Sunday, July 31, 2011

Graveyard Shift: Day 1 of the Zombie Outbreak

I was playing the Day 1 scenario in the All Things Zombie: Better dead than Zed rules with the first encounter, the one at my place of work. I decided to do something a little different and ran the scenario as if it were during my misspent youth instead of today.

The miniatures I used were some painted plastic zombies from the Zombies! Board game by Twilight Creations and the other figures were 20mm plastics from a variety of manufacturers such as Airfix, Revell, etc. The zombies are a bit taller than the 20mm soldiers but since I put them on bases it actually works out to roughly the same height. Buildings were mostly cardboard boxes with labels for each building. The interior of the 7-11 was modeled using Dwarven Forge wood building interiors, which worked surprisingly well. I’ll try and add pictures to subsequent scenarios.

I set up my former place of work (the 7-11 convenience store) in the city of Tyson, Texas. The board was setup with the streets and buildings as best as I could provide with minis. In ATZ the board (either a 3x3 foot or 4x4 foot) is divided into 9 sectors, with the first 3 on the opposite side of the table from you, then 3 more in the middle, and three next to you numbered 1-9. So, the descriptions will be given in sectors as defined above.

Sector 1 (Northwest): House

Sector 2 (North): street going from edge of board across to other edge in Sector 8.

Sector 3 (Northeast): Grocery Store

Sector 4 (West): Street bisecting the board from west edge to east in sector 6

Sector 5 (Middle): Office building on NE edge, with intersection of North-South and West-East roads, with a streetlight.

Sector 6 (East): Street bisecting the board from east edge to west in sector 4

Sector 7 (Southwest): Home

Sector 8 (South): street going from edge of board across to other edge in Sector 2.

Sector 9 (Southeast): 2 buildings, the 7-11 and the Dairy Queen just east of it.

As at the time I was working the graveyard shift (11pm-7am) I diced for the hour and got 2am. I ran the tables in Day 1 “By the book”, though I wasn’t sure that there would be so many terrified civilians at 2am but that’s how it went.

Like a lot of the blog Battle Reports (BatReps) I’ve read, I also have to say things did not go as I’d planned. I originally envisioned I’d see the zombies, maybe some civilian getting snacked on, then load up my car with the 7-11 groceries and head for my apt where my girlfriend (currently my wife) was sleeping as she had a day job. As you will see, it didn’t go as planned…. which in my opinion shows the quality of the THW system! I also decided to reduce my “Star” self from the standard Rep 5 survivor to a Rep4 civilian with 2 Attributes. Unlike other BatReps I’ve read, I decided to withhold the 2 attributes for this game as I figured they would shine in time.

Starting setup had 2 zombies on the West-East road (Sec. 4), on the west side but moving east on the highway. Another was east (Sec 6), moving west…also on the street. I rolled 4 Terrified Civilians, and put them outside my store moving inside, demanding the keys to my car.

Turn 1

Me: 4 Terrified Civilians: 2 Zombies: 3

Right off the bat the 4 Terrified Civilians attack me; I decide they were alternatively trying to get me to call the police and attempting to steal my car (the only vehicle outside). I rendered 2 “Out of the Fight” (OOF) and the other 2 flee the store. ***Note that in ATZ (or any THW game) resolving a conflict is a matter of action-reaction-reaction; so many combats are resolved within a single turn…though a lot of rolling may be involved.

Both the 2 Zombies west and one east move toward the 7-11.

Turn 2

Me: 2 ZOMBIES: 6

I imagine I would call the police, about the attempted mugging/carjack. The zombies do nothing…or maybe they chomp the terrified civilians? ATZ is rather vague on what happens when you drive off terrified civilians.

Turn 3

Me: 6 Zombies: 5

Zombies advance, with the 2 from the west moving into the 4-way intersection towards my store. The 1 from the east walks across the front of the Dairy Queen, which at this hour is closed and unoccupied. The “11” above means police arrive from the south, so I have them pull over into my store’s parking lot and emerge, facing the 2 zombies in the intersection. They succeed with the insight test on the 2 western zombies but don’t see the one in the DQ parking lot. I move to the glass doors to watch the confrontation. The 2 western zombies are too far for a “Zed or no Zed” test by either the cops or myself.

Turn 4

Me: 2 Cops 4 Zombies 1

The cops (rep3s) are charged by the 2 western zombies. The police fire on them but to no effect and go into melee. Cop1 is OOF and about to be chow. Gunfire attracts the easternmost zombie and he attacks cop2 from rear but no effect. Melee continues.

Cop 1 is dinner but since it’s on the far side of the police car neither myself nor Cop2 (who is busy fighting the eastern zombie) have line of sight (LOS) so I assume there is no Feast check yet. Feast will take only 3 turns though….Cop1 must be skinny!

I realize things are getting ugly, so  I go to the counter and retrieve the small baseball bat kept under there for security. I get the bat and head out of the glass doors but end on front sidewalk.

Turn 5

Me: 3 Cops: 1 Zombies: 2

The gunfire from last turn brings 2 more zombies, one from the south (Sec 8) and another from the east (Sec 6); again on the roadways. Cop2 tries to fight off zombie but gets OOF. Zombie then goes for feast.

I continue to move and make it across the parking lot but have to make a Feast check at the sight of the eastern zombie chewing down on cop2. I pass with 2 successes. The feast is rolled to take 6 turns. Cop2 must be fat?

Turn 6

Me: 6 Zombies: 6

As the Activation roll totals 12, six terrified civilians emerge from the office building (Sec 5) heading towards the cop car…probably because its lights are still flashing. I am shocked at the gruesome sight in front of me (to explain why I can’t move this turn) and the zombies are yumming up the cops so no activations.

Turn 7


The Terrified Civilians   see the feast and run screaming up to the northeast, probably to the grocery store (Sec 3). I decide this is just too much and jump into my car to get the hell out of  there…you’ll note without any groceries or even locking the store’s front door! I start car and drive south off the table edge, avoiding the southern zombie in Section 8 and head towards my apartment. Encounter ends.


I had to wing it to decide the reactions of the terrified civilians; something that Two Hour Wargames also encourages. As veteran ATZ players will notice, I misapplied the Activation rolls. In ATZ, you have to roll at or below your Reputation to activate. As a wargamer/RPGer I’d assumed in such a case that if you rolled even lower (say a 1) that that was even better. Its not, as those who roll closer to their Rep while still meeting the number requirement moves first. So, anyone rolling a 1 actually moves last, while at a Rep 4 if I’d rolled a 4 I would go first.

It’s a learning experience! I’m considering adding fiction to go along with my Battle Reports, but that would of course make things longer. Any comments on that idea?

Zombie Chow

Friday, July 29, 2011

"Those Who Remain"?

This blog will be a running record of my solo All Things Zombie campaign, along with updates on any new minis or terrain I manage to get. For those who don't know, ATZ is a Zombie Apocalypse game from Two Hour Wargames, where you play a person trying to survive the Rise of the Living Dead(TM) and generally get you and your loved ones to safety. Or not, as the case may be! Thus the name "Those Who Remain"; those who survive the fall of civilization under rotting hands and cadaverous teeth of the undead.

 The Reaction System (the game system used by THW in all its games) provides that uncertainty in combat that most miniatures wargames lack. Your troops aren't mindless automatons you can move around to their certain doom. They can react to events on the board beyond your control, just as real soldiers do. They might follow your orders, or they may not if you're asking them to do patently ridiculous stuff. Furthermore, the system runs as a normal wargame (head-to-head), all players on the same side, and as a solo game; the latter is my personal fave. Its very tables intensive, but it has the best solo system I've seen in any roleplaying game or wargame.

I add RPGs to the list because ATZ has supplements and rules that really make it a rules light RPG. In fact, you're encouraged to run the first campaign as yourself on Day 1 of the zombie uprising, with your workplace, home and neighborhood as the terrain for your first encounters.

So, the next post will be "Day 1" for Zombie Chow at his workplace!