car in the driveway, but they keep the keys, hoping to find the vehicle. Climbing out the back window to avoid several zombies in the street out front, they make their way to the back of the second house on the street. There is a car in the driveway, but the keys they have don’t work in it. Before the apocalypse Cheryl had developed quite a knack for starting cars that weren’t hers without the keys, and she was able to get this one started without a problem. Since this foray into the commercial district has been a little busier than they expected, and Cheryl is starting to feel not too good because of the bite on her arm, the gang piles into the car and heads back to the house they have been hiding in since the trouble started. Sadly, later that night Cheryl dies from the infected bite and then gets back up. Sugar Ray deals with it. Their new friend from the Insurance Agency has proven herself a reliable soldier, and is welcomed into the group.

            George and Kathy check out the strip mall from the roof of the fire station

George and company have not been having a good day in the strip mall. The elderly man who has been bitten can’t keep up, so he and his friend move to the fountain in the center of the pedestrian square to wait while the rest of the group breaks into the next business, The Hair Zoo, to see what they might find. While nothing useful turns up they do encounter three zombies inside. A bloody battle ensues, leaving all three zombies dispatched and Jimmy, their friend from the fire station bitten and badly injured. George and Kathy make their way to the fountain, supporting Jimmy between them. When they arrive, they can see that the old man won’t last much longer and they fear that when he dies he won’t stay dead. The old man and his younger friend decide to go off on their own. George and Kathy help Jimmy back to the fire station. Later that evening they have to shoot him. George started the day confident that he could do what was necessary, but by the end of the day he was starting to doubt himself.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Saxon left wing advances
We played the Saxon/Viking game last weekend and this weekend. Last week Pete and Mark commanded the Vikings and I led the saxons to a crushing defeat. The Holy Dice Cup of St Leo was malfunctioning on that occasion. This week I commanded the Vikings in a win over Mike's Saxons.
The impending clash in the center

The rules are basically DBA mechanisms customized for 9th Century Europe and loaded with lots of Dark Ages 'chrome' . The elements (all infantry in this case) are twelve 28mm figures on a 6"x2" base. We had over 1500 figures in action and in both cases were able to play to a decisive finish in about 3 hours.
A panoramic view of the battlefield
The scale is one figure = one man. 1500 men was a pretty good size battle in the 9th Century. The 'chrome' includes a very large Viking Sea King with an extra factor in melee, Christian monks whose prayers occasionally allow the Saxons to reroll a bad die outcome, opportunities for leaders to stave off impending collapse with Heroic Action (or die trying) and a randomized organization phase at the start of the game that allows some wings of an army to be ready to step off before others. Each player starts with a hand of 5 cards drawn randomly from a deck of about 50. Each card has a brief, colorful description of an occurrance that will have a defined effect on morale, melee, movement or archery. When a card is played (or discarded if it isn't useful) the player draws a replacement to bring his hand back up to 5. The cards add a bit of extra period feel and another layer of decision making to the game.
No way is the Viking right wing going up that hill