Saturday, 29 July 2017

Patience Is A Virtue (I need to polish!)

There's plenty of reasons I should have delayed this installment of the ATZ campaign - my printer is playing up and has made a terrible job of the "Mayhem" streets, but I went ahead and stuck them to the cork tiles anyway.
Then, I found out why no-one else has used cork tiles for terrain bases - they've warped, but I laid them flat under a heavy weight to try and flatten 'em. I'll try "laminating" them by gluing more urban printouts on the opposite side, but I used 'em as they are for now.
The TT Combat apartments have had their exteriors 'block painted' but they still need detailing and weathering - but yep, I used 'em anyway and then of course, I haven't yet made specific floor tiles to accommodate the integral sidewalks on the TT buildings!

So, apologies for the state of the terrain, but I just had to find out how Brad and Hannah were getting on in......

Day Three Wichita Falls

Game Prep: Following the last encounter, Brad and Hannah successfully increased their Rep to 4.
I also came up with a table to randomise what they might find at Travis's location -
10% No trace. He left in a hurry with no clue as to where.
20% He's gone 'somewhere safer' and left a note. (Location to be determined if this is the case)
20% He's in his apartment. Sensibly stayed put and barricaded himself in.
20% Friends & neighbours. He's there with company (dice to determine numbers)
10% Bad news. Travis is DOA (Cause of death to be determined  if this is the sad case)

Set up: Travis lives in an apartment block on the edge of Wichita Falls close to a short line freight track from a local factory.
Brad hides the RV by a disused siding and the pair plan to make their way on foot along the track (having learned the lesson about noise!)
Brad and Hannah leave the track and immediately see zombies to their right and ahead of them among the vehicles
A PEF moves from the diner directly towards them and comes into view...
... resolving as "citizens" who'd spotted them and decided it must be safe enough to make a break for it!
Seeing the panic on their faces, Brad grabs Hannah and drags up the road and clear of the sidewalk
just before they rush past, one of them dropping a hockey stick as she squeezed by the wrecked pick up!
A second PEF moves into LOS, resolving as "Somethings Out There!", raising the Encounter Rating to 6,
and the zeds continued to close in...
..... causing the fleeing citizens to veer away from the road and away down the track.
The two zombies on the track followed them (they were in clear LOS, and were the larger group), and while Brad was covering them, Hannah grabbed the hockey stick and moved to the back of the pickup.

To be continued...................

Saturday, 22 July 2017

"Terrain-ing Programme"

Phew! What a week - on top of my regular (irregular) work schedule, there's been trips to the local airport for a friend at ungodly hours, taking over the "school runs" for an injured colleague, and an afternoon at the hospital with my Dad for a CT scan.
In between times though, I've managed to press on with some urgently needed terrain features!

I'd started painting the barn I got from the really cheap supplier on ebay while Brad and Hannah were still out in the rural areas of north Texas. I'm sure it'll still come in handy at some point in the future!
It needs some detail picking out and then some washes to finish the exterior.
The interior is still a blank canvas....

Then there's a suburban house from TT Combat which I've given a coat of spray primer - well two coats actually, a darker grey on the roof which will be the actual colour.
Just like the 'cheapo' buildings, the TT Combat structures lack interior detail, so any dividing walls will have to be scratchbuilt from foamcore.

I've also just finished assembling a pair of apartment blocks from TT Combat, as I continue the frantic race to build a new urban game board!

Finally, a visit to the local charity shop turned up two well battered Yank cars for 50p. Slightly smaller scale than 1/43rd which I normally use, but they should paint up OK as burned out or well rusted 'wrecks'.
Oh yes, and I assembled and painted another three Mantic zombies. This takes the zed count to 91, so if I continue painting 'in threes' I'll hit the 100 milepost in three more sessions (whoop whoop!)

The hecticity continues apace this weekend, but I hope to get a bit more done during the 'breathing spaces'. Thanks for dropping by, and whatever you're doing this weekend, have a good one!

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Day Two continued.... Childress

I knocked up a very simple 'encounters ruling' for the rest of road trip to Wichita Falls, since ATZ tracks campaigns by the month, but I figured that a lot would be happening during week one of the outbreak while citizens begin the transition to survivor/ganger/zombie fodder.
At key points along the route, I've thrown a red and a white d6 - if red is higher, I roll a d10 on my 'incident table'..... during a zombie apocalypse, even simple problems could turn nasty!

1. Tail end of a traffic jam. (Stuck, and all that NOISE!)
2. Road traffic Accident - all vehs (dice) wrecked, some occupants injured (dice).
3. Junction I need closed by police.(meet & greet)
4. Broken down veh, occupants (dice)are fleeing citizens (meet & greet)
5. RTA - veh's and occupants (dice) are OK, just "sorting it" to clear the road.
6. Hitch-hiker(s) (dice)
7. Wandering zeds (dice as perPEF, but loaded with Z's)
8. What's that noise? Engine trouble????
9. Flat tyre! (when the spare's changed, don't forget to get another!!)
10. Civilization! A farmhouse/truckstop/gas station (dice) Time for a breather??

Brad and Hannah are on the last leg of the drive now, and while Brad is no longer so sure that "the authorities" are going to get this mess sorted anytime soon, Hannah is getting up-tight about getting to her bro'.
Finally, the turn-off for Childress is just up ahead, but just like the outskirts of Amarillo, the police have the road closed off - the detour to the next bridge will take them hours and burn yet more gas!
As the RV approaches the junction, it attracts some unwanted attention (The police replace one PEF and the other two are in the woods in areas 1 and 4, the engine noise only attracts one zombie, but the two characters 'entering the table' attract four more)
Brad and Hannah are totally unaware of the threat as they pull to a stop, switch off the engine and get out to speak with the law officers (The meet & greet goes well with two passes each - 'friendly' and the ER drops to zero!)
Meanwhile, the PEF's move away!....
... while the zombies move in - they have LOS and become frenzied.
Brad just makes it around the RV before the shooting starts (and before he could get jumped by the zombies emerging from the trees)
One officer double taps with his pistol and drops the zed shuffling along the side of the road, while the cop with the semi automatic rifle fires into the group approaching from the wood........
.... continuing the trend for this encounter by NOT attracting anymore zeds!
The PEF's also continue their own trend of 'moving away'!!
Things get tense as the living dead close in.....
.... the rifle cracks again,
and the time spent on the firing range pays dividends
before Hannah fires her first shot in anger....
..... and with a weird sense of pride, Brad sees her drop her target.....
... before he squeezes the trigger...
.... and kills the last of the zombies.
With the threat eliminated, and a 'brothers-in-arms' kinda bond, the rudely interrupted meet & greet resumes.
The police pass on what information they know about the outbreak, and agree to let Brad and Hannah take the Childress road to join the highway into Wichita Falls, even offering to radio ahead to the roadblocks they'd encounter to let them through!
(BTW - That was a successful use of Brad's "Savvy Skill" Joe. What d'ya reckon??)
As the cops cleared the road, they wished Hannah the best of luck in finding her brother,
and with that, they were finally on their way to the city!

Thanks for reading what was definitely the final 'prelim' to the story, once again, any comments are most welcome.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Last Night On Earth minis
(and the slowly increasing zed count)

I was really lucky last week and won a couple of real bargains (well I think they are) on ebay, a complete copy of the LNoE bordgame - played once then 'gathered dust', the soundtrack cd still in its shrinkwrap! and a "job lot" of 28mm English Civil War figures - an 'abandoned project' that never even got going.
More on the ECW stuff once my plans for them swing into action, but as for the zompocalypse stuff.....

Once I'd had a good look through the contents, the miniatures were taken out and then the rest of the stuff was put back in the box, which got stowed away on top of the game cupboard.
Then, because my own painting output has been woefully low of late, I set to with my usual 'speed paint' method of simply block colouring, followed by a wash. Not pretty, but it gets figures "table ready" very quickly, and individuals can always be tarted up later if they get promoted to  major characters from their roles as extras!
Everyone probably already knows this, but the minis included with the game are around 30mm head to toe tall and cast on integral 3mm high, 20mm round bases, so they fit in pretty well with most manufacturers ranges and their detail and poses are pretty good I reckon.

The only "downside" is that the zombies only come in three varieties, so I experimented and varied the skin tones (up to now I've only used Army Painter Zombie Skin on s) as I worked through ten of 'em - the other four remain in basecoat while I decide what to do with 'em

This flurry of painting activity prompted a stock take on the horde, which now currently stands at 87 plastic and 1 metal zombies - just 12 away from the milestone '100 horde' which I've noticed many gamers aim for!
Personally, I'm hoping "Zombtober" will see me hit my own target of 144 - because I reckon a zombie horde should be gross

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Day Two Clarendon
Brad and Hannah had taken turns driving through the night and had got around Amarillo without incident by staying on the minor roads.
A sign told them a gas station and diner were up ahead on the outskirts of Clarendon, so keeping the tank topped up seemed a good plan, as well as possibly grabbing a cooked breakfast, coffee, and maybe more information on what the hell's happening (Brad was confident that "the authorities" wouldn't waste any time getting the situation under control - whatever it was), so he prepared to pull over onto the forecourt.........
This game was played with the "First 30 Days - week one" section of the rules, and the main objective was to get information (extent of the outbreak, advice on dealing with zombies, safe areas etc), but of course that relied on some PEF's resolving as fellow citizens........ which they'd be sure to do.... wouldn't they?????
The RV was set to enter from the west, and PEF's were promisingly placed in sectors 2, 4 and 5 as per the photo. Then the "fun" started (have I done this right????)

The group drove onto the table and so I rolled for generating zombies. It's a rural area, so there'd be 1/2D6 per character - but there's also the engine noise of the RV, which adds another 6D6 (halved because of the encounter rating)
30 on 8 dice! Even halved, that drew in 15 zombies!!
I placed them using a D12 and the "clock face", and ended up with a couple behind the RV, one to the left and right, and a mini horde to the front!
The place was crawling with zombies! Suddenly Brad had lost his appetite and didn't really fancy a chinwag over a coffee anymore.
All three PEF's failed to activate, so we don't know if there's any help around or not - Brad passed the "brown pants" test and aimed the RV straight up the road!
The hapless zombies are "struck with devastating results", then the furthest PEF away activated and made straight for the scene...
.... only to resolve as a bad case of nerves - it must have been a reflection in the diner window!
The zombies were real though, and they started moving in.
so Brad kept his foot on the gas, and thought he saw something behind the blue car as he passed it...

.. it must have been 'just a shadow' he said as they drove off down the road towards Childress.

It looks like things are going to be tougher for the pair than I thought - especially if I've understood the rules correctly regarding generating zombies during week one.
I'm off for another read of the book before the next encounter on this road trip on the way to trying to find Hannah's brother Travis in Wichita Falls!

Thanks for reading, and comments most welcome (especially if you know ATZ:FFO better than me!)

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Dragon Rampant - batrep / review / trial game

As promised, here's the (delayed, while I cleared out our box room and started to transform it into my "man cave"!!) post about these rules.

I had played through a game with a friend, but the photo's were totally rubbish (these aren't great, but loads better than the ones I had to scrap) so I christened my new table with a solo game for the blog.
Rather than it being another 'stand alone' battle, it forms part of an ongoing campaign since I needed a result from a clash between an Empire force and an Orc rearguard which remained on the wrong side of the border crossing!

Two forces were assembled to make up "24 point warbands" using the guidelines in the rule book. The only modelling I had to do was to re-base the orc chieftain, base up a couple of goblin shaman proxies, paint and base an "Earl" (command figure for the 'Men Of The West' warband) and a "wizardling" (lesser battle wizard.... sounds too much like something from Harry Potter to me, so will definitely be changing the title!!) and I ended up with 5 units for the orcs and 6 units for the humans - not huge armies, but there's no limits to the points values you might want to use for bigger (or smaller) games.

One of the simple game mechanics is that all units are either 12 or 6 "strength points" - a measure of how much damage they can take, and easily represented by the number of figures in the unit.
Additionally though, units may be represented by "reduced model units" (RMU) with a just a couple, or a single figure with some form of 'casualty tracking' (I use a mini dice in a recess on the textured base) to represent leaders or units like trolls, giants etc.

The recommended table size is 4ft x 4ft, but I played this on my 3ft square table since it was to be a quick encounter scenario in a narrow river valley.

The Empire warband are the "attackers" and so they will start the first turn :~ let battle commence......
.............and remind me to do something about that wall - it's a terrible backdrop!!

A nice bit of 'flavour' is that leaders may have "traits", which are simply diced for on a list.
The orc chieftain is Brave - not affected by fear effects, and the Earl is Strong - may re-roll one failed hit dice in any combat.

Units must be "activated" before they'll do anything, and their stats show the score needed on 2 dice if you want them to move, shoot or attack, and, here's the rub - a failed unit activation ends your turn and hands activation to the opposition. This is very similar to the 'success rolls' in Song of Blades and Heroes, and a neat way of adding a bit of uncertainty to the game - great for solo play!!

Turn 1. The knights, the red unit of spearmen and the Earl advanced to threaten the orc line, but the blue spear unit failed the move activation, ending the turn for the humans.
The orcs got the goblin wolf riders into the woods, but the archers failed their shoot activation.
Turn 2. The humans continued their advance, but the Earl failed his move activation - ending the turn before the archers could advance within range.
The orc archers opened fire - here's how it works.
They passed their "shoot activation" roll
then roll 12 hit dice because they're above half strength (if they were half strength or under. they'd roll 6 dice) and look for successes against their "shoot value"
they score 4 hits on the knights, who have a "armour value" of 3, so one knight is 'killed'. (the remaining hit is discarded - no recording or carrying forward 'loose change')

The knights must now immediately take a "courage test" because they've received casualties. Again, two dice are rolled against their "Courage value" (in their case, it's 4)
and they score 4, but it's minus 1 for each casualty (1),

plus 1 for being within 12 inches of their leader,
for a total of 4, so they've passed the courage test and will behave normally - a "zero score" fail would see them retreat and a "negative score" fail would mean a route. Any "fail" would also incur a "Battered" marker which would affect their performance until removed by passing a "rally" check.

The wolf riders decided to stay in the cover of the woods (failed their move activation), so turn 2 ended for the orcs.
Turn 3. The knights passed an "attack activation" and charged into the orc archers.
Melee is just as straight forward as shooting - the knights roll 12 dice (they're above half strength even though it's only a six figure unit) against their "attack value" while the orcs roll against their "defence value"
The Knights score 8 hits on the orcs, while the archer unit replies with 3.
The orc archers have an "armour value" of 2, so remove 4 casualties. The knights again lose one figure.
Both units immediately take "courage tests" because of the casualties (and both failed spectacularly!) routing from the field of battle.... not a lot you can do with 'snake eyes'!

The red unit of spearmen pass their "attack activation"
and charge the orc heavies to their front.
Four hits against two in the melee,
and they both pass the "courage tests", so the orcs (losing side) are pushed back 3 inches.
The blue unit decide to stay where they are..... again.......... so the orcs have the initiative.
The enraged orc chieftain charged the spears, but was pushed back (and "Battered" in the prcess)
Note to self: get some "Battered" markers sorted out!
so the goblin shaman took cover in the old toll house ruins.
Then finally the wolf riders made a move!
I gave them three random options - throw spears from the wood at the blue unit of spearmen (1-2),
attack the spearmen (3-4), attempt to 'outflank' and go for the wizardling (I hate that name!) or the Earl if possible (5-6). The dice came up with a six........
....... the wolf riders burst from the cover of the wood (and had to maintain a 3 inch distance from the enemy spearmen since they weren't "attacking" them), ending the turn.

Turn 4. Hmmmm. According to what it says in the Important Rules Conventions "There is no 'unit facing'. All models can see, move and shoot in all directions........"
So, the blue unit took and passed an "attack activation" and slammed into the mounted goblins, winning the melee 3 to 1
 Both units passed the following courage tests, so the wolf riders were 'pushed back'......... and off the table edge!
The unit of archers failed their activation roll (again),
so it was over to what was left of the orc warband for their turn, which started with the chieftain attempting a courage test to rally from his "Battered" status.
Oops! Those snake eyes are contagious - that score, plus being "Battered", plus the number of casualties he'd taken, plus the number of units missing from his warband gave him a 'routed' result.....
.... and while he scarpered over the bridge, the orc heavy foot attempted an attack activation to see off the remainder of the red spear unit,
but they must have been rattled by their 'brave leader' fleeing the field! they stood firm and ended the turn.

Turn 5. The archers actually passed a move activation

and closed into range of the remaining greenskins.

Then the blue unit decided to catch their breath after the scrap with the wolf riders!
Time for the orcs to try again....... and this time they meant business!
The snarling mob crashed into the depleted ranks of spearmen,
but only narrowly won the fight despite the odds being in their favour (they rolled 12 dice compared to the spear unit 6 because they were below half strength)
Again, both sides failed the courage test after taking casualties, and the orc unit was routed.
The goblin shaman was the only remaining unit, so when he passed the move activation,
he decided (1-3 do summat daft, 4-6 retreat) to retreat over the bridge,
ending the turn and the game!

Only the second time I've played the rules, and I have to say, I really enjoyed them!
Not sure how they'll be with bigger forces, so I might still use good old 3rd edition Warhammer, but I'll give 'em a go.
Excellent fun, and I'm looking forward to spending some more time in my new "gaming space"!

EDIT:-  I forgot to mention, the rules as printed specify that ALL units must maintain a 3 inch distance between them (friend and foe alike), unless one unit is "attacking" another.
There's been plenty of debate about this on the interweb, and generally agreed that the rule should be dropped regarding 'friendly forces' - which I've done in my own games (just in case anyone reading the above AAR takes exception to my battle lines)